FrenchPod is a language course podcast and accompanying website that offers free lessons in French. The service was founded in 2008 and is the third such language site from Praxis Language Ltd., following ChinesePod and SpanishPod.
ItalianPod has started in June 2008.
FrenchPod currently offers free podcasts on a schedule of 5 per week with extra shows on the weekend. The podcasts are accompanied by text expansion exercises and other tutoring aids for paid subscribers. It is based in Shanghai, China and hosted by Erica Tremonti and Amaury Libeer.
The free podcasts range in difficulty from "Newbie" to "Advanced" and have an average length of seven to fourteen minutes lesson time. Users are encouraged to interact with the FrenchPod hosts and listeners around the world on the website and in the forums.
FrenchPod's main goal is to teach spoken French to its listeners. For the listener's convenience, there are several levels of difficulty. Between the levels, the dialogue becomes progressively harder, and the hosts transition from English to fluent French. Each show usually contains a French or English conversation, and then proceeds to the dialogue of the day. Afterwards, the hosts discuss the dialogue's interpretation and structure and provide context for the new vocabulary used in the dialogue. Then the dialogue is repeated once more. The majority of the lessons are given descriptive titles to make searching easier.
The shows are currently offered in two series:
- Lesson Shows: These shows follow the standard lesson format of the various difficulty levels listed below. The typical length of an episode varies from 8 to 17 minutes.
- Voulez-vous chanter avec moi?: These shows are listed in the "extras" section of the site and are based on the concept of learning the language through music. In this show, the hosts are talking about a French song, translate some of the lyrics, explain the most idiomatic expressions and cultural points.. The typical length of an episode varies from 10 to 15 minutes.
- Newbie: Lessons are given in English. When French is spoken, there is plenty of clear repetition. The dialogues are repeated three times, translated, and then analyzed. Basic phrases and expressions used for courtesy and travel are emphasized, along with grammatical support for communication in the immediate present.
- Elementary: This level features longer dialogues, more elements of grammar, and a wider range of everyday applications than the Newbie lessons. The listener is taught how to discuss events that happened in the present and past, and how to express opinions and preferences. The hosts give a thorough treatment of lesson content, including grammar structures and pronunciation.
- Intermediate: At this level, the hosts narrate events more precisely in the past, present, and future. In these lessons the hosts speak almost entirely in French, with key explanations in English.
- Upper Intermediate: Adds conjecture and conditionality, as well as French subjunctive mood. Lessons are taught primarily in French shifting back to English for the occasional vocabulary item.
- Advanced: Lessons focus on introducing specialized vocabulary, practicing problematic grammatical features, and lively French language discussion. The lessons are conducted entirely in French, including explanations of grammar and vocabulary. They also feature more use of idioms than the lower levels.
- Advanced Media: Provides commentary and analysis on materials and media intended for a French-speaking audience.
- Erica Tremonti : Holds a degree in Linguistics and has 6 years of teaching experience, having taught French and ESL, as well as the piano and violin. After living in Paris for several years, she returned to the U.S. to start a company advancing French language materials in North America and now serves as the lead teacher and product manager of FrenchPod.
- Amaury Libeer : Being half French and half Belgian, he lived in both countries before traveling throughout the Anglo-Saxon world. He has a BA in International Trade and worked for 6 years in Scotland. While abroad, he also taught French as a foreign language and is now the lead host of FrenchPod.