This summer, I hope you have signed up to participate in the Paris in July celebration hosted by Book Bath and Thyme for Tea. This is a month to celebrate anything and everything French; French food, French movies, French books and, for today, the French language.
There are a number of ways to study and treasure the French language. If you are like me, and unable to actually take proper French courses at a community college or University, do not fear. There are a number of free online language learning websites in addition to audio-cds and kits.
These are a few of my favorites (I have worked on all of these sites, and they have been very beneficial, although I don’t recommend using them all at the same time!)
This is like a free version of Rosetta Stone. With a combination of photos and words, you can learn the very basics of the language. Each lesson has a listening, speaking, writing, and matching segment for 20 slides. You learn the same 20 words with each of the different methods listed above. By the end of the lesson, you will be able to recognize that word based on how its written, pronunciation, and have an image association. If you have a special computer, you can record yourself speaking and other students will evaluate your pronunciation. The same goes for the writing portion, where others will evaluate your grammar and sentence structure.
This is a database that is offered for free through most library services. Check with your local library to see if they have subscribed to this service. If they haven’t, go in and demand for it!
Mango is a way to learn a language on your own time at your own pace. There are a number of lessons provided with visually appealing graphics and slides. There is a narrator at all times to walk you through different conversations, vocabulary and pronunciation.
The BBC is not only a valuable news resource, it also has an area devoted solely to the education of European languages. Through their Steps program, you will be walked through a 12-week course of the language of your choice. If you don’t want to sign-up for the weekly schedule, you can access all the worksheets and lesson plans for free online. The site provides videos of different events and conversations, as well as a print transcript of all conversations. If you sign-up for the 12 week program, you will get a nifty completion certificate from the BBC.
Also don’t forget to check out the Pimsleur and Berlitz audio-cds that you can listen on your iPod or in your car. These along, with various workbooks, you can find at your local library.