Language learning can be hard like a tedious chore, but the thing is that any knowledge of vocabulary, phrases or verb conjugation is like a tool in your toolkit. The more you know, the better off you are.
For high school students
About.com French Language
This site is a jam-packed portal to a host of resources like lists of phrases, videos, online quizzes, grammar, tools and (like how to type accents), links to news sites, and things for teachers. I’m certainly not doing the site any justice with my short description, so I highly recommend checking it out for yourself. About.com also has similar (but seemingly less extensive) language sections for German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin and Spanish.
RFI.fr (Radio France Internationale)
There’s a wealth of information here, but what I like best is the “Understanding the News” section, about halfway down the page. You can read the script, listen, and download an mp3 of the report, which is written in more simple French so it’s easier to understand. This might be a great resources for teachers, who can combine French and current events curricula in one lesson.
When I did my five-week stay in Chicoutimi, Quebec, I found that one of the things I really enjoyed about my visit was learning about Francophone music. Isn’t music what brings cultures together?
MusiquePlus offers French music videos by artists such as Bénabar, Indochine, Stromae or Vanessa Paradis that you might find you like, as well as current chart toppers in English. To find out the lyrics, try ParolesMania.com.
For postsecondary students
Unfortunately, the deadline for 2012 applications has passed, but for university and college students who can afford the time and travel fees, check out the Explore program. It’s totally worth it for a five-week intensive French (or English) language immersion program where you really only have to pay for your registration fee ($200), travel costs, incidentals and personal spending. Participants receive a bursary that covers tuition for the program (you have classes Monday to Friday for five weeks), meals and accommodation. If your own school permits, you may even be able to use the course credit toward graduating.
I highly recommend doing this program with a homestay family in a more remote city in Quebec (like Chicoutimi or Trois-Rivières) to be fully immersed in a French environment (where you can’t cheat and speak English!). It’s amazing what you can learn through necessity.
The BBC actually has a great section for learning French, with lots of interactive media like quizzes and videos and games. There’s even an interactive video course so that you can get a BBC certificate in 12 weeks. You can also find links to online courses, games and a placement test.
For simpler vocabulary and pronunciation, you can try the Primary Languages page (for French, Spanish and Mandarin), which seems a little too hard or boring for school age kids (since there’s way too much text).
Language classes (if you live in Quebec)
If you live in Quebec, check out the Quebec Immigration et Communautés culturelles (MICC) site for information on learning French in Quebec. If you qualify, MICC classes (held in conjunction with postsecondary institutions and schools) could be available for free. If your computer meets the technological requirements, you could also take the MICC’s online course.
In addition, the YMCAs of Quebec offer lower-cost classes in French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Mandarin, Japanese, German and Arabic.
If you’ve read any of the three parts in this series on Resources for Learning a New Language, I hope you’ve found something useful and enjoyable. There are certainly advantages to learning and using a second language regularly, such as (mental) health benefits, making travel more enjoyable, and allowing access to a world of new friends with the ability to communicate.
Image Source: Espresso-Jobs