French Lessons from the BBC and the Peace Corps

Whenever traffic flows to to our collection of Free Language Lessons, one good outcome is that we almost always learn of new podcasts to add to the list. (Just as an fyi, we now have 64 individual podcasts that offer instruction on 22 different languages.)

Last week didn’t disappoint. We learned of a few good new ones. Most notably, one of our readers flagged for us a series of video-based French lessons assembled by the BBC. Presented by Stéphane Cornicard, Ma France consists of 24 interactive video units that teach you the language and a little about the country. You can launch this video to get a brief introduction. The series, which assumes a little prior knowledge of French, was shot in Lyons, the Alps and in Provence. You can access the videos on iTunes, by feed, and by web.

Another new addition to collection, How to Learn Languages for Free: Spanish, English, Chinese & 37 Other Languages, comes from the Peace Corps. They offer some podcasts that will teach you some French, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, and Russian. It all sounds pretty straightforward. But then you find out that they’re teaching the French spoken in Mali (West Africa) and the Russian used in Kazakhstan — that is, the kind of places where Peace Corps volunteers actually go. It’s a bit of a different twist on the usual language lesson podcast. Also, be sure to check out the instructional PDF files that accompany each podcast.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.