With lesson 39 published last week and lesson 40 due next week, we’re nearing the end of the very popular Coffee Break French Season 4 and it’s almost time to announce our plans for the next content aimed at our advanced learners of French.

We’ll not be moving straight on to a fifth season of the show quite yet – that will come later, but we’ve been working on something which will help you consolidate what you’ve learned in Season 4 and build upon it, ready for more learning in Season 5 when it is released.

Update, 22 August 2015

cbf-comp-4-01-book-1200We’re delighted to announce that the first book in our Coffee Break French Season 4 Companion is now available. For more information, please click here. This book contains 20 chapters focusing on the grammar, vocabulary and idiomatic expressions covered in lessons 1-10 of Season 4. We’ve included 26 exercises to help you test your understanding, and there are 2 hours of accompanying audio tracks to help you maximise your learning.




Previous update, 27 July 2015

With the publication of episode 40 of Season 4 this evening we’re delighted to announce that the Coffee Break French Season 4 Companion will be published very soon. We’ve taken all of the grammar points, idiomatic expressions and interesting vocabulary covered in Season 4 and packaged them together in a brand new series of ebooks, with each ebook covering 10 lessons. We’ve included grammar notes, explanations, examples from the original Coffee Break French texts, and new examples, and there are also exercises to help you test your understanding. Of course, like all our content, the Coffee Break French Season 4 Companion comes with audio content too, and we’re sure you’ll enjoy listening to this new content based on the very popular episodes of Season 4.

The first ebook and collection of audio content will be published in August 2015. Of course we’re also starting to plan Season 5, so in the meantime, please let us know what you’d like to see in Season 5 by posting a comment below.

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    46 replies to "What’s next for Coffee Break French?"

    • Charmaine

      How about discussions around topical news items?

    • Marilyn

      But some won’t be listening to Season 5 for years, when the comments on this year’s news won’t be so topical. I enjoy the accounts of charcters’ lives, as in seasons 3 and 4.

      • Robyn

        Valid point, though I think I’d still find this interesting… explanations of the social/political/etc significance of the events could be a way of both adding depth (and opportunity for working challenging grammar into the ep) and making sure that the passage of time doesn’t undermine the relevance of the material too badly.

        • Michelle

          If you are interested, there is ‘News in Slow French’ and rfi’s ‘journal en Francais facile’ podcasts. They don’t do any grammar or translation, but are useful for the current topics.

    • Susan

      I’d agree with Charmaine – perhaps tied in with reading newspaper and magazine articles. Also what about looking at french films or literature?

    • George

      CBF4 has been outstanding! I will be happy with anything but digging into great French literature with Mark and Pierre- Benoit discussing difficult passages would be great.
      Personally, I am at a stage where I simply need practice in speaking French but don’t know how to advance on my own.

      • Smore

        I agree! I need practice, loads of practice. I’ve enjoyed listening to CBF4, but I need to put it all to use. Please, please, please, give us practical exercises that will help us put all this great information to use!

        • Michelle

          I would love more interactive practice As well!

    • Bruce

      I prefer a focus practical day-to-day conversations. How about a town setting where the protagonist: ** Talks to different shopkeepers (e.g., food, clothing, books) or businesses (e.g, bank, travel agent, car dealer)? ** Takes a trip to a larger city for a weekend break and a nice dinner? ** Talks to the principal at the high school about the upcoming [something characteristic French schools here]; ** Applies for a job? ** Works in a shop and gossips with the customers? *8 Host a visiting language instructor with a pleasant Scottish accent? ** And so on. There could be a loose story line, as in Season 4, or not. Quotidian scenarios are limitless and the specialty vocabularies and situations would be very worthwhile. (“Marie cashes her paycheck at the bank and does her shopping on the way home.”) You could get Pierre Benoit to play all the French parts … I’d love to hear his, “young lady applies for a job” voice.

      • Fiona

        I agree with you Bruce. Everyday conversations and situations in order to speak everyday French.

      • Robyn

        I feel as though this suggestion fits better with the earlier seasons, not really the thing for a fifth season.

    • Linda

      As season 4 progressed, I really enjoyed the conversations between Mark and PB. It was the two-way exchange – and the naturalness of the conversation that I liked. I also did thoroughly enjoy season 4 and the chance to hear four different people speak the language. That was great practice for my ear. I confess that I like narrative. Storytelling definitely captures and keeps my attention.

    • Meg

      Just wanted to say how much I’d love a continuation…..I love the format where our interest is maintained with an ongoing ‘story’ where it’s possible to learn lots from the way in which the language points are broken down so well by Mark and Pierre. I shall certainly miss this input if nothing is fortthcoming soon.. It is important, I think☺️, to keep up the momentum and encourage current users to continue learning and improving their French. Many thanks for a wonderful programme.
      Meg Henderson

    • Rosalyn Barclay

      The ideas presented are interesting and valuable. I also would like to focus more on practicing speaking French – as you did in prior years – with pauses in the broadcast. Perhaps this may present difficulties as Season 5 subscribers are at different levels but your innovative team may find a way.

      BTW – I would be happy to host the “visiting language instructor with a pleasant Scottish accent” and his French colleague who now has a pleasant Scottish accent!

    • Mark Pattison

      Cbf4 has been great. I have learnt a lot and grown in confidence as a result. However it is limited by the format of email exchanges. I spend about 5 months of the year in France and, thanks in part to cbf, can get by in most situations. However, what I find most difficult is being able follow and then contribute to conversations between 2 or more native French speakers. They are often fast and colloquial. I’d like to see season 5 to include more of these kind of conversations and help in hearing and decoding them and then being able to use them appropriately myself. Meanwhile many thanks to Mark, Pierre and the team and please don’t take too long before you are back with cbf5.

    • Pat in California

      I thoroughly enjoy the fictional stories. I always want to know what will happen next in the characters lives.

      Maybe we are ready for some more complicated conversations: a difficult negotiation, telling the creep hanging around the ATM to back off, asking about the appropriate etiquette for an upcoming occasion, finding out why someone from another culture is doing something that seems strange to us, talking to a medical professional about embarrassing symptoms, reporting a crime to police, etc. Thanks to Matthieu, we already know how to apologize for our drunken behavior, but there is so much more to learn!

    • Kathryn Locke

      I love the narrative format of the lessons and getting a taste of life in France for differing age groups. I like some others am finding it difficult to practise actual french speaking so as Rosalyn suggested, breaks in the broadcast in order to formulate a response is very helpful.
      I love Coffee Break French as there is really nothing else out there that caters for Intermediate to Advanced learners.

    • Richard Clezy

      As a 3 year user, but still only just progressing to Season 3(Yes I’m very slow), I’d prefer Season 5 not to progress in difficulty, but just give more situational practice.

    • Chad

      I echo everyone else’s sentiment. I’m finishing up season 4. I was recently in France, and while I could express myself with the locals, if I tried to eavesdrop on a conversation, it sounded like gibberish. I could pick out 1 in 5 words and it was very disheartening. They were just talking so fast. More “French as spoken on the streets” would be nice.

    • Charlie

      I love you guys. Your podcast is amazing, and I learn many things with each episode. It’s just the right thing for my level of French.
      I would love to see a link for exercises on particular lessons, for example, with the relative pronouns that were discussed in lesson 39. Please keep up the great work

    • Robyn

      I’ve loved the format of season 4, particularly the “dissection” of selected expressions and grammar. Really useful.

      One observation, though… I wondered occasionally whether the speed of delivery was being altered electronically (as opposed to the reader just speaking faster/slower)?

      I feel there’s a qualitative difference to hearing something spoken more quickly versus played back at greater speed (the latter being harder to follow). Of course, it’s always possible that I’d inadvertently hit the x1.5 control on my iPod… in which case, disregard that comment!

      I’m very happy to hear there will be a season 5, though. I’ll definitely be subscribing again. Excellent value for money, in my view.

      • radiolingua radiolingua

        Just to confirm, the speed of the recordings was never altered electronically. The four speakers definitely spoke at different rates, with Sylvie undoubtedly being the fastest and most challenging, and either Matthieu or Monique having a slower delivery. Of course, in everyday life it’s very common to come across people who speak slowly and quickly, though as a learner it often feels that everyone speaks quickly!

    • Corinne

      Loved the conversations of the characters and loved the natural way of discussing the stuff by pb and m!!!! Keep going on, it is the brand! Even for a non-english native speaker it is a Great way of learning french.

      Would like to have An app instead of members version because it integrates all aspects of the learning process in 1 (listening, reading) without having to switch.

    • Brian

      Agree with many others cbf4 has been very very good.

      I think for 5 I would like to see, like some of the others, more of a focus on day to day conversational use. Getting into a story is very good and does increase the interest.

      So something like the restaurant situation, but more extended in cbf2.

      Many thanks

    • Brian

      I forgot to say. The verb fix series was one of the most useful resources I have ever used for learning french.

    • Jean stewart

      I agree with all about the splendid standard of these programmes . I also find it difficult to speak fluently and to understand very quickly spoken French. It suppose the only real answer is to go and spend time in France. I think it would be good to have pauses in conversations for replying and exercises for us to practise the grammar points covered in the lesson. Jean stewart

    • Natalia

      Dear Mark,

      First of all – many thanks to you and all CBF Team for such wonderful lessons!!! Season 4 is unbeatable!!!
      I really would like to have Season 5.

      Live conversantions would be great there ( just the way – they are in Season 4 ), maybe not only mono, but dialogues.
      Also ( maybe apart of the couse ) it would be great to have some audio reading ( to enhance vocabulare ).

      So as much Real French as better :)))

    • Andrey

      This is The best show! I really enjoy it. As to my suggestion what about if all explanations were in French? Come on, it’s season 5! And yes, we need more practice.

    • Nick

      I would like to agree with–and hopefully add to–what some others have said. Natural, colloquial French would be a great foundation for season five. Some of my favorite moments in season four (loved it, many thanks) were when you two would go off for minutes about a detail of grammar, or your travelling experiences, going back and forth in French. I felt that I was following along with an actual conversation…perhaps because I was! Even if I didn’t understand all of what was being said, during these moments, I noticed remarkable improvements in my comprehension. And, as a bonus, your conversations were never boring or dull.

      Looking forward to more installments. Thanks to the whole Radio Lingua team!

    • Sue

      Many thanks for an interesting Season 4. I would love some translation practice similar to the ones in Season 3. thanks.

    • Zdenek

      Thanks guys for your good job. English is my second language so perhaps I can contribute my two sense. As far as practicing the listening skills one can listen to french radio or watch tv over the net. I don’t think that learning about political events is a good idea, they go out of date and one will not use them in a conversation. I would second learning everyday perhaps even slang french, french idioms as well as more grammar. I think that the story format works great and of course I recommend to use native speakers as you did in season 4 together with Mark.

    • Vijay

      I too would like to see the next season incorporate natural conversations between people going through their day to day lives, shopping, booking tickets, getting stopped for traffic violations, arguing with their spouse etc.

      Zdenek, English is my 4th language, so hope you don’t mind. It’s ‘my two cents’.

    • OA

      I love the Coffee Break French material. Like some others have said, for CBF 5, I would like dialogues that one would be likely to hear as people go about their normal lives. But I would like the dialogues to go beyond what we typically see/hear in French textbooks or audio resources; typical scenarios I would recommend avoiding would be stuff like visiting the pharmacist, going to a restaurant, etc. Perhaps you could have scenarios such as buying a house, picking up the pieces of your life after a spouse has died, dealing with betrayal by a friend, etc. Making the dialogues part of a larger story would make things more interesting.

      I would prefer that CBF not delve into news because I find that news / political commentary in French tends to have more cognates than the non-political fictional material. There are introductory resources out there that do a good job teaching the patterns to determine cognates, so, at this level, I get more bang for my buck when material for French language learners doesn’t focus so much on cognates. Also, there are already a number of news podcasts / programs for French learners, so CBF can continue to distinguish itself by focusing on the type of topics I mentioned in the first paragraph.

    • Sam

      I would definitely like a more in-depth look at how learned French turns into spoken French. I just returned from a semester in Paris and my biggest shock was the disparity between “classroom French,” and spoken French. The seldom use of the “ne”s in negation, the blending of consonant/vowel sounds with “je peux,” “qu’est-ce que,” and “il y a,” and importantly, the numerous contexts and meanings of the overused French phrases, “du coup,” “quand même,” “quoi (in a non-interrogative setting),” and others, of course. I wasn’t prepared for any of this upon my arrival and it took a bit of time to get used to it. Having stuff on this would be a huge leg up for anyone heading for Paris any time soon! Thanks for all your hard work, mecs.

    • Diana

      Loved Season 4 and so glad there will be a Season 5.
      As some have commented, I would like to have a series based on everyday stuff, eg, someone going to France for ‘ímmersion’for some months and meeting all the regular things they would have to cope with…. getting to the airport,booking a place to stay, joining a gym, ordering a train ticket at the ‘guichet’, ordering and paying for a meal, etc.
      Am glad there will be the ebooks now to consolidate the learning.

      Keep up the good work boys!

    • Cliff

      I am surprised to be at a point where I am current as I have been listening to these podcasts for a year and a half now. So much to learn. What a great format to learn..thanks. Can’t wait for more of your resources in upcoming season(s).

    • laura clare

      Je pense que cela serait tout a fait fantastique si on peut parler sur les livres français. Je ne sais pas exactement le mot ou phrase en français, on peut dire “groupe le lecture” peut-être?
      Personellement, je trouve que de lire est un super moyen d’apprendre une langue- soit expressions soit grammaire- les livres sont en remplis. On a aussi des histoires qui donne un impression forte de la culture français. Moi, j’adore Georges Perec, et je viens de lire un super livre de Joël Egloff qui s’appelle “L’homme que l’on prenait pour l’autre”- c’était marveilleux! Je vous le recommande 🙂

    • Liz

      I really enjoy the soap opera nature of seasons 3 and 4. Please keep this format. I have tried other podcasts where each lesson is a standalone topic and i find them less motivational.
      The extension of vocab is really good. To be honest, the only way of really practicing speaking is to go to France for a time. I do this regularly and am still not great at speaking…..LOTS of errors but my comprehension is pretty good, thanks to CBF.
      A new set of characters and situations to extend vocab would be great.

    • Jo

      Dear Coffee Break French Team, Like all the above listeners, I really enjoyed Series 4. My French problem (again, like many others) is actually putting all those wonderful phrases into practice. I would like to vote for lively conversations between the characters, as someone has already mentioned, in every day situations with lots of actual phrases and conversational pronunciations (eg the “Je te” in “Je te connais” seems to have disappeared into a “zhust connais” sound to my ear). I would also like a continuing story line as for series 4. Maybe the series could be about a foreigner trying to get established in a small neighbourhood in France. The “foreign” character could ask all the silly questions that WE would like to ask.

      On a hâte à la prochain série. Many thanks!

    • Andy Trayford

      I have really enjoyed season 4 and am ready now to go back to the start. I loved following the story but more so have found the grammar explanations and new vocabulary invaluable. I listen to a variety of French learning podcasts and this one advances me more than the others. I live in a small rural French hamlet, and I can use what I’ve learnt immediately. We have an annual hamlet fête, and using what I’ve learnt from Coffee Break French, I can join in and really enjoy the day. On that note, for season 5, a suggestion would be to do a mini drama around a community in living together in France, and maybe have an Anglophone move in??……. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the season 4 companion. Congratulations on your great work!

    • Michael Maher

      Thanks to all the team for a wonderful series. I can’t speak highly enough of the skill of Mark as a teacher, and I too love the chats and chemistry between Mark and Pierre-Benoit. I find the concept of having characters and a storyline very engaging. I am currently halfway through season 4 and am most definitely being challenged as Mark predicted, but in a way that is stimulating and enjoyable. I particularly like Andy’s suggestion above for season 5 but have full confidence that future seasons will be excellent, comme d’habitude! (To use a familiar phrase

    • Renata Bobakova

      First of all, let me thank you, Radio Lingua, Mark and PBH, and the rest of the team for all your hard work. Thanks to you I learnt enough French to help me land a job teaching EFL in Morocco (starting mid-September)! Now to the context for Season 5. I would like to listen to articles (read by native or near-native speakers of French) on different aspects of life (science, nature, politics, technology, francophone culture(s), literature, etc.) and then have those articles analyzed just like you did with Season 4. I think that Season 5 would work well this way. You have covered a lot of day-to-day language in seasons 1-4, and perhaps it’s time to step it up a bit since the upcoming season would be for advanced learners. To be honest, I got a little tired of all the drama and romantic stuff in Season 4 after a while (and I am a female). I still learnt a whole lot of grammar and vocabulary and improved on my accent, of course. Either way you structure the new season, I am looking forward to it and will be purchasing it and will also recommend everyone who wants to lear French to turn to Radio Lingua!

    • Cc

      May I know when is the back to school sales? I hope to get some discount…

    • Joy

      Je voudrais voir en saison 5 plus dialogues entre deux ou plus gens peut être vient de les films, des actualités, ou réel conversations à laquelle on peut apprendre l’habitude de comprendre plus complique et vite French!
      Aussi chose comme la discourse de la sécurité qu’ils annonce sur une avion? – you know before take off! J’espère que ça se dit!
      Oh peut être la musique francaise!!
      Aussi je voudrais vous dire que j’adore le podcast et merci beaucoup pour tous vouz avez m’enseigne au cours des années!!

    • Joy

      J’ai vient de lire les commentaries et je doit dire moi aussi! Quant à littérature francaise – ah j’ai tellement envie de comprendre la passe antérieur depuis longtemps!!
      Et j’ai aussi avoir du mal avec le française parlé! Je me suis enscrite à une site qui s’appelle italki ou on peut pratiquer parlant avec des autres ou un prof sur Skype! Bien que ça me fasse du bien je déjà cherché pour les opportunités de rencontre tête à tête et parle française donc, Mark si vous fait un rendez-vous pour tous votre auditatours j’y serai!

    • Jean

      How about something for someone working or living in France. New expats. Its really tough getting started and knowing where to begin. Not just for students, but for adults moving to France or spending extensive time for work. Things like renting an apartment, French legal, medical and political system. Practicalities like getting a cell phone, buying a car, meeting neighbors, french culture and cuisine, cooking terms, connecting utilities, opening a bank account. …

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