- Binge on TV, radio, songs, text-heavy games and newspaper articles in French.
- When it’s getting hard to work out words from context frequently, binge on adding sentence cards to Anki, supported by dictionary definitions.
- When you’re producing sentences that are almost grammatically correct, read up and practice French grammar on that area.
- Rinse and repeat.
As you can probably guess, most of my time learning French is just spent cruising – I’ve picked up an awful lot of vocab and grammar from context. When the going gets tough though, a couple of hours of hard graft vacuuming up words and patterns that can’t be determined from context opens up whole new sections of the language for exploration.
Personally, I like to analogise [real word?] my situation to a Metroid game. You struggle through the early stages with crappy weapons, and every so often, after a boss fight, you unlock a new power-up that lets you go to lots of places you couldn’t previously access. Sure, there’s some backtracking involved (read: going over material you couldn’t understand fully before), but there are also juicy rewards to be found there, so it’s worth the effort.
Eventually, of course, you can just kick the ass of every monster-alien in the game and finish with 100%, and that’s fluency… but only as long as you keep playing.