French can be difficult for native English speakers to learn. One of the five most widely spoken Romance languages, French has its roots in ancient Rome, while the core of English is derived from a Germanic dialect. With some overlap, and a few familiar terms due to intermingling, French and English often end up looking and sounding as different as a croissant and breakfast burrito. Luckily, there are a number of excellent web resources to help students become fluent French speakers. In this guide, we have hand-picked several of the best.
Vocabulary and Grammar
The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) offers a variety of free instructional materials from primary to standard grade French, audio instruction and exercises.
French for Dummies has a number of tools to help with conversational French, including how to make simple sentences and small talk, some common expressions and instruction on how to shop and order food.
French Phrases offers audio files, flashcards, crossword puzzles, word search games and a vocabulary app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
ielanguages.com has flashcards and free basic lessons in vocabulary and phrases, as well as listening and written exercises. A more advanced tutorial is available for purchase.
Language guide.org teaches vocabulary and grammar and offers basic reading exercises. This excellent resource includes spoken instruction so students can hear words and phrases properly pronounced.
Although not very easy to navigate, Project Happy Child offers a comprehensive listing of French words and phrases, including conjugations of the most common verbs. For those students who can look past its awkwardness, this is a great resource for French basics.
Reverso helps students translate, check grammar and spelling, conjugate verbs and even has a dictionary.
The comprehensive and sleek index at Tex’s French Grammar directs students quickly and easily to topics such as negation, prepositions and mood and voice.
Games and Quizzes
200 Tests quizzes students at every level on vocabulary from easy to advanced.
At Bonjour de France, students check their comprehension with interactive reading exercises, in difficulty levels from beginner to advanced.
Improve comprehension and usage while playing French Crosswords.
Students practice and improve pronunciation with French Tongue Twisters.
Test French skills while solving a mystery at Destination Death.
Students can test their knowledge at French Online Grammar Quiz.
At Language Learning Games, students race the clock while unscrambling vocabulary words.
French grammar proficiency may be tested at Transparent Language.
Culture and People
Bonjour La France provides a quick overview of French history.
At Franceway, students can learn of France’s great gastronomic (food and wine) traditions.
Kwintessential has information on French etiquette, culture and customs.
Students can find French email pen pals at My Language Exchange.
Lonely Planet has an interactive map of the entire country, as well as detailed street guides for all of France’s major cities.
At Speak Mania, students can find French pen pals and even chat with them via both audio and video.