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What resources are you using to study French after finishing Duolingo tree?

If you've finished the Duolingo tree, I'm curious to hear how you are continuing to study French? I'm hoping to see if there are some ideas that will be good for me too.

I finished the French tree but for a review I am reworking my way through it. I tried the reverse tree, but redoing the French tree seems to be more valuable.

I also am taking a weekly A1 level French class at the Alliance Française as well as working my way through "Easy French Reader" published by McGraw Hill.

Most recently, I've started working my way through the FSI French Phonology course which you can find free online. It is primarily focused on pronunciation and the rhythm of the language.

February 9, 2018



Read books. Lots of books. Try to devote at least an hour each day to reading a book in the other language. Start with material you are familiar with; the first books I read in German were translations of Harry Potter, because it was something I knew intimately in English, and I had a copy in English that I could consult if I ever got /really/ lost. Me, I like to get pdf's and have the text on one half of my screen with wiktionary and a notepad open on the other half. Any time I run across a word I don't recognize (be honest with yourself! it's about learning new words, not about getting through the text!) I highlight the word on the pdf, look it up on wiktionary, and make a basic flashcard in a subdeck for my master [Language] deck in Anki. Once I finish reading for the day I go back and review the highlighted words and make each highlighted word's respective sentence/clause into a cloze deletion card for a separate [Language Cloze Exercises] deck. That way I don't only see the word, but I also see it in use with conjugational, syntactic, and semantic context.

As you read, make sure you're periodically asking yourself questions about the text - not just what's going on in the story, but about grammatical elements. In my Latin classes professors would always do this and so it's become a habit I have whenever I'm reading in another language now: "Can you parse this verb? What tense is this in? Why is this in subjunctive? Why is this using de instead of à?" That sort of thing. Any time you're confused about why something is in the tense or mood that it is in, look it up, and make a cloze deletion card for it. If the sentence is, say "Je doute qu'il ait raconté cela" and you need to remember that doubting -> subjunctive, then your card should look like this: "Je doute qu'il <avoir> raconté cela.

Reading is going to seem really hard at first. Don't panic! The first chapter of the first Harry Potter book I read in German took me 4 hours to get through and I had something like 400 new flashcards to review by the end of it. However, as you continue reading, you'll start to notice that the author repeats a lot of the same words over and over again. Chapter two for me took 3 hours and only had 100 new words. Chapter 3 took me 2 and a half hours and had 20. By the end of book 1, I was reading at about the same speed as I read academic texts in English and only having to consult my dictionary here and there, mostly for clarification or to remind myself of a word I'd already written down.

Basically once you've learned the grammar of the language, you're realistically like a tenth to a fifth of the way towards learning the language. Now you need reps. Reps all the time, everywhere you can get them. The biggest tools towards you learning the language are in your own mind: having the fortitude to force yourself to practice each and every day; even when you're tired or feeling lazy or have been working all day or have a party to go to in the evening or just don't feel like you're making any progress or getting better at all; and secondly: approaching the task with a mentality that focuses on process rather than results.

I'd say the biggest error people make when learning languages is when they get to that ~40/50% threshhold - the conjugation is mostly internalized, they know which conjugations to use when kinda but it's all hazy, they have a vocabulary of 1000-1500 words down pat, which is good enough for like 80% of newspaper articles, but full-on novels would still be quite tough for them. They're good enough to get around and make themselves understood (albeit with difficulty), but any conversation longer than a couple minutes is probably going to end up as an awkward trainwreck. This is a level of mastery where it's fairly common (at least in my experience) to see people start calling themselves "fluent" in the language. They aren't, and any extended interaction would immediately reveal that fact, but they're often not around people who can or would call them out on it so it becomes a point of pride for them. Being able to call themselves fluent becomes more important than actually becoming fluent, and so they ignore or avoid any evidence that would confront them with the fact that they aren't. And so they end up plateauing, because language learning is about failure. It's about exposing yourself to the possibility of failure, and then, when you finally find it, meeting it with a chuckle and nod and then building a system to ensure you don't make that mistake again. When you stop doing this, when you stop intentionally making yourself uncomfortable, you stop growing. This is why immersion is such an effective tool for learning a language. You can't hide behind pride; being confronted with the possibility of failure becomes a part of everyday life, it becomes a necessary part of survival. What happens when you want bread but you forget the word for baker? You can't just default back to English when the going gets tough; nobody speaks English! You have to look the word up, or else find a way to ask someone via pantomime, because otherwise you aren't getting bread!

So if you're not in a position where you can be immersed, you have to immerse yourself. And by that I mean you have to self-consciously expose yourself every day to the possibility of failure. Never stop asking yourself "why is this like that? Do I /really/ know what this word means? Did I hear and comprehend every word that was just said, or do I need to listen to it again?" And if the answer is "I don't know" or "No, I didn't really understand it". Don't be defeated, don't be morose. Celebrate! "Hooray! I get to learn something new today!" Whenever I'm reading and I stumble across a word I don't know, as I'm writing down the flashcard I regularly find myself saying "Oooh that'll be a good/cool/neat word to know!" It's not something I do consciously, it's merely a product of the mentality I've adopted from studying 6 languages over the last nearly-decade-and-a-half. Learn to develop a mentality like that, and then commit yourself to practicing every day. And when I say every day, I mean /every day/. Don't cheat. Don't skimp out. Don't tell yourself it's good enough. Learning a language is a lifelong undertaking. It will never be finished. You will always find something new that you didn't know or didn't understand fully. Embrace that fact. Celebrate it.


Felicitations! I like really tv5monde.com, for practising comprehension. Lawless French is my go to site to brush up on any grammer detail. I also really like coffee break french podcast, especially season 4 and 5. I also recommend the reverse tree, english to french, way more of a challenge as you need to reply in french. Mostly now I am trying to read articles online, My tablet has a built in dictionary so it makes reading pretty easy. I also like to watch shorts and animated series online, like Mofy. The phonology course sounds interesting, I am going to check it out!


I like podcasts -- Francais Autentique is a good one, or News in Slow French


authentique, tu veux dire?


Lingvist is a good app to try for vocabulary and French usage.


Netflix original TV shows and movies are actually fantastic for learning French because you can set both the audio and the subtitles to French, or just one or the other...

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.