I take great pleasure in learning French and it has been an ongoing aspiration of mine to achieve fluency. Though not exactly useful in the U.S., it is a beautiful language that I’m sure will come in handy when I eventually travel outside of North America for the first time.
If you would like to learn and improve upon your knowledge of French on the cheap, there are some fantastic resources around the web. Here are several I’ve been using and with which I’ve had only positive experiences. Some of these have premium content available at an extra cost, but what is freely available is a treasure trove (and I must say I’ve felt bad not supporting them; if you can afford to I encourage it).
1. Lawless French
Laura K. Lawless used to write for the well-known site About for over a decade, which is how I discovered her work. She struck out on her own with Lawless French in 2014. It’s truly a rich resource suitable for students of French at all levels.
2. French Your Way (Podcast)
Stephanie, a native French speaker, runs this podcast (and website) with a variety of French lessons, which has 134 episodes and counting. I’ve listened to nearly every episode and have learned all kinds of useful tidbits. She is masterful at teaching and I adore her personality; she has a sweet, endearing manner that makes me feel as though I am speaking with a friend.
3. French Voices (Podcast)
This podcast is also run by Stephanie, and it features interviews conducted entirely in French in which individuals talk about their life’s passion (which is often their career, but not always). You’ll acclimatize your ear to naturally spoken French while learning about what it’s like behind the scenes of roles such as a pilot, baker, and mechanical engineer to boot. At the beginning of each episode, Jessica also goes over some key vocabulary used during the interview. (Transcripts and additional resources for each episode are also available at a small cost.)
4. Learn French with Vincent
Vincent has a very well-known YouTube channel (with over 11,000 videos and over 500,000 subscribers), Learn French with Vincent, which I have found immensely useful; it really gets into the nitty gritty.
5. Learn French with Pascal
Yet another rich YouTube-based channel I’ve consulted over the years (that is pretty similar to Learn French with Vincent) is Learn French with Pascal, which has over 55,000 subscribers.
6. Learn French by Podcast
This podcast, Learn French by Podcast, has 189 episodes, which are very detailed and must take a particularly long time to produce. Each one contains a French dialogue between two people. Portions are repeated and phrases and words used are repeated. They tend to be put out about once every few months at this point.
Duolingo is a free language-learning platform available as an app or on the web that gamifies language education through bite-sized lessons in which you earn points, badges, level up, and race against the clock. It has a sleek, minimalist interface. Although there is an ad at the end of each lesson (which you can pay to remove), there is no premium content. Over 20 languages are featured, including High Valyrian (for hardcore Game of Thrones fans). I use the app nearly on a daily basis and find it quite entertaining to use.
Are you aware of any other great sites, podcasts, and/or apps for honing your French language skills?