The Staircase

Learn French with Stories

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Test Your French!

CLUES

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You are entering the A0-A2 territory which spans over the first ten steps.
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Click the clues for vocabulary help
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I = "Je"
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"Moi, je..." is a common way in French to emphasize your position and personal tastes.
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For instance: "Tu veux manger thaï, mais moi je veux manger italien" (you want to eat thaï food, but I want to eat italian)

CLUES

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"donner" = to give
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"Je donne" = I give
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Pronouncing tip: pronounce "donne" /duhn/ with a strong /n/
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Did you see? By clicking the PLAY button you can practice your pronunciation
3

Translate:You give.

  • Tu donnes
  • Bien aussi 🇫🇷
  • ...

CLUES

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"tu" or "vous" ?
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"Tu donnes" to a family member, a friend, a friend of a friend, a private teacher or a coworker who you feel close to
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"Vous donnez" = to a group of people, or to a new acquaintance that you have no personal connection with like a shop owner, a restaurant employee etc.
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If you prefer to play the social game safely, start with "vous" and then you can always switch to "tu" when the other person will say "On peut se tutoyer !"
4

Translate:She gives.

  • Elle donne
  • Bien aussi 🇫🇷
  • ...

CLUES

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"Il" = he. How do you say"She" in French?
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"Elle" = she
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"Elle donne" = she gives
5

Translate:She gives the key.

  • Elle donne la clé.
  • Bien aussi 🇫🇷
  • ...

CLUES

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Elle donne ="she gives"
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"la clé"= the key
6

Translate:She gives the key to her brother.

  • Elle donne la clé à son frère.
  • Bien aussi 🇫🇷
  • ...

CLUES

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"son frère" = her brother
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"à son frère" = to her brother
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Accent marks matter :) For instance, in writing "a" means "has" (a form of the verb Avoir) while "à" means"to, at".
7

Translate:Does she give the key to her brother?

  • Est-ce qu'elle donne la clé à son frère ?
  • Bien aussi 🇫🇷
  • Donne t-elle la clé à son frère ? (Angela, Manhattan)
  • Elle donne la clé à son frère ? (David, Geneva)
  • Elle donne la clé à son khei ? (Brian, Texas) Writing style: slang

CLUES

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There are 3 forms of "yes/no" questions in French (Level: A2)
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"Est-ce qu'elle donne la clé ?" is the most common form.
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French Pronunciation 👄 you can hear my voice by clicking the play button. The recording is here to help you
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Intonation for "Elle donne la clé à son frère↗ ?" uses the same word order as an affirmative sentence, and that's why we use raising intonation to indicate that it's a question.
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Some books say that the voice always goes up at the end of a question. It is NOT correct! If you are interested in the topic of French flow and intonations, let's discuss in the comments below
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"Donne t-elle la clé à son frère ?" is the way someone would raise a question in French to speak politely or to show that he is in control of the situation. Parents tend to use this form with their children too.
8

Translate:She gives it to him.

  • Elle lui donne.
  • Bien aussi 🇫🇷
  • Elle lui remet. (Brian, Washington DC)

CLUES

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You're at step 8, let's continue I'm with you!
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Elle donne la clé => Elle _ _ donne. Can you fill in the blanks?
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Answer:"Elle la donne."
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"LUI"="to her", "to him".
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It is common to drop the first pronoun and not say "Elle la lui donne" but "Elle lui donne" instead.
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Are you still with me? :) Let's continue to next step
9

Translate:She gave it to him yesterday.

  • Elle lui a donnée hier.
  • Bien aussi 🇫🇷
  • Elle lui a remise hier. (Brian, Washington DC)
  • Elle lui a confiée hier. (David, Geneva)

CLUES

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"Elle (la) lui a donnée" = she gave it to him
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"hier" = yesterday
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How do you prononce "hier"? the French recording can help
10

Translate:She didn't give it to him this morning.

  • Elle ne lui a pas donnée ce matin.
  • Bien aussi 🇫🇷
  • Elle ne la lui a pas remise ce matin. (Brian, Washington DC)
  • Elle lui a pas donnée ce matin. (Svetlana, Moscou)

CLUES

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This is the last step of A1-A2 territory
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"Ne... pas.." is for expressing negation in French.
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"Elle ne la lui a pas donnée" = she didn't give it to him
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We drop the "ne" in fast and casual French. We keep the "ne" when we want to lay more emphasis on negation.
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For instance: "Non, je NE fume PAS !" (I repeat, I don't smoke)
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Click "Next episode" to enter the B1-B2 territory. Remember to save your answers (GREEN BUTTON) beforehand :)

Climb your first staircase

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🔊 ✍🏻 Ma Première Leçon sur Internet

LEVEL: Beginner/Intermediate

LANGUAGE: French

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🔊 ✍🏻 Premiers Pas (FULL Beginners Course + audio)

LEVEL: Beginner

LANGUAGE: French

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🔊✍🏻 “La Clé” French Proficiency Test

LEVEL: Beginner / Intermediate

LANGUAGE: French

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✍🏻 Un Américain à Paris, Part II (writing)

LEVEL: Beginner / Intermediate

LANGUAGE: French

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✍🏻 Un Américain à Paris, Part I (writing)

LEVEL: Beginner / Intermediate

LANGUAGE: French

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✍🏻 Prendre le Taxi (writing)

LEVEL: Intermediate / Advanced

LANGUAGE: French

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✍🏻 Au Musée (writing)

LEVEL: Intermediate / Advanced

LANGUAGE: French

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✍🏻 John et Lana Au Restaurant (writing)

LEVEL: Intermediate / Advanced

LANGUAGE: French

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🔊 ✍🏻 Le Vignoble (FULL Advanced Course + audio)

LEVEL: Advanced

LANGUAGE: French

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✍🏻 L’Amour, l’Amour ! (writing)

LEVEL: Beginner / Intermediate

LANGUAGE: French

Portrait Quotation Mark

“It works!”

I love the Staircase methodology. It is engaging and challenging - and fun as well. But the most important thing is that it works! If you are serious about progressing your knowledge of French grammar, vocabulary and use of idioms, you are going to love this unique way of learning. Very happy to recommend it.

- Clive, Windsor, UK

Portrait Quotation Mark

“Saura vous motiver”

Le Staircase est un excellent site web qui saura vous motiver pour rapidement dépasser toutes vos attentes!! Méthode et manière, la pédagogie au sommet *****+

- Vili, Lausanne, Suisse

Click to see more reviews

"I have been using Le Staircase for about three months”

I have been using Le Staircase for about three months and I highly recommend it, especially for those who are at an intermediate level. It is very useful and much more enjoyable than studying grammar and vocabulary directly. It incorporates reading, listening, and speaking in French, teaches expressions, pertinent grammar, and vocabulary, and gives some insight into French society and culture. The ascent up the stairs is self-paced so there is no pressure, and there is plenty of opportunity for questions and feedback in a very fluid manner.

- Elaine, Vancouver, Canada

“A joy to work with”

The Staircase is a really smart way to have fun while working your way up the steep learning curve of the French language. I've been working with Léa since before she released the Staricase and she's a joy to work with.

- Andy, San Francisco

“Te atrapa capítulo a capítulo, “

Un método realmente buenísimo, con una historia verdaderamente interesante, que te atrapa capítulo a capítulo, haciéndote aprender sin darte apenas cuenta.

- Emilio, Valladolid, Spain

“The course is not easy but it is worth putting in the hours”

An engaging method for learning this most beautiful and elegant of languages. The course is great for discovering all sorts of quirks about French; I feel Léa's extensive experience in teaching English speakers (and her excellent knowledge of English) allows her to fill the course with just the right sort of phrases to make one conscious of the ways French and English differ. The course is not easy but it is worth putting in the hours.

- Ian, London

"Exciting and motivating!”

The Staircase is a comprehensive learning method which is first and foremost devoted and attentive to its sudents. It offers a way to improve their level in French with different options (translation, dictation, private lessons and mini-classes), and leaves it up to them to find which ones suit them best. Students will follow characters along a very well-written story which is deeply rooted in French culture. They will enjoy climbing each step, discovering more of the gripping story as they go, and will be able to interact with other students and get feedback on their questions, making the experience of learning a new language both exciting and motivating !

- Iza Mouhib, France

"Useful to learn local expressions”

The Staircase method has helped me learn french grammar in a logical way working on each "step." It is easier to remember when there is logic behind the method. It has also been fun and useful to learn local expressions. I would highly recommend Lea's Staircase to anyone serious about advancing their French language skills.

- Carol, Florida

Are you Learning French this year?

Let's learn together!

Discover and master authentic French.

Speak Correctly and with confidence.

Highly interactive and easy to use on Tablet and PC.

A unique learning interface which gives you space to learn while expressing yourself.

Immerse yourself in scenes of everyday life and business situations.

Practice the language actively and develop your French voice!

Courses features

(Click to the features to read more)

Storytelling

Cliffhangers and stories make French practice intuitive and fun. Some students say that they even forget that they’re studying because the story makes it so entertaining.

Vocabulary acquisition

Be the Indiana Jones of French vocabulary! Explore new French words and idiomatic expressions, always in context. Discover synonyms and authentic speaking styles ranging from the casual French that you find in daily life to pragmatic, business French. You will also catch a glimpse into elegant French, and on the other side of the spectrum… even slang!

A Vibrant Journey into French culture

Immerse yourself in French culture from within, with authentic cultural tips & anecdotes spread throughout the courses.

Likeable, relatable (and wacky) characters

Episode after episode, you will love following the adventures of Lana, a female winemaker and her brother, Nándor. You will also meet their parents, their tough competitor Lady Wolff, and a few more characters, not to forget the adorable family dog, Médor!

Memory-friendly

As you progress through the courses, you will notice how storytelling and spaced repetition techniques help you memorize the notions more intuitively.

Habit-forming

The Staircase uses narrative techniques and cliffhangers inspired from the most popular TV and book series, to motivate you to keep going. Makes learning... addictive.

Intermediate Mode: “Find your own voice, and the world (and Parisians!) will listen”
  • Like many Staircase students when they started, you may have notions of the language that are quite good, but fragmentary. The Staircase helps the intermediate learner connect the dots.
  • Most language courses tolerate only one correct answer. But you don’t want to sound like a grammar book, do you? We offer a unique experience for intermediate and advanced learners: through a unique language practice interface, we encourage you to be bold and affirm your personal French writing style, using your vocabulary and your unique experience of the language. Because you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one on earth who is youer than you… That applies to your French, too! Every two weeks, we collect the most unique and brilliant translations and publish them in the newsletter.
On Tablet and PC

You can navigate the website comfortably on tablet and PC. Preferably use Chrome, Firefox or Safari. You will find the course interface easier to use on a widescreen.

On smartphone, you can follow our channel of French videos on Instagram @french.staircase and on Quizlet to practice with the flashcards!

Vocabulary consolidation

You know so much vocabulary already. Do you know that the average learner uses only 25% of the words that they actually can understand? It is the reason why we usually find it easier to read than to write. The Staircase courses help you activate this passive vocabulary knowledge, with translation-based exercises which positively reinforces your active vocabulary.

For Help & Tips, just Click the Clues!

You may feel stuck sometimes. It is normal, during the learning process! By clicking the “Clues” button, you can get language tips and culture anecdotes written by the author. Students say that they love this feature of the course, and that they feel more supported and motivated. Sometimes there’s even a surprise in the clue button… you’ll see ;)

Gamification poured into every course
  • Fun, with just the right dose of competitiveness! • Every week, we collect student responses and publish the best ones in official translations. Everyone can participate! The most active contributors are announced in the newsletter and there is even a reward each month
  • Collect Badges • For every course achieved, you receive a badge of achievement with a description of the number of words and language notions that you have successfully practiced. It helps you track your progress and visualize what you’ve accomplished.
  • Storytelling • Stories and cliffhangers make French practice intuitive and fun. Some students say that the story makes it so entertaining that they even forget that they’re studying!
Master a variety of speaking styles

As you make progress through the courses, you will discover and practice a variety of speaking styles ranging from the casual French that you find in daily life (and even authentic children’s language) to pragmatic, business French. You will also catch a glimpse into elegant French, and on the other side of the spectrum… even slang!

Where Community Happens

You may contact Léa and Iza as often as you like in the private comments area (below every course episode) and in the private Facebook group. Average response time is a day, and we try to constantly improve it!

Additional private French lessons are also available with Léa. See her teaching schedule.

Scheduled events. Keep an eye on the newsletter and in the Facebook private group, to see the scheduled online events!

Warm & Human

Read our philosophy statement (and cry of rebellion!)

The author, Léa: “There is this current trend among course creators to create automated courses when they can make revenue without ever meeting the students. I hate that! Maybe because I am a teacher myself and I meet my students every week in private lessons, I want the staircase experience to be just as warm, personal and human as private tutoring. I won’t say that it’s easy, but Iza (our official Staircase cheerleader ;) and I do our best to be personally available through the comments and the online events. If you have fresh ideas for events to connect our community of language learners and make it a more human learning adventure, please share your ideas with me personally at lea@thestaircase.org

Instagram @french.staircase

Do you like scrolling through Instagram? We do, and we like posting language posts too! Follow our baby-channel @french.staircase :)We feed it with love and an original post (almost) everyday.

Where study and beauty make one.

A thing of beauty is a joy forever. “We wanted the students to be able to enjoy this experience where study and beauty make one. So we worked hard to make the navigation easy and intuitive, but also to bring a sense of harmony and creativity to it. I hope that you will appreciate it!” (Léa and Dávid, working together on the design).

Our Language Learning Solutions grow with your Suggestions.

We work everyday to improve your learning experience with the Staircase. If you have any suggestions to make please message Dávid (for website and navigation suggestions) or Léa (business, learning and general requests) lea@thestaircase.org

I am not ready yet, but maybe later

See where to follow the Staircase and stay tuned: If you would like to have just a taste, dip your ears into the @french.staircase, our daily sort video on Instagram. You can also follow the Facebook official page and sign up to our newsletter.

Portrait Quotation Mark

“I highly recommend The Staircase”

I have tried many of the systems for learning French, I find the Staircase the most engaging and hence for me the most effective. The combination of an engaging storyline and the use of learning points embedded in the exercises keeps me interested and pushing to learn more. The ability to ask questions online and get quick responses (even on Sundays!) really helps me stay engaged and learn more! I highly recommend The Staircase.”

- Brad, Portland, USA

Portrait Quotation Mark

“я действительно чувствую прогресс”

Замечательный сайт для изучения французского языка. Очень увлекательная, интересная методика, основанная на небольших рассказах, героями которых являются наши современники. Охватывает практически все жизненные темы, грамматику, и, я, думаю, подходит для любого возраста и уровня. Я прошла почти все уроки и не хочу расставаться с этим курсом. Леа, спасибо Вaм большое за вашу работу, вы очень увлеченный педагог, я действительно чувствую прогресс в моём изучении французского. С уважением, Мария.

- MARIA, SEBASTOPOL, RUSSIA