Imagine a typical day.
How do you usually spend your free time between work, school or chores?
Do you watch YouTube videos? Listen to music? Catch up on news?
Taking daily French lessons can be just as convenient, simple and fun.
FluentU provides online lessons for all language levels that immerse you in French, so you learn the language naturally. It’s available for your computer, iOS or Android device, and it’s a totally self-paced system—you can squeeze in a few lessons during your downtime or spend all weekend practicing.
Either way, FluentU makes it easy to learn French consistently and work towards fluency every single day.
Keep reading to find out how you can learn to speak French successfully with the unique French lessons on FluentU.
What’s the Philosophy Behind FluentU’s French Lessons?
FluentU combines engaging, real-world content with practical lessons you can apply to your everyday French conversations, writing and reading.
What makes FluentU a unique language learning platform is that it uses authentic French videos to teach French skills—anything from hilarious French vlogs to popular music videos to inspiring speeches.
After each video, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to test your comprehension, continue practicing or move on to the next concept.
These types of French lessons provide you with a wide range of practical vocabulary and knowledge of grammar structures, not to mention a much deeper understanding of French culture than you’d get from traditional grammar drills and vocabulary lessons. They teach you how to speak French through an organic and entertaining process that’s relevant to your life, rather than having you just memorize words and spit them back out.
FluentU’s teaching philosophy will really appeal to auditory and visual learners, but the science suggests that visual associations can help all types of students learn and retain information better.
FluentU French Lessons: Learn to Speak French Naturally Through Online Immersion
Over 1,000 French Video and Audio Lessons Keep You Engaged
FluentU provides an extensive list of videos and audio clips, so you’ll always have resources to help you study. The videos are organized into six levels from beginner to advanced.
The variety of video formats means you won’t get bored either! Just some of the content available includes real French movie trailers, video blogs, news reports, TV commercials, music videos, speeches and short films.
Not only will this expose you to the language through fun songs and conversations, but you’ll also be introduced to a plethora of French cultural icons, references and popular entertainment. So you’re not just learning how to understand French words—you’ll actually know what French people are talking about in real conversations.
In addition to a range of formats, FluentU’s resources also cover a wide range of subjects. Whether you’re interested in science, culture, politics, business, art, health, technology or something else entirely, there are videos and audio clips that cover it.
Learning with content that already interests you is a great way make sure that you actually stick with your French lessons. Plus, you’ll have the option to expose yourself to a wide range of vocabulary while learning about new and exciting subjects at the same time.
FluentU Lessons Teach You Real French Naturally
So, what are the features of FluentU’s French lessons?
Let’s start by opening a video. As we mentioned above, you can easily choose one that matches your level and interest.
As you’re watching, you can click or tap on any unfamiliar word in the interactive subtitles to get more information—such as an in-context translation, grammar info, an isolated pronunciation, useful examples and even links to other videos that have the word.
What better way to learn a new French vocabulary word than to see it used in multiple real-life scenarios?
This method ensures that you’re not simply learning the definition of a French word, but you’re also learning how French speakers actually use the word in real-world situations.
After you watch a video, it’s time to finish the lesson with interactive features that make sure you retain everything you’re learning.
First, you’ll be able to practice words from the video with a variety of exercises. You can mark words as “Already Known” if you don’t need to practice them, and you’ll immediately stop seeing it in future quizzes. This is perhaps my favorite FluentU tool for customizing French lessons—you’ll also have that ability when studying flashcards (more on those below).
During the quiz, your knowledge will be tested using a combination of methods such as fill-in-the-blank, multiple choice and write-in questions. Again, you’re not just spitting out definitions for French words by rote. You’re applying them in context so you learn how to build sentences and use the vocabulary like a native speaker would.
After submitting an answer on a quiz, you’ll not only receive instant feedback but you’ll also be asked the question again later if you got it wrong. The goal is to continue to practice what you struggle with the most.
As an added help, the quizzes catch the mistakes you’ve made with French accents—while they won’t count it as an incorrect response, they’ll alert you each time there’s an accent error so you don’t ignore this important component of French writing.
French Lessons Are Available for Every Level
FluentU has lessons for six levels of French proficiency: Beginner 1, Beginner 2, Intermediate 1, Intermediate 2, Advanced 1 and Advanced 2.
There’s plenty of material for each level, and you can easily sort the content by level to find the best lessons for you. That way, you won’t be wading through video or audio clips that are either too easy or too difficult.
Having six levels as opposed to the usual three allows for more personalized content to better suit your language goals and create a smoother and more comprehensive lesson sequence. Plus, FluentU automatically tracks your progress and suggests new videos based on what you’ve already learned, to always keep you moving forward.
It’s also worth mentioning that all of the content is available to you from the beginning. Unlike some other French lesson apps, there’s no need to waste time “unlocking” the upper level content if you already know you’re intermediate or advanced.
Smart Flashcards Focus on Your Learning Gaps
FluentU offers some wonderful flashcard tools, including a multitude of pre-made flashcards that are divided into vocabulary subjects. Choose from any number of these sets to learn something new or review a past lesson.
Flashcards are a tried-and-true learning tool for a reason. They require the learner to engage in “active recall” (instead of just passively recognizing the information) and they allow for “confidence-based repetition,” meaning the learner can easily repeat the flashcards they’re struggling with and remove the rest.
In fact, FluentU’s flashcard system takes “confidence-based repetition” to the next level. You don’t need to remember which vocabulary words to review. A spaced-repetition algorithm will prompt you to review difficult words at just the right moment before you forget them. The words that you’ve marked as “Already Known” won’t be included, to ensure that you’re targeting your personal French vocabulary weak-spots.
You can also create your own flashcards to help you keep track of new vocabulary or words that you’ve already learned. You can divide up your sets any way you like. Each flashcard is super easy to create, as you can simply click the “Add to flashcard set” button when studying a word during a video or audio clip. In other words, there’s no need to leave in the middle of a French lesson in order to create a flashcard.
You can even import your own vocabulary into FluentU’s flashcard system. FluentU will automatically link the flashcards to real French videos that use the words you’ve added.
Each flashcard includes a plethora of information and possible exercises—it’s not just a simple word/definition pairing. You’ll get the English translation, sample sentences, pronunciation audio and sample videos.
Convenient French Lessons Make It Easy to Study
Making time to learn French can be difficult.
To avoid putting off your French lessons or abandoning them altogether, you need to find learning strategies that make it easy to dedicate a little bit of time to your language goals every day.
First, download the FluentU app for iOS or Android to have French lessons on hand whenever you get a free moment. What’s more, most of the videos are no more than a couple of minutes long so that you can easily fit quick French lessons into your busy schedule.
This serves another function as well: you won’t be overwhelmed by tons of information at once. Focusing on a small bit of content can be much more beneficial than trying to tackle tons of input at once, as you’re more likely to absorb the information and remember it.
You can also quickly and conveniently sort FluentU’s content by length or format, so you don’t have to waste time searching through long lists of resources.
In addition to all of the standard video and audio functions you’d expect (the ability to pause, rewind, skip, fast forward, etc.), FluentU allows you to simply move your mouse to the captions window to automatically pause or un-pause content. This adds an extra level of practicality and eliminates the need to click additional buttons.
You Can Personalize the Lesson Features
Not only are you in charge of choosing your target language and current level, but you also get to customize multiple lesson features.
For example, you can select which interactive subtitles, if any, you want to see while watching the videos. You can choose to see French subtitles, professionally translated English captions, both or neither.
Depending on where you are in your French journey and what skill you’re trying to improve the most, you may want any number of the above subtitle options. With this in mind, FluentU allows you to easily adjust captions each time you select a video or audio clip.
FluentU’s platform also provides spaces for you to create your own playlists and save favorite content. You can do this simultaneously as you watch or listen to content, or you can create lists by searching for similar content on the home pages and filtering options by level, subject matter or format when browsing.
Creating personalized lists allows you to easily organize videos and audio and find what you want even faster. Access them from the FluentU sidebar under My Content.
FluentU Automatically Tracks Your Learning Progress
It’s easy to lose track of your French progress when keeping mental notes in your head of what you’ve accomplished. It can also be difficult to see how far you’ve actually come in your French language abilities.
To help you track your French learning progress, FluentU has devised a number of useful tools.
For starters, FluentU always displays your points and streak (how many days you’ve practiced in a row) so you know exactly how much time you’ve spent studying French lessons and where you are in terms of accomplishing your goals. You earn points by studying content, taking quizzes and more.
Second, the content is divided into a browsing section and a section of resources that you’ve saved, so you won’t lose what you’ve been working on. The platform also keeps track of content you haven’t finished yet, so that when you log back on, you can start a video or audio clip where you left off, rather than wasting time trying to find your place.
Polyglot tip: learning other languages? You can switch between French and any of FluentU’s nine languages at any time—your progress in all languages will be saved.
Additionally, both the playlists and individual videos contain a “fluency bar” that shows how much of the corresponding vocabulary you’ve mastered. Even content that you haven’t actually played before will show the bar and take into account the vocabulary you learned from other videos.
This means you’ll always know how much video or audio content will feel new and how much you’ll already understand. It also provides a convenient way to remember which resources you haven’t fully used yet.
Daily Goals Incentivize You to Keep Learning French
Finding the motivation to study another language may be hard at times.
FluentU has created several ways to encourage you to keep learning French, one of the most simple and effective being the option to set your own daily goals.
Choose anywhere from one to 30 minutes a day—or 100 to 2,000 points a day—as your goal. Research shows that setting specific, achievable goals encourages learning, plus it’s a nice visual reward system that you’ll enjoy using. (And you won’t reap any negative consequences on any day that you fail to reach your goal.)
Of course, you can always surpass your daily goal—there’s no limit to how much you can use the program—but even meeting the minimum target you’ve set will give you a sense of accomplishment.
Other useful tools to help you keep learning include receiving a sort of fluency grade for each vocabulary word or lesson. This shows you what you need to keep practicing and what you’ve already mastered.
Essentially, each video, audio and vocabulary word features its own fluency line that changes colors as you either practice it or neglect it over time.
Because repetition and continued use are so important when it comes to remembering new language skills (rather than mastering certain concepts and forgetting them months later), these colored lines will alert you to French words or grammar that you need to review. As is the case with nearly everything we learn in life, if you don’t use it frequently you’re bound to forget it.
You Can Sign Up for Even More FluentU Learning for Free
FluentU users can sign up for additional helpful content directly in the platform.
From the Notifications tab (in Settings) you can opt-in to have French language tips and cultural information emailed to you each week. Some examples of useful information you might receive when you sign up include vocabulary lists, grammar explanations, ideas on how to learn French with music and travel tips.
You can also request to be notified whenever new French lessons (or lessons for any FluentU language) are added to the platform.
With a bundle of useful tools and loads of fun content, FluentU’s French lessons will keep you entertained while you learn how to speak French like the locals use it. Don’t forget that you can try it out for yourself first with a free FluentU trial.
Camille Turner is an experienced freelance writer and ESL teacher.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn French with real-world videos.