How else to learn French?
Duolingo is a great language tool and by far my favorite. But how else can I further my education for free? Any ideas? Thank you for reading my little plea. :)
Long books and lectures can be quite off putting to some. I've found that learning a language as a by-product of something else, like entertainment, is useful as you don't get fatigued so fast. You can easily watch a movie for three hours, but browsing through a book on grammar for that long is, although possible, quite tiring.
I've found that movies are particularly good for this purpose. If you're from Europe, any DVDs or Blu-rays you have will almost certainly contain French subtitles. If you have cartoons or children's movies by any reputable studio, they'll probably have French audio as well.
I myself am a gamer, and I've found that a lot of games have French language options. When I started studying French, I installed the Sims in French to expand my vocabulary. It is after all a life simulator, so it has a lot of important vocabulary in it. It's more difficult to play that way, of course, but you can mostly figure things out by context.
I've also bought some French translations of books I've already read in some language I know. That way I know the gist of what's going to be said in the book, so I can move on with the book even if I don't know all the words and phrases. I think most everyone from my generation has read the Harry Potter books, and they have really high quality international translations.
What else... Radio shows are good for getting you in the right mind set. Once you learn more French, you can even understand some of the news or at least their headers, so that's good. Music with French lyrics also helps to better understand the flow of the language and the tonality. Here's a list of French radio stations:
They also broadcast French television here in Finland, so you might want to see if that's something they do in your country!
I hope this was helpful! :D
I was about to post the very same radio link - even if you don't understand much of what's being said it can really help you to get an ear for the language. Depending on where you are, your local library might have some French reading material - children's books are ideal. Like with books, watching a film in French when you already know the plot is really useful.
These will all help with reading/listening, but he best way of learning is using productive skills - speaking and writing. Even if you're not ready to have a conversation in French, try saying out loud things that you're doing etc. or try producing some sentences in French about yourself. Try to use the French you know already, but if you're stuck use an online dictionary for help - http://www.wordreference.com/ is a good one.
FSI French - for serious language learning, very comprehensive, audio and workbooks provided
French in Action - immersion-type learning, 30 hours of video, can also be found on YouTube
I listen to Coffee Break French. The first 20 episodes are free and you get to listen and speak what Marc and Anna are saying. Duolingo absolutely sucks for speaking French and this is perfect for listening to two actual people. They have 300 episodes and I own them all. Radionglinguanetwork.com (I think)
There is an iPad app called "7 Jours", that consists of three news videos a week, of around 2 minutes in length with a transcript in French as well. I think it costs a couple of bucks. There are also vocabulary exercises with it. A teacher of mine suggested to watch and listen to the news video, and attempt to transcribe as much as you can; you can then check your accuracy with the transcript. Really trains your ear. Listening to (and imitating) native speakers, particularly for the the rhythm of speech and vowel pronunciation is important. Bonne chance !