Independent Study

Independent study French
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Apprentissage indépendant

As much as I’d love to offer a one-stop-shop for learning and practicing every aspect of French, I’m only one person. Therefore, I make a point of seeking out high-quality, third-party resources that supplement my work so that you can learn independently as efficiently as possible.

French grammar

Lawless French has hundreds of grammar lessons and 700+ verb conjugation tables – plus of course the Subjunctivisor and Pronommeur – but reading a lesson is one thing and putting it into practice is another. Fortunately, I found the perfect complement.

Progress with Lawless French is a grammar quiz-based site that will help you figure out what you know and don’t know, then focus on helping you fill in gaps and improve your French grammar on a daily basis.

French vocabulary

LingQUnlike grammar, which has finite (though extensive) rules, vocabulary is essentially endless. To supplement my mots du jour, vocabulary lessons, and expressions, I recommend this site:

LingQ is a very interesting proposition. Rather than vocab lists, it provides authentic content with new vocabulary highlighted for you. You can remove the highlights for words you know, and for the ones you don’t, you just click to learn what they mean so that they show up in future texts.

Also, reading the news is an excellent way to acquire new vocabulary while keeping up with events.

French pronunciation

Since I’m not a native speaker of French, I provide pronunciation lessons but limited sound files.

The best resource I’ve ever found is Diane Dansereau’s Savoir Dire. It’s an absurdly expensive book + online sound files bundle, but short of taking private classes with a French tutor who specializes in accent reduction, using it regularly is just about the best thing you can do to greatly improve your French pronunciation. It includes in-depth analyses of each French letter and sound with corresponding listening exercises; a comparison of American English and French sounds; and explanations of French rhythm, silent letter patterns, and much more. You can find it at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

French listening and reading

I make listening comprehension exercises out of various videos and audio files and reading comprehension exercises from book excerpts and my own experiences in France. For more variety, check out these resources.

Yabla - French videosYabla French

To work on your French listening comprehension, try Yabla, a subscription site with a massive collection of original videos featuring native speakers and – best of all – dictée exercises.

Ilini French videosAlso take a look at Ilini, with short, real-life French videos about culture, news, and music.

French conversation

French tutorAgain, not being a native speaker, I don’t offer conversation lessons, so here’s a database of tutors. You can choose between in-person lessons and video lessons and set a schedule that works for you, but more importantly, you and your tutor can work out exactly what you want to practice and need the most help with. Of course, some French tutors are better than others, so be sure to email a few and ask questions so that you can compare their qualifications and proposals before choosing the one that’s just right for you.

French speaking practiceAnd here are some more resources and tips for speaking French:

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French independent study
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