Independence is a beautiful thing.
Don’t give it up just because you want to learn French—there are plenty of ways for you to teach yourself.
Thanks to the internet, it has never been easier to take up lessons in your spare time.
The internet gives you all the resources you need, and it’s up to you to take it from there!
If you’re new to solo study, you can rest assured in the knowledge that the resources and information are all completely up to date, and based around classroom lessons. There has never been a better time to self-study French! Don’t believe it? Take a look at these benefits.
The Many Benefits of Self-study
Go at your own pace. Every person learns at a different speed and when you’re stuck in a classroom of 10 other learners, it can be hard to stay on top of the topic. By focusing on self-study, it’s easy to linger on or revisit any points which you find difficult, test yourself until the information sticks and really get to grips with the French language on your own terms.
Choose your own topics. More often than not, we absorb more information when we learn about a subject matter which already interests us. By tailoring your French to suit you, you’ll be more invested in the learning plans and you’ll navigate tricky language points at a much faster rate! Learning about your hobbies in French is also a great opportunity to prepare for conversations at a later date.
Repeat lessons as often as you wish. The beauty of language learning sites is that they let you stick around for as long as you want. If you find yourself stuck on a particularly hard topic, it’s really simple to go back to the lesson, repeat the language points and make sure that you’ve fully processed the information. You need never worry about other students, as you’re the only person in the classroom!
Take learning with you on the go. While learning sites are best accessed in an environment that’s conducive to studying—such as an office, a quiet home work space or a library—many of them come equipped with supplementary apps and podcasts. When you’re commuting to work or otherwise out and about, you can spend your time reviewing French lessons and listening to pieces of dialogue. It has never been easier to take your learning with you, wherever you go.
Self-study is an increasingly viable option for students of French and can be a great way to begin to learn the language. From listening exercises to reading passages, the internet is well stocked up on French resources. If you’re looking to take the plunge into French, there has never been a better time than today!
The 6 Best Websites for Self-studying French with Me, Myself and I
First, we’ll walk you through a few great sites for beginners. Then, we’ll amp things up with sites for intermediate and advanced learners. No matter where you’re at with your French studies, there’s something online that can boost your learning.
The first resource up to bat is FluentU. We’ve placed this one up here because it offers content for French learners of all levels—everyone from complete newbies to seasoned experts who’d like to maintain native-level fluency!
If you’re on the hunt for something a little different, you’ll like what FluentU has to offer. Based on learning through real-world content like authentic video and audio excerpts, this program enables you to choose your own content at every step in the process, making learning fun, personalized and incredibly accessible.
- Perfect for any level of French. Unlike other programs which are focused on one or two levels of French, FluentU covered every skill level. It can be used to start at a newbie level and work right up to fluency! As FluentU draws its content from the web, there’s an immense diversity of material available. You’re really the master of your own learning, so if you want to challenge yourself, there’s no better way do so! If you decide to put your skills to the test and watch a video at a level higher than your current skills, feel no hesitation! FluentU will bring the content within reach with its interactive subtitles. Missed a word? Just hover you cursor over the word that stumped you in the subtitles, and you’ll get an instant on-screen definition complete with audio pronunciation, in-context example sentences and more.
- Choose your own content. The learner is given complete freedom through this program. Whether you want to focus on current affairs, sports, news, music videos, TV shows or your choice of cinema, the world is your oyster. Including your hobbies and interests in your lessons is a sure-fire way to accelerate the learning process, and doing so might just teach you a thing or two you didn’t know along the way!
- Take your lessons with you wherever you go. The FluentU app for iOS or Android is designed to go wherever you choose to go, so if you’re a busy learner, it’s a great option to take along with you. Thanks to portable devices, you can access incredible video content wherever you go. All that’s left for you to do is watch the videos, pay attention and get involved.
- Try it for free! You’re welcome to try out FluentU at no cost for 15 days. Not to mention, membership rates are some of the most affordable out there, especially considering that there are over 1,000 videos currently offered and this number is growing every day. Plans, pricing and more info about the free trial can be viewed here.
A spin-off from the News in Slow French empire, Language Theater is an unusual and interactive option for learners looking for something different. Split into a number of progressive lessons, the website is great for dipping in and out whenever you’ve got time to practice. It will give you great materials for building and reinforcing your foundation in French. The subscription rates start at $59.90 for a 3-month access pass to the lessons, and the prices go up from there.
- Lessons formed as a theatrical play. A function unique to Language Theater, individual lessons are constructed as acts within a play. Learners are asked to participate in the different scenes, talking only about the material included in the individual act. Throughout the lessons, characters follow a narrative trajectory. As you take on new information in French, you learn more about their lives and their stories.
- Structured around digital lessons. Based online, the lessons are formed in order to introduce you to as much new information as possible. While you might be learning alone, you’re encouraged to speak out loud, answer the characters and begin using your conversational skills.
- Focus on beginner grammar. Getting to grips with French grammar can be a little tricky and while it might be intimidating to make the leap into the world of technical language, you’ll thank yourself in the long run. Focusing on explaining grammar clearly in its beginner lessons, the website makes everything very accessible, enabling you to easily make it a part of your learning routine.
- Intermediate options. There’s an intermediate level course as well, so you can progress naturally once you’ve mastered all the basics and are looking for a new challenge.
- Weekly flashcards available. Before each lesson, you’re encouraged to begin learning about the new subject. Language Theater provides each learner with a new set of flashcards for every lesson, complete with a set of vocabulary points. You’re encouraged to learn French outside of your lessons, and through this supplementary practice, become more familiar with French in general.
While many learning platforms are available for free, it can often be worth investing a good language course, especially if you’re learning on your own. Currently charging $57 for 20 hours worth of lessons, Easy French Grammar for Beginners is a great learning option, and it will teach you everything you need to know about beginner grammar in a neat, structured way.
- Created specifically for self-study. Unlike many other sites, Easy French Grammar for Beginners is formed with the solo learner in mind. Covering all of the topics that the beginner learner should need, it takes direct influence from classroom-based lessons, adapting each learning point for the individual. Better yet, the site functions as a digital “tutor,” giving you all of the handy tips you could expect from your real-life teacher!
- Constant tutor support through online system. If, however, you’re looking for a little human interaction, then you’re completely covered. Through the online forum on the website, you can ask Kerstin, the site’s founder, any language question that you might have. You need never worry about confusing language points; you’re free to learn at your own pace and talk to a real French teacher!
- Mobile learning through available apps. Your personal lessons need not be confined to your desk. Supported by a number of learning apps, the website comes fully equipped with mobile learning options, enabling you to dip into lessons when you please.
- Charts and cheat sheets. Learning doesn’t just take part within the classroom and with the website, but you’re also given access to a number of useful supplementary learning tools. Of particular use are the website’s vocabulary charts and cheat sheets, positively packed with great information and presented in a clear, concise manner.
French Assistant is one of the most in-depth and diverse learning sites out there. Presented alongside bright, graphic illustrations, each lesson is made all the more accessible. Breaking topics down into 15-minute chunks, the site is perfectly adapted for the busy learner, enabling you to stop by whenever you have the time.
- Based around listening exercises. The ability to listen in French is arguably one of the most important skills to have and unless you’re armed with a set of native French friends, comprehension skills can be a hard thing to attain when you learn alone. Basing each lesson around a listening exercise, French Assistant is a great option for nabbing some extra listening practice.
- Reviews your level of French. Getting to grips with your level of comprehension can be tricky when you learn on your own and lack a real-life teacher. By getting you to complete a series of regular quizzes, the website is a great way for you to understand how you’re learning, picking up on any weak spots you might have developed.
- Exercises for all types of French. In order to progress to the best of your abilities, it’s very important to balance writing, reading and listening. While it can be difficult to strike the perfect level between each type of French, the website makes this incredibly easy. Every lesson comes equipped with a number of different resources, enabling you to practice each new French skill as you go.
- Looks into verb conjugations. Verb conjugations can be a tricky thing to manage in French and, unless you have a teacher, it can be very easy to let things slip. By focusing on verb conjugations, French Assistant makes tricky verbs easy to conjugate, enabling you to pick up technical learning points as you go.
Brought to you by the French television channel TV5MONDE (obviously), this is a website directed towards all levels of French—however, it really seems to hit the sweet spot for intermediate and advanced learners. Balancing video extracts with written tasks and audio examples, the website offers an in-depth overview of the French language.
- Interactive exercises. When you’re learning alone, it can often feel hard to connect with the lesson in front of you. Focusing on interactive exercises, TV5MONDE lets you really delve directly into the world of learning, getting you involved in the learning process from the start. Split into reading, listening and test sections, each lesson is designed to involve you in the lesson as much as possible.
- French language videos. Each learning point is accompanied by a learning video, played out by native actors. Watching the action play out, you can figure out the scenario and language to a greater degree, understanding better how the lesson is aiming to play out. The videos also give an insight into French family life and the dynamics of relationships within the family.
- Option to continue to the next level. The TV5MONDE learning series isn’t just reduced to intermediate stages. Split into beginner, intermediate and sections beyond, it’s very possible to continue up until an advanced level, following the same structure as you continue in your learning.
If you want to perfect your listening and conversational French, then FrenchPod101 is the place for you to go! Structured around interactive videos, native audio extracts and conversational French forums, the site will connect you to other learners, and teach you about a whole new side of the French language.
- Progresses up to advanced levels. Intermediate learners face a tricky prospect. Somewhere between beginner and advanced, it can be hard to know what content is suitable for your level. With lessons gradually progressing up to advanced levels, this site has all types of learners covered. With lower to upper intermediate lessons included, you can feel comfortable in the lessons before moving up the learning ladder.
- Follow your progress on the website. FrenchPod101 marks every time you complete a lesson on the website, making it easier than ever to watch yourself progress. Getting stuck in a learning rut is a very common part of being an intermediate learner, and sometimes you need a quick reminder of just how far you’ve come.
- Regular lesson reviews. While learning alone is a great way to go at your own pace, it’s still very important that you test the knowledge you’ve picked up. By regularly quizzing your French after the lessons, FrenchPod101 constantly puts your understanding to the test, flagging up any problem areas before it’s too late.
As you can see from the above options, learning on your own has never been easier than it is now.
With the internet acting as a melting pot for every type of French learning out there, you’re free to pick and choose the content that you want to use. Giving access to French tutors, unique methods of learning and huge archives of material, French learning websites are becoming increasingly popular resources to pick up the language.
Only one question remains: Which one(s) will you choose?
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn French with real-world videos.