Thanks to the internet, learning French by yourself is easier than ever with interactive websites, online lesson plans and Skype tutors just a click away.
In this post, I’ll show you the best websites to teach yourself French, and it’s up to you to take it from there!
- French for Beginners G.U.T.S.
- Easy French Grammar for Beginners
- French Assistant
- What Are the Benefits of Self Studying French?
French for Beginners G.U.T.S.
A spin-off from the News in Slow French empire, the French for Beginners G.U.T.S. (Get Up To Speed) program 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 G.U.T.S., 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. G.U.T.S. 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.
This language learning program turns authentic French videos into immersive lessons by pairing them with learning aids. It’s great for students of all levels—everyone from complete newbies to seasoned experts who’d like to maintain native-level fluency—and can be accessed on the website or via the iOS and Android apps.
- Exposure to authentic content. FluentU is based around learning from authentic videos, such as music videos, inspiring talks and vlogs, which expose you to French as it’s really spoken by natives. This helps you pick up better pronunciation, slang and listening comprehension, and will have you speaking more naturally as a result.
- Seamless learning with interactive subtitles. Each video comes with interactive, dual language subtitles, where you can tap any word to elicit information about it: pronunciation, contextual definitions, related images, example sentences and even other videos where that term is used. You can easily add any new words you come across to personal vocabulary lists for later review.
- Multimedia flashcards. To help get words and phrases to stick, turn your personal vocabulary lists into multimedia flashcards—or choose from pre-made decks. They include audio and images as well as text, which helps stimulate your memory.
- Contextual video dictionary. Context is important in language learning, and a word that means one thing in one situation may mean something different in another. FluentU addresses this with its video dictionary, where you can search for any term to be shown related words (including their pronunciation and definitions), and various videos where that term is featured in different contexts.
- Personalized quizzes. You can follow all this up with SRS (spaced repetition system) quizzes, which adapt to what you already know plus the videos you’ve watched. The quizzes even include speaking questions to help practice the oral aspect of French, making for a well-rounded learning aid.
Easy French Grammar for Beginners
While many learning platforms are available for free, it can often be worth investing a good language course, especially if you want to learn French 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 French 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.
Unfortunately the site doesn’t seem to be live anymore, but you can view and explore an archived version using the Wayback Machine.
Brought to you by the French TV 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 skills as you learn French on your own, 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.
What Are the Benefits of Self Studying French?
- Study 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’ve been thinking about learning French on your own, there has never been a better time than today!
You don’t have to scratch your head and wonder how to learn French on your own. With the above resources, you can just get started!
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 before you start to self study French: Which one(s) will you choose?