There are those who amass a certain amount of knowledge – perhaps enough to earn their living, and then put the brakes on any further formal learning.
Informal learning goes on whether we like it or not, doesn't it?
And then, there are those like you, dear French learner, whose agile mind and eagerness for more refuses to stop actively pursuing knowledge once the ink dries on your degree.
It is quite unfortunate that our civilization's current social obligations – to the elderly and to the young, to the disadvantaged and to our very future, keep us from funding marvelous programmes that would ensure learning for learning's sake.
So it comes to pass that, determined as you are to not stagnate intellectually, you take it upon yourself to learn French. Without formal classes, without a teacher; without even a tutor to ensure proper pronunciation of that tricky French U or the guttural R.
Should you decide to engage a tutor, Superprof French tutors are always there for you!
In fact, we want to help you along on your journey of learning, whether you seek a tutor for your French courses or not.
Please allow us to review some of the best websites to learn French from... or with, as the case may be.
Determining Your Need
Are you and/or other adults learning the language of love, or do you propose for your child(ren) to learn to speak French?
Or is French language learning a family affair?
Would you study French by yourself, or will a spouse, older child or a mate join you in your quest?
Do you speak any French at all?
Do you have any experience with language learning? Would French be your second language, or are you plying your existing language skills to learning a new language?
What level of fluency are you striving for?
Why did you choose French, a romance language, when English – presumably your native language, is Germanic?
We might suppose here that you chose it because spoken French is singularly melodious.
How much time do you have to invest in foreign language learning?
All of these considerations could make a difference in which sites and French applications would work best for your unique language learning situation.
Keeping these criteria in mind, let us find where you could best learn French online.
Online French Learning Portals
Bonjour de France is a British learning site; a great resource for learning French, whether you are just starting out, or have a few words and phrases already under your belt.
If you are a beginner, this page would be especially tailored to you as it will match your progress, from level to level, until you are ready to formally declare your French speaking abilities by sitting the DELF.
At the outset, you would select where you are in your learning experience: beginners, intermediate, autonomous or advanced.
From there, every lesson and activity, even the vocabulary and grammar would match your declared proficiency and build on it.
After each lesson, you would be provided with worksheets to reinforce newly learned grammar skills or, if it is new words you prefer to amass, you could head to those lessons by clicking on the corresponding link to the right of the page.
There, you will also find:
- conjugation exercises
- idiomatic expressions
- lessons in business French
- French comprehension drills
- Français precoce – lessons for young learners
- DELF training materials and activities
and much, much more!
Each lesson is indicated to its level; if you only look at the welcome page, you might note that designation – in its corresponding colour, on the first line of each study unit.
All learning need not be serious.
Bonjour de France provides lighthearted learning activities in the form of games, where you can challenge your reading comprehension and vocabulary.
In fact, this page has so much that you could embroil yourself with, we dare you not to learn from it!
Learn French Lab is a throwback to a more traditional style of learning.
Its page, virtually devoid of colour, hammers the eye in stark black and white with every potential pitfall of learning that might dissuade even the most eager French learner.
Be it conjugating irregular verbs or the seeming illogic of grammatical gender; any trepidation you may have had in studying French grammar may be amplified by the austerity of this home page.
Based on this ungenerous review, you might wonder why we even recommend it!
There is plenty of good to be had from this page, if its initial appearance and disorder does not put you off of it.
There is ample assurance that French grammar is a logical beast that can easily be tamed with just the right rules.
There is the potential for one to one Skype chat with a native speaker of French!
Most of their good stuff requires you to become a member, after which you may explore their vocabulary learning, phrases, and worksheet tabs.
If you are reluctant to register with yet another site, there are plenty of free French lessons to be had on this page – that is, they don't require a membership; among them the many forms of French greetings, and more than one way to say thank you.
There are even basic French phrases for kids to study!
If you are looking for sensible, concise answers to your French grammar woes – how does one conjugate the verb avoir, anyway?, there might be a lot of value in this page for you.
Surrounding Yourself with French
First things first: we did not say immersion into French because that would require you to be in a French environment, to speak French with others who also communicate in that language, and further: to think in French, to hear in French...
If you are learning French, thinking in French as much as possible is a great way to build your confidence in using the language you are working so hard to become fluent in.
Should a move to France not be in your immediate future, we can direct you to a few places where you might have opportunity to tune your ear to idiomatic expressions and even verlan; what we know as French slang.
My Canal is a fine collection of films, television shows and interviews, all in French. You can watch documentaries or series from the telly, possibly some that you've not yet heard of!
Naturally, they would be in French, but some have subtitles, both in French and in English.
There is even a channel to help your youngest speakers learn language faster!
If listening comprehension is indeed a concern for you, you may want to listen to the news or commentary in French as your drive to work or cook dinner.
Downloading any French podcast would be your ideal solution!
The Real World – in French
Language and culture are intimately intertwined. Thus, it should come as no surprise that there are websites dedicated entirely to learning French through exploration of contemporary, and traditional, culture.
Standard French courses touch on cultural aspects in the process of teaching French vocabulary. That is a great way to learn every new word as pertained to living, working and learning in France.
However, depending on the curriculum, French teachers may not discuss any current events, or taboos of French culture.
Where can you learn about those?
Se Coucher Moins Bête, or SCMB, as it is called, is a moderated French website where anyone may post on any topic of current event or cultural significance.
You may find posts about history, philosophy or society – be it human or animal, and you are always welcome to read, if not participate in the discussion. If you are not yet speaking French at an advanced level, you may have to keep your dictionary close by, or perhaps make use of online translations.
This forum makes for interesting reading anyway, and if it stretches your knowledge of the French language, all the better!
We thought you might want to know what the name of this website translates to: go to bed less stupid. What a name!
There likely won't be much on that page your younger learners could keep up with, though...
For them, we would recommend Blagues Carambar.
Have you ever eaten such a treat? Delicious, gooey goodness, wrapped in a wax wrapper, itself invariably imprinted with a riddle, joke or pun!
To date there are 88 such jokes on the page, but looking to the links on the left, your beginner French learner will discover several categories s/he can explore.
You might task him/her with choosing one per day to tell at dinner time!
As you surely know, learning a language is one of the best ways to keep your mind as fit as the rest of you.
Practicing French pronunciation en famille will no doubt accelerate everyone's learning, and promote family fun.
But, best of all, if you learn French fast through these websites, the sooner you can learn a new language!
How would you like to learn Japanese? Or learn Russian, or Mandarin, or...
When looking for French lessons or language lessons London, Superprof is always at the top of the queue!