Adding to the conversation – other ways of learning

Conversation is great, but what about French books, online resources, TV and radio? All media offer variety and benefits. We know that the obvious way to learn is to spend more time in France. With that option not entirely practical, what other resources are useful, other than come along to The Bel?


I find the most useful radio station is Radio France Internationale (RFI)

You can isten to live radio, or any number of podcasts on current issues. One of the most useful features for student of French is the news is “francais facile”, which is perfect for people like me – the ‘slow of listening’. News is ideal to listen to, since the stories are usually familiar anyway.

With the full speed programmes, I keep telling myself that it doesn’t matter if I don’t understand all of it…I’m still tuning my ear in and it’s always a useful excercise

RFI also has plenty of learning resources and will test you on your comprehension and even prepare you for language examinations. Have a rummage around the website:

You can get the full range of French radio stations for your smartphone by downloading apps such as TuneIn.


The choice is great, but one book I have found useful and was recommended to me when I did a French course at Surrey University are: English Grammar for Students of French, The Study Guide for those learning French, Jacqueline Morton (Arnold, 2002). It’s full of examples and seems to understand and explain points of grammar that an English speaker would find hard in French.

Short stories are worth reading. I enjoyed the following: French short stories: Nouvelles Francaises: Volume 2 (Penguin Parallel Text Series. I try not to look at the translations, but it is always handy to have them there.

While in France last time,I went to a bookshop to ask for recommendations for modern short stories. I had been finding that most of what I was reading was either late nineteenth century or perhaps as late as the 1950’s, but finding short form stories written more recently wasn’t so easy. Solution: My bookshop sold me a wonderful slim volume called Les eaux troublés du mojito Et autres belles raisons d’habiter sur terre by Philippe Delerm. It is wonderful – really upbeat and optimistic. Each ‘story’ is a little vignette or almost like an atmosphere, lasting no more than a page, possibly a page and a half. Very whimsical.

And finally – a bookshop recommended to me by my cousin, Claire. It’s in South Kensington, but it has an online shop too. Librarie La Page:


On your smart TV – video on demand

Euronews francais

Little snippets of news articles, arts and cultural pieces – great to have on if you have a tv in the kitchen.

If anyone has any resources they have found particularly useful, please let me know. 

Podcasts are an area I haven’t investigated yet, so please share any you might have found.


Please share with your friends...Share on Facebook

Recent Posts

Recent Comments




    Jenny Bowden Written by:

    Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.