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learn frenchLearning a foreign language is not about communication alone. Though that’s the main motive, a new language helps to understand a different culture and expand your horizons. It’s also a linguistic challenge which can only help you think more actively. It also looks pretty neat on your resume.

I had a simpler reason for the language I chose – French. The French make pretty good films. I simply wanted to watch films like Amélie and Mésrine (and more) in their original glory.

English is the world’s second language. Chances are it could be your first. There’s always room for one more. If it’s going to be French in the near future, let’s see how we can immerse ourselves in it with the help of these five websites.

Why Pick French As The Foreign Language To Learn?

No, it shouldn’t be because Madonna is learning French too. In some small measure it could be because French was ranked second by Bloomberg among the top languages worldwide for business other than English last year. Mandarin for obvious reasons was at one.

That makes it a world language and it’s definitely one of the languages you should hold close to your tongue if you are an international traveler. It is the third most spoken language in the European Union after English and German. One of the other reasons I had for choosing French was that many English words have found their way here from French. So, the familiarity could be the balance against the nasal tongue twisting.

5 French Language Sites for the Beginner

BBC Languages

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This is one of my favorite resources for learning French. It has something for everyone. You can take the step-by-step interactive course and grasp the basics of the language in 12 weeks. It covers what you would be expected to speak the first time you land in France. Remember, you can’t learn French without audio help, and this site has it in plenty. Then there are the interactive video courses too which are like short films and should help you really brush up the language. Then there are language learning games, slang guides, and other assorted audio files. You can stay on here or move to the other six on the list.

French Assistant

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This French language site comes with 150000 sound files (in WAV and MP3). You gave to do a free registration to start with your lessons. Lessons are arranged according to beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Pop-ups take you through the lessons and you have to pick the right answers that come up. You can keep reviewing your progress as you hop from one lesson to the next. The site has existed since 2002 and is quite interesting and has a fun element that takes the chore out of learning a new language.

Digital Dialects

learn french online

Kids can easily pick up the basics of the language from this interactive but simple site. The language learning games on these pages are for the beginners and those on the lower-intermediate levels of French language. As the screen above shows, the games are simple click – guess the answer – hear the answer affairs.

About.com – Learning French

learn french online

As a beginner, if you are looking to get a quick overview and not be overwhelmed with a second language, head here. Along with the BBC lessons, the About.com guide will help you grasp the nuances of the language quickly. You have lessons, sound files, study tips, online tests, practice ideas, Q & A forum, links to online translators, dictionaries, and more. There’s a link to a toolbar which you can choose to install as a study aid. You can also sign-up for the weekly newsletter and e-course from the guide author. Don’t forget to read – Top 10 Beginning French Mistakes.

Open Learning Initiative – Carnegie Mellon University

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I haven’t come here yet, because I am still shoring up my basics. But the Open Initiative French course could be the one to round off your learning. The course is totally free and is built around 15 chapters. The courses are introductory, interactive video-based courses that can be used by students and independent learners on the Internet. The course is divided into two main parts and should take a learner about 30 weeks to complete. The lessons are very neatly laid out and the quality is top notch.

Before I started out with learning French, I Googled and found that it would take me about 10 months to learn French. After that regular practice should smoothen my stuttering tongue. The web has made it so easy to learn a new language. We have seen it before too with our previously published posts:

Which is the one foreign language you have always wanted to learn? Have you ever felt handicapped by a language in your travels abroad? Tell us about your language travails.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

  1. Ondrej
    July 10, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Great selection. Can I also suggest http://www.nerdyparrot.com ? Great way to learn french vocabulary step by step, practice their pronunciation, spelling and even speed!
    Cool site. Check it out.
    Ondrej

    • Saikat Basu
      July 11, 2012 at 2:42 am

      So many nice sites slip through the net. Thanks for the link.

  2. DevinChopra
    April 4, 2012 at 5:08 am

    Hey, This couldn't come at a more opportune moment, I am interested in migrating to Canada and besides English the other language widely spoken is French.

    But I would appreciate if you could point to a site which would have a structured course for absolute beginners and would provide some kind of an assessment and acknowledgment which could be printed out and attached to the visa application.

    BBC has stopped issuing any acknowledgement.

    cheerios :)

    • Saikat
      April 4, 2012 at 11:20 am

      I won't be able to help you there as most of these courses are free and have no certifications attached. I guess for that you have to join a paid one which gives you some sort of completion document. Being Indian, you can opt for the Certificate Course in French from IGNOU (www.ignou.ac.in/ignou/aboutignou/school/sofl/programmes/detail/373/2). It costs around Rs.4800 and you can finish it in 6 months.

      • Devin Chopra
        April 4, 2012 at 11:59 am

        Thanx Saikat :)

  3. Peter Moger
    April 3, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    I think you should add www,gamesforlanguage.com to your list. You don't even notice that you indeed are learning as you are playing a variety of games. At it's fun following the story of a guy traveling through France!

  4. Peter Moger
    April 3, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    I think you should add http://www.gamesforlanguage.com to your list. You don't even notice that you are learning as you are playing a lot of different games and practice your pronunciation in some of them. And you are getting a story of a guy traveling around France!

  5. Sanyata
    April 3, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    I have enrolled in a 3 yrs french course in a reputed institution as I was always fascinated by their language, history & culture from my third standard class...

  6. Vikrama Dhiman (@vikramadhiman)
    April 3, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Or you could also try picking a <a href="French course from a Native teacher.

    I know this is a shameless plug but WizIQ has plenty of courses - and quite affordable too. [Less than $100 for 20 live classes with a native teacher - life time access to recordings - there is a significant value pitch there!].

  7. Ed
    April 3, 2012 at 4:07 am

    Steve Martin:

    "What's wrong with him?!?"

    "He spoke French!!!"

  8. Colleen
    April 2, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    I've been studying French for the last two years. I'll have to give these sites a try. Thanks for the tip!

    • Saikat
      April 3, 2012 at 4:59 am

      2 years...you must be somewhat proficient by now. How has been the experience?

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