How to learn French with YouTube - 7 powerful ways
Youtube is by far my favourite French learning tool.
As a French learning coach, I recommend hand-picked Youtube channels to all the new students who start working with me (this is a part of Your Roadmap to Fluency). Being a polyglot myself, I also use YouTube to practice my own languages. Below are seven very different ways you can use YouTube to learn French.
1) Immersion a.k.a “French bath”
If you have been following me for a while, you certainly heard me say this: there is only one way to learn French, and it is to keep French around every day. I repeat this on and on because it is crucial: your brain will not learn a language that is not part of your immediate environment on a regular basis. That means everyday, and the longer the better. Youtube provides the perfect way to pull this off, since it can offer you an unlimited supply of French content.
All you need is to find some YouTube channels that you like and start watching them. I suggest some channels based on their personal interests to every student who works with me one-on-one. You can also download my YouTube ebook below to discover 25 awesome channels. Choose those that appeal to you and start watching videos everyday to boost your French learning.
2) Slow things down
One of the biggest issue my students face is the speed of native speakers. They just speak sooooo fast, and YouTubers are no exception. While I insist on the importance of getting used to the regular speed (and YouTube can help a lot with that), it can be good to start slow and work you way up. Did you know you can literally ask a YouTuber to speak slowly?
Here’s how to do it:
1. Click on the small ‘settings’ wheel in the bottom roght corner of any video. 2. Click on “speed” 3. Choose the speed you prefer - et voilà!
3) Actual French lessons
I don’t generally recommend using artificial learning material (i.e. material created for learners and not for natives). However, there are great French teaching channels on YouTube, such as Français avec Pierre or Easy French and their work can really help you, especially if you are not very advanced yet.
Important note: even if you’re still a beginner, a daily French bath is a non-negotiable part of your French learning journey (see point 1 in this list). I’ll tell you what I say to my one on one students: it’s ok if you don’t understand what’s being said. You don’t need to understand everything. In fact you don’t even need to understand anything. The point is to have the language around, and let your brain work its magic. It’s perfectly ok and even recommended to watch mindlessly or just listen and do something else at the same time, like cooking, cleaning or working out.
4) French coaching on YouTube (with Yours Truly)
Since I keep saying how great YouTube is, you’d expect me to have my own channel, right? Well I do.
On that channel, I share with you all my best French learning tips, as well as case studies showing off the real results of my students, French learning trivia, and much more.
Here is one of my most popular videos, about the one thing you need to be successful at learning a language.
I have planned a lot of great videos in the coming months, so if you’re interested in learning French with an approach that makes sense, make sure to subscribe to my channel, or even better, make sure you receive my emails, so you don’t miss anything, on YouTube, Facebook or on this website. Every Monday, I’ll send you a dose of French learning inspiration for the week. If you aren’t subscribed to my emails yet, you can subscribe right below, and you’ll get a beautiful ebook with 25 amazing YouTube channels as a welcome gift:
5) Learn about French culture
Any French YouTube channel will teach you something about French culture. However, some have really put an emphasis on it, such as expats Sebastian Marx and Paul Taylor, American and British respectively.
In his hilarious series What the fuck France, Paul Taylor points out the quirks of French culture in such an appealing way that the series became super popular in France. Check that out:
In a similar way, Sebastian Marx likes to point out how weird the French language is, in his series “La langue française expliquée par un Américain”.
6) Follow your favourite YouTubers off YouTube
Many French YouTubers also have blogs, podcasts and/or social media accounts. Many also send regular emails to their subscribers.
Think of all the possibilities!
You can practice reading with emails and blogs (also on your phone when you’re on the go), or practice listening with the podcasts - which you can also download to put them in you car. You could also follow your favourite French YouTubers on social media to get a little French input here and there.
Here is how to do that:
1) Find a YouTuber you like
2) Check the description below their videos. It typically features links to any other content they offer.
3) Click on those links and start following / reading / listening to them on other platforms.
Here is an advanced strategy I’ve personally used to improve my English:
Some French people you can find on YouTube such as personal growth coach David Laroche or Stan Leloup from Marketing Mania have built entire businesses based on their expertise, all in French. What you can see on YouTube is just the tip of the iceberg. They can offer websites, podcasts, email courses, and full training courses. If you enrol in one of these training courses, you’ll typically get an entire ecosystem with video, text and often a community of students, all in French.
If your French is already quite good, enrolling in a French training program about a topic you’re interested in is a great way to perfect your French, while also growing other skills and making friends.
This is how I have learned how to create an online business from scratch, with English speaking mentors and fellow students. Now, I keep getting compliments on how good my English is, from people who read this blog and watch my videos.
So: Great language skills ✅ Better business skills ✅New friends ✅ - way to kill three birds with one stone.
7) Make the algorithm work for you
It works in mysterious ways, but it works.
Start watching French speaking videos, and click like and subscribe to those you enjoy. At some point, the YouTube algorithm will kick in and suggest similar channels to you, which are also French.
It might take a while for it to catch up, but once it does, it’s an easy way to discover new channels you will like. I discovered many channels this way, in all languages that I practice on YouTube.
Caution: YouTube believes that Canadian French and French from France are two different languages. If you live in Canada, or want to learn Canadian French, make sure you follow Canadian YouTubers from the get go. Else the algorithm may never realise that you’d want to see them.
Ready to start improving your French watching awesome French YouTubers? Get started by downloading the ebook below. It contains 25 of the best YouTube channels you’ll ever find.
Oh, you’re still here! You can find more great YouTube channels in this article.
This article is part of the blogpost roundup, “learning a language with the help of visual material” organised by the blog le français illustré.