Learn French Online: 25 Free Resources
Are you learning French online? With the rich French history, culture, people, cuisine and hundreds of millions of speakers of French scattered all over the globe, it is no wonder it is one of the most-studied languages in the world.
We live in an unprecedented time in history. Anyone with the will and a connection to the internet can access French language and culture online and start speaking French today.
Ready to get started? Check out these fantastic and FREE resources:
Learn French Online with Free Online Podcasts
Coffee Break French: Coffee Break is well-known and respected, offering seasons of lessons in a variety of languages. Begin with season one if you are just starting out.
FrenchPod101: Another long-running podcast to learn French. Content ranges from bite-sized lessons, Q & A, and information on further resources.
News in Slow French: Are you working to get out of that word and phrase level and immerse yourself in authentic French and culture at the same time? This excellent resource provides great practice using authentic materials. You can even hover over some of the vocabulary words in the transcript for a translation. Listen and read these weekly episodes to not only learn lots of French completely in context, but also to plug into real French culture.
Yabla French: Yabla is one of my favorite resources for immersion, and it comes in a variety of languages. While the full version is a web-based membership site with authentic content delivered through their unique player, the podcast offers captioned videos. Check out segments taken from target culture television shows, news and presentations.
French Facile Podcast: Amazing collection of free resources to learn and improve your French.
Talk in French: The host, Frederic Bibard, publishes loads of great resources to learn French. This series focuses on French culture and talks about stereotypes about France and the French. It also offers some useful words and expressions too. Learning culture is an essential part of learning a language- it is impossible to truly communicate with people without understanding their culture. Warning: some of these episodes are explicit in topic, so perhaps not for all audiences.
Free Apps to Learn French Online
Duolingo French: Duolingo is everywhere. It is fun, free and addictive, so this certainly isn’t news. However, I have recently heard rumors that similar to the Duolingo Spanish Podcast, a French version is in the works. This is exciting because if you have completed the app and reached 55% or higher fluency on their scale, these stories taken from real life with some support in English will help you get to the next level.
MindSnacks: Fun and immersive games to learn French. A great way to turn downtime into language learning time. In-app purchases available if you like the free version.
Flash Academy: While the free version is nowhere nearly as robust or comprehensive as the full access option, it has some great features for absolute beginners. Flash Sticks can be purchased to accompany the app, and memberships can be upgraded to premium. It has flashcards, pronunciation practice, games and an optical object translator.
Voice Memos: While there is no French offered in this app, recording apps are extremely useful for any language learner. Use it to record yourself speaking- a great way to start getting practice if you are shy or when there is no one else to talk to. You can read words, talk to yourself, or record your sessions speaking with someone else. Do it, up your time regularly and be blown away by your fast progress.
Anki App: Make immersive flashcards with text, video and sound, or access shared decks in a variety of languages. Intelligent and spaced repetition will give you review when you need it. Create and share resources at Anki Web.
HiNative: Clever app to connect with native speakers and get answers on language and culture. HiNative was created by Lang-8, the site where you can write in your target language, ask for feedback and corrections from native speakers and do the same for someone else.
Google Translate: Another app that is well-known to everyone is Google Translate. Apart from the obvious features of being able to offer back something in your target language that you would like to know and saying it out loud, there is so much more. While Google Translate is far from perfect, it always gets better and better. GT is always scanning documents that have been translated by humans, so the results get better and better. It also offers users the chance to provide feedback on translations, further improving results. You can also copy your translations to themed Google sheets, creating your own phrasebooks of the language YOU want to learn.
Free French Courses and Exercises Online
FSI French: The six public domain French courses with book and audio materials offered here are old school, but effective and practical. These were developed by the Foreign Service Institute with the purpose of training foreign service officers for their assignments abroad.
Francais interactif: First-year French course developed by the University of Texas. Loads of resources to learn basic vocabulary, communication and grammar.
Live Lingua French: Great collection of downloadable lessons and courses. Learn phrases, grammar, culture, verbs and more. The site also offers options for Skype lessons with native speakers.
French Conversations for Beginners: French course for beginners offered by me (from the U.S.A.) and native Joël from France. There are four graduation gifts, including hundreds of audio clips for survival and travel French, as well as a similar collection of clips to learn vocabulary for dating, going out and talking to the babysitter.
Great Additional Resources to Learn French Online
Comme une Française: Learn real French and culture here. Géraldine Lèpere knows the challenges of learning a real language (not just textbook language) and offers loads of resources to learn authentic, real French. While access to all of the resources is premium, there are loads of free ones to check out.
Surface Languages: Great collection of resources. Get links to themed vocabulary resources, crossword puzzles and games. See French words and phrases covering many communicative topics and hear the audio as well.
TV Monde: Site from TV Monde offering a level test and resources to understand authentic French. ACTFL Novice (CEFR A) and ACTFL Intermediate (CEFR B) videos and exercises to understand authentic French language and culture. Learn vocabulary and grammar, all in the context of interesting content.
French Facile: This great site has a level test, games, courses, dictionaries, conjugations and exercises. Lots of resources to improve your French! This was shared with me by a primary school teacher in France and is used with young natives as well.
Online French Magazines and Newspapers: Paid apps like Texture offer monthly subscriptions to access a huge selection of magazines, including several in French. Similarly, many magazines require payment to access content online. However, many have sites with loads of content that are regularly updated. Check out magazine home pages via the link.
France TV Stations: Links to more than a hundred French television stations. Many of these resources will be too fast and complicated for beginners, but they are definitely worth knowing about. As you progress, you can create immersive experiences in French language and culture from anywhere in the world.
J’Ouellette: Llyane Stanfield, a fabulous French teacher from Paris now living in Canada, has also been an actress and writer. She has a specialized method to get speaking French fast. Her program includes lots of video instruction and one-on-one conversational lessons via Skype. She publishes lots of short videos on her YouTube channel, hosts free webinars, shares a lot on French culture on her blog, and sends out lots of helpful resources to her email subscribers.
Are you an absolute beginner? Check out Benny’s post on “Your First Month Learning French: A Step-by-Step Guide” here to get his ideas. Use these free tools with his ideas and get most out of these resources.
Each day, there are more and more fantastic resources available online to help you get started, learn, improve and eventually master French online from anywhere in the world. Do you know of any great resources that weren’t mentioned? If so, please share in the comments!
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