You’ve decided to learn French? Congratulations !
But where to start? This can be one the hardest decision to make since there are tons of resources for learning French going from free to paid ones. Which one to choose?
You must be very careful in which resource to choose as you don’t want to waste your time or your money. You want something effective for you with quick results within time.
In this article, I will try to share with you some great resources you might want to consider when starting to learn French.
But before going through the available resources, you should ask yourself some key questions : what are my learning objectives? What kind of learner am I?
1. Defining my objectives
The philosophe Sénèque used to say : “Il n’y a point de vent favorable pour celui qui ne sait où il va”, which means “ There is no favorable wind to the one who doesn’t know where he is heading”.
I really like this quote. Without objective it is difficult to know in which direction to go. So, the first and most important step is to define what your objective is or are.
Is your objective
to learn basic French?
to be fluent in speaking French?
to learn or review French grammar rules?
for professional reasons?
to improve your writing or speaking skills?
to pass an official exam?
While defining your objective, try to be as specific as possible. What do you want to learn, in which deadline you would like it to be achieved.
Your objective combined with your interests will determine the way you’ll decide to take your learning journey.
For instance, if your objective is to focus on speaking French, a private tutor might be mostly appropriate or a combination of a tutor and an app.
2. Identifying my learning style
The second step before starting learning is to identify your learning style. There are different ways of learning a language. Here are some of the most common ways of learning:
With a Tutor : it can be an online or a face-to- face tutor. All depends on what you are more comfortable with.
With a book : books are great ways to learn a language as they follow a particular method to help you learn, but you may not understand everything by yourself and might need more explanation that you can only get by interacting with a person.
With videos or podcasts : nowadays, there are more and more online videos and podcasts to help you learn French. There are so many great ones out there for learning French and for free. As I said, It all depends on your learning style and your interests.
With a French buddy : another way of French immersion is to practice through a friend or a pen pal with whom you can speak French on a regular basis.
Self-immersion in a Francophone country : this is the most effective way from my point of view to quickly pick up any language. There are so many francophone countries to choose from. You’ll quickly get to know the common expressions, the culture and the subtlety of the language.
No matter what your objective is, you’ll find the corresponding resources to start learning French. Some may be free and some may not be. That brings me to the third point.
3. Which resources to choose?
Affiliate disclosure : Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you click and make a purchase, I will earn a commission to buy myself a coffee, but at no extra cost for you. Take note that I am only recommending websites that I trust and know well for being a teacher myself on some of them.
The choice of resource as I previously mentioned depends on your personality, your interests and mostly on your learning objectives.
If you like to interact with people and if becoming fluent is your purpose, then I will recommend starting with these online platforms.
Italki can be one of the best choices. It’s a platform where you can find tutors at an affordable rate. You can find rates as low as $7-$8 per hour for regular lessons and 1 to $4 for trial lessons. And you can have up to 3 trials in case you might want to try several teaching approaches. The classes are done on Skype, Italki classroom or any communication tool you would be comfortable with. The tutor will generally make some adjustments in order to design a customized lesson tailored to your needs. You can improve your speaking skills by discussing about your subject of interests. Italki also has a partner program where you can make language exchange for free. You can find a friend who will teach you French and in return you can teach him/her your own language for example.
Preply is a similar platform just like Italki, where you can book lessons with private tutors online with low rates and customized lesson. Lessons are generally one hour time and are done through their own Preply classroom. When you would like to start learning, you can use my special code to get a 30% discount on your first lesson. Get your discount here !
For learning French basics
If you intend to go for a full learning program or taking an exam, and prefer interacting face-to-face, I will suggest enrolling in any Alliance Française or reputable language center. But if you prefer online learning, my recommendation will be Lingoda.
Lingoda is an online language learning school where you can learn French and other languages like English and Spanish. They give you the opportunity to learn French with native speakers. The learning material are designed by Lingoda and the teachers just follow the curriculum. That guarantees that all you need to know about French is covered: reading, speaking, writing, listening. The best part of learning with Lingoda is that you won’t have the same teacher every time. You can have a different teacher at each lesson and that exposes you better to the language and to its different accents. Rather than registered audios, you have live teachers to help you learn French and you can see your progress as you go.
For developing your listening skills
I’ll recommend that you go for a podcast, watch a TV Serie or movie in French. Podcasts are now trendy and you can listen to them on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Podbean, Anchor app, … You can make the research “Learn French” and you’ll find a variety of podcasts. Some popular Podcasts you may want to listen are One thing a French Day, News in Slow French, Coffee Break French, ...
If you’re an independent and autodidact learner
Here are my recommendations
Learn French With Chanty : there is a quote in French that says” Charité bien ordonnée commence par soi-même” which mean that if you want to take care of other people, start taking care of yourself. So, one of the first resource I’ll list is my website. Even though it is still new and still in construction, you can find some interesting posts to learn French vocabulary and grammar rules for basic and intermediate French. You can also get bite size lessons on our Facebook page or Instagram where you’ll get the audio. That would be a great opportunity to learn and try a different French accent.
Busuu is a language learning app where you can learn up to 12 languages such as French, German, English, Spanish, … 3 French programs are offered : the complete French, French for Business and French for travel. It emphasizes on pronunciation through its voice recognition program. One of it’s advantage is the international community that it allows you to interact with. It connects you with other people all other the word and you can benefit from corrections and help. If you want an app that focus on pronunciation and speaking, then Busuu can be the right choice.
Duolingo : it’s a language app, which is like a game and you have a lot of drills. It’s especially good for developing your vocabulary. It has a free version that works quite well and is funny. I am personally using the free version for learning Spanish, and I can already listen and understand basic stories and start a conversation. I would recommend combining Duolingo with another learning method if you want to get the most from your learning.
Learn French With Alexa : if you like learning through videos, then Learn French with Alexa can be a right fit. She makes you tube videos for English speaking learners. She uses a bit of humor and her explanations are simple.
Francais avec Pierre : it is an interesting French learning resource. It is exclusively in French and with a bit of humor. Pierre teaches you with Naomie his wife in a funny way. If you like learning with videos or podcasts, and you have an intermediate level, you will surely find something appropriate for you to learn on their website.
Les recettes de grammaire : Marine makes French learning easier with her dynamic bite size lessons on Instagram. I like the concept and her short and clear explanation. she tells you all the secrets for learning French just like you’ll learn cooking recipes secrets. She also has a youtube channel which would be ideal for those who are preparing the DelF/DALF exam.
Before I move to the next section, I wanted to tell you about Feedspot, an awesome website that I recently discovered. This website is a feed reader. It is perfect for French learners as it allows them to follow their favorite French blogs in one place. You can choose which blogs to follow and you’ll receive daily notification of any update. You don’t have again to go from website to website to look for content. Isn’t that great?
Feedspot also has a list of Top 20 French language blogs you might want to follow and I am proud to be part of it.
4. Other Free resources
Here, I will share with you some websites you may not think of but that can help you learn French.
BBC : On BBC's website, you’ll find a French introductory video course divided into 10 parts with transcripts and worksheets which are perfect for beginners.
Le Point du FLE : this is an essential website for your learning program. Le point du FLE is an online directory where you can find some of the best resources classified per topic, with more than 7400 links. Before you click to open a resource, you have the information about the type of resource it is : article, video, audio, exercise, …. And you don’t have to pay a dime for this!
TV5 Monde : TV5 Monde is a French TV channel. On their website, depending on your level, you can find a lot of interesting resources to learn French : from articles, video, followed with comprehension questions, quizzes, games, dictation, and all for free!
RFI savoirs : Rfi Savoirs is a part of the French radio channel RFI. There, you can learn French by practicing with audio and exercises. You can download the learners file and do the exercises. You can also listen to the news with Journal en francais facile. This website is ideal for intermediate level.
FUN MOOC : on this MOOC website, you’ll find a French course named Vivre en France that is ideal for those who are planning to live in France and need to learn basic French. There are A1, A2 and B1 French course.
This is certainly not a full list. These are some of the most interesting resources I wanted to share with you for the moment.
To sum up
If you’ve decided to learn French, that’s a great decision. Before you jump into any French course, take the time to ask yourself the right questions, set objectives to guide you through, and then choose the learning resource depending on your objective, interest and learning style. The list of paid and free resources that I’ve shared today are for reference and is certainly not exhaustive.
So, before you leave, may be you could share with us which language resource you have used or are using and that works the best for you.
And do not hesitate to support us by sharing our work. Merci !