When it comes to the romance languages French is second only to Spanish in popularity. The language is famed for its beautiful sound and rich cultural heritage (you probably already new that).
And if you’re learning French you also probably know that speaking it as a foreign language isn’t all sunshine and roses. There are some difficult aspects you will have to face and overcome if you want to speak it fluently. Here are 3 ways Yabla will help you do just that.
This article is about how Yabla can help you if you’re learning French. For an in depth review about Yabla and its features check out our full review here.
1) It will connect spoken French with written French
Most people start learning French one word at a time. After learning the alphabet and basic pronunciation you see the word in its written form and hear it spoken slowly.
This works well until your first exposure to native French. Words will be spoken fast, and often sounds disappear or change in native speech. Words you know when they’re are said in isolation or written out become unintelligible at native speed.
This is where Yabla’s video player really helps out. Pick a video based on your French level, and watch it without any subtitles (no French, no English). Take the video section by section and write down any and all words you think you hear.
Use the video’s slow play button if you have to. Then play the same section again with subtitles to see if you missed any. Chances are the first few times you do this you’ll find some words you know but didn’t hear. Keep doing this simple exercise and your ear will begin to recognize natural French speech.
Another similar exercise is to take a section of video without subtitles and write out what you here whether you know the words or not. See if you can figure out how new words are spelled simply by the way they sound.
In French this can be tough, but do it enough and your listening will improve and you may find that French words in general are easier to remember.
This is because your brain remembers things by making associations and connections. If you can connect the sound and sight of a word you’re much more likely to remember it.
2) It will help you master the subjunctive mood
If you’re a native English speaker the French subjunctive mood can get pretty confusing. Not only do you have to conjugate the verb, you must figure out how and when to use the subjunctive. This is hard because we don’t really have an English equivalent. You can use Yabla to help you get a handle on this seemingly odd aspect of the French language.
The best way to do this is to become familiar with the subjunctive conjugations, at least enough so that you can recognize when the subjunctive mood is being used.
Here's a more in depth look at the French subjunctive mood.
Next watch a French video on Yabla with French subtitles and look and listen for any words that indicate the tense. Once you find some make note of the context. Then ask yourself: Why was the subjunctive used in this instance and not another?
Take the sentences you find that used the tense and either write them out in a list or incorporate them into your flashcards (you’ll have to use Anki or memrise because Yabla’s flashcards only let you use one word per card).
Picking out the subjunctive form in context will help you see the bigger picture as to how and when it's appropriate to use.
3) It will expose you to French Idioms
A confusing but fun part of learning a foreign language is stumbling across its idioms. Idioms are expressions that don’t usually make literal sense (Think of English’s “by the skin of your teeth” or “on cloud nine”).
Odds are if you watch enough native French video you’re going to come across some idioms. The higher your French level the harder they are to miss. Idioms are an effective way to boost your French fluency but you’re less likely to find them in a textbook or course.
A brief intro to some common French idioms.
Even if you do come across them in your French101 book it’s probably not explained very well. Like any other aspect of language idioms are a lot easier to understand when you see them in context. Yabla’s French videos will help you do just that.
Alternatives to Yabla French
Starts at $15 per month
5+ minutes a day
Fluentu is a site that helps you learn a language through native videos, and it's very similar to Yabla (though a little more expensive).
You can use in site flashcards, captions, and games to learn new words in context while watching French TV shows, movies, commercials, and more. It's a great way to push your listening skills and vocabulary.
From $4+ per month
15+ minutes a day
Frenchpod101 features audio lessons in a podcast format. Lessons are great for grammar and vocabulary. Each lesson is designed around a French conversation between native speakers, and the teachers do a great job of keeping things engaging.
It's more structured than Yabla and it's a substantial French learning tool. The site features transcripts, an in-site flashcard system, and many other useful features.
20+ minutes a day
Rocket French is built around recorded audio in the form of dialogues. The dialogues have English explanations and usually teach the language in "chunks" or phrases versus individual words (this is great for conversational French).
The Rocket French is for those who want a thorough comprehensive French course. It does an excellent job of incorporating French speaking and listening, as well as reading and writing.
Yabla is a great way to overcome the less romantic parts of learning French. The site is simple and easy to use, but it’s also effective. At $9.95 for a one month subscription it’s affordable too.
The site has some free French videos that let you use the player and get a feel for its features. We recommend you check it out and see for yourself if Yabla is right for you!