Learning French Beyond Duolingo (add your favourites!)

I began Duolingo last December with no prior knowledge of French. I kept going for months on only using this site. I soon realized I needed other ways to learn (let's face it, the robotic voice is a little difficult to hear.) Here, I am going to compile a list of others ways to learn French, whether or not you've completed your tree.

<pre> Websites: </pre>

(all these websites will be free to use, or at least have a free account) -on this website you write journal entries and native speakers will correct them. You, in turn correct other people's entries. It is scored with L points. The more L points you have, the higher your entries will be and more people will correct them. - this is a game-like way to learn more vocab. It has a pretty layout and everything is easy to read. Also the words can be played aloud and the voice isn't robotic. - there are three different accounts you can upgrade to, the first is free and the second is like 8$ a month. This is one of my favourites. You watch YouTube videos of native French speakers with subtitles at the bottom. At the end of the video you go through a "Learn Vocab" section in which the entire video is broken down to segments focusing on new words. There are also "Decks" you can create with your vocab words. I believe they are going to add an "Audio" section soon. my all-time favourite website. This guy named Pascal puts videos on this website (also YouTube, but everything is on his website.) I found this when I had questions about grammar like when to use être vs. avoir in the passé composé. His videos kept popping up. He explains many, many different aspects of grammar, tenses and moods, vocab, the differences between English and French, and A vs B ( donc vs alors ). They are just AMAZING. - There are a few children's stories read by a native speaker. The words are on the screen along with a translation if you choose. A little fast paced, but plenty helpful.

<pre> Songs: </pre>

Stromae: Tous Les Mêmes, Papaoutai, Alors On Danse, Formidable He is a Belgium French singer/songwriter. His songs are very catchy and the tune makes you want to dance. ( Papaoutai is about his father being gone, but the song has a happy beat. )

Homme Autonome - Damien Robitaille Je Veux Tout, Montréal - Ariane Moffatt (QC) Un, Deux, Trois - Amandine Bourgeois Je Te Donne - Leslie Bonne Idée - Corneille Elle A Fait Bébé Toute Seule - Elisa Tovati

Also, Jean Leloup is a great Québecois singer with songs like Johnny Go and I Lost My Baby.

<pre> Books: </pre>

I got a set of Practice Makes Perfect French books on Amazon. It's like the books your teacher would photocopy at school, but it's the entire book. I finished the Basic French one and got 10 more. There's probably 10-20 of theses you can get depending on what you need help with: pronouns and prepositions, verb tenses, advanced grammar, conversation, vocab building, vocab games, reading and comprehension, etc. The answer key is in the back of the book so you can check your answers at the end of every lesson.

I also got a Canadian French dictionary/phrasebook on Amazon (NTC's Dictionary of Canadian French). They Québec ones are hard to find, but Standard French has plenty of books. I don't assume everyone is learning for Canada, so I have limited book recommendations.

<pre> Movies/ TV: </pre>

Le Tableau- it's on Netflix. It's about a people in a painting that are socially divided based on how finished they are. It seems the painter left some of them just sketches and some unfinished. Those who are completely painted are weathly and whatnot. The story follows a few characters from the painting trying to find the painter to finish them and see why he left some unfinished. It's cute !

Aveux, Mirador, La Marraine, J'ai Tué Ma Mère are some good French Canadian films and TV shows. Really, anything Xavier Dolan is good.

<pre> Tips: </pre>

I have changed the keyboard of my laptop, and ZAGG iPad keyboard, to the French QWERTY version ( Canadian multilingual standard is what it's called ) with the Control Panel. It allows easier typing of the accented keys: è, é, à, ç, ï, û.. It does take some getting used to, like the question mark is now shift + 6.

I listen to French music as often as I can and attempt to sing along. Try to find catchy, easy to hear songs. I found a children's song from Kidzup, La Famille / The Family, which I am looking into. It got stuck in my head all day.

Sometimes on shampoo bottles and other appliances there is a French verson of the instructions: try reading that first ! After, you can read the English version to see how well you did.

I changed my Google Chrome and iPhone into French. This forces you to learn some new words or you won't know what you're doing. ( This may be too much for some, especially if you click something that you don't understand. Just be careful, I guess )

The last thing I would suggest would be to not get discouraged. I know the verb tenses, new vocab, and gendered nouns are confusing and seem unecessary, but IT GETS EASIER. I promise. Soon, sentences that seemed to be one long smushed together sentence will make sense !!

I know this may be a little long, sorry. I tried to squeeze in as much as I could. There may be edits if I remember more !

Merci !! xxx

<pre> EDIT #1 </pre> - This is a fantastic dictionary with multiple definitions, example sentences/phrases, and sometimes idioms of lots of words. (Not every word has sentences) You have to type in the infinitive form of the word. Highly recommended to see some words in context and learn multiple meanings of the words. It also shows the genders! If you were to type in "tour" you would get the masculine form meaning "turn" and an example: donner un tour de clé: à qui le tour? . If you scroll further down you would get the feminine form meaning "tower."

Some good animated shows have a French dubbed version. This is especially helpful if you have already seen them in English. The mouths don't match, of course, but since you'll already know what is happening, you can fill in the vocab. I know Futurama and The Simpons have good version. (The Québecois version of The Simpons, Les Simpson, has gotten high remarks by the creator himself.) Both include regional slang.Here are some fun facts about it: Ex: in the French version Homer say "T'oh" rather than the signature "D'oh" because the voice actor misread the first line.

The book "The Petit Prince" has been recommended to me by a friend in France - « Le Petit Prince » est le plus beau livre du monde ! <3 (bon, c’est « seulement » mon livre préféré). I just ordered it on Amazon, so I haven't been able to read it yet. She also recommended "Oscar et la dame Rose". has been recommended by many people (thank you!). I tried it out a few days ago. It's pretty helpful with learing vocab and it has a "Listen" option to listen to conversations and such. It is still in beta so not everything is up and working.

Two new songs to listen to: L'amour and Le Monstre which are both by Karim Ouellet.

A couple videos on FluentU are of Mouk et Chavapa. You can, however, just watch this on YouTube. It's a preschool level show in French about two friends who travel the world and have adventures. I believe it's just called Mouk. the website states: "Need help with your French homework and tests? These articles can help you understand the basics of speaking French, including grammar and vocabulary"

Here is a TED talk on how to learn a new language:

this also has a YouTube channel called FrenchSounds that is all about pronunciation. This lady uploads videos about living in France and avoiding cultural faux-pas (like how to swear without being rude). I have only seen a couple videos, but they're super helpful and she's fun to listen to. Even if you don't use FluentU, they have really good and helpful blog posts. Such as the one that I was on and copied above.

That's all for now! Enjoy!

November 26, 2014


I use lingvist

November 26, 2014

I know the post is directed to other avenues for learning the language, but as you mentioned movies I thought I'd add some in.

Intouchables - Nice, touching comedy. Based on a true story - Although I have doubts how accurate it probably is! Amelie - Does it need explaining? I assume a lot of people on here have already seen this great film! La Haine - Gritty 90s film, set in black and white. Real thought-provoking about life in the rough suburbs of Paris. Rust & Bone - Not bad film, although not as good as I thought it'd be. Won loads of awards. About a woman who has a tragic accident and bonds with a former boxer who goes into underground street fighting.

So if you're bored, take on these recommendations. I guess it can be a good test as to how much you can understand! Dw, I struggled with most of it myself, but I'm pretty sure if I continue to listen to French conversations it will only help!

November 26, 2014

Thanks for adding more!

November 26, 2014

Amélie is one of my favorites.

November 27, 2014

Oh I love Intouchables! (And Amelie of course)

November 27, 2014

There are a lot of great movies on Amazon. If you want "comédie" movies, look for "Christian Clavier" on Amazon. He is in some well-known french "comédie" movie. However this film are only in French (no english subbed). However I can recommend you to buy any movies on Amazon france or "" as there is always english language and sub on french DVD.

If you want books, "" is a good place to start your search.

Set youtube country to "France" and enjoy all the great videos for any subject (video games reviews for instance). If you like video games, try "", it is a big video game website in French. you could then progress while looking to great stuff (you already know, which is easier to understand ^^).

If you need a website about a specific topic, tell me and I would try to find a relevant one.

November 26, 2014

You forgot my two favourite websites, and youtube, I also use for referencing grammar Also you cant have french movie recommendations without mentioning Luc Besson

Thanks for the frenchspaniosh site !

edit: and google translate always open in a tab!

November 27, 2014

Our team at Lingvist is very excited to hear that we're among your favourites! We'd love to hear which elements you find especially enjoyable and in which areas you think we're still lacking. (If it's too off-topic and you don't feel like bringing it up here, you can also message me at tiina [at] lingvist [dot] io.)

December 9, 2014

I tried to add the sites nobody has heard of or used and that I found most useful. I also use for grammar rules and YouTube for some help with pronunciation. Others like,,, I thought you could read on any recommendation website. Thanks !

November 27, 2014

I would like to say 1 thing.... for most people learning, I would actually suggest the united states international keyboard over the canadian multilingual keyboard (assuming you have a standard english keyboard) because it is much, much easier to learn. (I started out with the canadian multilingual and than later switched to united states international)

It is intuitive, and can be used efficiently within 30 minutes of use, plus you don't really have to remember any fancy key combinations.

November 26, 2014

This is good advice.

November 28, 2014

I just spent, oh, I don't know, an hour or two going through the websites you listed, poking around, putting them on my Pinterest "languages" board. They were all of them new to me. I'd heard of FluentU but not played with it. Those are some superb sites! Can't wait to look for the songs and "Le Tableau" (sounds really interesting).

One of the best "outside resources" type posts I've read on here. Merci !

December 1, 2014

Thank you! I am going to add some more soon. Enjoy!

December 1, 2014

Thanks for all the tips!! :D Is lang-8 for free?

November 26, 2014

Yes, it is. You can learn up to 2 languages for free on lang-8. There is also a premium account, but you are obviously not forced to use it and can stick to the free one :-)

November 27, 2014

Lang-8 is free! There is a premium account option, but I haven't used it. It's pretty cool because not only do you get to write things, but those who correct you are really nice. They offer reasons why you got something wrong and tell you other ways you could word something. I didn't realize how different it is to write in a new language compared to just reading it..

November 26, 2014

Awesome! Thanks! :)

November 26, 2014

I found this 1917 French Textbook helped fill in a lot of my knowledge gaps:

Takes a while to load so please be patient.

These days I watch French films with extensive subtitles in French on:

November 30, 2014

Sorry for all the grammar mistakes. I wrote it without revising.

November 26, 2014

Thanks tapisblanc.I just finished my French tree the other day and have been looking for some useful sites to further my learning.I'll try some of these out

November 26, 2014

Merci beaucoup! I've been listening to Stromae and he has cool songs, I laso listen to Indila and Zaho both have cools songs too!

November 28, 2014

I found a really great book on amazon. It's called "Easy French Reader- il fait beau" it's by Dennis Dunham. It does cost money but it's one of the best french readers I have come across. Other websites I have found that are useful are: - TresBienFrench kinda of similar to duolingo but not. I don't remember if it cost money or not. I don't think so. - lingQ is kinda of confusing but I like it for listen exercises but i'm still trying to figure it out. - Verb conjugation practice. I haven't registered. I've been just using the demo but it's good. on youtube there there is frenchpod101 too.

November 28, 2014

I use Google Dictionary Chrome extension when I read Le Monde.

November 29, 2014

You can watch videos here, it's a language immersion class They're remarkably helpful!

November 29, 2014

Thank you everyone for adding more ways to learn!!

November 29, 2014

Oh! It didn't even occur to me to add any resources myself, I was so giddy with everything you had posted. But I'm really enjoying French in Action. Good quality videos are available to the US and Canada from Annenberg Learner at

Lower quality videos are on YouTube

French in Action is EXCELLENT. It's all done in French, but you'll find that you can follow along and catch on surprisingly quickly. I usually watch the videos twice, or maybe three times if it goes really quickly and a lot of information is introduced. I really, really like it.

December 1, 2014

Est-ce que "Le Tableau" est encore sur Netflix? Je pense que il n'ya pas ce film sur Netflix... Merci beaucoup!

November 30, 2014

Le titre est « The Painting » sur

November 30, 2014

Very informative...m.

November 30, 2014
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