It’s hard enough to find time for eight hours of sleep, let alone French listening practice.
Time keeps flying by and we can’t seem to catch a break.
In this day and age, with our fast-paced lifestyles, it feels increasingly hard to get things done.
Before you know it, the day’s over and you haven’t listened to any French at all!
Lucky, then, that there are dozens of great digital learning tools designed to help you get French listening practice anytime, anywhere!
Thanks to technology and the internet, it has never been easier to listen to French anywhere you go, dipping into your French listening practice at intervals throughout the day.
Why Get Your French Listening Practice Digitally?
While conversing with a French speaker has its own amazing benefits to learn French, digital learning has some serious advantages, too!
- You can go at your own pace. Do you find your days packed to the rafters with activities? Do you have no more than five minutes to spare from the moment you get up until you go to bed? With digital learning, it’s not a problem. When you find yourself on public transport, away from the office for 20 minutes or just stuck for a brief period of time with nothing to do, it’s great to dip into your language learning.
Doing a few activities or short French listening exercises will keep your comprehension fresh and fill in a little of your time. Take your learning with you where you go and practice whenever it suits you!
- There are hundreds of French listening practice tools to choose from. With coding and software very much the businesses du jour, it seems that there’s a brand new app or platform being created every few hours! If you find that the major digital players out there don’t work for you, there’s certain to be an alternative waiting in the wings.
French learning apps are created with you in mind. Try a few apps out before you commit to one or two—it’s always good to test the waters.
- Digital language tools are interactive. Most digital French learning tools require a large amount of interaction on your part. Whether it’s spelling new words, readjusting sentence structures or pronouncing phrases, digital tools are designed to get you really engaged.
Learning by doing is perhaps one of the most effective ways in which to improve. By doing different interactive activities, you’ll improve at an impressive rate.
- You can choose your own lessons and material. The sheer number and variety of language tools out there means that it’s incredibly easy to select a learning plan of your own. Rather than being dictated by a teacher who doesn’t necessarily understand what stage you’re at, you can choose the level which suits you and the lessons which you feel you need to focus on. With digital tools, you truly are your own master.
- You can discover local phrases and sayings. Increasingly, apps are being made with real life scenarios in mind. While teachers at school might have taught us the best ways in which to describe our families, learning apps focus on real life situations, with current phrases and appropriate language.
In France, your mode of address is incredibly important to master and apps ensure that you know the difference. They’ll teach you different ways to interact with friends and strangers alike.
- Digital learning is the most affordable method. As you’ll see below, many digital French listening practice tools are completely free. I’ll say that again: free. Others have affordable starting prices or upgrades if you’d like even more advanced features.
That means it’s never been easier to listen to French. You don’t have to wait for a scheduled class—you can start from the moment in which you open the digital platform. With one-off payments and a huge amount of free content being the name of the game, learning has never been more accessible!
- There’s a tool for every level. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or are practically fluent, there’s something out there for you. At a first glance, it might seem like most digital tools are focused on the learning priorities of beginners. However, there’s actually a whole load of content out there for more advanced speakers.
The more you practice French listening with these tools, of course, the more you’ll improve your French listening comprehension!
French Listening Practice You’ll Never Want to Pause: The Best Tools to Listen to French and Love It
YouTube Channels for French Listening Practice
The sheer amount of French learning channels on YouTube is astonishing.
YouTube videos are great to dip in and out of during the evenings. Many videos for learners feature subtitles and written components to the French listening exercises, so if you also like to use written tools to enhance your learning this is a great option. You can subscribe to channels and receive each new video in your feed as soon as it’s posted.
The ease of posting videos on YouTube has resulted in a bucket load of great, free learning channels. The volume of language channels out there means that there’s truly something for everyone. Whether you want to learn idiomatic expressions, focus on grammar or see real life situations play out before your eyes, there’s a channel out there for you.
Comme une Française is a really great place to start in the YouTube community. Created by French native Géraldine Lepère, the channel is filled with four- to five-minute videos with handy phrases, language no-nos and great immersion tactics.
Géraldine creates content designed to help you feel at home when abroad and contains many tips and tricks to mastering French like a native that other channels just don’t include.
All of her videos can be helpful for French listening practice, but her playlists can help you find the best ones for your needs. For example, you might want to start with her Everyday Life in France playlist, where she breaks down common French phrases and words you’ll need to get by in France. She uses some English to explain them so it’s good for beginners.
Intermediate learners can jump right to the French Conversation Phrases playlist for level-appropriate French listening practice.
For those who prefer something a little more traditional, Français avec Pierre is a French learning YouTube channel that’s worth checking out. Pierre provides dedicated lessons about all kinds of topics as well as conversational vlogs that he uploads weekly. Overall his channel provides a great way to learn about specific events and cultural habits in France training your ear to understand French.
That’s right, Pierre speaks entirely in French, so it’s great French listening practice to get comfortable with the language spoken by a native. Depending on the language level, he varies his talking speed. If you want comprehensible listening, Pierre’s your man!
Oh La La I Speak French is another wonderful online tool for French listening practice. The channel is made up of many comprehensible, slowly spoken videos with which you can test your listening skills and get used to hearing native level French in conversation.
As well as being a great listening tool (and an entertaining one at that) the channel contains lots of translation and French grammar exercises which encourage you to listen and speak out loud in turn.
Podcasts for French Listening Practice
If you really want to improve your listening comprehension on-the-go, French podcasts are great tools to use. Even more, it’s possible that there are more learning podcasts out there than there are YouTube channels, so if you want to listen to French long-term there’s certainly something out there for you.
One Thing in French a Day is a website and podcast entirely in French, each post dipping into a slice of Laetitia’s day. Released in podcast format and with a regular newsletter, One Thing in French a Day is a great tool with which to improve listening, speaking and reading skills.
You can download the podcasts and listen to the average day of a French person, on the go! The easy-to-transport format of podcasts makes listening incredibly easy wherever you may be.
If you want a podcast with a storytelling edge, you might want to consider Coffee Break French. Designed with the busy, on-the-go learner in mind, these podcasts typically last 10 to 15 minutes and are chock full of handy learning tips and grammar pointers.
Each season is designed to get progressively harder, so if you’re just starting out it’s a good idea to go back and start at the beginning. There’s also a members’ version which contains full transcripts, line-by-line analyses of the conversations and grammar exercises.
Sometimes, though, you might want something a little different. Easy French Poetry Podcast combines language learning with the arts by presenting French poetry with easy-to-understand vocabulary and descriptive pointers.
The podcast simultaneously improves your listening comprehension skills while immersing you in French artistic culture and it won’t be long before you’re penning your own poems—in French, of course!
Apps for French Listening Practice
Apps are possibly the most useful of all digital learning tools. With interactive learning in mind, they’ll improve your listening, reading, writing and speaking skills at once, aiming for complete French listening comprehension and immersion.
FluentU teaches you real French from authentic videos like French music videos, commercials, news broadcasts, cartoons and inspiring talks. In other words, you get French listening practice that really matters, because you’re hearing natural, casual French the way native speakers really use it.
One quick look will give you an idea of the diverse content found on FluentU:
Love the thought of learning French with native materials but afraid you won’t understand what’s being said?
FluentU brings authentic French videos within reach of any learner. Interactive captions will guide you along the way, so you’ll never miss a word.
Tap on any word to see a definition, in-context usage examples, audio pronunciation, helpful images and more. For example, if you tap on the word “suit,” then this is what appears on your screen:
Don’t stop there, though. Use FluentU’s learn mode to actively practice all the vocabulary in any video with vocabulary lists, flashcards, quizzes and fun activities like “fill in the blank.”
As you continue advancing in your French studies, FluentU keeps track of all the grammar and vocabulary that you’ve been learning. It uses your viewed videos and mastered language lessons to recommend more useful videos and give you a 100% personalized experience.
Another great learning app is Duolingo. Designed as a sort of language learning game, learners are asked to translate and complete sentences, speak sentences into their smartphone microphones, spell out foreign words, restructure jumbled sentence order and more.
When you complete exercises correctly, you win points and improve your overall score.
Pretty soon, you’ll be addicted to the app without even realizing that, at the same time, you’re doing a whole lot of learning.
French Music for Listening Practice
Who would have thought it? French music can be a really great way to improve your listening skills and understand more of the culture!
While they’re more challenging as French listening exercises, French songs will really test your French listening comprehension skills and push your ability to concentrate when you listen to French. Once you’ve heard a song a number of times, it’s much easier to understand what’s being said. Hearing French words pronounced within music often makes it much easier for learners to listen well and pronounce things properly in real life.
Singing sometimes makes comprehension a little more tricky, but once you master a French song or two you’ll find it much easier to understand spoken French.
“Little French Songs,” Carla Bruni
When it comes to French music, the sky is really the limit. There are a few musical classics that are perfect for introducing yourself to the French music scene. Carla Bruni’s album “Little French Songs” contains exactly that, plus it’s really lovely to listen to whenever you want some background music. Not only is Bruni a national treasure, but she also sings very comprehensibly and relatively clearly. Listen to the songs a few times to try and pick up a few words here and there.
“Bonnie and Clyde,” Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot
Of course, if we’re talking French musicians, we cannot overlook Serge Gainsbourg. While any of Gainsbourg’s songs are worth listening to (for the cultural history as much as the French listening exercises), “Bonnie and Clyde” is a particularly good place to start and contains many of Gainsbourg’s most famous songs.
As with Bruni, don’t worry if it takes you a little longer than normal to understand the words. Take your time, listen repeatedly, sing along and let the words slowly start to make sense.
That should be enough French listening practice to fill your headphones for hours—and with tools that make it so convenient to listen to French, it’ll be easy and enjoyable to find the time.
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