Learning a new language can be beneficial in many ways. For example, it can present you with new work prospects, allows you to enjoy a countries culture unaided, and if you fancy yourself as a bit of traveller, it will enable you to live like a local whilst away. So if you're looking to learn French, there really is no better time to start.
In this easy step-by-step guide, we'll help you find the right books to help you lean French. Whether you're a complete beginner, intermediate or advanced, we've ranked the top 9 best textbooks for learning French grammar, vocabulary and conversation on Amazon. Allons-y!
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Table of Contents
Before we dive right into our selections, we’ve compiled a buying guide that we think will be helpful when it comes to finding the right language learning book for you. We'll look at various factors, such as your current level, different aspects of language learning and a couple of other considerations to get you speaking French fluently in no time!
The first thing you’ll need to do before you even purchase a book is to assess your level of French. If you choose a book that’s too difficult, then you’ll quickly become frustrated and demotivated. Likewise, if your purchase is a little too easy, you won’t feel challenged enough. Luckily, language books are easily categorised into three difficulty levels.
If you're taking your first steps into learning a new language, or you're only a couple of lessons in, a beginner book is going to be the best place to start.
Beginner books are usually all-encompassing texts that will teach you the foundations of a language. This will include basic vocabulary, the fundamental rules of French grammar, and a little conversational practice too.
If you've previously studied French and you already understand the basic grammar rules, as well as being able to recall everyday vocabulary, then it's probably better that you opt for an intermediate book.
These books will be suitable for those who have completed a French GCSE, or similar qualification, as unlike beginner books, these will mainly focus on expanding your vocabulary and preparing you for more complex conversations.
For those with a formal French education who have studied the language to a higher level, an advanced book will be perfect for you. These books delve further into the nuances of the French language, discussing more complicated grammatical structures and teaching a wider vocabulary.
Advanced books are ideal for expanding your ability to engage in a broader range of conversational topics. Although, you may find that many of these texts are written in French, so you'll need to be completely comfortable learning in your second (third, fourth...) language.
Once you understand what level you’re at, it’s time to find a book that aligns with your language learning goals. For example, a textbook that covers complete learning will look at each facet of the language, starting at the foundations, before increasing in difficulty the further you get through the book.
You can also find books to complement your primary textbook, such as those that focus on conversational topics, grammar or vocabulary. As well as being extra-curricular texts, these are ideal for those who already have a basic understanding French to broaden their understanding of the language, without having to re-study the rules.
We’re sure it’ll be no surprise to anyone that finding a book that requires you to complete exercises will see students learning better. After all, it’s true what they say, practice makes perfect!
Pretty much any language learning textbook worth its salt will have some kind of practice exercises. Over time, these will help to develop your skills, and while it might seem that filling in a crossword with the word ‘grille-pain’ (toaster) isn’t the most practical use of language, when you spurt it out mid-sentence in Nice, you’ll understand why it was there.
Some books will offer listening exercises in the form of a CD or as an online resource, which can be handy if you’re learning on your own without classmates. The only time you’re less likely to have exercises are within supplementary learning texts that focus on more advanced vocabulary.
As you can imagine, auditory learners are most successful when given information vocally. This can be somewhat difficult when learning from a textbook. However, some books offer audio in the form of CD's or online resources, so these should be the top of your list if this is your style of learning.
Finally, kinaesthetic learners are the hands-on sort who need to take a physical role in their learning. Unfortunately, this can be difficult when it comes to learning a language from a book, but simple steps like creating and using flashcards can help.
Finally, you'll want to consider the different formats available to you when it comes to purchasing a French language book. You may want to opt for a physical textbook to get you in the mood to study. These will help you to avoid distractions and there are some that you can transcribe into when it comes to to completing the exercises.
However, these are generally quite bulky and inconvenient to carry around with you, particularly if you have more than one. An eBook will save you the trouble of lugging around multiple heavy books, and means you can study practically anywhere.
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Practice Makes Perfect
Complete French All-in-One
Seven Books in One to Take Your Learning All the Way
Complete Language Pack French: Learn in Just 15 Minutes a Day
The Best Book for Visual Learners
Le Bon Usage
The Pinnacle of French Textbooks
Myrna Bell Rochester
Easy French Step-by-Step: Master High-Frequency Grammar for French Proficiency--Fast!
For Those Who Like Learning Digitally
101 Conversations in Simple French
An Unconventional Method for Learning French
GCSE French AQA Complete Revision & Practice
A Complete Guide to GCSE French
Mastering French Vocabulary
Perfect Your Accent With 10+ Hours of Audio
Marie-Pierre Caquineau-Gündüz, Yvonne Delatour, Dominique Jennepin, Françoise Lesage-Langot
Les 500 Exercices de Grammaire B2
500 Language Exercises for Advanced Learners
Outline of French Vocabulary
Familiarize Yourself With New Vocabulary
This all-in-one offering is perfect for those that plan on taking their learning all the way. This version combines all seven books from the series, including Basic French, Complete French Grammar, French Conversation and more, all in one handy tome.
Included are over 500 exercises and 37 different lessons, and although it may seem tedious at times, the insistence on practising is going to set you on the right path further down the line. It might not have the nuances of highly advanced language books, but for if you're looking to have the fundamentals all in one place, then Practice Makes Perfect delivers!
DK have offer a range of language learning books made to appeal to visual learners. As the cover states, if you can find 15 minutes a day, then you'll soon find yourself picking up the language.
In total there are 60 language units categorised into simple themes, all of which are based on casual everyday conversations. The complete package even includes a pocket-sized phrasebook, which should help jog your memory if you ever find yourself firing blanks.
This piece of work from Maurice Grevisse is often considered the pinnacle of French textbooks. The book was first published in 1936 and has been reviewed yearly since. Inside the nearly 2000 pages you'll find all the nooks and crannies of the French language.
It may seem intimidating, yet if you're serious about mastering the language, then you'll want to add this book to your collection. The contents range from beginner to advanced, so if you're a linguistic learner keen to invest in your education, this could be perfect for you.
While the title of the book may come across as somewhat of an oxymoron, inside is a brilliant introductory guide to French writing and grammar. It might be a little tricky to get your head around the language with this book alone, but pair it with a more complete learning guide and you'll see your language skills come on in leaps and bounds.
The structure of the book is carefully thought out and appears in order of importance, making it easier for you to understand the basics faster. It also has a layout that's perfectly suited to kindle and eReaders!
Unfortunately, real people don't talk as perfectly as in most textbooks. That's why this book aims to improve your conversational French for the real world, one page at a time. The book focuses on six characters, each with their own story told in the form of 101 authentic conversations.
In this book you'll find over 15,000 French words. You'll also be captivated by a gripping drama, gaining an education in the process. It's left of the field when it comes to style and technique, but it could just be the method to see you take those next steps towards becoming a fluent speaker.
If you're taking your GCSEs or looking to start learning again, there's no better place to start! This offering from CGP books covers all things from grammar and vocabulary to more contemporary topics, such as social media, which is a nice change of pace from the regular material.
As a grown-up, it might be looked down upon to plonk yourself in a year 9 French classroom, but that shouldn't stop you from picking up the resources. It's all fairly broad information, so it might be a bit too easy for some, but it's ideal for absolute beginners.
This offering from Barron's is best suited to those who already have a decent understanding of the basic rules of French and want to expand their vocabulary. This text is organised into 24 different subjects, each of which lets you learn the specific vocabulary for each.
Included is an MP3 download which contains over 10 hours worth of audio to accompany the book material, which should help you nail the perfect Parisian accent! Of course, this is only a vocab book, so if you're starting from scratch, you'll need something else alongside it.
This comprehensive manual is best for intermediate to advanced learners. That's because this book is written solely in French, so your vocabulary and understanding are going to need to be rather considerable have a grasp of the lessons.
Included are the rules on conjugation, grammar and all the other facets of language learning. Furthermore, there are plenty of exercises to help put these rules into context.
Every beginner needs a reliable vocabulary book, and this one offers a brilliant all-round summary. The layout is divided into sections by topic, so there are no confusing or baffling jumps from hobbies to road signs on the same page.
Moreover, the book contains a whopping 320 different exercises that will help you familiarise yourself with new vocab. But be wary if you choose the eBook, some of the layouts are a bit difficult to understand in the kindle version.
Having the right tools at your disposal can make language learning that much easier. By setting up a suitable study environment, you'll be conversing en français in no time at all. Click the links below for the best stationary and apps to help all that grammar and vocab really stick!
There are many different resources out there to help language learners of all different levels and learning styles, so there's bound to be one for you too! All that's left for you to do is take the plunge. We're sure you'll be sat supping bière with Vincent Cassel in no time!
Author: Lewis Clark
No. 1：Practice Makes Perfect｜Complete French All-in-One
No. 2：DK｜Complete Language Pack French: Learn in Just 15 Minutes a Day
No. 3：Maurice Grevisse｜Le Bon Usage
No. 4：Myrna Bell Rochester｜Easy French Step-by-Step: Master High-Frequency Grammar for French Proficiency--Fast!
No. 5：Olly Richards｜101 Conversations in Simple French
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