#1 Posted by BrockNRolla (1702 posts) -

Hey duders. I'm taking a trip up to Quebec and Montreal come spring, so during the long, dark, cold winter that Chicago is bound to have year, I'd like to learn some French. I'm not aiming to be fluent or anything in 6 months time, but I would like to have a relative grasp on the way the language works, and at least a basic knowledge of important phrases to help me get around, order food, ect. I know that there are a lot of English speakers in that part of Canada as well, but I'd prefer to at least stick in part to the common tongue of the region if I can at all help it.

So, for any French learners or French speakers out there, what are some good resources for learning French? Mind you, I'm a law school student, so I'm not going to be enrolling in a French course or anything of the kind, but some resources to study in my free time would be great!

#2 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

Napoleon. It's the only game I know of that went directly from Japanese to French.

#3 Posted by ShockD (2401 posts) -

I can't really recommend anything, but all I have to say is that you're going to have a really hard hard time learning french without courses. Even with courses you're still going to need a decent amount of time to understand the basics. I'd say, get a simple phrasebook and the rest you'll learn when you get into the French environment. Good luck!

#4 Posted by BrockNRolla (1702 posts) -

@Video_Game_King: Interesting, but I think I lack the proper equipment for using Napoleon as a resource...

#5 Edited by Fear_the_Booboo (473 posts) -

I really don't know. Maybe watch some movies in French or English ones with French subtitles? That's how I've learned English basically. Just reading stuff won't help you if you have to talk to people. It seems a really hard thing to do without courses.

Aussi, amuse toi bien à Montréal! Je viens d'y revenir et c'est une ville plutôt sympathique.

#6 Posted by BrockNRolla (1702 posts) -

Thanks for the suggestions. After your suggestions about classes, I'm looking into some classes at a French cultural center here in Chicago. Don't know whether or not they're any good, but it's worth a look.

#7 Posted by ShockD (2401 posts) -
@BrockNRolla: They're definitely going to be more useful than reading the super confusing textbooks.
#8 Posted by Dagbiker (6976 posts) -

I never really learned any foreign languages, but when my family and I went to Holland, learning the words came pretty easy. I cant remember much now, but I do remember dank-ubel for thank you.

Basically what Im saying is it will be much easier to learn the language once you are neck deep in it.

Having said that, I have always heard good things about the Rosetta Stone stuff.

#9 Posted by mosespippy (4167 posts) -

Podcasts are a decent substitue for courses. For one, courses are kind of anal about getting proper spelling while podcasts focus on proper pronunciation. From a functional stand point you're going to be talking more than writing so pronunciation is a better thing to focus on. Secondly, I've always found aural methods to be better at teaching languages than written methods.

Once you get a good grasp of the language then you could try some of your games in French. I'm sure you've got at least one game with a french option. Heavy Rain and GTA IV come to mind.

Online
#10 Posted by BrockNRolla (1702 posts) -

@mosespippy: Great suggestions. I'm curious if you could elaborate on the "podcasts." Are these just podcasts in a foreign language or are you talking about podcasts specifically designed for teaching you a language? Have you had any experience with them?

#11 Posted by IzzyGraze (850 posts) -

There are a ton of french language meetup groups in Montreal. There's one every wednesday around 6pm. If you tell people you're a beginner they'll help you. If you do get time, there are tons of courses where you can learn French. Also live in the East side of Montreal. That is the francophone part. The West side is mostly anglophone. If you're confused at which parts are East and still considered part of Montreal then look at a subway map and divide it in half.

A lot of people in Montreal will just speak English to you if they notice you're having trouble so be insistent. There are lot of French people from France there though and they will speak French to you if you try. This is just from my experience in Montreal. My sister would speak French and they'd speak French back to her but not so much me.

There are also a ton of French language chanels in Quebec which also dub all their shows. So that might help a bit. I would say make a few French friends and have them help you, that's probably your best bet to learning French. Montrealers aren't the most patient people.

#12 Posted by mosespippy (4167 posts) -

@BrockNRolla: I tried to teach myself french last winter using podcasts but I eventually stopped after about two months. There is a whole section on iTunes for language learning podcasts (or at least there is around New Years). The two that I tried were One Thing In French a Day, which seemed to be for people who already had a grasp of the language. It was basically just two or three minutes of someone saying something in French with no translation. The other podcast was Coffee Break French. Coffee Break French has a free version and a longer premium version. The free version was around 20 minutes an episode and did things in a similar manner as the introductory french course that I took at university a couple years ago. Early on it covers things like food, numbers, directions and so on and keeps building as you go. There were probably about 40 different podcasts in the french language learning section of iTunes so just pick some and try them out to see if it's on your level.

Online
#13 Posted by BrockNRolla (1702 posts) -

@mosespippy: After doing a bit of searching, I stumbled across Coffee Break French myself. It seems like a good introduction and I like the pacing. There are also something like a 100+ episodes, so it will be a solid chunk of content. Thanks a lot for the suggestion!

#14 Edited by wefwefasdf (6729 posts) -

Hey! I just started learning French a few weeks ago. Here are some the resources that I've been using...

Duolingo

Memrise

Franslate

Phrasebook

I can't recommend Duolingo enough. It is fun and gets you started very quickly. Add in some podcasts, maybe some local TV shows and you'll have quite a lot to work with. This book is great too.

#15 Posted by Silvergun (297 posts) -

Last I checked, Rosetta Stone was the gold standard in language software. It's a bit spendy, but it works well. I used it to kick off learning Chinese years ago, and I thought it worked really well.

#16 Posted by BrockNRolla (1702 posts) -

@SpikeSpiegel: Thanks a lot for the suggestions! I already started in on lessons in Duolingo. I really like it, and it gives me something visual too.