BBC Languages Website
www.bbc.co.uk/languages/french
  • I hope the BBC update their language pages constantly adding new features especially for intermediate learners who really cry out for more

    • by Shaun Humphreys
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      The BBC languages website is usually featured near the top in language blog top 10 lists. Honestly though, it’s not the first place I would think of looking to learn french, but after positive polls this language buff took a look.

      BBC languages is an excellent all inclusive site with beginners and improvers courses. Intermediate level users are provided with resources: interviews, french cartoons and french games. Intermediate and advanced learners get lazy, wanting to be spoon-fed with honey and pleasing lesson structure. BBC takes a sensible approach: kidies lessons evolving to french tv and games-real life.

      Its layout is a bit chok-a-block until your eyes relax to the alpine, news page style formatting.

      The lessons are scenario based static picture with audio but there is plenty of video lesson material elsewhere on the french page for improvers and intermediates. Each lesson comes with the listed keywords in english and french, a flashcard tool to memorise them, a writing exercise and a speaking exercise.

      Its not spoon fed to you like in Livemocha’s language community. Lessons are scenario/dialogue based meaning


      you learn the vocabulary first, then listen to the extract several times to hear the vocabulary in sentences. After listening, you get to test if you’ve taken it in, and practise with spoken and written exercises. Scenario/dialogue based learning is far superior to the flashcard only system (vocabulary taught in isolation). You remember the vocab with the situation.

      The alpine style pages for me were too pale, but pleasing for most viewers. The french is chaotic until you find the left hand “choose a section” tool, linking you to the three courses plus the games, interviews.

      The two best features are the “cool french” page of coloquials and the french cartoon collection. “Cool french” lists coloquials by category e.g. “interjections”: “wow!-Ho”, “shit!-merde” “blast!-Zut!” and “serves you right”.

      Each cartoon is about 5 minutes long, perfect for listening to slow speaking french with french key words listed on the right.Warning: BBC links to french radio/magazines/tv are for advanced learners only. Use slow speaking cartoons to build your listening ability; french at normal speed sounds like film noir.

      The main courses ...


      • are “french steps” for beginners in 12 topic sections, followed by a very comprehensive 12 week improvers “Ma french”. Set to 24 interactive videos in french with optional subtitles it has some great topics like “dating” and “news and views”. What a fantastic resource for pushing yourself from the “grey” improvers area to full fledged competency!

        The lessons are perfect for first time learners or users touching up after a break. Judging from the quantity, BBC french could keep you going with content for about a year. I would use it as your sole language source online so as not to confuse yourself with different courses.

        Supplement it with more vocabulary from other sources and use a language community like Busuu to constantly put that language to use with the site’s chat feature (BBC has no chat interactivity). In the end, no matter how good the content and lesson format, if you don’t use it straight away and often, you lose it.

        Its a free resource, count yourself lucky it exists. Love or hate the BBC, their educational

        presence on the net is dependable high quality.

        The language resources are high quality and independently provided, not stale templates. THe BBC offers a comprehensive resource for french, german, italian, spanish, portuguese, greek, chinese. Other languages like urdu are sourced as other with off site links.

        I place BBC languages in my top 2 language sites. Its an excellent foundation model on top of which endless features can be added. I hope the BBC update their language pages constantly adding new features especially for intermediate learners who really cry out for more. At the moment I see they have already updated their “Ma france” with four additional topics. Good news indeed.

        If learners get wise, they will realise buying Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur isn’t necessary any more. Websites like the BBC have far more resources. Does Rosetta stone offer french cartoons, news reports,newspapers, games? No, its basically just audio. Why pay for audio when you can get all the courses and extras free online in one place-at the BBC.

        For your 2nd 3rd or 4th language needs head straight to BBC. Highly recommended.

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    The review was published as it's written by reviewer in January, 2011. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 2018011389631231/k2311a0118/1.18.11
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