French is widely considered one of the world’s most beautiful spoken languages, but its reputation for being difficult is equally well founded. Although learning French may seem daunting, the Web is full of useful resources to get you started.
Whether you don’t understand a word of French or you’ve gotten rusty over the years, there are plenty of online resources designed to teach basic French.
- Alliance Française provides classes, lectures, films, performances and much more to French speakers everywhere. Visit the site to find out about classes and events in your area.
- There are a vast number of computer programs available to teach yourself French. Top Ten Reviews has a yearly review of the products on the market, and ranks and reviews them point by point.
To get started with basic French …
has survival vocabulary with accompanying audio clips, games and quizzes, a free version of their most basic software and a guide to the French restaurant experience. They also sell a wide variety of their French learning software
has about 30 hours of audio-visual language lessons that range from beginner to advanced. The audio components can be downloaded in MP3 form for use on an iPod for about $50 per level (or 13–16 hours).
For basic French vocabulary, grammar and verb conjugation …
has a simple online flash card system: Words and phrases are displayed, you choose the correct answer, the “card” is removed, and you continue and repeat until you’ve learned them all.
provides basic vocabulary lists, all with accompanying audio files for pronunciation.
provides translations, dictionary definitions, synonyms, complete verb conjugations, grammar resources and the ability to view foreign Web pages with a dictionary definition mouse-over for each term.
Tex’s French Grammar
from the University of Texas at Austin is an illustrated, exhaustive grammar resource that explains and outlines all the important basics. It also provides a verb conjugator tool and conjugation quizzes, tests on all aspects of grammar, downloadable PDFs, MP3s and chapter podcasts.
After you’ve got the basics down you can start working on your fluency by learning conversational and advanced French.
- The best way to truly speak and understand a foreign language is total immersion. You'll greatly benefit from learning conversational and advanced French through interaction with French speakers on a day-to-day basis.
For learning conversational French …
provides language resources for speakers of all levels. Find video and audio aids, grammar guides, tips on current slang and holiday refreshers. Take a quick quiz to determine your level and get appropriate lessons.
is a Web subscription service providing daily podcasts organized by level and topic, with accompanying PDF transcriptions and translations, grammar resources and exercises. A one-week trial is free; prices range from $18 for a month to $145 for a year.
is a comprehensive online French course from the University of Texas at Austin. Through 13 chapters, the course offers PDF downloads, audio and video clips, quizzes and exercises, and a downloadable workbook.
For advanced French …
is France’s premier newspaper. Find articles on a range of topics that will acquaint you with contemporary French culture, society and politics through text and brief video reports. A paid subscription allows you to search the archives and use the paper’s more in-depth online resources.
is a French service for advanced speakers that provides a monthly magazine and audio CD accompaniment with an optional study supplement. A basic subscription is $99. Under "Community" you'll find discussion forums, a free online newsletter and other language resources.
For learning conversational and advanced French abroad …
teaches French to thousands of adults from all over the world every year. Students choose from classes and workshops, and the Alliance arranges accommodations for students with French families for a fee. Programs of study include basic language skills, certificate and diploma study, and teaching accreditation.
French Institute Alliance Française
(in New York) provides a list of their preferred or affiliated study-abroad programs throughout France. Some of them are Alliance Française, some of them are not, but they're all screened for quality and you can register directly through FIAF.
No matter the age or proficiency of your students, this section provides materials and inspiration for teaching French.
- Alliance Française can prepare you for the DAEFLE (Diplôme d’Aptitude à l’Enseignement du Français Langue Etrangère), the examination that allows you to become an instructor in French as a Foreign Language. Check out their Paris location’s Web site and the page on the preparation program itself. The Alliance Française /French Institute in New York has more information on the exam.
- The Web is full of French resources for students. Grammar, vocabulary and simple translation sites can be found in the “French for Beginners” section of this guide.
has an online crime-solving game, offered in four levels of proficiency, for French language students.
contains a directory of French worksheets that you can download as PDFs and use either in class or as the basis for your own assignments.
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