FSI French Basic Course (Revised)

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Express Download All French Courses (FAST)
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6 months
Completion Time

What is the FSI French Basic Course?

This FSI French course is an updated version of a course that was first used in 1960. It consists of two volumes of 12 units each that were designed to give students a good grounding in the language, allowing them to cope with a wide range of formal and informal situations in French.

Each unit features a dialog that presents the new language, usually including five new grammar points. After this comes a series of drills to aid memorization and improve fluency, followed by further speaking exercises for more practice. The lessons are also accompanied by many hours of audio, making this one of the most comprehensive resources available anywhere for learning French.

How was FSI French Basic originally used?

FSI Basic courses were originally intended for US diplomatic staff who needed to acquire a good level of language proficiency in a short time before being sent to postings abroad.

Students studying FSI French underwent an intensive course that lasted six months. Each day, they attended six hours of classes, supplemented by another two hours of personal study.

During class time, the students were supposed to speak only French, and even outside of lessons, they were encouraged to use French among themselves. In this way, at the end of the course, they would already have gained the necessary level of language to live and work in a French-speaking country.

How can you use FSI French Basic?

It’s very unlikely you will be able to recreate anything like the study environment enjoyed by US diplomats, but if you know how to adapt these course materials to your needs, you can benefit greatly from this free online French course.

If you are already studying with another coursebook, these dialogs and drills can be used to help you work on your fluency while also improving your pronunciation.

On the other hand, if you want to use this course as your primary learning material, it will also allow you to make rapid progress, especially when supplemented by any other additional resources you can find.

Taking it further

However you decide to use this free French course, it’s impossible to learn a language through books alone. The only way you’ll be able to speak French is if you take what you learn out into the real world and practice.

As soon as you can, you should look for opportunities to use your French. Try to find native speakers to talk to, and as much as you can, make speaking French a part of your daily life. This way, by combining regular study with lots of practice, you will find you start making rapid progress in French.


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