Sunday 13 March 2016

Parler en Français

I'm determined to be very comfortable speaking in French because I'm a quarter Belgian, studied French A Level and love France, especially le Tour!

A few months ago I started taking weekly conversation classes. The last time I studied French was as an additional subject at university twelve years ago. The big difference this time around is how useful I've found new technology in helping me learn.

I've come across Radio France Internationale's (equivalent of the BBC's World Service) excellent news programme, Journal en Français Facile. It's 10 minutes of daily news in simple French and is available as a podcast. The transcript of each programme is available on the website too so you can listen and read at the same time to aid comprehension.

Secondly, Google Translate on the desktop and the app on my mobile is really handy. It's quick to look-up  words, detecting the language of the word you're typing in and want to translate. I can also use my phone's camera to scan a French text and immediately see the translation of it in English. The website and app work better as a dictionary though, with more detail about the words you're looking up.

For years I've been emailed a French word of the day. which has been really good way of learning new words and reading a bit of French every day.

Google Translate,, the Journal en Français Facile podcast and the French word of the day email have really helped my learning of French.

My brother Pascal who is skilled at learning languages emailed me recently from Portugal where he's moved to:' Try to learn is an many different ways as possible: Read, listen, speak, write - get all parts of the brain working so it casts a web around the language' Great advice!

Do you know of other websites or apps that you use to improve your foreign language skills? Do comment below if so.


  1. Cheers for this Mark! Check the Linguee app as well and download the offline dictionary xx

  2. The word a day thing is a great idea, thanks for sharing! I did a bit of Italian as a sub sid at university and outside of class I used the duolingo app just to keep on top of vocab and basics. I practice my Spanish, French and Italian on it and have even mucked around with a bit of Norwegian! I find going on the country's newspaper websites useful too!

  3. Thanks a lot Will. I've been using the DuoLingo app every day and am enjoying the challenge of trying not to lose love hearts by getting questions right! I'm sure it's improving my French too : )