"Listening is an art that requires attention over talent, spirit over ego, others over self." -Dean Jackson
As humans, we are much too quick to talk and very slow at listening; it seems that we rather hear our voice instead of others! When we realise how much we can learn by listening from others and using our ears instead of our mouth, our life becomes better, and we slowly contribute to a more compassionate society.
Listening reaps benefits such as building better relationships, improved self-esteem, higher absorption of information that leads to better test results, and, last but not least, the ability to understand and learn foreign languages more quickly.
Therefore, if French learners want to acquire fluency to start speaking with gorgeous natives at Parisian cafes as soon as possible, it is in their best interests to spend more time listening.
Without further ado, let's consider how language learners can set aside time every single day to listen to French in music, on TV, by watching Youtube videos and getting a load of podcasts.
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Listen to French Music
Celine Dion. Coeur de Pirate. Vanessa Paradis. Carla Bruni. Joe Dassin. Maurice Chevalier. Edith Piaf.
What do the previously mentioned names have in common? They have all produced, recorded, and sang beautiful melodies in the French language. And, by frequently listening to French music, language learners get accustomed to new vocabulary, distinct accents, and specific expressions that are unique to the countries where French is spoken.
Listening to French music is a very passive way of learning that can be done while cooking, cleaning, or doing the laundry. And, who agrees that song lyrics are much too easy to recall? While we would probably prefer to have our mind filled with essential facts, details, and dates, our brain remembers useless lyrics from terrible songs such as Ice, Ice, Baby and Can't Touch This!
Nonetheless, instead of lamenting, we must take full advantage of the brain's eccentricities and regularly listen to French music to learn new phrases. Also, don't fret if you don't understand the words you are singing, consider looking them up in a dictionary afterwards to put phrases together and slowly build up your vocabulary.
Also, when trying to learn a foreign tongue, it is essential to become familiar with the culture of the lands where the language is spoken, and one of the best ways of understanding French culture is by listening to their music. How does that work? Well, you develop knowledge about how people think and the logic behind their grammar.
Before concluding this subheading, it is essential to mention that by regularly listening to French music, you develop better pronunciation by listening to how native speakers utter specific words and expressions. And, as most language learners recognise, better pronunciation improves overall confidence since it is one of the hardest things to do when acquiring a new tongue.
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Find Some Good French Language Youtube Channels
Do you love wasting hours at a time watching pointless Youtube videos? Do you sometimes stumble upon Youtube channels that are smart and educational? If so, you are not alone because Youtube has become a learning hub and informative force to be reckoned with!
From learning how to cook and clean to grasping the basics of a foreign language and installing a light fixture, the massive variety of Youtube channels make learning new concepts as easy as pie. Also, because Youtube videos are interactive and engaging, the entire learning process of studying French as a second language is heightened and made more fun than merely using old textbooks.
Nonetheless, since there are over 300 hours of Youtube videos uploaded every minute and approximately 5 billion videos watched every single day, the sheer amount of learning possibilities may seem overwhelming for French learners who are beginning their process.
Therefore, without further ado, the following are some of the best Youtube channels to consult when practising French listening skills:
- Frenchpod101: primarily known by many as a podcast, Frenchpod101 is a great Youtube channel that features plenty of small videos that help beginners learn essential aspects of the French language such as verbs, pronunciation, and vocabulary. Recommended videos such as "How to Stay Motivated with your French Studies" and "100 Phrases Every French Beginner Must-Know" have garnered the admiration of many viewers.
- Comme Une Francaise: by listening to the well-structured videos of the passionate Geraldine on the Comme Une Francaise channel, French learners acquire an understanding of vocabulary, grammar, and necessary conversation skills. The videos published focus on subjects that are used in everyday conversation and teach students how to act like real French people.
- Easy French: much loved by over 180,000 subscribers who are learning French at an intermediate and advanced level, Easy French boasts over 40 videos on their Youtube channel that make studying French thoroughly engaging in an interactive, authentic, and fun way. The Easy French team love to interview people on the streets of Paris and other French-speaking cities like Montreal to ask questions that will help subscribers better understand the nuances of the French accent. Also, all of the videos have subtitles in English and French to aid learners to visualise the words being said. The "Super Easy" section helps beginners since the conversations are spoken slowly.
- Coffee Break Languages: while not only specialising in the French language, Coffee Break Languages has courses in French that will suit the needs of beginners, intermediate and advanced students. The length of videos depends significantly on what is being learnt. How's that? For example, learners can acquire aspects such as "le temps libre" and "la famille" within a matter of a few minutes with a native tutor. However, on the other hand, videos such as discussing advanced French, and coffee break conversations with a native speaker can last longer than 15 minutes.
Therefore, French learners, whether beginner or advanced, we highly recommend viewing any of the videos from the previously mentioned Youtube channels. And do you want to know the best part? Every single video and resource is free!
Are there any other suggestions to improve French listening skills? Keep on reading to find out more!
Be Active on French Conversation Exchange Apps
Do you want to practice your conversation and listening skills with a native French speaker but don't have the budget to hire a tutor every day of the week? Have no fear, language exchange apps are here to save the day!
In the past few years, conversation exchange apps have sprung up quickly and taken over the language learning experience.
Conversation apps connect native speakers to create an engaging learning experience that sometimes makes friendships that last a lifetime. Also, since you're a native English speaker, you have the advantage of finding thousands of French speakers who eagerly want to swap French classes for English ones.
Without any further delay, the following are some of the best conversation exchange apps used by millions of users around the world:
- Tandem: probably the most popular conversation exchange app on the planet, Tandem allows users to chat 24/7 with other language learners via text, calling, or videoconferencing. Tandem is very much like other social networking apps since it has the function to follow other people and see what they are up to. There are thousands of French learners from different countries looking to hone their English with a UK native; therefore, you won't have any trouble finding a French speaker to listen to.
- Bilingua: another highly recommended language exchange application, Bilingua allows English natives to practice their listening abilities with French speakers while at the same time, ensuring a fun and interactive learning experience. Many language learners love the "smart chat" option that provides users with conversation subjects to keep things going.
While there are many more options to practice French language exchange with others around the world, the previously mentioned options are the best in the business!
Find Some Good Podcasts
Podcasts are used by all types of individuals to learn essential concepts and topics such as science, maths, geography, nursing, history, and, of course, new languages.
There are hundreds of passionate individuals who are currently hosting podcasts to help others learn a foreign tongue such as French.
The following are the most highly recommended podcasts to learn more about the French language and hone listening skills:
- Daily French Pod,
- One Thing in a French Day,
- One Minute French,
Check out the previous podcasts to practice learning on the go to improve your listening skills of the French language on your commute to work.
Use Netflix to Listen in French
Do you love catching up on new Netflix original series or binge-watching your favourite show for the 10th time? If so, you are just like us. But, would you believe me if I told you that watching Netflix can improve your French language skills? We sure hope so because it's 100% true!
It has been proven that watching your favourite Netflix series dubbed in French is a fantastic way to hone listening skills and drastically improve your French conversation skills.
Therefore, why not try to binge-watch your favourite Netflix show dubbed in French with subtitles? You're conversation and understanding skills will significantly improve, and you'll be forever thankful.
In conclusion, learning a new language can be extremely entertaining and fun if the right resources are used. Remember to practice listening more than talking, and your French skills will be golden!