Ways to learn French without taking a class?
August 18, 2017 7:59 AM   Subscribe

After having a French class at the local community college canceled twice due to low enrollment, that looks like a non-starter--what are some other ways I can work to learn French? I've already done Duolingo for a while and I'm pretty sick of it (and ready to move onto a more structured method.) Thanks!
posted by Automocar to Education (8 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
Training programs developed by the US Government for Peace Corps Volunteers, Foreign Service Officers, and Defense Department employees are hosted on the Live Lingua Project site. I don't know anything about Live Lingua's actual courses, but all the USG training materials are available for free download.
posted by solotoro at 8:22 AM on August 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

Oh, and sorry for the double post, but I'd also recommend listening to RFI's fran├žais facile episodes.

Bon courage et bonne chance!
posted by solotoro at 8:26 AM on August 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

You might have a French club near you that offers classes. In Philly, we have "Alliance Fran├žaise" which I've now learned has chapters all over the US. So check around for stuff like that.
posted by ancient star at 8:37 AM on August 18, 2017 [4 favorites]

French in Action is available online. (via the Blue) It's an attempt to create the effect of immersion in a TV show, and it's pretty good, if dated.
posted by Sunburnt at 8:38 AM on August 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

You should watch French TV shows with English subtitles or English shows that have been dubbed into French
posted by winterportage at 9:11 AM on August 18, 2017

Try out a few of the many language learning podcasts designed for your level - something like the Coffee Break French series (i assume it exists for French, I've used the Spanish one), or Lingq. Because you can do audio programs while otherwise engaged (commuting, doing dishes, at the gym, etc), I've found they drastically increase my opportunity to mimic language immersion as compared to only studying by sitting down to do exercises or taking a class. Obviously you'll need to do studying and conversation practice as well but it's surprising how much passive audio learning you can fit in around mundane tasks once you're proficient enough to listen to simple podcasts designed for your level.
posted by girl Mark at 10:05 AM on August 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

I always recommend the "Essential ____ Grammar" series, because they offer a structured and easy-to-understand guide to grammar. The French one is by Seymour Resnick. I've never used it (I took French in high school and college, and used Duolingo to brush up), but the Dutch and German versions have been quite helpful.

I also like to suggest reading the news, particularly US news that you're already familiar with, from French sources. The biggest newspapers are Le Monde and Le Figaro. Not as structured as you might like, but it's helpful to apply what you've learned and get an idea of actual usage.
posted by kevinbelt at 10:18 AM on August 18, 2017

Not for speaking, but French For Reading is a great book. It got me through my PhD program's French translation requirement using a simple step-by-step program.
posted by Beardman at 10:45 AM on August 18, 2017

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