Best resources to learn French: formal, standard, casual and slang

To learn efficiently, you have to immerse yourself in the language. In order to do that, it’s important to pick the best resources to learn French according to YOUR needs. If you’re preparing for an intermediate-level French test, you should focus mostly on the second category (standard to casual) but if you’re aiming for a C1 or C2 level you should also get some exposure to more formal language as listed in the first paragraph.

However, if you live or intend to live in France and interact with young people (and not so young) who speak in a very casual way, you’ll need to learn almost an entirely new language. That’s why I’m also adding some resources to immerse yourself in day to day “street French”.

Best resources for formal language #

Media in French (France and Canada) #

You can read newspapers like Le Monde, Le Devoir (Canada), Courrier International (translation in French of articles from all over the world).

Read classic French litterature and some of the contemporary writers (André Malraux, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Albert Camus, Georges Simenon, Amélie Nothomb, Jean-Christophe Ruffin, Delphine de Vigan…).

Listen to France Culture, Radio France International, Radio Canada go to conferences if you live in a francophone country.

Site web utile: quand on lit un article, il est intéressant de savoir si le journal est plutôt neutre, conservateur ou progressiste. Voici un site qui répertorie les principaux journaux français: Connaître l’orientation politique des principaux journaux français

best resources to learn French by level formal casual slang

Test preparation samples and methodology #

Commun français offers a lot of sample exam subjects and corrections along with methodology advice. There are a lot of useful tips and models on this website but please remember that “the one doing it, is the one learning”. Only reading through the website will only give you references and a passive understanding.

Actually doing a handful of activities yourself and comparing with the sample, analysing your strengths and weaknesses with a coach will help you more than reading through the whole website.

Contact me if you’d like to schedule a strategic consult and/or 1:1 test prep coaching.

Best resources to learn French: standard to casual language #

Read #

Watch #

TV5Monde and French (or francophone) TV in general.

Listen #

Podcasts

TedTalks

and some Youtubers (in their mid-thirties, for example Norman, Natoo and Paul Taylor, or over if possible because there’s clearly been a shift in the language in the last decade).

Watch movies and series on Netflix but select the ones adressed to kids or to an older audience (35 and over). One of my favourite series in that category is “Call my agent” (“10%-Dix pourcent” in French) because it’s casual workplace French, the dialogues are very realistic and actors are fantastic. The series L’Agence (the Agency) is also a good resource to learn standard contemporary French, showcasing 3 generations of French speakers.

Best resources for very casual language and recent slang #

I’m not an expert in that one (not my generation!) but here are a few suggestions to start with.

Dictionnaries #

Le dictionnaire de la zone
TV5 Monde : “Le parler jeune pour les moins jeunes

Francophone rap, RnB and other singers #

Maître Gims
Soprano
Aya Nakamura
Orelsan
Eddy de Pretto
Angèle
Hoshi

Youtube channels #

Streetfrench.org for explanations about the slang
Youtube channels made by people in their twenties or younger
French reality TV (ex: Le Cercle on Netflix)

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