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Are you planning to travel to a French-speaking country? Do you want to learn the beautiful French language? Or, are you simply too busy to take lessons?
One easy way to learn the language is to use a mobile app. There are many apps that can help you learn or brush up on your French, and it might seem overwhelming to have to select just one. To make things easier for you, we have compiled a list of some of the best apps for learning French, so that you can decide which one is right for you.
Best Immersion-Based App: Rosetta Stone
For many years, Rosetta Stone has been one of the most popular language learning systems. Before, you needed to purchase the software to put on your computer, but now you can download a Rosetta Stone app to use on your mobile device. Rosetta Stone offers 25 different languages, and French is, of course, one of the most popular ones. The methodology they use is immersion-based, which means that from the beginning you are exposed to conversations from the real world, and you have to use your instincts to get around and start learning, instead of having everything translated to your first language. They claim that this makes the learning process more natural and realistic.
Some of the features of the app are speech-recognition technology and feedback to work on your pronunciation, as well as games and other challenges to keep you engaged during the learning process. Rosetta Stone offers a three-day free trial, and after that subscriptions range between $11.99/month for three months of French, $7.99/month for 12 months of French, and $179 for a lifetime amount of instruction for all languages available on the platform.
Best Game-Based App: Duolingo
One of the most popular language-learning apps is Duolingo. It offers 43 languages, including French. They claim that you can learn the language in as little as five minutes a day. What makes Duolingo unique is its game-like methodology, which makes it interactive and fun. There are several paths and options you can select to customize the app to your learning style and specific needs, and rewards are given to keep you motivated. Other features offered by Duolingo are reading, writing, speaking, listening, and conversation practice. The app is completely free, but if you want to skip the ads and enjoy some extra features, you can pay a monthly fee for Duolingo Plus.
Best Language Exchange App: HelloTalk
With HelloTalk, you can learn French by interacting with native French speakers around the world. The app supports more than 150 languages, and their community of speakers includes more than 30 million people. Their methodology is unique, since it consists of a language exchange where you learn from a French speaker while you teach them your own native language. The benefit of that is you get exposed to the language and culture from real speakers of French. There are several ways of interacting, such as through text, voice recordings, voice calls, and video calls. During these conversations, you can get built-in help with pronunciation, translation, grammar correction, spelling, etc. The app also includes language courses and live French classes. You can try it for free or a VIP membership is $12.99 per month.
Best Conversational-Based App: Babbel
Babbel is one of the most popular apps for learning a language. Babbel offers 14 languages, and French is one of them. It is a conversation-based app, which means that the focus is to get you speaking from the beginning, using real conversations about everyday topics. They claim that you can be talking about basic topics after just three weeks of using their program. Babbel is organized in 10- to 15-minute lessons, so that you can fit it into your busy schedule. Some of their features are speech recognition technology to help you with your pronunciation, grammar tips, and review activities. Babbel also tracks your progress so that you can see how much you are learning. If you want to try it out, the first lesson is free. After that, you can subscribe for six months at $11.15 (although there are lower prices if you subscribe for several months at a time).
Best Repetition-Based App: MosaLingua
MosaLingua’s Learn French app uses the Spaced Repetition System to promote long-term memorization and help you learn French well. It uses both visual and audio memorization to teach you vocabulary, phrases and verb conjugations. Some of the app’s features are thousands of flashcards with audio pronunciation by native speakers, grammar essentials, pre-recorded dialogues about everyday situations, and learning tips. As you advance, you can unlock bonus content that will keep you motivated. An advantage of MosaLingua’s app is that you only pay $9.99 per month.
Best Incremental Learning App: Learn French ASAP by Brainscape
The Learn French ASAP app by Brainscape uses the Intelligent Cumulative Exposure method, which means that you can learn the language in small increments, one concept at a time. The method adapts to your needs and provides the right spaced repetition for your learning needs. They claim their content is the equivalent of four years of high school French. Some of the program’s features include over 10,000 audio flashcards, simple grammar explanations and verb conjugations, ongoing feedback to visualize your progress, and a network of other learners to support each other. You can try this program for free, but to obtain the Pro version you have to subscribe for $19.99 a month, or you can buy a six-month subscription for $9.99 a month, an annual subscription for $7.99 a month, or a lifetime subscription for a one-time payment of $199.99.
Best Memory-Based App: Memrise
The Memrise app offers 23 different languages, and one of them is of course French. The Memrise system makes language-learning fun by mixing technology and science with real-life language content, using audio, images, and memory techniques, such as flashcards. Their memory-based methodology helps you learn new concepts by teaching you to make connections between words and concepts. Other features included in the app are tests and quiz-type games such as Speed Review, Listening Skills, Difficult Words, and Classic Review. Another great feature is the Learn with Locals video clips, where you can watch and listen to real native French speakers. Then you can also record your own pronunciation and compare it with that of native speakers. If you want to try Memrise, you can set up an account for free, and after that, you can subscribe for $8.49 monthly, $5 each month with an annual subscription, or you can pay a onetime fee of $119.99 for a lifetime subscription.
Best Interactive App: Busuu
Busuu is a language-learning system that offers 13 different languages, including French. Their French courses include grammar, vocabulary, speaking, writing, reading, and conversation activities. They have a wide variety of topics for you to choose from and their machine-learning technology allows for personalized lesson plans and practice using speech recognition. Busuu is unique because of its social feature, where you can connect with millions of other language learners and French native speakers who can give you instant feedback.
For example, you can do writing and conversation exercises which you can then send off to obtain feedback. The Busuu program includes several levels of French instruction, plus a French for Travel course and a French Pronunciation course.Much of the Busuu content is free, but some features can only be accessed if you buy a subscription ($12.95 for one month, $5.95 for 12 months, or $5.45 for 24 months).
Best Essential Concepts App: French by Nemo
The Nemo program contains apps for 34 different languages. The French by Nemo free app can help you learn at your own pace. It is not based around lessons, so you can just pick it up whenever you have some time to spare. Their system presents new words and phrases progressively and reviews them every so often so that you can commit them to long-term memory.
This program focuses on the most essential concepts so that you can start speaking French, such as high-frequency words and phrases that you can start using right away. Some of their features are the ability to record your voice and compare your pronunciation to that of a native speaker, interactive audio, and a phrasebook that can act as a translator.
You can download the app for free and access the essential content. However, once you have the essential concepts down, you can upgrade the app to the Nemo French Foundation pack for $11.99 to gain access to additional add-ons.