If you’re serious about living in France – or just love France enough to know that you will return again and again over the course of your life – you probably realize that improving your French skills is the single thing you can do that will most improve your experience of the country.
I highly recommend Yabla French for anyone who wants to improve their native French listening comprehension. Yabla French is an online video magazine for French learners who wish to improve their language skills. Authentic French videos include television programs, music videos, interviews, documentaries, and travel. Select from a wide range of videos, most running about two or three minutes in length, and be transported to a world of real French people speaking to the camera, speaking to each other, narrating news stories, working, playing, singing, talking about themselves, talking about France – all in their own unique, unedited voices.
What I like most about Yabla French is that you are exposed to all kinds of native French. Not just the same person speaking in French over and over again, like you would find with most French podcasts. These are real world people speaking naturally; French people from all different parts of France. I also like the fact that it’s visual; a nice change from listening to French mp3s.
Yabla’s videos cover a wide range of topics: You get “Le Journal,” consisting of individual segments from actual French news programs; “man on the street” interviews; and, best of all, lots of music videos. These are the sorts of videos that would be fun to watch in English – in French they are fun as well, but also eye-opening and effortlessly instructive.
Here are some of the features of Yabla French:
- As you watch, you see both the transcript of the original French and translated subtitles below it, allowing you to compare the languages phrase-by-phrase.
- Click on any word and a window pops up with definitions from multiple English-French dictionaries.
- Skip backwards if you want to see a previous phrase again, pause to focus on definitions, or slow down the audio as the video plays in order to practice pronunciation.
- When you’re done watching, play a game to test your memory of the video and your improved instincts for French in context.
- Videos are organized according to category: Art/Culture, Food, Music, Sport, Travel, etc.
- Difficulty ratings of 1 through 5 to facilitate self-directed learning.
- Service costs $9.95 per month, $54.95 for six months or $99.95 for a year (foreign credit cards accepted).
- Teachers and organizations may subscribe entire classes or even entire schools at heavily discounted annual rates.
- Five free demo videos available to view now.
I highly recommend that you at least take advantage of the five free demos. Because even if you don’t want to subscribe to Yabla French, the five free demo videos make for very good listening practice. What I really appreciate about the videos is the English and French transcription of everything that is said. And not only the transcription, but the ability to look up the definition of each word.