Friday, May 18, 2012

A Refreshing Coffee Break

I've stumbled a wonderful French instructional podcast called Coffee Break French. Run on a shoestring, with only two full-time employees, from a small office and studio in the west of Scotland, this is the first really decent language podcast I've found -- and it's free! For a modest subscription fee the podcast can be supplemented by written materials delivered to your mobile device or computer, but the lessons assume you are only listening.

The concept behind it is as obvious as it is original: The twenty-minute (coffee-break-length) lessons feature an instructor, Mark, who is teaching introductory French to Anna, a university student, while we go along for the ride — and the lesson. What makes this work is that Mark is the French teacher you always wanted: patient, good-humored, but never condescending, although (and I suspect Mark knows this) the real star of the show is Anna. Playing both the hero and the foil of sorts, Anna has a sweet, shy voice and an endearing, girlish giggle that suggests she’s rather embarrassed about this whole podcast business and wonders how she let herself get talked into it.

I'm working up a full review, but in the meantime, check it out on your own. Plays well with iPhone, btw.


  1. You are so right on your brief review of Coffee Break French, I came across it when it started a few years ago and have been using it (on and off) ever since. It is a fun way to learn French without getting tired, bored or overwhelmed. They also do a "Word of the Day" which can be accessed on Facebook or Twitter, I've been practicing along with it since it started a few weeks ago. You should try it, I think you'll enjoy it.

  2. I clicked on the link given above; I did not see anywhere an offer of free podcasts!
    The only offers were for buying the course!!

    1. Go here, click on Free Lessons.

  3. Thanks for this. I'm always looking for good audio material to practice my comprehension and speaking.



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