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Published on Tuesday 30th of November 1999 by Valerie

Intermediate and advanced listening skills to improve your French conversation

This article is a follow-up from the previous one but this time, with intermediate and advanced levels in mind. How can I work on my listening skills in order to improve my French conversation is one of the most frequently asked questions. This makes perfect sense considering that listening and talking are two sides of the same coin when it comes to French conversation. Whilst the Internet provides an abundance of listening opportunities, it can often be hard to sieve through the material and find what is right for you. So here is hoping it will help…

The previous article ended on a resource that was bordering beginners and intermediate levels. Here it is again: a website called news in slow French. Yes, it delivers real news items but the speed is seriously reduced, thus making it more accessible. Each news item is accompanied with a transcript but depending on your level, you may want to listen a few times and try to make sense of it before rushing for the written word. The link for this website is:
https://www.newsinslowfrench.com/

Another good resource for intermediate level is Yabla. Although you can subscribe to this website for 10$ a month, they give you free access to six demonstration videos on the home page. Each video comes with French subtitles, interactive activities you can do by clicking the ‘play game’ button and, most useful of all, the possibility to reduce language speed by clicking the ‘slow’ button. These videos give you the opportunity to check it out and decide for yourself if it is a resource worth investing in. Here is the link:
https://french.yabla.com/fr/

BBC Ma France has also produced good video resources suitable for both intermediate and advanced levels. The French isn’t slowed down but you can watch each video with subtitles in French and in English. You also have the possibility to select or de-select subtitles at your own convenience. A good way to work through these if you are at intermediate level is to listen with both sets of subtitles, then de-select the English subtitles and working your way to progressively de-selecting all subtitles. The link for this website is:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/french/mafrance/podcast/

TV5.monde provides an interesting range of programs to watch in French and with transcripts available. The French is at a reasonable speed. They also have a section called ‘apprendre le Francais avec TV5.monde’. This particular section organises the video clips according to various levels and make it easy to select the level that is right for you. Both links are as follows:
http://www.tv5monde.com/
http://apprendre.tv5monde.com/

Another really good resource is Radio France Internationale. One particularly good section is ‘journal en francais facile’ (news in easy French). Not as fast as the real news, it also provides you with a transcript for each program. A good way to keep up with what’s happening in the world whils practising your French. You will find access to this section at the bottom of the home page but below are the links for the home page and for this particular section:
http://www.rfi.fr/
http://savoirs.rfi.fr/fr/apprendre-enseigner/langue-francaise/journal-en-francais-facile


It goes without saying that listening to French radio and watching French TV if you have access to it are great ways of improving your listening skills and your French conversation. Remember that the aim isn’t necessarily to understand everything but to get used to the speed and the intonation. Yes, you may only pick up the odd word here and there but the more you do it, the more you’ll begin to understand!

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