We find the best re­sources for brush­ing up your lan­guage skills.

France - - Bienvenue -

On a re­cent hol­i­day to France, I was re­minded how mono­lin­gual the Bri­tish are as a na­tion. In a gift shop in Col­mar, I saw how a French teenager chat­ted to two Bri­tish cus­tomers in near-per­fect English while they made no at­tempt to even ut­ter the words ‘ merci’ or ‘ au revoir’.

Learn­ing a lan­guage has many ben­e­fits and with such a wealth of re­sources, there re­ally is no ex­cuse not to give French a go.

If get­ting to grips with the ba­sics is your main ob­jec­tive, try Eye­wit­ness Travel Phrase Book French (Dor­ling Kin­der­s­ley, £4.99). This easy-to-use sur­vival guide cov­ers every­day travel sit­u­a­tions and comes with a free au­dio app which al­lows you to lis­ten to es­sen­tial words spo­ken aloud by na­tive speak­ers.

Learn­ing French pro­nun­ci­a­tion is key to gain­ing con­fi­dence in the lan­guage, which is where the phone­ web­site comes in handy. It of­fers pho­netic ex­er­cises that will help you mas­ter the sounds and rhythms of French. If au­dio-vis­ual learn­ing is a pri­or­ity, Flu­entu French (flu­ will prove re­ward­ing. This pop­u­lar web­site teaches learn­ers through au­then­tic, real-life videos that cover ev­ery­thing from French TV com­mer­cials and music chan­nels to news bul­letins and film trail­ers. Those who pre­fer purely vis­ual learn­ing will get plenty out of the Ber­litz French Pic­ture Dic­tionary (Ber­litz, £6.99). The book fea­tures more than 2,000 il­lus­trated words and phrases or­gan­ised in 12 the­matic chap­ters that in­clude the home, work, food and leisure. Learn­ing the tra­di­tional way by tak­ing a course at a French lan­guage school is also re­ward­ing, es­pe­cially when com­bined with a hol­i­day in France. In­sti­tut Lin­guis­tique Adenet (, based in the Mediter­ranean city of Montpellier, pro­vides week-long pro­grammes that fo­cus on ef­fec­tively com­mu­ni­cat­ing in French in real-life sit­u­a­tions. Cour­ses (from €220) in­clude visits to cul­tural at­trac­tions, which give an ex­cel­lent in­sight into French life.

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