Thinking about learning French and don’t know where to start? We’ve put together a quick starter pack of resources and suggestions to get you on your way.
Get Appy! There are so many great free resources available for learning languages, try them out and find what works best for you.
Here at Wordfish we love Duolingo – a website and app which helps your practise your written, aural and spoken French in a fun and engaging way. Gain XP points and connect with friends to build a competitive spirit.
Memrise is another great tool for language learning. This language learning website and app combines science with fun, using “Mems” – memorable snippets of information (videos, memes, mnenonics or photos) that help you remember the words you are learning.
The “language learning community” Busuu introduces you to a world-wide network of native speakers, with whom you can practise your language skills.
Love film? Watching French films with English subtitles is a great way to immerse yourself in the language without losing the plot. Win bonus French points if you pair your film night with a bottle of Burgundy and some nice brie.
Classic cool… Jean-Luc Godard’s Au bout de soufflé is a regular feature on Best Films of All Time lists and is one of the first examples of French New Wave cinema.
Girl power… Critically acclaimed Bande des filles is a coming of age film that follows African-French teenager Marieme and her friends as they navigate teenage life in a poor Paris suburb.
A bit quirky… Amélie is a whimsical romantic comedy that will not only help your French but will also get you planning a trip to Paris!
Something a little grittier… Vincent Cassel stars in the 1995 film La Haine, which documents the lives of three youths in an impoverished housing estate in a Parisian suburb for 19 hours following a riot.
For when you fancy a cry… Le scaphandre et le papillon is a biographical drama based on Jean-Dominique Bauby’s memoir of the same name. The film depicts Bauby’s life after a massive stroke which leaves him with locked in syndrome.
Is music more your forte? Catchy song lyrics are an easy way to pick up vocabulary. Find your new favourite artist on Spotify. Spotify is also a useful resource for listening to language courses, try searching for “learn French” and take your pick from the results.
Embrace the first sign of madness. Talk to yourself in French to practise saying the words out loud and gain in confidence. Maybe narrate what you are doing around the house “I am washing the dishes”, “I am walking to the bedroom” etc., or give your conversations with your pet a more continental air with a friendly “bonjour, monsieur chat”. Obviously, if you know a French speaker or can join a local group then you can embark upon more two-sided conversations too!
For the bookworms. Once you’re feeling confident of some basics, start reading some French articles and books. Don’t try and force yourself to read topics that wouldn’t interest you in English (spoiler: they won’t interest you in French either!) – stick to what you know and love! For example, if you like a quick read of the headlines before you start your day set your homepage to a French news website. If you like a certain magazine, check online to see if they have a French version or a similar online publication. Novels shouldn’t be seen as too daunting either, a great way to get started is to read a French translation of a book you enjoy in English, you’ll already know the plot, which will help you piece together the vocabulary and it’s never a hardship re-reading a great book!
We hope you have enjoyed this quick starter pack for learning French. Bonne chance!