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MOOCs for learning French

MOOCs for Learning French at France Université Numerique

Using Free MOOCs for Learning French

France Université Numerique (or FUN) is finally offering MOOCs for learning French as a foreign language!

For those who have reached A1 level, Cours de français langue étrangère by Alliance Française runs October 5 to November 22, 2015, and requires 2 hours of work each week.

For those at level B1, Université de Nantes is offering Paroles de FLE (Français langue étrangère) from November 2 to December 18, 2015, and requires 2.5 hours of work each week.

For those who have a higher level in French, the MOOCs offered by FUN are also a great way to improve or maintain your level as well as learn about new subjects from programming and public health to eco-tourism and history. There are even some courses offered in both French and English so you can compare the content if your level is too low to understand everything in French.

Pythagora Educational Videos in French

Pythagora is a French-language video platform with the slogan “Apprenez, découvrez et révisez comme vous voulez” (Learn, discover and review as you want). You can create an account and test out the beta version for free right now, but the regular subscription will be 5,99€ per month. In addition to the videos, there are also multiple choice questions and some “fiches” of information. Since the videos tend to be study materials for the Bac and Brevet, they are mostly designed for native or advanced speakers in the French education system.

The videos are grouped into the “chaînes” of Bac Français, Maths Brevet, Histoire Bac, Education média, Philosophie, Economie, Histoire des arts, Géographie Brevet, Histoire Brevet, Géographie Bac as well as two channels for learning English. The Bac Français channel has several videos on literature, but also a series on Les fautes qui tuent which explains common mistakes.

Pythagora Educational Videos in FrenchUnfortunately there are no subtitles for the videos so they may be difficult to follow if you struggle to understand spoken French.

C’est what? 75 mini lessons in conversational Québécois French

Today’s guest post is by Felix Polesello who lives in Montreal. He runs the excellent blog OffQc.com which features examples of authentic Québécois French from television, advertisements, signs, and even conversations he’s overheard on the street. If you’re interested in learning the spoken language of Quebec, Felix has just written an e-book about conversational Québécois French:


If you’re learning French but need to understand the Québécois, it can be difficult to know where to begin. The most important thing you can do, of course, is speak with the Québécois and listen to large amounts of spoken French. But, even then, learners sometimes comment that spoken Québécois French feels impenetrable in the beginning stages.

Challenge is great when learning a language, but it shouldn’t seem impossible. The great news is that it really isn’t impossible – learning to understand spoken Québécois French is most definitely something you can achieve. There’s nothing strange or mysterious about the French used in Québec. It’s just a lack of exposure to it that makes it seem difficult at first.

We can make a considerable improvement in how much spoken language we understand by not only listening extensively, but by becoming familiar with the frequently occurring features of spoken language.

Did you know that a question like t’as vu ça? might be asked spontaneously in Québécois French as t’as-tu vu ça? Or that c’est bon? might be asked as c’est-tu bon? What’s going on here? Why does c’est-tu bon? use the word tu?

Did you know that je suis can contract in spoken language to what sounds like chu? Do you know how tu es and tu as contract? What about il est, il a and il y a? In spoken Québécois French, even sur la and dans la can contract. Do you know how? Without knowledge of these and other contractions, it’s difficult to understand what’s being said in regular conversations.

When you listen to the Québécois speak casually, you’ll hear words like pogner, niaiser, plate and poche. You’ll hear a lot too! What do these words mean?

Did you know that the Québécois pronounce patte and pâte differently? And that the letter d in dimanche doesn’t sound like the letter d in doux?

I’ve written a guide to get you started: C’est what? 75 mini lessons in conversational Québécois French. It’s a PDF written in English. It’ll give you a solid overview of the main features you need to know to become a better listener of French, and of Québécois French in particular.

Each mini lesson revolves around a sample sentence taken from the conversational level of French. You’ll explore each sentence for important features of spoken language.

The mini lessons also include usage or pronunciation notes, and more example sentences to help further your knowledge. In addition to the 75 example sentences that each mini lesson in based on, there are about 200 more example sentences throughout the guide. Exercises and an answer key at the end will help you test what you’ve discovered.

Take a look at the sample pages: table of contents, two sample mini lessons and an exercise from the end of the guide.





The language used in this guide is normal, everyday language. It’s the language you’ll hear all the time in conversations. Once you’ve worked through the mini lessons, you’ll begin to notice the language described in them very frequently. I’ve written this guide so that it raises your awareness just enough that it helps to break down barriers and gives you the base you need to continue on your own with more confidence.

Combine your reading of this guide with extensive listening practice, and you’ll make a big difference in your understanding of spoken Québécois French. You can buy and download it immediately to start improving your understanding right away!

You can buy C’est what? here.

Bescherelle Le Jeu and Other French Language Games

If you are looking for games to buy for learning French or to use in French classes, I recommend the following: Bescherelle Le Jeu, Jeu de 7 Familles, Tam Tam Safari, and Apples to Apples.

Bescherelle Le Jeu: Le défi des conjugaisons et de la langue française is a very cool and nerdy game about the French language, mostly focusing on verb conjugations. (Click on images below for full size.)

Bescherelle Le Jeu Board

The board is supposed to simulate the French school year, beginning with la rentrée and ending with les vacances d’été. You can read the rules online at the official site, but essentially the spaces you land on are either pronouns (conjugation questions) or Bescherelle (other grammar questions). If you land on a pronoun, you also have to spin the spinner to find out which verb tense you need to conjugate for.

Bescherelle Conjugation Cards

The conjugations are mostly indicative tenses (including passé simple). Some questions on imperative, present subjunctive, and imperfect subjunctive can be found in levels two and three of the langue française cards; however, conditional is not included at all. The langue française cards also include questions on gender, plural nouns, spelling, homonyms, paronyms, etc.

Bescherelle Niveau 2 Cards

Le jeu de 7 familles, or Happy Families, is a great game for learning family members and the question do you have…? I bought several decks on amazon.fr and had students play in groups of 4. Most decks I found online use animals for the families, but I’ve also come across professions, nationalities, etc. There are also some free pdfs online if you’d like to print/laminate your own cards for different vocabulary topics.

Jeu de 7 familles / Happy Families

Tam Tam Safari is a deck of cards that I came across when I was last in France. There are actually many ways to play with the cards, which include both words and pictures. The deck I have is CP level 1, but there are other levels available as well.

Various ways to play Tam Tam Safari

I haven’t yet had a chance to use these cards in my classes, but I imagine you would need a few decks so that students could play in groups of 4 or 5.

Tam Tam cards

Lastly, there is a French version of Apples to Apples! I had trouble getting my hands on it since Canadian Toys R Us wouldn’t ship outside Canada and sellers on amazon.fr wouldn’t ship outside France. I bought it ages ago but picked it up when I was in France in June. My students really enjoyed playing this, even if the first years couldn’t understand some of the red cultural cards. The green adjective cards have four synonyms though, so it’s great for learning more vocabulary.

Apples to Apples in French cards