Stuck in the Middle: 7 Resources for Intermediate French Lessons to Get You Unstuck
Intermediate French learners often experience something akin to “Middle Child Syndrome.”
In the midst of your French growing pains, you may feel forgotten, lost and without resources—so much of language learning seems to be focused towards students at opposite ends of the spectrum. More often than not, intermediate learners are overlooked in favor of beginners and advanced students.
Doesn’t anybody understand how you feel?
For beginners, there’s no end to the lesson plans, apps, podcasts and videos out there specifically designed in order to enable you to get a grasp on the basics of a language. But you’re not the baby anymore, so nobody’s lavishing that nurturing attention on you. Boo.
Similarly, for advanced and nearly-fluent French learners, it has never been easier to access reading materials like classic novels, modern books, short stories and dialogue extracts that boost learners to fluent independence. But you’re not quite ready to leave the nest just yet.
The trouble is, what do you do when you’re stuck somewhere in the middle? You’re in an awkward French learning phase—plus, you have your own personal strengths and weaknesses. Nobody seems to address these. They assume all French intermediates are the same, when, in reality, no two are the same.
When the only way to improve is to keep accessing high-quality French learning materials, this situation can be pretty demoralizing.
Never fear! I’ve uncovered some pretty fantastic sources for French lessons, all created with the intermediate learner in mind.
Settle down, make some notes and prepare to make another leap towards advanced French. These lessons are seriously good. Finally, the love and attention you crave.
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7 French Lesson Resources to Soothe Your Intermediate Growing Pains
Chances are, if you’re a French learner, you’ll have already come across About.com at some point or another. Did you know, however, that there’s a part of the website specifically tailored towards intermediate learners? There are some great benefits to using this site, which we’re sure will help you in all aspects of your French.
Regular proficiency tests
In order to really improve, you need to consistently test your skills. While language tests aren’t to everyone’s tastes, there’s no denying the fact that they’re useful when trying to pinpoint potential areas of improvement. About.com has a wide range of tests designed with intermediate learners in mind and which will help to flag any problem areas in your comprehension.
Intermediate grammar lessons
French grammar is notoriously tricky and luckily, About.com has it covered! You can focus in on the difference between bon and bien, comparative adverbs and French conjunctions. The content on the site is really top notch and if you’re looking to become seriously knowledgeable about all things grammar-related, this is the place to do it.
Links to current French popular content
Undeniably, the best way in which to learn French is to expose yourself as much as possible to French culture and content. About.com is regularly updated with French content, from news articles to popular videos and websites. Gaining an understanding of French culture whilst improving your language skills has never been so easy!
French pronunciation lessons
We all know the trials and tribulations of developing the difficult French accent and, luckily, About.com is on the case! Breaking words down into their individual parts and focusing in-depth on specific letter formations, the website takes pronunciation very seriously. You’ll have French rolling smoothly off your tongue before you know it!
Based on the best, most authentic French content, FluentU learning courses are aimed towards learning through immersion. The program aims to make native French media accessible for learners of any level. It does this by integrating learning tools into every video for a complete learning experience.
Authentic French video clips
FluentU has a collection of hundreds of short video clips that are made by and for native French speakers. These include movie and TV show clips, interviews, trailers, music videos, vlogs, commercials and much more. You can organize videos by topic, format and level, making it easier to find content that’s just right for you and your language learning goals.
Interactive, accurate subtitles
Every video has interactive subtitles. This means instant contextual definitions.
If you come across a word you’re not familiar with, you can hover your mouse over it for a quick meaning, image and grammar info. Clicking on the word brings up its complete flashcard, which contains example sentences, clips from other videos where the word is used and audio pronunciations of all of the above.
You can also add the word to your flashcard decks for later review. Which beings me to the next point…
After you watch a video, you can complete its corresponding quiz, which tests your understanding of the key vocab that appeared in the video. It also lets you try your hand at translating a key moment.
These quizzes get an upgrade when you go to review your flashcards. Here, the quizzes will be tailor-made for you, using SRS-based exercises to track your understanding of each word and present you with questions specific to your progress.
Mobile app available
While you can use FluentU in your browser, it also has an iOS and Android app available. Your progress will be saved between devices. On the mobile app, you’ll also have access to speaking questions which give you a chance to practice pronunciation.
elearningfrench.com offers a comprehensive set of lessons just for intermediate learners, guaranteed to improve your understanding of the language! There are multiple resources lessons and quizzes for each stage which you can dip in and out of as you go.
Native French recordings and audio clips
Hearing a native French speaker pronouncing words can be one of the most helpful things when learning a language and elearningfrench.com has a whole archive of audio clips and recordings, designed to help improve your speaking and listening skills. There are multiple topics to choose from, so if you have a specific theme in mind, you can incorporate it into your learning.
Dialogues with full transcription
When we’re still in the learning stage, it can be incredibly useful to back up audio clips with written transcriptions. Not only do tools like these aid pronunciation, but they can also be used at later dates for reading exercises. elearningfrench.com understands the importance of learning aids and supplies transcriptions for many of their recorded dialogues.
The importance of continuous testing while you learn can’t be overstressed. Rather than a huge, intimidating exam at the end of the course, elearningfrench.com offers smaller language tests as you go, meaning you can test your comprehension whenever you feel like it with less pressure.
Examples of daily grammar points
The grammar lessons offered through elearningfrench.com are comprehensive and incredibly in-depth, going beyond the basic essentials. There’s always new material being added, too, so if you want to stay ahead of the curve, it’s a great resource to use!
4. La Guinguette
The La Guinguette website is presented entirely in French, so if you want a taster of the types of lessons and contents they offer, it’s an easy way to gain an insight. The intermediate course is focused on precision in language, honing in on grammar and vocabulary points to enable students to get the most out of their learning exercises. There are some really great benefits to the La Guinguette course!
Focused on immersion and native speakers
Like other sites, La Guinguette is founded on the belief that immersion is the best way into a language. Whilst not everyone can live in a French-speaking country, the site is a great alternative to improve comprehension. Taking clips from real French speeches, news articles and cultural articles, the site aims to immerse its students in French culture as much as possible, giving them a good understanding of how grammar rules work in the native tongue.
Regular lessons to reinforce grammar points
Rather than teaching its students rules and moving on to new material, La Guinguette goes back over old material in order to improve comprehension. Reinforcing new information is the best way to learn it by heart and La Guinguette works with this mentality at its heart.
Quick-fire dialogue clips
For the learner who has only a little time on their hands, La Guinguette has a series of quick-fire dialogue clips, designed for maximum comprehension within a short span of time. In the short clips, grammar points and vocabulary are highlighted to maximum effect. Listening to just a few of the dialogues is a great way to keep things ticking in your brain each day.
Contextual notes to aid comprehension
Learning a language as an adult is very different to learning something when you’re a child. Rather than taking things as they are, we tend to need logical explanations in relation to foreign grammar rules and learning points. Luckily, La Guinguette provides contextual explanations around lessons, created in order to provide logical explanations to seemingly tricky language rules.
5. Michel Thomas
Michel Thomas is one of the most popular language learning resources out there and it’s not hard to see why. Split into unique, in-depth learning packages, the lesson plans cater to all language learning needs, whilst pushing students to advance to the next level of language comprehension. There are multiple ways to use the Michel Thomas learning methods and many parts to the learning plans.
Visual review resources
As well as focusing on written and audio learning tools, Michel Thomas utilizes visual resources as a way in which to improve in language. In the visual exercises, learners can get to grips more thoroughly with learning points taken from written and audio sources, improving their comprehension at a faster speed.
Interactive computer exercises
As well as the traditional learning methods, Michel Thomas uses a lot of interactive exercises, aimed towards reinforcing intermediate lessons and language points. Crossing from one learning style to another, the course requires its students to apply what they’ve learned in one lesson to other activities, thus ensuring that they have understood everything before moving on.
If you feel stuck in a vocabulary learning rut, there’s nothing to fear! Michel Thomas runs with the understanding that beginner courses are largely filled with the most simplistic language possible and, as a result, can leave learners lacking a little in the vocabulary department. You can pick up many new phrases and terminology and begin to speak like a native.
LangMaster is one of the world’s most comprehensive language learning websites and better yet, is completely free! As well as offering incredibly in-depth learning materials, the site regularly updates its learning dialogues, meaning that there’s always new language material to use and learn from. There are many benefits to choosing to use LangMaster.
Whilst this might sound like a terrifying prospect, it’s really nothing to worry about! In order to gauge where its students are coming from, LangMaster opens with an entrance test, after which you’re directed to the most appropriate course for your level. When we learn alone, it can often be difficult to understand our true comprehension, so LangMaster takes away the mystery and helps you in the best way possible!
Recorded by locals
There’s no better way to understand the French language than going directly to the horse’s mouth and luckily, there are thousands of native audio recordings to work through on the website! Hearing the French language from a native, whilst initially a little tricky, will only help you down the line and improve your ability to understand fast French in no time.
Of course, the ability to grasp and master the French grammatical system is something with which we all struggle and it’s something that LangMaster focuses on in detail. Through the carefully structured lesson chapters and exercises, the site runs through many grammar points and, as you go on, covers a lot of rules you never even knew existed!
TV5MONDE takes language comprehension very seriously and, as a result, has tailor-made packages for each level of student. For intermediate learners, there’s a complete set of lessons and learning points, curated with the individual learner in mind and guaranteed to help you to progress to the next level.
Varied content lessons
If you suffer from learning distraction, TV5MONDE is a good site to use. Each lesson is structured around a new topic and learning point and each day, there is something new to be learned. If you ever want to review a lesson, they’re all waiting on the site to be used, making revision and reinforcement incredibly accessible.
The combination of listening, reading and writing might seem old hat but it’s undeniably the most useful way in which to progress with a language. Each topic point is structured within the three learning methods and, moving through each style, your comprehension will only get better.
Option to progress further
If you like the TV5MONDE way and wish to progress with your learning this way, it’s incredibly simple! The site is structured according to level of comprehension and goes right up to B2, or advanced level. Moving forwards has never been so easy and with TV5MONDE, you can find everything you need in one place.
As an intermediate learner, you need never fear.
Don’t feel left out anymore!
There’s a whole empire of learning material directed specifically to your needs and presented at a pace which will suit your level of understanding. It has never been easier to get to grips with the French language on a deeper level.
Before you know it, you’ll be searching for advanced content!
Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)