Articles > How to learn to count in French

by Alexis Ulrich  LinkedIn

Learning to count when you learn a new language may seem a bit tedious, but knowing how to count is both necessary (if only for shopping), and relatively easy. This list is illustrated specifically to learn to count in French. However, you can use it for just about any language.

1. Start by learning the numbers up to twenty.

Colored blocks with numbers
© Susan Holt Simpson, Unsplash

2. Use the cards technique to help you memorize numbers. Take ten cards, and on each one, write the number in numerals on the front and the same number in words on the back. Shuffle the cards, draw one at random, and find out what is written on the other side by reading what is on the one in front of you. If the paper version puts you off, free applications exist to do exactly the same thing. They are based on the frequency method to help you memorize more quickly (I am thinking here of Memrise, which is the best known).

Grid painted on the ground with numbers
© Markus Krisetya, Unsplash

3. Proceed in the same way for the tens.

4. Next, learn the rules for composing compound numbers. The previous technique also works, although in paper form it quickly becomes tedious.

5. Listen to nursery rhymes or children’s songs to help you learn them. You can even sing them out loud to help you remember them faster. Un éléphant qui se balançait, sur une toile-toile-toile toile d’araignée… (One elephant went out to play, Upon a spider web one day.…) Un, deux, trois, nous irons au bois… (One, two, three, four, five, Once I caught a fish alive…)

6. Pictorial expressions also allow for better memorization: les trois petits cochons (the three little pigs), être tiré à quatre épingles (to be dressed up), recevoir cinq sur cinq (to receive five by five), six pieds sous terre (six feet underground)…

7. The practice is easily done by counting things around you: three chairs, four plates, people or cars passing by…

8. Once you know the numbers up to one hundred, learn to use them in sentences. For example, you can say “J’ai vingt-trois euros” (“I have twenty-three euros”) or “Il y a dix-huit personnes dans la pièce” (“There are eighteen people in the room”). You can also translate prices when you shop at the supermarket.

9. Finally, learn to use larger numbers such as 1,000, 2,000, etc. Practice for example with the years that are important to you (birthdays, events like weddings).

Bingo chips
© Mick Haupt, Unsplash