nothx (k0dama) wrote in linguaphiles,

Beginner in French looking for online resources for learning

I have a feeling I will be going to Montreal for work-related reasons at the end of August for a week or so, so I thought I would use this as motivation to get myself back into studying French!

Last I tried to study French I got as far as Lesson 15 in Pimsleur's French. It taught me some basic survivor French, like "where is the bathroom" "how much is this" "what time is it" "I would like to..."
Lesson 15 is when a lot of numbers show up, namely numbers 11 through 19, followed by 20-29 in lesson 16 and then 30-50 in lesson 17.

The numbers are really hard for me to learn verbally (Pimsleur doesn't seem like the ideal way to learn numbers, though it has been helpful for learning phrases) so I found this online:
It is a simple flash with numbers, spelled out in french and then read in french. It's been really helpful for me so that I can rapidly quiz myself.
(Numbers are also important for me to know for work since part of my job involves retail/interface with customers)

Any beginner's resources for French studies very welcome.
Especially regarding French phonics / how to read French.

Also, is Quebec french very different from France french? Is there anything in particular I should look out for? I am assuming that Pimsleur's french is teaching me French as expected in France.
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  • 8 comments - it's free, and they have courses at all levels.
Some people also swear by, but I have no personal experience with it.
The spaced repetition/reinforcement in Duolingo is great IMO, although my perspective is somewhat different because I used it to brush up, not as a beginner.

I may be talking out of my ass here but I think that for a learner, the biggest hurdle with understanding Quebec French (which in itself is variable) after only hearing "standard"/Parisian French might be the vowels -- the latter has a lot of mergers. Maybe practice listening with Canadian French media (like the sports broadcasts on

Quebec French does sound quite different, and there are some different words and phrases as well. If your level is up to it, I'd recommend listening to podcasts as suggested above, that's what I did before I went to Quebec and I definitely found it helpful, but my French was pretty good before I went. I used Radio Canada a lot and just picked stuff that looked interesting.

You shouldn't need to rely on French to get by in Montreal though, it's really very bilingual so if you do get stuck, a lot of people you encounter will be very comfortable using English too.
I'm not at the level to hear podcasts yet, but I will listen to a few anyway to get used to the sound of the language.
I think the best thing you can do is try to expose yourself to different accents in preparing yourself for Quebecois--try to watch movies and listen to music with French from . My mother and I are both non-native French speakers, but she was taught strictly Parisian French when she was in school, while I heard a variety of accents while learning it--many of my classmates and a couple of my teachers were from Africa and definitely didn't have a French French accent. When we took a trip to Quebec City when I was a teenager, she had a much harder time understanding the Canadian French accent than I did, and I think that my exposure to different accents while first learning helped me a lot there. If you're a Disney fan, try looking on YouTube for songs in both French French and Canadian French. I've found it interesting to compare the two different versions, both in terms of accent and in terms of vocab.

Honestly, though, I don't remember needing French in Montreal (a different trip I took with someone who didn't speak French at all) except maybe highway signs on the drive up?
I was worried the Disney movies made into French might be weird (Disney movies made into Korean or Japanese are very weird / unnatural in some parts / character mannerisms are awkward for the culture) but I will try watching a few. I do like them, and they were somewhat helpful to me when I was studying Spanish.

And yes, a lot of people in Montreal do speak English, and if I was going as a tourist I wouldn't be worried but I am going for work, and I know I will end up working storefront for a couple of days at least while I'm there. ;) there should be other Montreal natives with me but I think it would be useful if I could at least learn terms for transactions like "how much is x" "that is x dollars" etc. For this reason right now I'm focusing a lot of energy on numbers. I can recognize all the numbers under a thousand at this point, but I'm not understanding them fast enough to do any useful math, such as 2+5, which is important in retail.

But I am only a couple of days into my numbers grind, so I'm hopeful I'll know all my numbers below 100 by August.

Also "September" being the 9th month doesn't make sense anymore. It should be seventh. lol
I'm not familiar with all of the Disney movies in French, but The Princess and the Frog, Beauty and the Beast, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame are set in Francophone areas (although Beauty and the Beast is fairly limited with the way it's represented), so there might be less of a cultural gap than there could be for some of the others. Hunchback is the only one I've seen all the way through in French (screened it with my French teacher mother to help her decide if it was appropriate for her students, and we decided absolutely not), but IIRC it was fairly easy to understand in French.

Working storefront, it makes a little more sense that you'd want the practice. Not sure what kind of work I was envisioning, but that wasn't it. French numbers are kinda rough. I've got them internalized because they were some of the first things I learned (and I learned them pre-2000, so I got to deal with all the mille-neuf-cent-quatre-vingt-dix-neuf loveliness just from the years), but I'm not sure how well I could really explain them to anyone else even now, lol.


May 5 2014, 02:30:39 UTC 3 years ago Edited:  May 5 2014, 02:32:42 UTC

Personally, I've used a college's free online course to help me touch up on my basics.
They have French I and French II, and you can use it without signing up.
The benefit in having an account is, of course, being able to save your place and all.
I'm not sure if Quebec French is incredibly different from France French, but I know there are differences like US vs UK English.
There are some definite differences here and there, but for the most part it is rather similar.
In knowing France French, you're at least covered in the language itself, you know.
That way you can communicate.