Free French Fun!
Before you go dipping your hand into your wallet to pay out for a learn French software package, take a look at the BBC’s free online resources. While you don’t have the luxury of a voice recognition package to measure how good your pronunciation of French is developing, this site offers an excellent, easily accessible range of exercises and activities to everyone from absolute beginners jetting off on a package holiday to France, to seasoned veterans who want to brush up on the latest street lingo.
Varied Approaches To Learning
The BBC Languages site recognizes that different people learn French in different ways. For example, you have the option to watch short videos of everyday French people going about their business, read the transcript in French, or download the transcript in English and French.
From very basic vocabulary to get you through the essentials whilst holidaying in France, to the “Ma France” section which covers topics as varied as DIY house renovations to the florists who make up bouquets for the winners of the Tour De France, you’re bound to find a topic which is genuinely of interest to you.
At the end of topics, you can test yourself to see how much French you’ve taken in, and the BBC Languages French site now offers MP3 downloads so that you can keep learning whilst you’re on the move. This is ideal once you’ve had a chance to take in the basics and are accustomed to the accents and vocabulary.
A Slice Of French Life
What sets the BBC site apart from some of its competitors is its well thought-out content, which is very relevant to everyday French life and appeals to a variety of age groups, and the lack of annoying pop-ups and advertising surrounding the activity boxes. What really appealed to me were the “Ma France” videos and transcripts, as the situations were quirky and sometimes very amusing. I particularly enjoyed the “Speed Dating” section, which included one video of a guy trying to chat up his intended in less than 30 seconds! The images in the videos help you to focus on what you do know, rather than what you don’t. There are lesson ideas for language teachers included with many of the sections, making it perfect for use in group learning environments.
Overall, the BBC Languages French site may be a bit more similar to the classic ways of learning French used in schools than the more robust French software, but as a free resource it makes an excellent starting point. Visit the BBC French language site.