If you’re like me, then you spend hours a day glued to your phone, laptop and tablet scrolling through video after video of the latest news, snippets of recent comedy sketches and previews of new box office hits.
In fact, I would say videos have become one of the most integral parts of our daily lives!
But what if, in addition to the delightfully absorbing cute cat videos and hilarious SNL politician impressions, you added a few French videos to your daily video binge?
Videos are one of the easiest ways to learn a language and you can watch them virtually anywhere, anytime.
So why not take advantage of something you already do, and watch even more videos to improve your French skills at the same time!
Why Learn French Through Videos?
Videos can be a great learning tool for beginners and advanced French learners alike because there are plenty of choices for everyone, no matter where your interests lie!
Some of the most helpful videos are ones that help learners with their conversational skills by showing dialogues and transcripts, which is exactly what FluentU accomplishes with their subtitled content.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Learning French through conversation will ensure that you’re learning practical French phrases that you’ll use in everyday situations. Furthermore, watching these conversational videos will make you an active participant in the learning process, as you can formulate answers and practice aloud as you follow along with the dialogue.
The number and types of conversational videos to choose from are endless, and YouTube is a haven for prospective French learners because so many of the videos there are accessible and free to everyone.
I’d like to share with you some of my personal favorite YouTube channels and videos where you can find some helpful and interesting conversational material!
The Best Conversational YouTube Videos Guaranteed to Improve Your French
“French Conversation with Subtitles by Your Favorite Film Actors”
For starters, I’d like to introduce you to this excellent conversational video hosted by YouTube user askmaxim, who has made several videos dedicated to helping users learn French.
His video “French Conversation with Subtitles by Your Favorite Film Actors” is my favorite that he has posted, as it’s so different from most of the educational conversational videos out there.
The video features a selection of scenes and snippets of conversation from the famous 1981 French film “Le Professionnel” (The Professional).
It contains both English and French subtitles, making it very helpful for learners, and it even pauses occasionally so that you have time to repeat the French phrases and join in on the film conversations.
This video is a super fun way to start improving your French!
“239 Dialogues in French and French Conversations”
If length is what you’re looking for, then this video has got you covered with its nearly four hours’ worth of French conversation!
As suggested by its title, “239 Dialogues in French and French Conversations,” you’ll learn how to speak in very diverse sets of circumstances, such as asking for something at a shop, getting directions or planning an outing.
These situations have been carefully chosen to simulate ones that you’ll encounter each day in real life, making them extremely practical and necessary if you want to actually use your new French skills.
Featuring tons of helpful and unique vocabulary, this video also includes a transcript so that you can see the French words as you listen and repeat them.
The video is hosted by Tarik Elamari, who has made many additional videos to help you learn French once you’ve exhausted the resources in this rather rich one!
Easy French by Easy Languages
Easy Languages is a YouTube channel that posts weekly videos dedicated to learning languages and exchanging knowledge of cultures from all over the world!
Their unique learning approach consists primarily of taking to the streets to meet all types of people from various countries.
They offer tons of videos geared toward learning French, some of my personal favorites being from their interview series, such as this one which teaches you about Paris from the locals’ perspective!
They have similarly been to places like Switzerland and Quebec to show the many colorful francophone areas around the globe!
These videos are great because they simultaneously teach you both French language and culture, and you can learn about places you may have never previously heard about. And you can do it while traversing through some very interesting topics such as “Les clichés sur la France” (The Cliches About France).
As a bonus, their videos contain both French and English subtitles so that you can not only visualize what you’re hearing, but also understand it better since the interviewees’ varying accents might prove difficult to understand without help.
Aside from using interviews to talk about French holidays, history, art and other things of that nature, there are additional videos structured in the form of lessons to help you with grammar, verb conjugation and more.
In fact, Easy Languages even offers dictations such as this one, where listeners attempt to copy French phrases as they hear them and check their answers afterward.
What’s more, while there’s a never-ending number of videos to choose from, each one is around four to eight minutes long so you can squeeze in a video even if you’re short on time!
Learn French with Vincent
Another fantastic YouTube channel, Learn French with Vincent has created tons of French videos which really break the language down for beginners.
One of my favorites, “31 French Dialogues,” features a wide range of practical conversational topics, such as staying at a hotel, ordering at a restaurant and asking for the time.
This video contains over one hour’s worth of conversations, with transcripts included so that the dialogues are easy to follow.
Furthermore, the great thing about this video is that there’s plenty of silence between phrases so that you can practice repeating them out loud!
The Language Channel
The Language Channel has produced many videos about learning various languages, with a portion of them dedicated to those wishing to study French conversation.
They have several videos such as this one, “Learn French Conversation — English French Audio,” which are each about one to two hours long.
These videos differ from the previous ones I’ve mentioned in that they’re rather simple in nature (with nothing more than dialogue transcribed on the screen) and feature both the English and French audio and text.
In other words, a piece of text will contain a line of English with its French translation underneath, and both phrases will be read out loud.
As with each of the videos and channels I’ve chosen, you’ll find a lot of diverse subject material within these, including things like meeting someone, discussing the weather, etc.
Finally, The Language Channel also hosts dialogue videos geared towards teaching English to French speakers, in which the audio and dialogue order of the languages are reversed. These may also prove useful to those learning French if you choose to disregard the text and simply listen to the French; try to repeat and guess what it means in English before you hear the translation.
“Pardonnez-moi” (Pardon Me) is a fantastic series produced by Radio Télévision Suisse (Swiss Radio Television) in which the host, Darius Rochebin, interviews various people in the public eye (celebrities, politicians, musicians, artists, etc.) in French.
For example, one of my favorites is an interview he conducted with actor Omar Sy, who many of you will know through his popular films “Samba” and “Intouchables” (Untouchables). In this video, we learn what it was like working on these films and in what ways they changed Omar’s life.
Each interview lasts about 30 minutes and is formatted as a one-on-one conversation, making it easier for non-native speakers to follow.
These videos can be both funny or serious and are a great way to brush up on pop culture and current events while simultaneously furthering your French!
Practicing conversations is necessary if you want to be able to apply your French in real life and, as you can see, the possibilities for doing so using videos are both endless and fun!
Camille Turner is an experienced freelance writer and ESL teacher.