Resources: French grammar

img_0591This post is mainly for beginners (Common European Framework of Reference A1) and intermediate (A2-B1) levels of French, though those resources that are in French (ex. Connectigramme) would be appropriate for a range of levels and for people who aren’t interested in the “levels” business at all but are learning French for other—general or specific—purposes: from travel to reading Proust.

For independent learners / self-study, I’d suggest as a first step the University of Austin open access set of Tex’s French Grammar, Français interactif, and the accompanying Chansons françaises. I would also still recommend the classic Karl C. Sandberg French for Reading, which I’ve used in teaching summer intensive “French For Reading Knowledge” courses to (post-)graduate students in the arts and humanities; albeit using it as a flexible base rather than a fixed textbook to follow slavishly as it is 50 years old now and many of its readings are of such antiquity as to have acquired additional historical interest. Some might consider that to be an enriching asset, especially in the context of a graduate course, and I wouldn’t deny being among them. If we are at all alike, then you might also be enlightened and delighted by another venerable classic: D.M. Kaufman, Xenophobowski’s Guide to Grammar (Newcastle upon Tyne Polytechnic, 1979).

Welcome, then, to the last post of the old year, as I tidy up resources for courses next term. December has been a month of exam preparation (a.k.a. design, composition, creation, and production), organisation and invigilation (plus bonus complications which cannot be discussed publicly, other than thanking the student who gave me the ‘flu), marking (I am still marking, and that will continue up to the beginning of term), and course preparation. It is all worth it because teaching and learning languages, a university arts and literate humanities education, and learning in general are some of the most important things in the world. Happy New Year: may it be a year of more language-learning and greater intercultural understanding, peace on earth, and goodwill to all.

As with the accompanying Resources: French dictionaries post, I’ve focused here on free online resources, plus some that are in or obtainable through public libraries: in celebration and encouragement of open access. If uncertain or stumped, consult a librarian: if anyone can help you, it will be a librarian, because librarians are awesome knowledge superheroes with superpowers.

[If you are taking FREN 1xx here at UBC] your course materials already provide you with:

  • Textbook → Précis de grammaire (p. 208-19)

Recommended:

  • A reference grammar with practice exercises:
    Poisson-Quinton, La grammaire du français en 44 leçons et plus de 230 activités, niveau A1. (Paris: Éditions Maison des langues, 2014). ISBN 9788415640127
    (Further volumes available at other levels.)
  • Verbs and conjugating them:
    Bescherelle conjugaison (online, free) and its original printed book form, in any edition from 1980 onwards. This is the canonical French verb book.
  • A reference grammar (with a few exercises):
    Jacqueline Morton, English Grammar for Students of French, any edition (Ann Arbor: Olivia & Hill, 1st ed. 1979, current 7th ed. 2013).

Some free online resources for reference and explanation, listing grammar terms and topics alphabetically (ex. adverbs, participles, past tenses, verbs):

Some more free online resources for more grammar:

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More practice exercises:

  • Free extra exercises and other resources online → Cosmopolite 1, Parcours digital (using the code on the black sticker on the inside front cover of your textbook).
  • TV5 Monde:
    learning French (not just grammar), from the main French international TV channel > niveau A1 (débutant) & A2 (
    (Plus further materials at other levels.)
  • Le Point du FLE:
    Large online repository of more exercises; look for specific topics and for the A1 level.
    (Plus further materials at other levels.)
  • Tex’s French Grammar:
    “An online pedagogical reference grammar of the French language that combines authoritative grammar explanations, self-correcting exercises and online audio with surreal dialogues and cartoon images.” Carl Blyth, Karen Kelton, et al; University of Texas, Austin.
    (Not aligned with DELF / CEFR A1, but still generally useful: for example, if you feel that you need a different angle of approach and more practice on a specific topic.)
  • REPSIT – À la découverte du monde francophone (University of Calgary).
  • Meta-meta-medieval > outils utiles (O’Brien):
    Further resources for French (overlapping with the resources above), including links to various websites with yet more online exercises. Warning: links have not been checked recently.

folon-ecouter-big

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