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Along the lines of the same question on German Language & Usage, what are good, free online resources for an English speaker to learn French properly from scratch?

Ideally, important areas such as grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation should be covered, to the point where a self-learner can start to read, write, listen and speak simple French, firstly for use in everyday life and work, and thereafter be able to advance to a higher level with a strong foundation.

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closed as too broad by Gilles Apr 11 at 22:42

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I have slowly over time been compiling a huge list of French resources here: – Bryan Denny Jun 7 '12 at 18:31
The accumulation of answers that just says “look at this site” and randomly get upvoted, downvoted or neither illustrates why this sort of link farm question doesn't work on Stack Exchange. I am closing this question which is officially frowned upon. – Gilles Apr 11 at 22:42

11 Answers 11

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I would suggest you wikihow and, which should at least help you for your first steps1. But as Brennan Vincent said, you probably won't reach a high level using nothing beside them.

1 I would say mettre le pied à l'étrier in French.

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An excellent free online resource is skype or MSN. You can find language exchange contacts free at

I have made some great French friends chatting face to face on skype (I recommend you use a camera). We've even holidayed with each other. It's a fantastic way to make new friends and improve your French and English (or whatever) at the same time.

During a chat we generally speak for an hour, half an hour in French and half an hour in English (i.e. everything is said in French during the first half hour and everything is said in English during the second half hour). Do not be afraid to start, you really only need the basics to hold a conversation and you will only get better.

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This answer will be a non-answer: there aren't any.

There are resources that will help you learn French, but it's impossible to learn it completely online to the level you described. If you really need or want to learn French, you absolutely must (in decreasing order of preference) move to a French-speaking country, make several French-speaking friends, or take some classes.

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The coffee break french podcast got me to the point where I was able to understand intermediate material. It is also a nice way to learn during your commute.

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+1 Great resource – Gaʀʀʏ Jun 12 '12 at 17:01

Le Point du FLE has a very good database of resources listed according to topics and levels. All resources listed are free.

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Thanks for the website! Unfortunately it seems I cannot access it and this has been happening for months. Maybe it is my location or internet connection... – user222 Apr 13 '12 at 7:37
@JasperLoy: Have you tried from another computer? Have tried to contact them via the contact page? – Laure Apr 13 '12 at 10:42

Memrise is very good for learning vocabulary. You can use other people's lists (including introductory French ones) or create your own. It's essentially a flash card system with sounds/graphics/videos/and mems to help you remember your vocab lists.

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Duolingo uses crowd sourcing of translations to teach French. There are also a series of lessons that gradually advance on French grammar and vocabulary.

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Among the many others good suggestions mentioned here, I've found the French site to incredibly useful, especially for learning specifics about grammar, usage, and idioms.

But above all else, practicing in real-world situations is enormously important. Book learning is essential, but not the whole solution.

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I will suggest a Website for learning pronunciation from an articulatory point of view. This means that the approach is phonetic: how to really pronounce the sounds.

At first it might be a bit complicated to understand the focus, especially if don't know anything about phonetics, but then it gets interesting. The approach is great because you don't follow typical misleading suggestions but you learn in a more accurate way.

The site focuses on a modern real speech, disregarding old-school advice. Have fun ;)

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I will suggest a Website for learning pronunciation from an articulatory point of view. This means that the approach is phonetic: how to really pronounce the sounds.

share|improve this answer