39 awesome free resources for learning French language & culture!

Have you ever been preparing for something so carefully and thoroughly that you ended up having no time to actually take action? I have! I love planning very much because you see – I love chaos, but only in art. My desk, lists, plans need to be organised, and before I do something, I like to have a plan. This is why I haven’t got down to French yet, but I have made quite a long lists of resources useful for learning. If learning French is a battle, then… well, I have my army now!

If you want to learn French, but haven’t had time to find resources or you are just looking for new material to spice things up with your studying… this may be a post for you!

The post will be divided into 5 main categories for better navigation. 3,2,1… Ladies and gentlemen, I have a pleasure to show you my ultimate list of 37 resources for learning French language and culture!

*Note: some of the resources I listed aren’t strictly language related, but rather cultural, showing you France and French culture, what I think could be a great motivation in any language studies!

39resourcesforlearningfrench

Websites & Apps

There are plenty of websites and apps for learning French, but I’ve chosen to list only these I can vouch for in 100% because I have used them for a long time. The list will be probably updated every now and then,  so it’s likely to get longer!

Duolingo

Good for: building your vocabulary, learning grammar and pronunciation. It’s available both as a website and as an app. Fun, and easy way to get started with foreign languages!

Memrise 

Good for: building up your vocabulary, learning grammar, revising words you’ve already learnt. There are plenty free vocabulary boards to choose from, my first choice was: “Learn French for Polyglots” and so far I’ve liked it a lot. Available both as a website and as an app.

Anki

Good for: building up your vocabulary and revising words you’ve learnt. Its formula is very minimalistic, but this is what makes it effective for many people. Boards I’ve downloaded and liked: 5000 Most Common French Words and French 10000 sentences (easiest to hardest). Available as a program and an app.

Lang-8

Good for: practising your writing skills. The formula is easy: you write a post and get it checked by a native speaker or somebody who’s good at your target language. In return, you check works of people learning your native language. Full cooperation and a nice way to improve your writing skills!

Lyrictranslate.com

Good for: anyone who loves music! You can access the translations of your favorite French songs. Helpful in improving your listening skills and  learning new words, plus the music is said to be effective in teaching you new words, too.

Lyricsgap.com

Good for: music fans! The website’s all about typing words of the songs you’re listening to so it definitely helps to improve your listening skills + pronunciation, too.

Lyricstraining.com

Good for: anyone who loves music! You type the words to songs you hear, so you definitely exercise your listening skills.

Yokee Karaoke (App)

Good for: anyone who loves singing! Of course, it’s also a killer tool for improving your pronunciation in a fun way! I’m trying to learn “Andalouse” by Kendji Girac, and though I’m not the best singer, I enjoy it very much. 🙂 

 

Youtube

I’ve always loved Youtube and I always will. Since I’ve stumbled upon its educational side thanks to John Green, I’ve been using it to become smarter, and honestly… this is probably one of my favorite ways of learning. I decided to give it a try with languages too, and it works very well for me. Below there’s a list of 6 channels for French learners that you might like:

Comme une Française

Good for: everyone who is interested in French culture. You can find out how not to behave in France or what kind of candy French people like to buy, to name a few topics discussed on the channel. With new videos every week,  it’s a nice addition to a learning routine, plus the host is pretty amazing, too.

Alexa Polidoro

Good for: learning grammar. Alexa’s channel is full of many useful videos, including vocabulary ones, but grammar videos probably make her stand out the most. She has published tons of them, so her channel’s definitely helpful when it comes to grammar learning. She has also made a great playlist for learning French pronunciation. Definitely worth subscribing!

French from beginners to advanced

Good for: everything and for every French learner. This channel is just so full of learning material that it’s good for everything. Grammar, vocabulary – everything you could wish for… you’ll find there! Honestly speaking it’s probably one of the best language channels on Youtube if it not the best one. The amount of free material is just outstanding. A+ isn’t enough to rate it.

Francais Authentique

Good for: improving your listening skills and getting used to “authentic” French. It’s not exactly suitable for beginners since it’s only in French, but advanced and intermediate speakers could make use of it, so this is why I decided to include it here. Beginners… we can save it for later – when we master French a little bit more!

Learn French with French Pod101.com

Good for: improving your listening skills and building up your vocabulary. With shorts videos published every week this Youtube channel can be a nice addition to a regular learning routine.

Francais avec Pierre

Good for: building up your vocabulary and comprehension skills. One of the nicest and most fun language channels out there.

Learn French with Pierre

Good for:  grammar practice, building up your vocabulary, enhancing your listening skills. 

Podcasts

As you might know, I strongly believe that podcasts are excellent resources for becoming smarter and learning in general. I subscribe to many podcasts and listen to them only daily basis. Since they also work for learning languages I thought I would share some of them with you! Note: I listen to them on my phone using PodcastAddict app, but you can also listen to podcasts online via links I provided in this post.

Language  orientated podcasts: vocabulary, grammar, listening, pronunciation 

Coffee Break French

Real life French: French for beginners

Learn French by Podcast

Learn French with daily podcasts

 

Language + Culture

French etc >> French songs

Talk in French podcast

Instagram

Instagram has been gaining popularity for some time now, and it is definitely here to stay. Aside from being an excellent resource for fashion, beauty, and fitness lovers… it’s also quite a nice platform for learning! Instagrams posts added to your timeline don’t take much time, but it’s always that one word you’ve seen or that one sentence you’ve stumbled upon and you’re ahead of yourself. You can also explore French culture on Instagram, and for me, it’s a great motivational tool!

Language: tips, vocabulary, grammar

French journal

It’s all about the French

French everyday

Lyra French

Talk in French

Frencheezee

Frenchlessons_Paris

All french grammar

French_by_Agathe

Culture & France in photos

French moments

Visit la France

Top France photo

 

Facebook

Facebook is probably the most powerful social network of today’s world, so its presence on my list doesn’t need any explanation. Of course, it’s a dangerous friend of procrastination, but if you don’t let it befriend you too much – it’s all good!

Language & Language tips

FluentU French

Learn French with French Today

Francisation

Culture

My French Neighbour

The Good Life France

Feels Like Home in Paris

 

That would be my full list of free French resources! I hope it will come handy to you. Let me know in comments what you think about the list and what would you add there – your feedback is always helpful! 🙂

What are your favourite ways to learn languages? What languages are you learning right now? I would love to hear your stories!

Have a lovely day,

Jessie

 

 

6 awesome Youtube channels for learning Spanish!

Learning a foreign language is a long journey, both exciting and tiring at times. It’s easy to fall into a routine and lose all joy of a learning process.   Who can save the day if  we do? Variety, since it makes things fun and interesting again! Myself, I love adding video materials into my learning plans. My video Wonderland’s Youtube – you could find anything you want there and it’s all free! That’s why I would love to present to you my ultimate list of 6 awesome Youtube channels for learning Spanish! 

  1. Butterfly Spanish

Butterfly Spanish is probably my favourite Youtube channel for learning Spanish! Her bubbly personality and “i-will-explain-you-everything-step-by-step-without-making-you-feel-stupid” attitude is everything I need to love the language even more. She covers material both for beginners and more advanced learners. Grammar, phrases, vocabulary – Butterfly Spanish gives you everything you need! 🙂

         2. French & Spanish with LanguageComics

Short comics in Spanish (and French too!) every week are a great way to learn new words in an interesting way. Most of them are either funny or sarcastic, sometimes both. I would definitely recommend you to subscribe to it, especially if you’re learning French, too! Two birds with one stone. 😉

        3. Senor Jordan

Songs to make you memorise words, muppet videos, catchy phrases to get stuck in your  head… Senor Jordan has it all! Domingo, Lunes, Martes… Catchy, isn’t it? 🙂

        4. Spanish lessons Paco

This channel’s all about comics, but they also make you repeat phrases at the end of the video, which I find really helpful. Sometimes a direct request from somebody works better than our self-discipline, right? At least it works better for me! I believe it’s a great way to indulge more Spanish into our daily lives. 4 minutes may not be much, but it’s still better than nothing!

        5.  Learn Spanish with SpanishPod101.com

I really love this channel – particularly because it’s full of great listening exercises. As much as it’s relatively easy to find channels full of vocabulary finding listenings is harder. When I started learning English I was afraid of listenings because I couldn’t understand much, but I know I’ve learnt to understand language more thanks to them.  Anyway, weekly vocabulary videos with Rosa are also something to look forward to!

       6. Telemundo

Telemundo is an American broadcast television network, who produces TV shows and telenovelas in Spanish.  On their official Youtube channel, there are lots of Spanish TV shows to get used to the language more! They have subtitles in English, so you could understand the plot before you are fluent in Spanish. 🙂 I watch “Bajo el Mismo Cielo”  and I really like it, but there are plenty other shows to choose from too, so explore and explore because there’s always more.. 😉

These are all  Youtube recommendations I have for you now. When it comes to indulging in the culture of the Spanish-speaking world I would definitely recommend you to visit My heart of Mexico by Fabiola. She’s a Mexican blogger, and thanks to her I definitely know more about Mexico than I did before!

 

If you want to follow my journey in learning languages, reading books and becoming a bit smarter every day then I would be more than happy if you subscribed to my blog! More Spanish, French and other languages too… this is what I have in store for you! Thanks for reading and supporting me. You’re awesome!

For everyone who would like to save the list for later here’s a little infographic. It’s my first one, so I hope I will get better with time. Enjoy! 🙂

Adiós mis amigos,

Jessie

 

The ultimate FREE website to make your language learning easier!

Salut friends! How are you doing? You might be wondering why I’m so overdramatic with titles now, but there’s one simple explanation: the website is truly cool. Also, being overdramatic is kind of my thing, and if this is my scarlet letter, I might as well make it my little paper trademark and ignore the existence of millions other drama queens. Duh, at least, this kingdom’s mine. Until the power goes off. I hope they won’t cut me off. Anyway, let’s get back to the subject: language learning!

No matter what kind of language you are learning you might know the struggle of not knowing if you wrote your text just right. If you are still in school, then maybe your teachers will check it. If you have your own tutor or study buddy more advanced than you are, well, you’re a lucky fellow. What happens if you don’t? You have to make it work, too, and you can. For free and from your cozy room. That’s completely true.  Let me introduce you to… Lang-8! Here are 5 things to know:

 

  • It teaches to write like a pro in your target language! That’s the entire idea behind Lang-8. You write your text, and  native speaker checks it for you, often offering useful insight into errors you made and how to avoid them. In return, you check works of people learning your native language. Win-win since two sides are happy, kindness multiplies, and money’s safe in your wallet. Plus, your writing gradually improves.
  •  It is completely free! Of course, there’s a premium version, as in almost every other website/app out there, but the basic one can be more than enough for effective language learning. If you want to learn more than two languages at the same time then you need to buy the premium version. As two foreign languages are already quite much, I guess the basic version should be a good option for many of us.  I’ve been using it for quite some time, and I believe it can fulfill the most important learning desires well enough. Here’s to that extra cash to spend on coffee and books… or something else out of this world!
  • It creates a sense of community! By correcting mistakes of other people, and being corrected yourself, you support others in their journey and you are supported, too. It makes the whole experience a lot more meaningful because it bonds people. In result, it can make the learning process more exciting and inspiring.  Plus, you can meet some pretty awesome people. Never enough of those, right?
  • It gives you lots of options! Unlike like many other websites, Lang-8’s learning offer is truly the definition of variety.  You can learn one of 90 languages available on the website. Pretty impressive, isn’t it? Finally, those of us, who are learning  unpopular languages have a chance to take advantage of everything internet can give in 100%.  
  • If you take, you give. Maybe it seems like a little thing but I believe that the fact that you have to help somebody else to be helped is a brilliant idea. Too often we take everything for granted and want it all… not giving anything to the world itself. A small attitude lesson along with language learning will never go out of style!

That would be everything I want to tell you today. Thanks for reading, and remember that…

Forever and always! May Force be with you!

Yours truly,

Jessie

The Arabic Wonderland!

Imagine peaceful music filled with nostalgia reminding you of beautiful moments, which are in the past now. A sweet voice sings about lost love, and it’s incredibly sad but you’ve never heard anything so beautiful before. It doesn’t matter you understand only a word or two if anything at all. This is how I entered The Arabic Wonderland. It has been interesting, terrifying, beautiful, challenging and everything between, and I feel like Alice –  lost in Wonderland, longing for home, yet not wanting the adventure to end. I would like to invite you to a journey through Hills of the Unknown – Arabic! You might be surprised with what you can find if you look a bit closer… Will you trust me? Let’s go! And… hello!

                      Source/copyrights: pinimg.com

The kingdom of Arabic alphabet has 28 letter citizens. Each letter can have up to four alternate versions, depending on its position in a word. There’s an independent version, an initial version,  a medial  version and a final version. You can think of it like that: there are 4 sides of the Arabic letter you can get to know, and if you do, no more surprises for you! At least not when it comes to the alphabet!

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These are independent versions of all letters. You can see all of their 4 versions below: 

  Source/copyrights: pinimg.com

It takes some time to get used to writing like this but honestly speaking after a few weeks you’ll write it like there’s no tomorrow since it is not the hardest part of the Arabic. At least, after you take it up, because the alphabet can, indeed, look scary!

There are three long vowels in Arabic: ي, ا, و.  (Waaw, Alif, Yaa’) Nevertheless, Arabic also uses short vowels, perhaps even more often than long ones.

They are called Fatha, Casra and Damma.

 

They look basically like this. Damma is a short “u” sound, Kasra a “i” sound  and Fatha a “a” sound. 

The word above means  “He wrote”. It consists of letters: Kaaf, Taa, Baa. Since these sounds exist in English you could read it as “Kataba”. See, no vowels in the word, but fathas are there to save the day and make it easier to pronounce!

Most of the Arabic words don’t have  so-called “vocalization”, aside from The Koran and the Bible, but after some time you start to know what the word means and how you should read it. When two words look the same but have different meanings, vocalization’s used to differentiate between them.

That would be all for today, I hope I didn’t sound too boring since Arabic really does deserve to be given a right treatment. You can read my previous posts about Arabic: “Arabic: Easier than you think!” and Sing me your Disney song… in Arabic! here.

I hope you’re doing fine, and ’till the next time!

Yes, I couldn’t end it any other way. Youtube’s just too awesome to be forgotten! I’m going to dedicate Maha an entire blog post soon, but for now…  Thank you for your support, you’re simply the best!

Source: dubaidoodles.com

 

Have a lovely day,

Jessie

Sing me your Disney song… in Arabic!

Hello or simply: Marhaban guys! How are you doing? Is life good? I’m  listening to music now, and thinking of all things, which I have to do this upcoming week, and God knows the list seems to go on and on. That’s a right cure for October’s blues – being too busy to let it get to our hearts. Anyway, welcome to my language zone. Today I will focus on Arabic, even though my Spanish post is coming soon, too. When I think music… the word “soul” comes to my mind quickly and doesn’t want to leave. Music can capture more of a language magic that any textbook  ever could. And who doesn’t love Disney movies? Yeah, I know, you might know somebody who hates them, but most of us are never too old to watch them.

 how dare you not to love them….? 😉

That’s why I ended up listening to Disney songs… in Arabic! It surely helped me discover new shades of Arabic and get used to its texture. Here’s my list of  your favorite Disney songs in Arabic! Enjoy the ride. 

  1. Frozen – Let it go

From the very start, it sounds a bit different. “The snow tonight is a sand desert” we can read, as Elsa sings, and it does feel very Arabian. I liked the song, but I feel like the original  track is way more powerful as this singer’s voice doesn’t scream Elsa that much. Still, it was a great experience to hear “Let it go” in Arabic!

     2. The Little Mermaid – Part Of Your World

Wow, this one is so charming! Definitely has Ariel’s touch in it. Did you also adore her when you were younger? I did!

       3. Mulan – Reflection

Let’s talk about perfection, because here it is! This version truly does the song justice. I loved it from the beginning to the end! I’m sure  that at some point many of us wanted to  sing what Mulan sang, in Arabic or not.

        4. Aladdin – A Whole New World

I think this one may have more magic about itself than other versions of Disney songs since it could be sung in Arabic in the original movie as well. Absolutely lovely — that’s it! Give me my Aladdin, please!

       5. Beauty and the Beast – Belle Reprise

I love how Belle it sounds! I know I’m telling it all the time, but this time… it’s super accurate! Plus, sentences said, in the beginning, are great for language learning.

     6. Sleeping beauty – Keys to the kingdom

I may be biased, because I know Christina personally, but her voice in this song is absolutely amazing. Please, check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

Note: I, by no means, own any rights to these videos, and I shared links to them with you to promote Arabic language.

That’s about it! Do you love any of these songs? Are you surprised by how they sound in Arabic? Let me know please! Besides, thank you for your time, or maybe: شكرا ! I truly appreciate your support! Stay tuned for more posts about Arabic, and other languages too!

Have a lovely day,

Jessie

Arabic: Easier than you think!

Marhaban! Hello! How are you doing guys? Myself, I’m enjoying the last week of my vacations. How fast time flies! It’s already autumn, leaves are falling, and I’m about to discover a whole new world: the world of the Arabic language. I assume that some of you might be possibly interested in the Arabic language, but are afraid of its form – especially the alphabet. It’s possible to learn Arabic in a fun way, no matter how difficult it seems.

Source: Deviantart

I believe that to learn languages better we should start to like them first. If you like something, you’re bound to do it more willingly, and that’s exactly what we aim for.

When it comes to Arabic, you have to remember that so many people speak Arabic, that there are many varieties of the language: we call them dialects. Main dialects include:

  • Egyptian Arabic
  • Levantine Arabic (Jordan, Syria, Palestine and Syria)
  • Iraqi Arabic
  • North African Arabic (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya)
  • Gulf Arabic (Bahrain, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait)
  • Najdi Arabic (Central Saudi Arabia)

These are only the main ones. Sometimes differences between dialects are rather small, sometimes quite big.  My Moroccan friend says it’s quite hard for other Arabic speaking people to understand their dialect, and it says a lot about how complex Arabic actually is. Don’t get too stressed out: there’s something called Modern Standard Arabic. It’s widely used in TV and newspapers across the Arab world, so it’s understood. It makes it the perfect base for learning dialects. Once you are very familiar with MSA, dialects will become easy to you. You might ask: why would I learn dialect if they can understand me? Well, imagine you started talking like Shakespeare’s characters do. Maybe I’m  exaggerating now, but… Even though people will understand you, it will sound funny to them. To communicate, they use their dialects, not MSA. MSA is a perfect start, though!

Source: masjidansar.com

First thing: get used to the language. Listen to songs, watch some movies. Who cares that you don’t understand a thing? It may be fun to speculate what they’re talking about! Plus, create a learning plan. You want to stay consistent. Let’s say: you choose to study twice a week for one hour. Write it in your calendar, and make it work! Every language in the world shows you something else in everything you have ever known, so give it a chance. You can do it!

Anyway, the next posts will be all about the alphabet and my favorite learning channels, so stay tuned!  The least, but not last: The song in Arabic for you to enjoy!

Thanks for sticking with me, you’re great!

Have a lovely day,

Jessie

Me gusta la música: Learning Spanish with music!

Hi, Hola, Marhaban! Welcome to my language zone. Today I can officially invite you to its Spanish sector, which you will hopefully like. As a passionate learner, I love looking for interesting materials and tools, which make learning even more amazing, and I would love to share my findings with you! As I’m a total beginner, my series is mainly aimed at people, who want to learn Spanish or have just started, and are still beginners. Of course, it will change, as I will progress, but now… I’m starting from the scratch! Posts from my Spanish zone should appear every week, and if I’m extremely busy – every two weeks. I’ll do my best to be consistent. Anyway, let’s get started — no better way to get ahead!

Source: http://www.morecambehigh.com

Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages out there, and it’s surely very interesting. I’ve become interested in Spanish, when I became a huge Shakira fan. She’s absolutely amazing, and I wanted to understand what she’s singing about. It took me long before I actually started, though. I didn’t really know  how to do it, but I believe I do now, and you can read my post about getting started here. Anyway, I made so many mistakes, but I got right one thing: music! As they say:

Source: pinfrases.com

Yes, you got it right: music connects people! It also helps you become more motivated to learn a foreign language, and makes a connection between the language and you! Plus, even if you don’t notice, you are starting to get used to the language, its tone, and pronunciation just by listening to it. You might not understand a single word, but your brain still listens and learns, and it’s a great preparation for an actual learning process! That’s why I’ll share with you some of my favorite songs in Spanish, most of them with English subtitles. Here we go!

1. Shakira – La Tortura 

I love Shakira so much, plus… this song is pure magic!

2. Pablo Alborán – Solamente tú

Such a sweet song to listen to!

3.  Selena Quintanilla-Pérez  – Como La Flor

Who doesn’t love Selena Quintanilla- Pérez? Selena, the world will always remember you.

4. Eiza – Te Acordarás De Mi

You can find its translation here. It’s so catchy, isn’t it?

5. Natalia Oreiro – Cambio Dolor

You can find its translation here. I feel old, when I listen to this song, as it’s from a soap opera, which was extremely popular in Poland, when I was 7 or so!

There are many other songs I adore, and I will share them with you in my future posts. If you have any songs to recommend me, I would love to see your comments! I’m always open for new music, especially in Spanish!

Source: iealmeria.com

One more thing: I’ll also start my series about Arabic language, which I will be studying at the university this fall. That’s not everything what I have in store for you in the language zone – I know some of you don’t speak English as your first language, and neither do I, so I’ll share with you some tips from my own journey to total fluency. Last, but not least info I have for you – those who are willing to learn my mother tongue – Polish are warmly welcomed too, as I would be honored to help you master my lovely language. Thanks for sticking with me, you’re absolutely amazing! To make sure you’ll always stay tuned, you can like my Facebook Page.

What’s your favorite song in Spanish? Would you like to take Spanish up? Please let me know in comments! I would also be honored if you could share this post with anyone, who wants to give Spanish a go!

Have a lovely day,
Jessie

Language mode on: How to start learning a foreign language?

Hello guys! How are you doing? My September has been pretty nice so far, and I’m excited to see what it brings. Today my language mode is on. What does it mean? Lots of language love, of course!  I would love to master so many foreign languages, but when it comes to actually getting things done, well it’s much harder, isn’t it? Therefore, today’s post is all about starting. As Mark Twain said: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started”, so how to get down to work and make it work?

Source: http://www.downhamprep.co.uk

  1. Choose a language you’re actually interested in. Going for something only because it sounds “kinda” cool, and everyone else is learning it makes you far more likely to give up. If you choose something, what truly interests you or can come handy in the future instead, you will be most likely more motivated to stay on the right learning track.
  2. It’s all about s.m.a.r.t goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound. Don’t think too big, or too small. Assess how much time you’re willing and able to spend learning a foreign language and make your learning plan based on it. Just like you can’t run marathon after a day of a running training, learning languages also requires time. Be patient and consistent – all great things take some effort.
  3. Immerse yourself. Do more than just learning new words and grammar. Start exploring the vibrant side of  a language you’re learning. Watch movies and TV shows, listen to music, read books and newspapers.
  4. Find somebody to talk to! Speaking is a very important part of learning a foreign language, yet we tend to forget about it.  Look for somebody, who is also learning the language or is a native speaker. It will definitely help, because it’s just so cool to have a learning buddy. It will keep you more excited and inspired to practice. Where to find people interested in a language exchange? Penpal, Interpals, Italki.  I’ll talk more about these websites soon.
  5. Practice, practice, practice! The key to mastership is practice. You can’t just skip it and hope you’ll suddenly become a master. It just doesn’t work like that. Prepare yourself for a lot of hard work, and remember… it pays off!
  6. Don’t force it! When you’re overwhelmed, just give yourself a short break. Are short-term results better than long-term ones? Absolutely not. Don’t overdo it. Be consistent instead, and watch yourself become better everyday. Naturally and without rush. You want to become a speaker, and that’s a process, not a task, remember it.

 Source: tumblr

That would be everything I need to say… for now. That’s the first post of many more coming, and you will find them all in “language zone”. What do I have in store for you? Definitely some guides on how to get down to Arabic, Spanish and my native language – Polish. Stay tuned! Thanks for reading, you’re wonderful. Truly and undoubtedly!

Have a lovely day,

Jessie