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.


10 Answers 10


I would suggest you wikihow and frenchtutorial.com, 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.


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.


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.


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

  • 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
    Commented Apr 13, 2012 at 7:37
  • @JasperLoy: Have you tried from another computer? Have tried to contact them via the contact page? lepointdufle.net/contact.htm
    – None
    Commented Apr 13, 2012 at 10:42

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.

  • +1 Great resource
    – Gaʀʀʏ
    Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 17:01

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.


Among the many other good suggestions mentioned here, I've found this site to be 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.


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


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 ;)


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. www.duolingo.com

  • Duolingo is not free, though.
    – tripleee
    Commented May 5, 2022 at 12:39
  • @tripleee is it not? I always thought it was. Might have changed recently, then the answer was accurate at the time of writing.
    – Luuklag
    Commented May 5, 2022 at 12:58
  • I may have jumped the gun here a bit. I checked their web site and it says "try for free for 14 days" but e.g. the iPhone app does seem to offer some free material.
    – tripleee
    Commented May 5, 2022 at 14:22