How to Learn French (with Amélie) 🥖

🇫🇷 The Assimil Attitude

If you:

  1. Are looking for a solid method to learn french. You might have tried other methods (Duolingo, classes etc.) and come up empty, or nothing has really worked so far

  2. Need more method and structure (and let’s be honest, most of us do)

  3. Or just want to become a French with Amélie super-student..

There’s nothing better to my mind than the philosophy of Assimil.

My lessons were inspired by the structure and content of Assimil1, but just updated for the 21st century!
👇 So I want to include here Assimil’s short introduction, or how they recommend you learn French. It’s a treasure trove, and it translates almost perfectly to how best to use my teaching.

If you want a summary of what this website and my teaching is all about, this is it:


This method is not complete. It still requires one vital element: your intuitive gift of learning.

We will help you to learn French in much the same way as you learned English: by listening, repeating and drawing conclusions. And finally, by speaking.

There is no miracle nor mystery. We have divided the course into two parts, or 'waves'. The first wave requires little effort: it is passive. You listen, repeat and try to understand. The second wave will draw on the knowledge you have acquired, prompting you to form new sentences and to express your ideas.

True, we have cheated slightly by choosing a grammatical progression that introduces the particularities of French little by little, instead of all mixed together as would be the case if you 'picked up' the language with native speakers (Remember, that was how you learned English.) But even so, we have tried not to impair your natural gift by explaining everything immediately. Instead, we'll use a word or phrase once or twice before giving you a detailed explanation. In this way, you organise your knowledge after the fact rather than trying to learn through sets of rules. Don't worry! Just relax and learn.

And if you approach the course in a relaxed fashion, if you accept rather than analyse (the problem of most adult learners), if you appreciate the pleasure of understanding, then you will assimilate the language naturally and in a relatively short space of time.

Which "French"?

Our apologies to the purists. We have deliberately ignored the more literary aspects of French. Right from the start. the conversations are written with the ear' and are as natural as any language method can make them. They rely on everyday speech, colloquialisms and vocabulary that the visitor to France or a French-speaking country will hear all the time. After about four months of regular study, you should be able to understand normal conversations and to express yourself in everyday situations, both formal and informal.

Also, we have not attempted to cover all the grammar. We have concentrated on those elements that will allow us to achieve our aim as efficiently as possible. There are two good reasons for this. Firstly, what often deters English speakers from learning a Romance language is the seeming over-emphasis on grammatical exactitude to the detriment of expression - an emphasis not shared by the type of French speaker you will encounter in this volume.

We believe, as the great writer Rivarol said, that “grammar is the art of lifting the difficulties out of a language; the lever must not be heavier than the burden.”

The second reason, as we have explained, is one of expediency. This book will provide you with the tools to continue your exploration of the language at your own pace.


Our key rule is: do a little every day. Only through constant contact can you make the most of your natural powers of learning. Try and set aside some time every day even if it's only ten minutes - and make sure that you treat the course as pleasure, not work.

During the first wave (Lesson 1-50), you simply listen to the lessons, look at the translation and notes and repeat the text aloud. From Lesson 50 onwards - the second wave - you move into the active phase. For each new lesson, you go back to a corresponding first-wave lesson (starting from Lesson 1) and translate from English into French.

[If you would be interested in me making my dialogue lessons into a Second Wave that could be subscribed to via email - let me know here - it’s something I could do if there was enough demand]

I would like a Second Wave!

During both phases, the exercises will help you to consolidate your knowledge.

One last rule: don't try to do too much at once. Admittedly, we have made things as simple as possible. But we believe as Albert Einstein said - that "things should be as simple as possible, but no simpler”.

*If you’re new and the above sounds like your kinda jam 🤔 - make sure you’re subscribed below and get my lessons in your inbox each week (for free)

How to use this newsletter 🧐

Below is a (updated) rundown of the different and creative ways you can use my dialogues to improve your French.

The dialogues are a simple tool, yet this allows them to be versatile and very flexible to different learning styles—to *your* learning style. You might be surprised at how many different ways you can learn with the dialogues!

Alors, allons-y !


📣 Read the dialogue out loud (this bit is really important) to yourself.

Try and master the intonation of the words and emotions. 

🎙️ Record yourself reading the dialogue out loud, then listen to it back.

You can repeat this x2-3 times. You will be surprised at how you can self-correct your accent and intonation, and how you will become aware of where you need to study!2

✏️ Print out the dialogue, and highlight or underline the most difficult parts. 

Make flashcards or add these to your language journal. 


🖋️ Write your own response to the dialogue question (the title of the post).

Extra tip: Post your paragraph in the comments to keep yourself honest and track your progress. You can also send your reply to the email edition (if you want a little more privacy but still some accountability). I read them all.

💬 Use the question as a topic with your tutor (online or in-person).

You can use some ideas or new expression from the dialogue in your conversation ! It allows you to study *before* a tutoring session so you can feel more confident and prepared.

🕵🏻 Identify the verbs in each sentence. Then write your own sentence using those verbs. 

🏃‍♀️Identify each verb in the dialogue and list its conjugation and infinitives.

(a little more advanced)

Paid members can also try..

👄 Beginner ‘Shadowing’ - Listen to the recording and read the dialogue aloud at the same time.

Repeat this at least x3. You will be surprised at how you can self-detect mistakes. It’s the best way not only to master colloquial speech, but accent and intonation as well.

🥪 Listening sandwich - Listen to the recording x3 times, then read the dialogue and fill in your understanding, then listen again.

This is a great way for beginners to boost their oral comprehension in small helpful doses. Listening first exercises your brain, and listening again after studying allows you solidifying the connections. It’s also encouraging as you can see what you’ve learned !


✍️ Write your own response to every other line of the dialogue.

Extra challenge: see if you can have it fit the line that follows. 

Other Ideas? 🙋‍♀️

If you have another idea, or use them in a different way *let me know* below, reply to one of the editions, or email

I love hearing people’s unique creativity and practices - and it might benefit the whole community! Get in touch. ✨


If you can get ahold of the books (secondhand, new is very expensive) and the mp3s (can be found online) Assimil is great.
Beginner: Assimil New French with Ease
Intermediate: Assimil Using French.


You can do this using the Voice Memos app on your phone. Or (even better) a little voice recorder. I use one for language learning.