DAPPLED SUNLIGHT MUSIC
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Like everything else on my website, this is very much under construction. I will add new things as I remember them. Send me an email if there's something you're looking for and I'll put in the effort to put together that part of the list, if I have material for it.
This is a list of internet-based learning materials that I have used and continue to use for learning French. Many of them are free or there is a free version and then you can pay to recieve more learning materials.
I am enormously grateful for all of these. I would not call language learning one of my natural talents so I have required a lot of help. This is my little contribution to aid others looking for such materials to save them some time in searching for what they need.
You'll notice that this page is unrelated to my website and so is semi-hidden. You can bookmark this page or remember that my website is called Dappled Sunlight Music and look for a link at the bottom of the "Contacts" section.
Mostly, I haven't provided links for these recources that I've listed here, as you will probably find these on different platforms, such as itunes, podcasting devices, googling for their websites, etc. Some of them, too, may have left the internet.
I call anything beginner that starts out assuming that you don't know anything yet. However, you can get a long, long way with beginner material. If you are really starting from scratch, I would strongly recommend that you find instruction on the relationship between spelling and pronounciation. Self-study is the way to go for so many of us, but I strongly urge you to find live humans (teachers, friends) who can make sure that you're pronouncing the words well enough. Either that or at least make sure you make a careful study of this, using auditory and written materials. There are many silent letters in French and you will sound really wacky if you say them.
On the BBC website there are several progressive lessons that you can use for learning beginner French. "Ma france" is video with lessons and it's great.
Podcasts are wonderful because you can listen while you're doing other things, and of course, they emphasize auditory learning. If you are unfamiliar with podcasts they have a look around the internet for how to listen. They're like radio programs on demand but anyone can make them, from someone at home to public broadcasters. Therefore, the level of professionalism and sound quality put into them can vary widely. They are so, so worth it. I also suggest that you take care of your hearing in noisy environments as you will likely turn French up louder than you would need English.
My favourite beginner audio podcast - by far the best one for general learning. If you only listen to one, make it this one. It's professionally done, relaxed, and nicely put together. They're still making the last few of their 80 lesson beginer series. They also make Walk Talk and Learn French which is a little more advanced but is in manageable chunks and is video.
Learning verbs as meditation. If you have anxieties about speaking French, or just difficulties falling asleep, this is a must. It's a bit like listening to God, but it's actually the Scottish guy from Coffee Break French.
A segment from the CBC show "C'est la vie", which is an English-language show about life in French-speaking Canada. The full program is great and also worth listening to, but you can collect the "Word of the Week" podcasts which typically cover very rich words, meaning that they are involved in a lot of expressions. This makes it great for beginners and advanced learners alike. Expressions can be Canadian or international, but which they are is always covered. Even if you don't remember all the expressions, it's interesting to hear about them.
These folks are entirely off the air, but oh boy did they ever have two great podcasts, one for learning expressions and the other about life in France as two friends from the US and Australia. I'm so sad that I never got through all their podcasts but from what I listened to, I learned so, so much about French culture and also expressions. They're website still exists, though, and I'm putting this here in case they ever make their archives available again.
I don't make any distinction here, but this is all material that assumes that you already know your way around the language and either won't explain everything or the lessons will be in French.
Lots of lessons and all kinds of stuff. It feels endless. You can sign up to get free lessons by email. Very useful for beginners too as all the instruction is in English and there are many cultural notes.
French In Action is a series of videos that is all in French, completely immersive. The initial lessons are very beginner and then they progress fairly rapidly. I suspect that they are intended to be played in classrooms once in a while to students who are recieving other instruction. It is quite fantastic for showing how some ideas are constructed differently in French than in English.
Because of the nature of these being for those who already have a foothold in French, there is no need to go through them in order. You can go back through the archives or just subscribe and take them as they come.
Professional and very well-done with both English and French speakers, they create a dialogue and then go through and talk about the more interesting parts. They don't explain everything as focus on expressions and turns of phrase. All of the explanations are in English. This is very good for learning how to really communicate as having all the words isn't really enough. If you go back in the archives the first 7 lessons are beginner and after that they jump to being advanced.
These are resources for learning Canadian French. This is tricky business as there are not a lot of resources available, nothing for beginners, and many regionalisms and accents. What is available, however, is excellent. If you are in Canada and speaking standard French, people will very likely understand you, but you might have difficulty understanding others.
A book available in PDF or trade paperback. It is written in French (no English) and has lessons composed of conversations line by line in standard French and *very* Quebequois French. What this book teaches is essential to really understanding Canadian French, but it makes no distinction between slang and words that are just different (these things vary by time and region after all) and I would suggest that you adopt words into your spoken vocabulary on a case-by-case basis, according to what you hear spoken around you.
From the "For Dummies" series. I haven't gotten this book yet, but there are so few, I had to list it. I hope it's good.
Not for lessons but just for listening, but I have put it here because it's specifically Canadian. "Radio Canada" is the french equivallent to CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Check out the Radio Canada website and specifically look for "Radio" if you want podcasts because the television part of this public broadcaster is also called "Radio Canada" for historical reasons. Canadian radio and TV are a great bridge to Canadian French because they announcers speak in a way that is standardized Canadian, so the accents aren't too strong and there isn't much slang, but it's still Canadian. The Canadian word for "podcast" is "baladodiffusion" (but the French word "podcast" is also used).
Finding books of fiction to read can be difficult in French. There are literary tenses that aren't used in speech, and this even goes for young children's books. You might either want to never learn these tenses, or avoid them until you feel comfortable with spoken tenses, to avoid confusion. If you do learn them, you'll only have to recognize them and will never need to write or speak them, other than in a few expressions. So, for reading, I'd suggest the news, wikipedia, and other informative material, and television closted captions and movie subtitles are incredibly helpful for learning (but do watch without them sometimes). Many modern works of fiction do not use these literary tenses, or use them very little, but you'll need to be advanced enough in your French to be able to open a book and identify if this is the case.
These are podcasts that I now regularely enjoy in French. This list is totally geared to my own interests.
Incredible views of different places around the world. Conversations with people on the street, in life, with everything from sound that puts you in the place to political contextualization. Completely fascinating.
Wonderful interviews with people who are from or have travelled to places and their views on the cultures.
Very short descriptions of places you might travel to. Great for when you're tired and your attention is low.
A French language program about the french language, and language in general, and culture, and whatever else they can fit in.
A very, very artistic rendition of...the week's happenings? Seriously, I can't even describe this one, and it varies a lot, so I'd suggest you have a listen. You'll probably be intreagued or hate it. Check out arteradio.com as they have much more there, including a lot of audio.
Eddie Izzard's comedy routine "Learning French" have a look at the settings at the edge of the video and have the Annotations ON and the Subtitles(CC) OFF. This will give you subtitles and translations of the jokes in French.
So, for inspiration, that was Eddie Izzard talking about his French-speaking beginnings, and eventually, he went to France to do a complete standup routine. (no subtitles).
Foux du Fafa is a fantastically silly music video that, well, just watch it. With subtitles in English.