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chels's avatar

What is the best way to begin learning French?

Asked by chels (6784points) October 11th, 2010

I don’t have money to spend, nor do I have access to take classes anywhere (nor do I have access to a library).

With that being said, what resources can I use and what is the best way to go about learning?

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16 Answers

lemming's avatar

I’m an expert in this area. For absolute free on the internet there is about.com, just go to their learning French section. Also a site I found out about recently on fluther is busuu.com. If your willing to spend some money I’d invest in a begginers course book and maybe check out yabla.com (but this would be particularly helpful after you’ve done a bit of study). You’ll need a dictionary too, you can get a good little collins one for only around a fiver. Good luck!

GeorgeGee's avatar

Since you have a computer…
There are a number of podcasts available for learning languages including French, I’d start with those, plus websites that will help you learn the basics of conjugation and such. There is no substitute for memorization of vocabulary and conjugation, but once you get past that, the fun starts. After you’re comfortable with the podcasts (I listen to them in the car, on the bus, and sometimes when just sitting at my computer), time to move on to actually learning the language through conversation. Get an account on IMVU or another chat program, and find a French person who is equally interested in learning about you and your culture and language and start communicating! It’s ok to use “Google translate,” it’s a crutch but it also helps you learn faster and it lets you get into conversation years earlier than you would otherwise.

bob_'s avatar

Just to clarify, when you say you don’t have money to spend, do you really mean no money? There are many basic courses (e.g., here) that cost very little (~$10) and are very helpful in getting the ball rolling.

poisonedantidote's avatar

whenever i want to learn a new language, i start by watching childrens television in that language. quite good for the oral side of things, not really good for writing side.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

I concur with livemocha.com, it’s free.

tranquilsea's avatar

If you belong to your local library they may have a language learning software that you can stream through your computer.

Our library uses, Tell Me More and I’ve found it to be a fairly good programme.

I’ve also heard good things about livemocha.com.

muppetish's avatar

I’m absolutely going to check out livemocha.com – thanks for linking that everyone :)

I have listened to the Coffee Break French podcast @Rarebear mentioned. It’s lovely especially if you want to pick conversational French quickly.

I’ve taken three elementary level French courses and while my textbook was incredibly informative and lovely, what helped me more than anything was listening to my professor speak to us in French every day. Daily immersion in a language is essential to picking things up. If you want to learn French (and not forget what you learn along the way), you’re going to need to make sure to keep up with whatever study method you pick up.

I also recommend watching movies in French, listening to French music and reading children’s books in French. It may be a bit difficult at first, but exposing yourself to the language is one of the best ways to learn it. I was listening to the soundtrack for Les Chansons d’Amour the other day and was delighted that I could understand the majority of what they were singing :)

If you want, in addition to whatever study tools you extract from the wonderful comments left here, I can create mini-lesson plans from my French tests :) You can choose whether you want it to focus on vocabulary, grammar, or pronunciation (or a bit of everything.) It would benefit me a great deal to help you because I need to refresh my memory before taking Intermediate French in Winter.

weeveeship's avatar

Definitely check out LiveMocha. On top of that, see if you can find someone in the area where you live who speaks French and who is willing to converse with you on a consistent basis. Using a language is perhaps the best way to learn it, even better than reading a book or going through hypothetical “dialogues.”

gggritso's avatar

If you check out this blog you may find some helpful hints. (There’s one post about learning any language in an hour, or something insane like that). It might sound sketchy, but it isn’t… you’ll see.

LuvToRite's avatar

They have awsome French books and dvds free at the library that you listein too or read.

nicole101's avatar

Well i heard rosetta stone works? you should try it out!

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