So you’re thinking of heading to Paris for a holiday but you’re not sure how far you’ll get with your limited French once you’re done ordering your first croissant? Never fear, the Internet is here. There are thousands of great free sites available to help you learn French. The only real trick is finding the best ones!
Here’s five of the very best free online ways to learn French, plus a handful of other useful links for your perusal. As an added bonus, most of these are just as useful if you’re looking to learn another popular language, like English, Spanish or German.
Memrise is a dream tool for building vocabulary. This little gem of a site combines the best of flashcards, sound-bytes, mnemonics and neuroscience to ensure you remember the words you’re presented with and therefore improve your working vocabulary quickly. It’s got a huge French section with beginner, intermediate and advanced words, plus specific vocabulary for certain situations.
Read more about Memrise here.
Language Exchange & Skype
Learn more about LiveMocha here.
Busuu is both a website and an Android application for learning languages. It’s well designed to allow learners to fully comprehend the important dialogue from everyday conversations. The app syncs to the website to ensure you’re always reviewing the most relevant lessons.
Learn more about Busuu here.
FrenchPod is a free website and podcast combination which covers the basic conversations and words you’ll want to know in a style that’s easy to learn. It’s fresh, funny and memorable.
If you’ve liked it a lot, there’s also the paid podcast for advanced learners.
The BBC French material is really very good. There’s basic French, short courses, interactive video tools, tests, cool French phrases and all sorts of other stuff.
They’ve really put a lot of thought into the sorts of things beginners and travellers are looking to learn and the various different methods of learning people like to use. There’s something for everyone.
Some Honourable Mentions
Here are some really useful French resources which aren’t necessarily popular, but are certainly worth bookmarking and paying attention to:
- Liberté, by Gretchen Angelo: Free online first-year college French textbook.
- Francais Interactif (especially note the MP3 and PDF download section) and the overview.
- Colle Française – This is a short list of some of the most useful “glue” words you don’t get taught in beginner classes.
- Verb 2 Verbe – Conjugate any verb perfectly.
- 18 Great Sites to Learn a New Language.
- 3 Innovative Ways To Learn Or Improve A Foreign Language.
A Few More Random Tips To Improve Your French
As all language learning comes with practise, here’s a few easy ways to get practise listening to, reading and speaking French:
- Check your DVD collection for TV shows and movies with French dubbing and English subtitles – You’ll probably be surprised how many you own.
- Listen to French radio online. Here’s a list of many French radio stations, although I highly recommend Le Mouv.
- Read public domain French books while listening to the French Libre Vox audio book recording.
- Read French newspapers (aloud to yourself) to improve comprehension and pronunciation. La Depeche uses simple language, so start there.
- Top 3 Tips To Motivate Yourself While Learning A Second Language
What are your favourite free sites to learn French? Let us know in the comments!