Start Learning French
By Laura K. Lawless, About.com Guide
What Is French?
Learn about the French language: where it came from, where it's spoken and by how many people, why you should learn it, and how it compares to other languages.
Grammar is the structure of a language - the verbs that tell you what to do, the nouns that do it, and all the other parts of speech. These lessons on basic French grammar will help you build sentences and express yourself in French.
- Introduction to parts of speech
- Ladies and gentlemen: Gender
- Here is a lesson on French sentences.
- I want you to study subject pronouns
- You must learn to use French verbs
- Do you know how to ask questions?
- Just say no - French negation
- There is an important phrase: il y a
- Laura's lesson on French possession
- This is about demonstratives
- French grammar glossary
- More grammar lessons
French Pronunciation and Listening
When people say that French is a beautiful language, they're talking about the way it sounds. Work on your pronunciation in order to be understood, and practice listening to make sure you can understand others.
French spelling can be kind of tricky as many letters have two or more different pronunciation and/or may be silent, so the sooner you get started, the better.
Ready to learn French? Start with some basic, everyday vocabulary.
- Stores and shopping
- Telling time
- Most common French phrases
- French-English cognates (vrais amis)
- French terms in English
- More French vocabulary
- How to use bilingual dictionaries
French Learning Advice
There is no single perfect way to learn French, but some ways are better than others. Your personal circumstances, too, can make a difference in deciding how and where you should learn French.
It doesn't matter how much you study if you never practice what you've learned. Visit the forum or find a pen pal for reading and writing practice, join the Alliance française or take a trip to France to practice listening and speaking, or just play a game or two for fun.
Books, tapes, CDs, software, the internet... all of these can be helpful in learning French. Check out these links for recommendations and reviews of the best French learning tools.
- Learn French checklist
- Essential tools for beginners
- French audio tools
- Beginning French readers
- French dictionaries
- How do you say ___ in French?
- French software
- French verb conjugator
- French verb deconjugator
- Online translators
- Proofreading and editing checklist
- Help: Q & A forum
- How to type accents
- French toolbar
Whether you studied French long ago or have been learning for a while, you can use these links to find out what you know and what you still need to work on, as well as how your study habits rate.