5 tips to learn French with TV

Learning French by watching French television is very much possible. Just ask all the French people who taught themselves English watching the DVDs of FriendsThat 70’s Show and Two and a Half Men! All you need to learn is a large catalogue of French movies and shows with English subtitles and a couple of tips. Suivez le guide!

Imagine you randomly come across Omar Sy or Isabelle Huppert. They ask you for directions in French, but you don’t understand and you miss your chance to talk to them! What could have been a fun story to tell at your next dinner party is now the missed opportunity of a lifetime! It’s time to start coupling your love with French cinema with your desire to learn French at home.

5 tips to learn French with French TV

1. Subscribe to the largest library of French movies and series in the US

Well-known in the francophone world, TV5MONDE has been the main provider of quality French culture in the USA for decades. The network and its French streaming service TV5MONDEPlus is made for all the expatriates and their families. Most movies and shows are broadcast in French with English subtitles. As part of your subscription (check out here if it’s available with your provider), you have access to:

  • The 24h French-language network TV5MONDE USA with a mix of films, TV shows documentaries, news reports, and entertainment in French with English subtitles, with replays available.

  • TiVi5MONDE, a channel dedicated to children's cartoons in French.

  • TV5MONDE Style which focuses on the world of French culture whether it’s fashion, luxury, design, or gastronomy!

  • TV5MONDE Info for your dose of news in French.

  • The SVOD service TV5MONDE Cinema on Demand, with a selection of French films around a theme every month.

  • The French streaming service TV5MONDEPlus, which offers thousands of hours of French content, recent movies, classic French films, Canadian, Belgian and French series, documentaries, and much more.

2. Watch news programs in French

You can find many on YouTube or via TV5MONDE. News presenters tend to enunciate well, not use too much slang but still speak conversational French. Plus, learning about what’s happening in France and what people are talking about in Paris will definitely be of help if you’re trying to participate in a conversation among a group of French friends.

3. Install Language Reactor, a chrome extension that helps you learn French with Netflix

The extension adds dual language subtitles, a popup dictionary, precise video playback controls and many more features when watching films and series on the Netflix website! You can also use it for YouTube, certain e-books and websites.

4. Write down in a notebook every time you learn a word while watching a movie

Look at your list at the end of each week, to see how many you remember. And every month, review the French words you’ve added in the last 30 days.

5. Learn French with YouTube

Watch the YouTube channel French morning with Elisa, which dedicates many videos to learning French with French TV shows like Lupin, Call My Agent, Family Business.

And if that's not enough, you can also try some free learning French apps like DuoLingo, or Apprendre le français. All you need is to dedicate a few minutes every day to see real improvement in broadening your vocabulary and improving your understanding.

If you already have a good level of French but are not bilingual yet, try listening to podcasts. For example, The Thing About France, a podcast produced by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the U.S. or the podcast of French Morning US, a news site for French expatriates in America.

And to learn French and French culture, you can also subscribe to the only bilingual magazine in the U.S., France-Amérique.

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