French is a descendant of the spoken Latin language of the Roman Empire, as are languages such as Italian, Portuguese, Spanish,Romanian, Sardinian and Catalan. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and Belgium, which French has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Roman Gaul, and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian.
It is an official language in 29 countries, most of which form what is called, in French, la francophonie, the community of French-speaking countries. It is an official language of all United Nations agencies and a large number of international organizations. According to theEuropean Union, 129 million, or twenty-six percent of the Union's total population, can speak French, of whom 72 million are native speakers (65 million in France, 4.5 million in Belgium, plus 2.5 million in Switzerland, which is not part of the EU) and 69 million are second-language or foreign language speakers, thus making French the third language in the European Union that people state they are most able to speak, after English and German. Twenty percent of non-Francophone Europeans know how to speak French, totaling roughly 145.6 million people in Europe alone.
George Weber, author of "Top Languages: The World's 10 most influential Languages", wrote that until the end of the nineteenth century, French had a global dominance similar to that now occupied by English. He said "nobody could pass for educated without the ability to speak French" and "However, French dominance was never so complete as its rival's is now for the simple reason that 100 years ago large parts of the world were not yet connected to rest as they are all today. In Mongolia it was sufficient to speak Mongolian, in Madagascar Malagasy could get you anywhere. Globalization had not been heard of then." As a result of extensive colonial ambitions ofFrance and Belgium (at that time governed by a French-speaking elite), between the 17th and 20th centuries, French was introduced to the Americas, Africa, Polynesia, the Levant, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean.
According to a demographic projection led by the Université Laval and the Réseau Démographie de l'Agence universitaire de la francophonie, French speakers will number approximately 500 million people in 2025 and 650 million people, or approximately seven percent of the world's population by 2050.
- 5 levels available.
- Recommended as a beginning tool
- Strongly not recommended to be used as the only tool.
- Covers pronounciation, reading, listening, vocabulary, writing.
- Very poor for grammar.
- Easy to use. Shouldn't take more than an hour to set up and begin using.
- More expensive than it's worth. Thank you based internet!
- 3 levels with 100 total lessons.
- Recommended as a learning tool.
- Strongly not recomended to be used as the only tool.
- Covers mainly speaking and being able to hold a conversation.
- Easy to use, just open the audio file and repeat.
- Much more expensive than it's worth.
- http://www.pimsleur.com Try a free lesson!
- Out of beta, full version avaliable
- Free website containing hundreds of great lessons on a variety of topics.
- Great source for new vocab which is found in relevant categories.
- Grammar is explained easily to understand as the writer is a French teacher.
- Many lessons come with quizzes to perfect your knowledge.
- Only covers reading and writing-use other resources for speaking and listening and in addition to it.
Podcast Français FacileEdit
- Podcast to improve listening and speaking skills.
- Covers many topics: grammar, phónetique, slang, vocabulaire, etc.
- It can be used online without downloading the podcast.
- Assimil French Without Toil - oldschool, '50-s course, thorough but a bit dated.
- Assimil (New) French With Ease - 113 lessons, the best Assimil course ever, in itself it can get you to B1 level (it claims B2 but that's a bit overstretched).
- Assimil Using French - the continuation of the French With Ease course with excerpts from newspapers and literary works (i.e. unadulterated French).
- Assimil is strongly recommended because it will teach you idioms as no other course can.
- I myself would not dare to recommend using Assimil exclusively but there are some people who reached higher-intermediate/lower-advanced (no, I won't use the word fluent) level with only this course.
- Warning: This is generally true for other courses but with Assimil I cannot stress this enough: You should never overuse it! Only take it in the prescribed amount: half an hour a day for the passive wave, another half for the active one.
- You can thank the Internet if you find it expensive... however ff you want to be a good guy but you are on a budget you might consider buying only the books and get the audio from... places.
- Michel Thomas French Foundation and Foundation Review Course - 8 hours of grammar drilling plus the reviews.
- Michel Thomas French Advanced and Advanced Review Course - 4 more hours of grammar drilling plus the reviews.
- Michel Thomas is the man. He was a Holocaust survivor, a French spy and interrogator in the WWII, a linguist, a succesful businessman and a celebrity. Stealing his method from Socrates and beefing it up with his linguistic knowledge he used it for language teaching. He tutored people like Barbra Streisand and Woody Allen.
- These two courses teach more than 90-95% of the French grammar you'll ever need in your life. However it is not enough to listen to them only once, you should use your Review courses to review the material until it seeps in to your brain.
- Warning: Michel Thomas has a really-really strong Jiddish/Polish accent so you should first use Pimsleur or the FSI French Phonology course to get your French sounds straight.
- Michel Thomas teaches you grammar: how to use verbs. You'll have the skeleton of the language in your hands but won't have any vocabulary. It is not recommended to use MT only.
- It is strongly recommended to at least once run through MT. You will feel like Neo at the end of Matrix, seeing random symbols making sense (in this case, the grammar of French) floating in the air.
- Overpriced, and Michel is dead already (RIP), so thank you based Internet!
- FSI French Basic Course - don't let the word "Basic" fool you. In FSI terminology, Basic means Professinal Working Fluency
- The motto of FSI could be: "There's no school like the old school... and I'm the fucking headmaster." (RockNRolla)
- FSI is like bootcamp. You either submit or you give up. It's his way or the highway. But if you are perseverant enough, FSI can make a (French-speaking) man out of you, boy. By itself.
- Only recommended for those people who have self-discipline (so not your average anon).
- FSI is a little bit dated but uses a lot of millitary/diplomatic vocabulary which is kinda cool.
- FSI is free and it is legally so. The baby boomers paid for this (yet another) government program in the '60s, funding warfare and espionage worldwide in the name of the 'Murrican Empire. But at least we can make use of those dollars.
French in ActionEdit
- 52-episode immersion course, produced by Yale University Press, and aired on US public television in the 1980s.
- Official page at Annenberg Learner
- YouTube playlist
Books and .PDF filesEdit
- L'Étranger (1942) - Albert Camus
- Le Petit Prince (1943) - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
- Le Comte de Monte-Cristo (1945) - Alexander Dumas
- The Battle of Algiers (La Bataille d'Alger)
- Le goût des autres
- Les quatre cents coups
- Trois Couleurs: Bleu
- Trois Couleurs : Rouge
- La Règle du jeu
- Quai des Orfèvres
- La Grande Illusion
- L'Âge Des Ténèbres
Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain
- La nuit nous appartient (episodes can be found on YouTube)
- Bienvenue chez Cauet (episodes can be found on YouTube)
Famous Pop Singer ("Variétés")
- Charles Aznavour
- Daniel Balavoine
- Jacques Brel
- Étienne Daho
- Jacques Dutronc
- Mylène Farmer
- Claude François
- Serge Gainsbourg
- France Gall
- Johnny Hallyday
- Patricia Kaas
- Philippe Katerine
- Françoise Hardy
- Nolwenn Leroy
- Mireille Mathieu
- Vanessa Paradis
- Édith Piaf
- Michel Sardou
- Charles Trenet
- Boris Vian
- Alex Gopher
- Bob Sinclar
- Daft Punk
- Dimitri from Paris
- Étienne De Crécy
- Laurent Garnier
- Les Joyaux De La Princesse
- Mr. Oizo
- Seppuku Paradigm
- Sexy Sushi
- Complot Bronswick
- Les Fatals Picards
- Les Rita Mitsouko
- Marquis de Sade
- Mass Hysteria
- Partenaire Particulier
- Soldat Louis
- Taxi Girl
- Ulan Bator
Anime/Cartoons (French dubs)Edit
- This goes for all languages, but it's imperative that you use your interests and hobbies to your advantage. Identify what these are and include French with them.
- French, being one of the main languages in the first world, often has its own translation of video games. Whether it be Battlefield 3, WoW, or Runescape, there's a good chance there is a French version, which not only exposes you to a whole new spectrum of vocabulary, but provides a French community along with that game which allows you to interact with natives, teaching you the colloquial language in the process.
- To go along with that, you should also try setting your cell phone, iPod, or even computer (if you're brave), to French to learn technical vocab.
- Playing a childhood's videogame [like Pokémon] on french will do the trick. Specially RPG's for the rely A LOT in text comprenhension and, hence, brand-new vocabulary to learn and old known words to review. Written and comprehension skills shall be improved after a while.
- BONUS: If you can buy a small notebook (to carry it virtually everytime) and a pencil for writing unknown words, you may remember easier those naily new words and go back your own steps for future reference.
- Uz-Translations (a very useful that you should definitely check out)