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News in Slow French

I happened across a great site yesterday – news articles with accompanying (slow) audios!

They exist in many languages – Linguistica 360 Inc. publishes them in French, Spanish, German and Italian, but I also found similar sites in Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese and others.

To date I have only looked at the “News in Slow French” site, but I assume the other Linguistica 360 sites are similar. The site has a free Demo Episode, and for to access their other (weekly) episodes there is are subscriptions available at different levels of service, payable monthly or annually.

An episode includes 4 separate stories of current affairs taken from the media in the previous week. At the entry level of subscription each story has an online transcript which can also be downloaded as a pdf, and an audio file playable on the site (at slow or normal speed) or downloadable as an mp3 file. Also each week for those paying for the premium service there is:

  • a grammar point, with dialogue (including online and downloadable transcript and audio) and lesson,
  • a list of expressions including a lesson and dialogue with transcripts and audios,
  • a pronunciation exercise, including the ability to use your computer’s microphone and record yourself speaking, then listen back to compare yourself to the audio provided,
  • 2 quizzes on the grammar point in the lesson.

I found the service to be a great way of getting regular, reliable audio and transcript support to support your listening and reading learning, for several reasons:

  • the issues are in the media, so you are probably already familiar with the content,
  • the articles are relatively short, so you can do one a day, and it will only take between 5 – 20 minutes, depending on your level of French, to listen and absorb and ensure you understand the whole story,
  • with both slow and normal speed audios, the service is going to be flexible to your ability as it improves,
  • if you are only interested in reading and listening online, the service starts from around US$5 a month (paid annually)! And even for the full service, at just under US$30/month, it is a very reasonable course of study.

Have you used this site? Let me know what you thought in the comments below!