What resources should I listen to in order to improve my French listening comprehension?

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le_vert_gallant
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What resources should I listen to in order to improve my French listening comprehension?

Postby le_vert_gallant » Thu Sep 28, 2023 7:13 am

I've been learning French for a while, and I'm now to the point where I can read fairly easily; I've even read a few non-fiction books. However, my listening comprehension is a lot worse. I've listened to some documentaries like "Guerre des Trônes" and various historical-related youtube videos, but, whenever I try to listen to something more natural, I can't understand anything. I can understand the slow, clear French spoken in a documentary, but the speed and rhythm of conversational French are a lot more difficult.

What resources do you recommend to improve my listening comprehension of spoken French? I would prefer to use something with subtitles.

Thanks.
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DaveAgain
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Re: What resources should I listen to in order to improve my French listening comprehension?

Postby DaveAgain » Thu Sep 28, 2023 9:05 am

You could try the Easy French YouTube channel, this is short conversations with people in the street.

Try repeating what the people say too.
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jackb
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Re: What resources should I listen to in order to improve my French listening comprehension?

Postby jackb » Thu Sep 28, 2023 3:50 pm

Les 100 lieux qu'il faut voir Is really good. It goes to places in France in a travel log kind of way. There's a narrator which is straightforward to understand, but every episode has " un enfant du pays" who talks with a local expert. They often speak quickly and with their regional accents.

The other thing that I found helpful when transitioning from reading to listening was Bon Patron. There is a section of the site dedicated to French phonetics. The parts I found particularly helpful were unstable E and enchainement. These are the two things I found to make the most difference in understanding real French. Neither of these are talked about specifically. They're usually just lumped together with speed and liaison.
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le_vert_gallant
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Re: What resources should I listen to in order to improve my French listening comprehension?

Postby le_vert_gallant » Thu Sep 28, 2023 8:04 pm

Thanks, these are all good. Can you recommend any French TV shows that are available for free online with subtitles? I've managed to find a few on Youtube for free (e.g. fais pas ci, fais pas ça), but they don't have subtitles, which makes it a lot harder to use for listening comprehension.
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jackb
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Re: What resources should I listen to in order to improve my French listening comprehension?

Postby jackb » Thu Sep 28, 2023 9:55 pm

Can you recommend any French TV shows that are available for free online with subtitles?


That's a pretty tall order. Even if you found a show you wanted to watch that met those criteria, the subtitles may not be close enough for your purposes.

I would suggest watching a show you actually want to watch rather than one you will settle for because of the subtitles. You can watch it in your native language and then in French to follow it better.

The other option is audiobooks. You can be pretty sure that the sounds will match the letters. Then again, the narrator will be reading not talking which is a different thing altogether. Here are a bunch of free ones. Bon courage!
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Re: What resources should I listen to in order to improve my French listening comprehension?

Postby ShawnP » Fri Sep 29, 2023 1:36 am

Netflix or Disney shows that you enjoy with subtitles. You wont become an listening expert overnight with anything though. Just have to put in the time and effort.
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Re: What resources should I listen to in order to improve my French listening comprehension?

Postby DaveAgain » Fri Sep 29, 2023 4:26 am

If you can access it tv5mondeplus.com has a goal of providing sub-titles with their programmes, I'm not sure how successful they are.

Arte.tv/fr sometimes has French subtitles, sometimes not. But this is more documentaries than fiction. If you can download the Arte app to your television I think you have the option to set it up to only offer programmes that have subtitles available in language X.

I like JackB's suggestion of audiobooks. Try to repeat the audio too.
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Re: What resources should I listen to in order to improve my French listening comprehension?

Postby Henkkles » Fri Sep 29, 2023 4:40 am

I don't think you necessarily need a <resource> but an <activity> that is transcription.
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Re: What resources should I listen to in order to improve my French listening comprehension?

Postby guyome » Fri Sep 29, 2023 7:36 am

If you're into History, Passions médiévistes might work for you. Quite a few episodes come with a transcription and you get normal spoken French rather than tv-documentary French.
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Re: What resources should I listen to in order to improve my French listening comprehension?

Postby alcarazesco » Sat Sep 30, 2023 5:18 am

Start with the easier stuff. C'est pas sorcier, certain kids shows like Lou!, and Franck Ferrand Raconte (Franck was with Europe 1 before moving to Radio Classique. He does well recounting historical figures and important events). If you can tolerate it, listen to French government public announcements and speeches. Your primary goal is to listen to things you understand and gradually increase the difficulty.

There's also GLOSS from the Defense Language Institute, which has hundreds of audio documents with transcriptions and translations. You get a similar effect by reading a book with an accompanying audiobook. That way you learn how different words are pronounced. Be careful with this: French writing often differs from the spoken word. The French don't use the simple past in spoken speech, unless it's a snob from L'Academie Francaise. For now, stick with modern literature that uses familiar tenses. Fellow user iguanamon has written about the "multi-track" approach for improving listening comprehension. I highly recommend reading it. The point is. among other things, to listen to level-appropriate materials with transcriptions and gradually increase the difficulty.

Finally, remember that people don't speak the way they write. Our normal speech is often truncated, unclear, and lacking in proper grammar, no matter the speaker's education level. The French have their own short cuts. The "ne" in "ne...pas" or some other negation is almost never said in speech. They might omit direct objects in speech too, so "Je le lui..." becomes "Je l'lui" or "sh'lui". Combine some things and you get "shluiai pas" for "je ne lui ai pas." 'Il y a' becomes "ya," Ca veut dire becomes "savdir," prendre becomes "pruhn" b/c they can't be bothered to say the -ndre at the end (ditto for 'mettre,' but with -tre). The list is endless. The way you learn these things is by listening to a ton of French attentively until it becomes second-nature.
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