Many people on Twitter have asked me what resources I’ve been using to learn French recently.
Others have also shared their own resources and apps they use to learn a language. I marvel at the huge amount of resources we have available – mostly free and readily available to learn a language.
I have written my reasons for learning French in previous blog posts Apprendre le Francais and Learning French but I thought I’d share the specific resources that I have used consistently to get my skills up to speed.
Now, I have to warn you that I did not start from scratch. I did French many years ago at high school so I had a basic level of French however, in the last 6-8 months, through my own personal learning and development plan that I created for myself, I have increased my skills from the foundations to a certain level where I was assessed at the Alliance Francaise as being B1 or intermediate. However, I have a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG way to go. That’s okay, this is going to be a forever thing – learning language and culture is something that you have to live, feel and be part of your life.
So let’s talk resources.
I decided to split the resources into those that have been CRITICAL for me versus those simply provided additional interest material.
Practice Makes Perfect Books
These are CRITICAL. I have bought three books and making my way through them all. Drills, exercises and feedback is important to me and I love how they provide all that and more. I have the full Grammar, Reading & Comprehension and Conversations book. In 7 months, I have nearly completed the entire grammar book and exercises. This has been such a HUGE help in being about to learn about sentence structure, grammar rules and then complete various exercises to cement learning. This is a no-brainer for me. Must have.
Francais Avec Pierre
Pierre and his wife Naomi have this excellent YouTube channel that I’m working my way through slowly. His videos are in French only and I watch them twice or three times. First time, with English subtitles (so I understand the gist of what he’s saying0; then with French subtitles so my ear can get used to the sentence structure (there’s a lot of silent letters in French). Then one more time just to confirm. I have a note pad near me to take notes of any good sayings. I LOVE his videos and his excellent way of explaining just shows he’s a good teacher. He also has a formal course and a HUGE community which may help (although I have not completed his course as I just follow his videos only).
Coffee Break French
OMG How I LOVE this podcast.
The team who creates this podcast is based in Scotland so they have the sexiest accents ever. (I’d listen to this accent any day). Then when they speak French on top of that, my ear just loves them for it.
I listen to a podcast every day on my morning walk and it has been instrumental in getting me up to speed with the grammar but also listening to the language. I am currently on Season 3 Episode 36 dealing with subjunctive and idioms. This podcast has a full course available on its website (paid) and the audio podcasts support that cause. I think Coffee Break French is one of the best podcasts for French language learning because it’s been around for many years and there are many seasons.
Daily French Pod
This is another podcast that I love and listen to daily. A guy by the name of Louis shares one paragraph of daily news in French and then explains the words. These are less than 5-6 minutes and provide me with a hit of the French language in my ear as well as being able to describe current affairs in French.
Les Francais Avec Les Machins
This is an Instagram account that shares images with French words and sayings. It’s a daily dose of French that pops up in my Instagram account. I make it a rule to use one of their sayings into my French daily journal writing just to have it ‘stick’ in my head – but I’m not perfect, I do forget them many times because they’re not ‘literal’
Some other Instagram accounts I follow:
I love this French American couple who share how French is spoken “in the street”. I watch their shows as they’re a lot of fun and informative too. They seem like a nice couple and I usually catch up with their shows on lazy Sunday mornings.
Comme Une Francaise
Here’s another one that I love to catch up on. Geraldine from Comme Une Francaise also shares her language tips and techniques. I love also that she wears bright red lipstick.
Bonjour De France
An excellent website with all sorts of different articles and videos depending on your DELF level of French. Other websites are Bonjour de France and TV5 Monde which have excellent French language learning resources.
Here’s another video channel I watch and I’m slowly going through so my ear can listen out for the language. It’s all about people interviewing each other on French streets (they have other languages too).
This is a website I use to check the daily paragraphs I write in my journal and get some feedback. It provides me with spelling and grammatical checks. However I’m always a bit awry with apps and editors like this because they don’t always provide in the format I want. For example, it’s ‘too literal’ or it translates directly without the idioms. So you have to be mindful about this because then the teacher knows when you’ve been looking things up on Google Translate or Bon Patron or <insert your online tool here> because it’s too literal. Say that out on the street and you’re likely to be stared at or laughed at.
This is another one I refer to but not consistently as I find his pace slightly faster than I’m used to but nevertheless it does help with my aural skills.
Paul Taylor, he’s a Brit who lives in France but grew up in France and knows how to speak French like a Parisien. I watch this channel for laughs mainly – not to learn language.
On an aside, I’m also currently doing a 10 week course at the Alliance Francaise.
I was placed in B1.1 but then decided to downgrade myself to A2.6 and if I continue with it, I may then do A2.5 (so probably the first time someone is going BACKWARDS). However, as I’m in no rush, I figure it would just give me plenty of time to practice speaking although their conversational classes are also good but expensive.
I’m also exploring Conversation Exchange which is an online site where you partner up with someone who wants to learn your language and you theirs. I’ve got a few matches already but always a bit dubious of such sites. I’m specifically looking for French business people who I can help with in English in return for practicing/butchering their French language.
I think the best thing would be:
(1) Travelling to France and living there (unlikely in the foreseeable future because of COVID and well, my husband doesn’t share my love of the French or France. He’s more interested in Germany and the German language).
(2) Making new friends who happen to be French.
Are you learning French? What are the resources you use?