7 French Learning Books – The Old-School Way

Are you looking to learn French, but you don’t know where to start? There are so many resources out there that it becomes an overwhelming task…more overwhelming than it should be. Online courses, French lessons, books… What should you choose? If you’re old school like me, then you might be thinking of buying some French learning books.

If you would like to learn more about this, then keep on reading. Please note that the books in this post are meant for learning French. If you’re looking for French novels and other forms of literature, I recommend you check out this post instead. Otherwise, let’s continue.

Pronounce it Perfectly in French

Average Amazon rating: 4.1/5

We all know that mastering pronunciation is the key to speaking any language. This book will help you achieve that.

Pronounce it Perfectly in French comes with three CDs for your convenience. You will learn how to tell sounds apart and how to use the correct intonation when speaking. The book includes lots of exercises based on French proverbs, jokes, tongue twisters, and quotes.

It is perfect for beginners and all those looking to improve their pronunciation. The few complaints I’ve seen are regarding the quality of the CDs (not readable), the fast pace of the speaker, and the simplicity of the book.

2000 Most Common French Words in Context

Average Amazon rating: 4.5/5

Besides pronunciation, you need to build a lot of vocabulary to express your ideas. As the name implies, it contains a list of the 2,000 most common French words. You will expand your vocabulary in no time.

This book is recommended for beginners and/or intermediate learners. Words are listed by frequency instead of topics or parts of speech. Some people claim they have to get a dictionary or look something up online to understand. The format might not suit everyone, but it’s a good supplementary learning tool nonetheless.

Among the negative reviews, some people say translations are wrong/minimal, the list order doesn’t make sense, and the book can’t be used by itself.

Easy French Step-by-Step

Average Amazon rating: 4.5/5

This is one of the first books I used to learn French, and I highly recommend it. Once you master pronunciation and have expanded your vocabulary, the next step is understanding French grammar, which is not easy by any means.

Here you will learn how to conjugate over 300 verbs and learn the basic grammar rules and concepts of the French language. You will also be presented with many exercises to practice what you learned.

The book is concise, straight to the point, and easy to follow. I highly recommend it for absolute beginners. Some people say it’s not beginner-friendly because it doesn’t have any illustrations or come with an audio CD. I beg to differ, but I guess that depends on your learning style more than anything else.

Learn French: 6 Books in 1: The Complete French Language Books Collection to Learn Starting from Zero, Have Fun and Become Fluent like a Native Speaker

Average Amazon rating: 4.4/5

If you were to buy just one book, I’d recommend this one without hesitation. I don’t know how they fit so much information into just one book. As the name implies, they crammed the content of six books into this book.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an absolute beginner, an intermediate learner, or an advanced learner. You will learn something by reading this book.

Here you will learn French basics like the alphabet, pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar. It also comes with lots of examples and quizzes. The material progresses gradually from easy to advanced.

By buying this book, you also get a free Audible trial and a credit to download a 33-hour audio guide. Isn’t this great?

French All-in-One For Dummies

Average Amazon rating: 4.6/5

You can never go wrong with the Dummies series. Whether you’re looking to improve your math, Excel, music, or languages, you’ll most likely find a book to help you. French is no exception.
This extensive guide is 800 pages long and comes with an audio CD to practice pronunciation and improve your listening skills.

I recommend this book if you’re a beginner or at an intermediate level. If you’re an advanced learner, then this book is not for you.

Another thing I like about this book is that it includes French Canadian content. As we have seen previously, it’s somewhat different from European French. A great bonus indeed.

Living Language French

Average Amazon rating: 4.6/5

Based upon one of the most thorough language learning methods ever, this book is a must-have for anyone interested in learning French. Your level doesn’t matter as you can progress from beginner to intermediate and finally advanced.

It’s not just one book but rather a complete immersive course that consists of three books, nine audio CDs, and free access to downloadable content. Expand your vocabulary, grasp the concepts of French grammar, improve your listening skills, master French pronunciation, and have fun while learning!

According to many users, it’s excellent value for money, although some claim it’s too repetitive. Give it a try and decide for yourself.

Learn Canadian French

Average Amazon rating: 4.6/5

Most of the material you find in books or online is about Metro (France) French, but what about Canadian French? If you would like to concentrate on the latter, then this book is for you. It’s an excellent resource to learn French Canadian vocabulary and grammar.

Just one word of caution. This book is not for beginners. You need to know some French. Also, please consider this book doesn’t focus on teaching Canadian French but rather helping you understand the differences between Canadian French and France French. It doesn’t hurt to give it a try, though.

Conclusion

Today we discussed some of the best French-learning books on Amazon. The list is endless, so we just focused on some bestsellers for your convenience. All the books mentioned in this post are hard copies, but many of them have digital versions as well. The best of both worlds.

Have you studied any of the books mentioned above? Which one was your favorite? Let me know in the comments below. Au revoir, les amis!

Let's Learn French!

Are you ready to take your French to the next level? I'm glad you are! Whether you are a beginner or an intermediate/advanced learner, I can recommend a few options for you.
For starters, if you're someone who likes to study on his own, I recommend the following programs:
Busuu
Mondly
Rocket Languages

However, if you would like to hire a teacher/tutor, I recommend you try the following:
italki
Lingoda
Preply

Feel free to check my site to learn about more resources. Don't forget to check back often to learn more about the French language and culture. Salut!
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4 thoughts on “7 French Learning Books – The Old-School Way”

  1. Thanks for your suggestions of French books. I love French and I am learning it through Duolingo which I find easy to use but a little repetitive at times. However, what is great about it is the fact that I have done a little bit every day for nearly a year now and I really feel that my French is improving. I agree that you need a lot of vocabulary when you start learning so saturation is a good point. I think that any book will only be good if you use it, so what tips do you have for keeping your motivation? 

    Reply
    • Hi, Gail,

      I always compare learning French to dieting and working out. When you feel like giving up, remember why you started in the first place. It’s also important to set realistic goals. Otherwise, we will easily give up. Last but not least, we have to understand that as long as we do something to learn, we will progress in our learning process. We don’t have to study for hours every day. Keep it simple, 20 or 30 minutes is good. If you have more time, then go for it, but don’t be too hard on yourself.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Reply
  2. When learning a new language the old way of reading books might be the better option than an audio version. I personally like to read everything I learn from books, so am glad I found your review of books to help me learn French. I appreciate you taking the time to recommend the best books for learning French. 

    Reply
    • Hi, Jannette,

      I agree. Online learning is good, but there is something about books that we love, right? To each his own.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Reply

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