Learning French with Audio: living in French #2
For years I’ve spoken about ‘learning French’ but recently I’ve changed my mindset to ‘Living in French’, which is all about learning french ‘the natural way’. The way children learn a language—yes, by total immersion through sound and sight and repetition in particular.
Here you can read Part #1 of this series: Living in French #1: ‘French-immersion-at-home’ and get excited about the rich bundle of resources you’re going to end up with. C’est parti !
‘French-immersion-at-home’ with audio
We all dream of being in France and since March of 2020, that’s not been possible for most of us due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Most of us also know that when in France our French language skills improve out-of-sight. We refer to the ‘magic’ of immersion, but I for one have not previously really stepped up.
Now—my focus is a ‘French-immersion-at-home’ approach—up another notch!
Living in French—how I did it before
I’ve for many years tried to include French in my life.
You know: the news, conversation, French film with subtitles, French film festivals, reading blogs listening to French podcasts intended for the French rather than the learner about things that interest me, changing the language on my phone, etc. I thought I was serious about this ‘French-immersion-at-home’ approach. However, now I’ve realised that I could do more – much more! So this year I’ve taken it to another level! Up another notch.
In relation to listening to French, my focus was previously on ‘learning French’, and that’s been helpful, interesting, and a rich experience.
I was living WITH French rather than living IN French! Now is time to better develop my ‘French-ear’.
Upon reaching an upper-intermediate level of French my interest was redirected to trying to understand native speakers. Once I discovered French native speakers and that as I listened I could understand them (or mostly understand) it actually changed my life—yes, really! I can recall how I felt when I started to listen to audio that French natives were listening to. I was listening to French radio, emissions, YouTube channels, and French TV programs, and even other TV programs with French audio, at every opportunity I could find to immerse myself.
This all provides a wonderful insight into French life and culture—the way the French population lives and thinks. Suddenly I felt that I was part of the French population, with French friends: real immersion. I was ‘Living in French’!
I thought that you may be interested to hear what I’ve discovered about French audio…
French audio infiltrates everyday life
I went back to the list of my everyday activities and my interests I’d earlier prepared and I started searching. I was looking for really stimulating content around my personal interests: and all in French, of course. Opportunities to gain an insight into the French psyche.
Once you focus on identifying these resources there are hundreds, no thousands of opportunities—finding another such extensive resource—so deep and rich, I was ecstatic!
Learning French with Audio—’immersion-at-home’
Think about how many different ways you can incorporate ‘listening to French’ into your everyday life. There are many resources to choose from. The trick here is not only the learning component of the audio you’ve selected but how well you match with the topics they discuss and even the interviewer or presenter. Some can be annoying—yes, really annoying, so experiment until you find a handful of them that are a good fit.
Next, before you know it, you’ll find yourself with a regular selection of go-to listening opportunities and you’ll become addicted to them.
- Current Affairs: staying informed in French
—you may have other preferences, but this one works for me—Morning news daily on SBS (Australia) – here is their YouTube channel
—Also 13heures France 2 – Sunday program (available the next day). One hour of current affairs and profiles of very interesting personalities.
2. Regular programs:
—a TV program I enjoy is La Grande Librairie—If you love books you’ll love this. Short snippets and the entire program are accessible.
3. Emissions: such a rich resource at CultureFrance.fr You’ll be bound to find topics you enjoy.
4. Radio: just listening isn’t nearly enough to effectively learn French with the radio but these suggestions may help and be enjoyable.
—Pick a station eg:RTL, RTL2, Nostalgie, Chante France, France Inter etc
—Make it your background music almost permanently
—Don’t adjust the adverts – listen to them
—When you find a song you like, find the lyrics online, then repeat and try to learn them. Paroles.net is helpful for this.
—Then… are you ready? When you know that song you love… try recording it – have fun, be creative!
5. YouTube: An infinite supply of resources, ranging from rubbish to high quality. It’s easy to get lost down rabbit holes, so referrals from friends and colleagues are super valuable.
—Numerous channels providing audio to help you ‘Learn French while sleeping‘
—a good way to get your ‘French-ear’ in is to listen to street interviews: Easy French—learn French from the streets. Three videos are published every month: 2 street interviews and 1 Super Easy French.
—RFI French: News, current affairs, culture and sport
—France 24: News, current affairs, culture, debates, profiles and more
—TV5 Monde: learn French, including exercises – comprehensive resources.
There are many bloggers focused on ‘learning French’: for example Elsa from ‘Piece of French‘ and Hugo of innerFrench and soooo many others. Please share with us your favourites in the comments below.
6. Learning French with Netflix: Use the browser extension to listening in French and to select French or English subtitles
7. Podcasts: we have an enormous and rich bundle of resources for you here. Top podcasts from France including some of our favourites.
How say you help us build a list of apps for meditation, yoga, pilates etc in French???
Living in French Series
Do you have suggestions to add to our Learning French with Audio resource list? Please share with us in the comments below.