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Do you ever find it difficult to fit French listening practice into your life?
Do you want to understand native French speakers?
Bonjour! This month in the 9 Best series, we’re going to list 9 of the best podcasts for French learners.
Podcasts are a great way to add a little French listening practice into your day-to-day life. They are free, and can accompany any part of your day: driving a car, washing your dishes, doing laundry, working out, reading, and more.
In addition to the French podcasts you’ll find in this article, check out the Fluent Show. That’s my own show, co-hosted by Lindsay Williams, where we discuss languages, learning methods, and how to live a multilingual life. Click here to listen and subscribe.
Quick Primer: How Do Podcasts Work?
If you’re curious about podcasts, but not quite sure how they work, here’s what you need to know:
You can subscribe for free to podcasts on your phone, tablet, or computer
If you use an iPhone or iPad, go to the Podcasts app. If you’re on a Mac, use the itunes directory
On a PC or Android device, try the Stitcher app for a quick and easy start
Subscribing means you’ll always have the latest episode ready and waiting for you as soon as it’s published
French is a great language for learning by podcast. There is a big selection, so I’ve gone and selected 9 of the best shows for you to discover.
Learn French With Alexa is ideal for absolute beginners. The podcast creator Alexa Polidoro emphasizes grammar heavily and it has a classroom style of learning. The audio is very crisp and clear so you can hear correct pronunciation. Alexa has a relaxed voice and does a great job of breaking down sentences into manageable chunks of phrases. If you want to start off on the right foot with grammar, go ahead and check out this podcast!
Learn French By Podcast is a bilingual podcast in English and French. It's presented by two hosts, one French speaker speaks in French and one English speaker who explains what the French speaker said. The audio is very clear and easy to follow and the format is great for beginners and intermediate learners. It eventually progresses from basic conversations to intermediate and advanced-level dialogues about a variety of everyday topics. PDF guides are available on the website.
News in Slow French is an intermediate level podcast. This podcast covers world news, grammar, and expressions and slows down all the dialogue to make it easier to process what you hear. Every episode breaks down a point on grammar and vocabulary.
On the News in Slow French website there are transcripts for each episode, plus added resources and quizzes on French grammar, expressions, pronunciation.
One Thing In A French Day describes the daily life of author Laetitia in France. Each podcast episode covers different events in her life such as going to the bakery, shopping, going to the gym, seeing friends, among others. Her French is spoken very clearly and crisply at a regular speed and her words is easy to understand. Laetitia publishes articles every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I certainly recommend this one for intermediate and advanced learners of French!
This podcast by Radio France International (RFI) is a show that is designed for intermediate and advanced learners of French. It's a genuine news broadcast from the French radio station, but read a little slower so you can become comfortable listening to French.
The episodes each have the most important news of the day in just 10 minutes (great for those who don’t have a lot of time in the day!) and come with a free online transcript.
The Français Authentique podcast is great for upper intermediate and advanced learners of French. It’s total immersion combined with lots of interesting topics and explains idiomatic and colloquial expressions. It is the companion podcast to the popular French learning website Français Authentique by Johan Tekfak.
Jonan is not just a super likeable host, but he also invites you to join his life and adventures by talking about them in French.
French Video Resources
Yabla is a video-based learning platform with bilingual subtitles and integrated dictionaries. The subtitles are interactive, which is a really cool concept! Check out how Yabla works in detail by reading my full review.
Yabla is great for all levels from basic to advanced. There is a free French podcast available with plenty of videos to watch.
Coffee Break French, a podcast from Radio Lingua Network, combines French language lessons with a lot of useful information about French food, culture, French speaking countries, and so on.
My favourite part of the podcast is the chemistry between relaxed and charismatic host Mark from Scotland (who is fluent in French) and French learner Anna from Scotland. The segments are also great: Cultural Correspondent has great cultural advice, and Grammar Guru discusses grammar in a clear, easy-to-understand way.
FrenchPod101 from InnovativeLanguage covers any level you can think of from basic to advanced French. With enticing titles and interesting themes for each episode, you’ll never get bored.
The dialogues are presented by engaging presenters and the hosts Céline (a native speaker) and Sam (a fluent speaker) cover both cultural and grammatical aspects clearly and concisely. On the website you can sign up for the premium content to access spaced repetition flashcards, PDF lesson notes, and a community forum for a subscription fee.
Advanced Learner Tip: Native French Podcasts
The easiest way to access native French language podcasts is to go to iTunes and switch your country setting to “France”, “Belgium”, “Switzerland”, “Canada”, or any other French-speaking country.
There’s no restriction on your switch, and you’ll be able to access all podcasts in the same way that listeners from France can. One of my favourites is Whisperos, a native French podcast getting into every little detail about Game of Thrones.
Do You Have a French Favourite?
If you like your podcasts en français, leave a comment below and share more recommendations.
This article was researched & co-written by Alex Gentry who also writes on Medium. Check him out!
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In this article, you'll find
- German Podcast Courses from Deutsche Welle
- Podcasts in Slow German
- German Video Shows
- Story-Based and German Culture Podcasts
- A tip on how to find podcasts produced by native German speakers
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Ever heard of resource overload? Most language lovers I know can't get enough of new books, courses, and blogs to inspire them...but there's a dark side!
Language resources can be overwhelming. You might wonder which ones are worth your time, or what you really need to get started in a language.
Over the years, I've amassed a huge pile of language learning resources, and in today's post I want to introduce you to a few of my favourites and explain four categories of resources that you should have when you're teaching yourself a language.
For instant organisation, you can find a Resource Organiser worksheet in the Language Habit Toolkit, available in the Fluent Online School.
1) Guiding Resources: Language Textbooks and Language Courses
The first resource I believe you should have is what I call a guiding resource. This can be a book, a CD set, a video course, or even a night class. For any resource to be considered a guiding resource in my mind, it must fulfil the following criteria:
Never compromise on structure. Look out for units, chapters, steps. There is none that is best for everyone, so ensure that your guiding resource follows a path that you will find interesting. You don't want something that just throws a lot of information at you, and you don’t want to be yawning by chapter 3.
The resource should have lessons that move you from one level to the next level. For example, in Benny Lewis' Teach Yourself book, there are different units and they tell you what it is you are going to learn - units such as talking about yourself, asking about other people, talking about family, and describing things.
Having a structure to follow is very important for independent language learners, so be sure to check out the curriculum before you buy.
Designed for Your Situation
When you buy a textbook, make sure you check if your choice might be designed for group classes (for example, Façon de Parler). This doesn't make such textbooks bad resources, but the way they are written, a lot of the exercises are usually not designed for you to do by yourself. The text will say something like: "Find a partner in your group and then practice these sentences with them," or "In the group, have a discussion of this image." The textbooks just assume that you're in a group class. If you're teaching yourself, this is not always helpful.
Third, there should be a multimedia component. This means that you want more than just a book or audio. You want the book unit to be accompanied by audio, worksheets, or video. Online courses in languages are getting better and better, but check that there’s offline access if you need it.
My preferred structure for a guiding resource is this:
Start with a story or dialogue, then an explanation of what was new, and finish with a chance for you as the learner to practice what you’ve learnt.
Good examples of guiding resources are
- Teach Yourself series, in particular the Language Hacking books
- Assimil (on Amazon UK)
- Duolingo if used in line with these recommendations
2) Input Resources: Enjoyable and Comprehensible Input
Input resources are very easy to find…the internet is a total treasure trove of them! I also call them supplementary resources, as they supplement all other learning.
You can have as many as you want. You never have too many input resources. With these resources, you can follow any story or video for some time, drop it, and then get back to it weeks later. Most YouTube videos in the language that you're learning are going to fall into this category. Music and TV shows also fall into this category.
Your input resources must be understandable, but not too easy and not too hard. You need to be able to sense that you're learning as you're following it; so, there should be a little bit of a challenge. But at the same time, you don't want them to be so easy that you know exactly what's coming.
If it’s fun, it works
Input resources also must be enjoyable. They must be fun, so feel very free to toss out what doesn’t interest you. If you don't enjoy them, you aren't going to engage with them. At Langfest in Montreal, I met the famous applied linguist Dr Stephen Krashen, whose belief in comprehensible input is all about these resources. This is where the magic happens. You need input, it needs to be fun, you need to understand it, and you need lots of it.
Good examples of input resources include
- Easy Languages on Youtube
- Olly Richards’ Short Stories for Language Learning (Amazon UK | amazon.com)
3) Reference Resources: Dictionaries, Grammar Guides, Phrasebooks
In a journey as epic as learning a new language, you’re going to get lost and waste lots of time without a map, and that’s what the reference resource can be for you.
Accessible Language Materials
First, the resource must be accessible. Obviously, they should be there for you to touch or open, but more importantly, they must be easy to understand. Second, the resource must be accessible in the sense that you should have it around. It should be there when you want it because the whole idea of a reference resource is you don't follow it as a course.
Dip in and out
Nobody ever learned a language by reading a dictionary. Instead of following reference resources as a course, you just have them around for when you have a question. At the start of language learning, I think reference resources are good to help you answer the question for yourself: Where am I going to look this up?
Many video courses fit right into the reference category. For example, the Fluent courses on German pronunciation and on grammar cross over between guiding and reference resources. My dream for my German courses is that somebody follows it, gains a lot from it the first time, but knows that they can dip in and watch every video individually.
Good examples of reference resources include
The three core reference resources you need are
- a good online or offline dictionary (read my in-depth dictionary tips)
- a good grammar resource (read more tips on effective grammar study)
- and a good pronunciation guide.
So those are the three key categories of resources you should have somewhere in your personal language library. To re-cap:
- Guiding Resources give your studies shape and help you know your progress. You want these to be structured.
- Input Resources make language learning effective and enjoyable. You want these to be fun and right for your level.
- Reference Resources are on hand when you have specific questions and need a quick answer. You want these to be easy to access and understand.
If you don't have these three areas covered on your (virtual or IRL) bookshelf, it's easy to feel lost when learning a new language, to miss things, and even to lose yourself and think you're better than you are or worse than you are.
4. Self-Teacher's Resources
Are you learning a language by yourself? You need one more: the self-teacher's resources, which are all about how to organise yourself. This category contains language learning blogs, podcasts, books to help you master the learning process.
The self-teacher's resources are awesome because they
- keep you motivated and accountable
- help you adopt great study techniques.
For a practical, action-focused take on this resource that will set you up for inevitable success, check out the Language Habit Toolkit, your language coach in a box.
What are your favourite resources? Want recommendations for a resource in your target language or feel you're lacking something?
No problem! Leave me a comment below or say hi in the Fluent Language Learners Facebook group.
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