Should I be listening to the French language?

Should I be listening to the French language in the form of TV shows and movies, audio books, music, podcasts, etc.?

I just started learning French and would be unable to understand a hint of whats being said. Does it matter that I can't? Is it good to just be listening to the language?

I'm also attempting to read a french book but its proving to be frustrating for me. Is it ok that I basically just put a paragraph into Google Translate and go over each word?

Outside of Duolingo I'm unsure of how to properly go about learning the language.

EDIT: Thank you to all the replies! I will work to put your suggestions into motion and learn more each day now! If anyone else is wanting to leave their reply I still appreciate it. Much love! :) ♥

December 8, 2016


Yes! It's worth checking your DVD box sets, some may have a French dub, and I'd recommend watching without English subtitles as they don't always match what is actually being said. (Personally I find that very annoying, but others don't mind.) If it's a box set you are familiar with and enjoy, you won't mind not understanding every word as you are already familiar with the story and thus not "missing out." Reading novels is very tiring, and slow. Worth looking for some graphic novels instead (comics) the balance of text to pictures in a comic make the experience more enjoyable and intuitive, and the French love beautifully drawn comics for grown ups (I'd always return with a sack of them every time I visited Paris.) Be aware that European comics written for Grown ups will contain adult themes though!

December 8, 2016

great point about comics being a balance of text and pictures. what's your favourite comic or graphic novel in french? i'm only familiar with tintin and asterix, which i read decades ago in english.

December 8, 2016

I love La Quête de l'oiseau du temps, the artwork by Loisel is gorgeous.

(You can find it in English too, just search for Loisel on Amazon.) My other fave is Percevan.

My habit when visiting Paris was to try and flick through comics before buying, as I'm trying to find good artwork and a good story. Finding both together can be difficult!

And yes, I grew up with Asterix (in French and English, the puns in the English translations are actually rather good) Tintin (in English), and Lucky Luke (in French.)

I probably could read a novel in French, but... I'd rather enjoy a good graphic novel, comic shops in the UK are disappointing after you've been rummaging in Fnac.

December 8, 2016

If you're learning French and you want to improve your speaking and talk with others as fluent as a French speaker, you have to do so :)

December 8, 2016

I have several French readers. The newer ones are better. "Easy French Reader" and "Joie de Lire" are both good. I also constantly buy French and Irish books and yes, I use google translate all the time (it is better with French than with Irish) to look up words I don't know. As for watching shows youtube just has so many but I like this one. They don't give you too, too many words at once and they keep it simple and slow enough to understand, plus it is entertaining.

December 9, 2016

[deactivated user]

    As somebody in the same boat, but further down the river...

    Should you be listening to French media? Why not? I will first suggest though that you find media that has subtitles in it, that helps bring together your languages. For example, in Netflix, watch French movies subtitled in English. Le Chef, Amelie... Don't forget about video instruction. I highly recommend you watch 'Learn French with Alexa' on YouTube. You'll get both examples and explanations. Also on YouTube, look up French music and go wild! Many popular songs have been translated into many languages, so check out the YouTube songs you find on I love that site! Check out Norman - La jalousie en couple... very funny!

    December 8, 2016

    watching french media is good and also it is really good to have an hour a day with somebody else also learning french or already fluent where you only speak french no english allowed

    December 8, 2016

    I would recommend doing so with both French videos and French subtitles since there's a fair bit of difference between the spoken and written language and it will help you learn one from the other.

    December 8, 2016

    oui! i suggest playing french radio or any other french audio in the background whenever you have the chance, even if you're not actively listening and even if you don't understand anything, as it will help you get a feel of how the language sounds.

    another great way to learn (this time more actively, by associating sounds with written words) is to follow a transcript while listening to audio. "journal en français facile" is a good place to start, and it's only 10 minutes long.

    i started a routine a few days ago of listening to it once in the morning and another time at night. i find that it helps if i scan through news sites in english before that, so i'm familiar with current issues and can sometimes guess the meaning through context.

    another way is to find a french song you like and google for its lyrics.

    i don't give myself pressure when listening to the news - i'm happy to just listen and follow along without comprehension - but if certain words are repeated often enough (and they will be, for daily news), i might look them up in the dictionary. tenses and grammar don't worry me at the moment.

    as for songs, i've decided to learn one a week, so i make an effort to look up what i don't understand (not necessarily in one go). for that entire week, i will set all my alarms to that song so i'm bombarded by it, and i write down its lyrics in a notebook so i can refresh my memory and sing along silently whenever there is free time.

    watching movies while reading french subtitles has also been recommended, but is not something i've tried yet:

    re reading a french book (i'm curious - what are you reading?), i'd suggest taking things easy. if you're a beginner, maybe set yourself a target of just one sentence a day - any more would be a bonus. or, instead of a book, maybe read an article that really, really interests you, or a children's story of which you already know the plot?

    i think, subconsciously, the idea that "wow, i actually read the three little pigs in french, and understood most of it!" would boost your motivation for learning much more than "aaargh, what on earth is 'fut'?"

    December 8, 2016

    Thanks for the resources and tips! Will check these out. It was suggested in these forums that 'Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry' might be one of the easier French books to read, so currently I'm reading that. I guess I should try smaller books though as you suggested :)

    December 8, 2016

    i started with that too years ago, but got lazy after a while =)

    if you want to go ahead with le petit prince, maybe you could read the english version first before tackling it, or have both versions side by side. or you can also listen to an audio recording of it. this one comes with french, english and spanish subtitles.

    December 9, 2016

    yes of course, it helps you pick up words just like when u were a baby. also, DO NOT USE GOOGLE TRANSLATE! it is NOT reliable!

    December 10, 2016

    Fantastic for a new learner is to watch DVDs of Leo et Popi - a French TV series for preschool children. It has lots of simple, useful vocab and phrases. And to read books designed for very young children, and those designed for French children just starting to learn to read.

    December 10, 2016
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