Where can I find literate Francophones to converse with?
October 26, 2005 1:13 AM   Subscribe

I have an exam coming up (in a matter of hours, in fact) in French. I'm in highschool and plan on continuing French well into university. Where can I find literate and well-spoken French-speakers that I can talk to? Failing that, where can I find interactive resources/web-quizzes to test my knowledge of French grammar?
posted by PuGZ to Education (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
For a study aid with everything you want, there's this, which j'adore: Tex's French Grammar.

It's not live-people-talking-to-you, but it's basically lessons and quizzes for the entire language through scary six-pronoun sentences and conditional statements and all the rest. They've got verb help, too, and lots of audio dialogues for pronounciation help. It's saved me a bunch of times when my lame textbook failed.

The clincher is the whole animated subplot of every lesson with armadillos, fire-ants, and a crochety Cajun-accented grandpa. The voice of Bette, the vixen-like cat getting in between the love of Tex the protagonist and Tammy, his doting if dim girlfriend, was my lecturer for Intermediate French at UC Santa Cruz, so you know it's, as we Francophones say, teh awesome.

Soyez sage et bonne courage!
posted by mdonley at 1:28 AM on October 26, 2005

All sorts of stuff over here.

("Courage" is masculine, btw.)
posted by Wolof at 1:46 AM on October 26, 2005

Oh, yeah ... Madame Martin.
posted by Wolof at 2:13 AM on October 26, 2005

Whatever you do, avoid IRC at all costs. I've never seen such a bastardization of a language as when my fellow Quebecois start typing on IRC.
posted by furtive at 3:41 AM on October 26, 2005

* Talk with strangers on Skype (avoid text-chats).
* Download the French version of all the software you use.
* French Wikipedia
* Listen to some French Radio (FIP is nice) and French music (plenty of recommendations in previous AskMe's).
* Démo des maux des mots shows some of the weird and crazy stuff in French.
* I second Tex's French Grammar.
* I highly recommend the Pimsleur audio courses.
* French In Action
* Read news in French (e.g. Le Monde, BBC).
* BBC languages
* French Conjugation
* You can use the US-International keyboard layout to type French accents.
* How-to-learn-any-language.com
* Get yourself a decent dictionary, I recommend the Oxford-Hachette English-French-English (try to get the unabridged software version)
* Fonetiks is awesome for learning the pronunciation and the related International Phonetic Alphabet sounds (which you can later look up for pronunciation in a dictionary for words you don't know how to pronounce).

That should keep you busy for a while
posted by Sharcho at 4:30 AM on October 26, 2005

The Net is full of great resources, but nothing beats going out and meeting people live.

Try this site to find French language meetup groups in your area. Please note, though, that you have to be 18 or older to join.

Or look for a local branch of the Alliance Française, a network of language schools that offer many informal events as well as classes that give you a chance to practice conversation. See the US site here to find a local chapter. The FAQ is here. Google "alliance francaise" to find out more.
posted by maudlin at 6:03 AM on October 26, 2005

I'll second the Francophile meetup groups. There's one that meets weekly in our cafe (I work in a bookstore), and they always seem to have a great time. Nice people, to boot.
posted by carsonb at 6:22 AM on October 26, 2005

I second the Alliance Francaise. My husband and I were members when we lived in the city, and it was invaluable for helping us keep our skills sharp.

We're planning a trip to France and Switzerland in 2007 and thinking about rejoining, to ramp ourselves back up.
posted by padraigin at 9:13 AM on October 26, 2005

Lingup seems to have everything you could possible be looking for. I bookmarked it a long time ago with the intention of using it but I never got around to it so i can`t offer first hand advice. But their home page mentions online voice chats, local meetings and text chats. I think there`s a reciprocal obligation to help your language partners learn English.
posted by stuart_s at 12:40 PM on October 26, 2005

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