Learning French — free language learning resources for self-study
By Anna —
Building up and expanding your vocabulary with free French learning materials
When learning a language and practicing your words with Wokabulary, freely available language learning resources are a great way to expand your vocabulary. Especially, when you are learning self-paced. But also, if you are attending a language course at school, at university, or at an institute or education center, additional resources are a great way to improve and deepen your knowledge on certain topics that are important to you!
In this article, we give you an overview of (mostly free) language learning resources for French.
Why learn French?
The French language is one of the ten most spoken languages worldwide. With around 250 million speakers (about 80 million of them native speakers) and being the official language in 29 countries, you get really far with it.
Furthermore, with its elegant and conjunctive flow, it is a beautiful yet challenging language.
Already know some French? Test your level!
If you already did learn French at some point and are not sure what level of proficiency you have, you can test it with a classification test. The French Institute in Germany offers a test that shows you your level after about 30 minutes of exercises. (You do not need to know German to start the test. Just click the Button “Test starten” and the French test will start right away.).
Language learning resources: vocabulary and grammar
There are numerous books and sites on the basics as well as on more advanced content of French language and grammar.
Français facile is a platform by Radio France International that offers different content from language learning. The focus is on learning French by listening to everyday news and topics. But, you can also find language learning exercises for different levels as well as resources for preparing for the most important language certificates.
French teacher Camilles is writing the awesome blog French today. There you find various resources and free lessons as well as French vocabulary lists covering many topics.
In summer 2023, we at Wokabulary started to build up cross-language basic vocabularies. So take a look at our free word lists for French, but also English, Finnish, German, Korean, Spanish, and Slovak (from each language to each language!)
Listen, watch and read in French
From the very beginning of learning a new language, listening to native speakers is very beneficial and helps you to get a feeling for the language. Luckily, there are many possibilities to listen to French music, radio stations, Podcasts and to watch French shows and movies.
Listen to French radio stations
The French radio station Radio France has a “français fail“ section, where you can listen to news in easy and slowly spoken language. They do offer news in easy language as well as podcasts on a variety of topics. In the series “Le mot du jour” they explain current politically or socially relevant words in French in short 3 minutes features.
If I just want to listen to some French music and talking at the side, especially in the morning, I like to tune in France Bleu Azur. It is the radio station of the Côte d'Azur, so it does not only bring in some French to my kitchen, but also the sun of the Côte d'Azur 😃
Watch French movies
The European tv channel arte is a fantastic resource for movies, documentaries, cartoons, news magazines and concerts. You will find over a thousand videos in their freely available online library – clearly arranged by genres, so it is really fun to look for a show.
Especially documentaries and news programs are well suited for less proficient French speakers, as the narrators generally have clear pronunciation and talk a bit slower than regular everyday language.
You can watch the shows with subtitles in French, English, German, and usually also in Spanish, Polish, and Italian. This makes understanding and learning even easier.
However, the station might not be reachable from all over the world. So, if you cannot access the arte library directly, you can still find many videos also on arte’s YouTube channel.
Netflix also has quite a large selection of French series – one of the very successful right now being Lupin, the stories of the master thief Arsène Lupin. As you can search by original language in the Netflix library, it is very convenient to find French movies.
IMDb has a list of the best rated French films. That might help you to choose those worth watching.
Listen to French podcasts
There are plenty of podcasts of different styles and with different topics. So you will be able to find one that suits your specific interests and language level.
One podcast I can highly recommend is the weekly podcast “Le français avec Fluidité” The podcast host and French teacher Fabien talks about different topics connected to life in France, culture, history, and geography. He speaks clearly pronounced, yet in a natural pace and with some explanations. Probably the best approach is, to first listen to an episode to get the overall content and then to listen to it once more and to focus on words on phrases.
Learn French from home in an (online) intensive web course
If you want to get deeper, a language course is always a good fit. Besides going to an adult education center or language schools in your hometown, you can also find online courses from language schools based in France.
Have a look at the site of the overview site of the alliance of French learning schools. For example, the language center in Bordeaux offers online French evening classes for different levels and with different intensities.
Start learning French and add new words to Wokabulary
Whether you are learning with the help of a language course or on your own, watching movies or listening to French movies or films. Don’t forget to add the words you want to remember to Wokabulary. This way, you will build up a solid vocabulary of the language that suits your personal needs and interests!