How to get a good ear for French?

Hello, What movies, music, shows... do you guys recommend in order to get a good ear for French? I'm able to read it, but if I hear it, then I get really lost. I know there's labs, but is there anything else that can be done to get immersed in the language?

April 24, 2018


First, with any language, learning to hear sounds is a game of filling in the blanks. There are words you understand, and words you don't. But what happens to us is that our mind wants to focus on that blank, and by doing so you miss the words you know after each blank.

Try and listen to short dialogues and just listen. Listen to what you understood, and forget what you didn't. Now, what do you know about what you did understand? Now listen to or watch that video clip again. Next time you'll pick up something new, but again, let the blanks go by for a bit.

One exercise I find very helpful is to watch the news. The thing is though, it's way too fast, and the subject switches up every 30 seconds to a minute, so the vocabulary is all over the place. But with online video streaming, we have the luxury of stop and start. So with news (like le JT sur TF2), pick a story each day - any story. Pick a two to three minute section and watch it 3 to 5 times. Stop and look up a few words.

That 2 minute section can easily become a 20 minute study section. And that will train your ear. And again, don't get frustrated with what you don't hear. Get motivated by what you do hear.

The other thing that's very helpful if you can find some on youtube, is soap opera type TV shows. Something with a cast of characters and setting that's the same all the time. After a while you'll get to know the names and places in the show, and it makes it easier to listen. You'll also start to recognize the vocabulary and such of different characters.

If you're very early on in learning, search for kids book in french on youtube. There's a lot of free content out there for kids that's perfect for early language learning.

Lastly, audiobooks where you can read along. Very helpful.

April 24, 2018

Great suggestion! Also

April 24, 2018

This podcast has helped me A LOT! It's not by far as fast as French people normally speak, but you have to start from somewhere

April 24, 2018

Great recommendation! Thank you. :)

April 24, 2018

Try looking for kid's TV shows. Recently, someone on another forum I frequent posted a YouTube clip of the Austrian kid's TV production of Heidi from 1978, which was dubbed into French. I watched this as a kid dubbed into English and it brought back many happy memories. Apart from this, the first thing I noticed was that the French was spoken very clearly at a reasonable pace - ideal for getting your ear around the pronunciation and flow of the language. So I bought it on DVD and I've been watching it. I still can't understand most of what they say, but I can pick out certain words and phrases, almost enough to help me follow the plot, and I've noticed that my pronunciation is getting a lot better because of it.

April 24, 2018
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Here's an excellent resource to train (not only) your ears:

April 25, 2018

Thank you! A brilliant resource.

April 26, 2018

I always listen to languages and try to pronounce all the sounds. French has the disadvantage that the spelling poorly reflects its pronunciation.
You could familiarize yourself with IPA and learn the different phonemes of the language. You can do this by focusing on word examples like the ones you can find on the Wikipedia page about the language's phonology.

April 24, 2018

If you can get over the 1980's video quality, there is a terrific French immersion series called "French in Action" that is available free online: My overall ability in French is poor but my ability to pick up many common words and phrases and my accent were improved remarkably by this show.

April 25, 2018

I never asked for advice, but drifted to listening to the news. It is very fast and with multiple speakers discussing subjects it gets to be too much.

But, I am recognizing more words and short phrases, so it must be working.

Here are a few links to watch LIVE shows via the Internet:

April 24, 2018
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