Isn’t YouTube a destination for mindless distractions?
When it’s time to learn French YouTube makes a lot of sense.
But this leads to another challenge.
The quality of the lessons can vary a lot. You have to spend a ton of time sorting out the best YouTube channels, especially if you’re a beginner.
Wait a Minute. Why Learn French on YouTube?
But you’re wondering—out of all the resources you could be using, why learn French on YouTube?
- You might already have books or a teacher, but you can diversify your language learning and vocabulary with multiple sources.
- You can watch at your own pace and review anything you don’t understand.
- The best French learning content on YouTube is actually really good. I’d argue that the need to compete with the rest of YouTube has forced these teachers to work even harder.
- Did I mention it’s free?
Learn French on YouTube: 11 Great Channels for Free Learning
So without further ado, here are my top nine recommendations for learning French on YouTube (plus two bonus channels):
As sweet as a chocolate éclair and as crisp as a slice of French test, this series of video lessons is a slick and comfortable introduction to the language. Conducted entirely in French with English and French subtitles, the lessons include a short quiz and a fun fact. This is ideal for beginners.
Alexa is someone you warm to immediately. Her French lessons win top marks for fun as they have a rich vein of humor running through them. For example, on the some of the lessons you will see her interact with a puppet. Don’t panic or run for the hills, this isn’t a silly gimmick. It’s actually quite a good way to make the learning enjoyable and interesting.
All of the lessons involve Alexa speaking straight down the camera and her words are accompanied by subtitles in French. Her teaching style is conversational and engaging and she naturally slips in the English translations as she goes along.
Most of the videos are short, at about two minutes in length, but there are some even shorter ones. Blink and you might just miss them. A few of the video lessons are devoted to the conjugation of just one verb such as boire (to drink), dormir (to sleep) and avoir (to have) and these come in at about sixteen seconds – they are a very snappy way to get to grips with some of the basics. The video series on YouTube is aimed squarely at the beginner.
Sometimes, simple is best. This is set of short (between one and three minutes) and straightforward lessons covering some of the fundamentals such as commonly used words, numbers, days of the week and the alphabet.
Visually, the videos are just a series of words on a simple monochrome background or animated graphic of the French flag. They’re not the most cutting edge design, but they will achieve their prime objective of getting the French words to burns themselves onto your memory banks. Interactivity is a key part of the lessons and the student is prompted to repeat words and phrases out loud several times during each video.
This excellent series is presented by a guy who’s not actually French. That becomes clear as soon as you hear his accent. It has a unique American lilt to it. There are many laugh out loud moments here including random anecdotes and his attempts at being the coolest kid on the block.
And that accent may raise a wry smile. But you will learn something. The video lessons for the beginner are fast paced and fun and cover many of the fundamentals. Although the French guy speaks very fast the presentation is clear and easily understood and underscored by subtitles in French.
This is another video example of a French teacher speaking straight to the camera; there are no real-life situations replicated with actors, puppets or cartoons. He manages to keep your attention because his enthusiasm for the French language is infectious and draws you in, making you want to learn even more. The duration of each lesson varies from one minute shorts to ten minute sessions and quite a few that last for about five or six minutes.
JeFrench provides the eager beginner with a handful of mini French lessons that feature common phrases related to travel, finding your way around and introducing yourself. The playlist isn’t ordered in any way and so appears to be a bit random.
Nonetheless, the videos are good with crisp and clear presentation and they move along at a moderate pace. There are no flashy images or pictures to distract the student, just a series of animated French texts followed by their English translations. Repetition of words and phrases is encouraged throughout the lessons which on average last for a couple of minutes, though there are some longer ones.
Warm up your vocal cords as you’ll be speaking a lot during these videos. This helpful YouTube channel to learn French is a collection of slick and uncomplicated lessons that feature the vocabulary you will need in certain situations such as dining and shopping. There are also lessons devoted specifically to common words and phrases. Interactivity is a big part of this series.
The format follows a regular structure. First, you’ll hear a sentence in French accompanied by large subtitles. Then you will see and hear a French speaker repeat those words after which you are prompted to speak. This is followed by another French speaker saying those same words. The repetition of the phrases and the variety of ways they are presented help to solidify them in the mind.
Never in your wildest dreams did you think you would be learning French from a bunch of cartoon characters with robotic voices, but strange things sometimes do happen. These fun animated French lessons are well structured and easy to follow. Your guides are cartoon characters and though their voices sound as if they’ve been voiced by a machine the presentation is clear.
The videos cover many aspects of the French language including key vocabulary, the meaning of words and some aspects of grammar. Their durations vary, anything from a couple of minutes to up to ten minutes. You’ll hear one, two or all of the characters say a phrase then you are asked to repeat it. Every phrase appears on the cartoon classroom’s chalkboard along with its English translation.
Overall, CornerFrenchBistro provides a good introduction to some of the basics.
FrenchSpanishOnline has lots of free videos that are aimed at the beginner and intermediate French language student. There is no teacher in sight, just graphics and subtitles. The presentation is sharp and succinct with a conversational style. Most of the lessons last for about five minutes.
9. Radio Lingua
Billed as “learning French grammar on the streets of Paris” these video lessons are presented by Pierre-Benoît and Mark who do indeed teach you as they move around the French capital city. Among the highlights are the good, lively presentation.
There are many more free French language learning channels available on YouTube, some of them very good, but they didn’t quite make it to my top nine list. The following two are also worth taking a look at.
There are just eight short videos on this free YouTube channel for learning French. They are presented by native French speaker Jacqueline Doiron and cover some of the fundamentals.
This video series is exactly that; aimed at all levels. There are a lot of videos here on grammar, vocabulary and everyday situations.
So, with all these fantastic resources, you’re fully prepared to learn French YouTube-style. You’ll see that when you’re looking to learn French YouTube really does answer the call.
Give it a shot today!
And One More Thing…
If you like learning French on YouTube, then you won’t want to miss FluentU. With FluentU, you can learn French from music videos, commercials, news, and inspiring talks. FluentU lets you learn real French—the same way that people speak it in real life.
FluentU has a diverse range of great content, including videos like movie trailers, funny commercials and web series, as you can see here:
FluentU brings French videos within reach. Interactive captions let you tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.
For example, if you tap on the word “suit,” then this is what appears:
And FluentU’s “learn mode” lets you learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
Throughout the entire time, FluentU keeps track of vocabulary that you’re learning. It uses that vocab to recommend you examples and videos and give you a 100% personalized experience. Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn French with real-world videos.