Tips, Apps, and Hacks for Learning French

French city scene, with French flag waving.

Five months ago I decided to start learning French from knowing absolutely nothing, and I am shocked at how much progress I’ve made! These are the tips, apps, and hacks for learning French as a Beginner that I have used to learn French during my limited free time, many of which are free or affordable.

Disclaimer: Some of the links contained in this article may give me a commission or discount should you sign up. This is at no additional cost to you.

1. Babbel

Babbel is a great app for learning French when starting from the beginning. The lessons are short and quick, so you can squeeze them in during your free time if you work a 9-5 job. Babbel helps you with grammar, verb conjugations, phrases, and verb tenses. If you take courses chronologically, each lesson slowly builds on one another. Babbel is great for learning the fundamentals, and once you learn some of the vocabulary, you can put your knowledge to the test using some of these other tools. Sign up through this link to get 50% off a 6-month subscription.

2. Listening to Podcasts

Listening to podcasts is a great way to practice your French while you are driving, walking, or cleaning the house. One of my favorite podcasts for learning French is Coffee Break French, which helps ease beginners into conversational French in quick episodes. You have the opportunity to practice speak aloud and practice pronunciation for everyday scenarios you may find yourself in while traveling in French speaking countries. There are plenty of other podcasts for learning French, so be sure to check those out.

3. Watch French TV shows

One of the most fun hacks for learning French, I have found, is to watch French TV shows. Some shows I have enjoyed are La Plan Coer (The Hook-up Plan in English) and Call my Agent! Both of these are available on Netflix. What I enjoy about watching these shows is you not only learn the language, but you learn common phrases, how phrases are used conversationally, and some slang. I also enjoy learning about French culture while I am learning the language. Not only that, but these shows are hilarious!

4. Language Learning with Netflix Google Chrome Extension

While you are watching said French TV shows, you can utilize Language Learning with Netflix. This Google Chrome extension is one of my favorite hacks for learning French. This is a google chrome extension that allows you to put subtitles in two languages. You can also put subtitles in the language you are learning only, and the extension allows you to scroll over words you do not know and it will pause the show to display the definition. Some tips I have are to

5. Italki

Italki connects you with languages teachers from all over the world. Teachers set their own rate, and many great instructors have affordable rates for their lessons. This is a great opportunity to have one-on-one instruction in your language of choice. I have used Italki as a tool for learning French with consistent instruction from the same teacher, who has helped correct my pronunciation, grammar, and phrases. You can test out up to 3 different teachers at a steeply discounted rate prior to deciding to stick with an instructor, and booking them for their full rate. Sign up through this link to get $10 off lessons after completing your first language lesson.

6. Tandem

Tandem is a free app that connects you with native speakers. You have the opportunity to chat with different people around the world and exchange language with them. It is mostly texting, so it helps with your writing and grammar. I will often converse with a French speaker who is wanting to improve their English and I will correct their grammar, and they will correct my French (which is always much inferior to their English). It’s a great opportunity to talk to people and learn how to have a casual conversation. 

7. Clubhouse

One of the best tools I’ve used is using Clubhouse to have conversations with French teachers, native French speakers, and French learners of all levels. There are rooms everyday full of people who are learning French, improving their French, or simply want to help others learn French. Send me an email, or leave a comment if you need an invite.

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