News & Events
The best apps to learn French
- February 8, 2016
- Posted by: Caroline
What are the best mobile apps to learn French?
If you have a smartphone, you can learn with podcasts, short videos and songs. And let’s not forget – mobile apps. But you might be thinking, which apps should you start with? Here is a list of the best apps to learn French.
Among the best apps to learn French, Duolingo helps you to study French while having fun. This app has received some serious accreditation. It was the winner of both Apple’s App of the Year (2013) and Google Play’s Best of the Best (2013) awards, so you can bet it’s really well designed.
In a nutshell, Duolingo really excels in simplifying. What it does is that it breaks down everything, adjectives, question words, tenses, abstract nouns (words like “feelings”), technical terms, and chunks them together into neat units. There are about 60 units in total for Duolingo French, so you’re probably going to be busy for a while.
One of the best things about using Duolingo is that it’s really quick to use. Inside every unit, there are sub-units, where Duolingo teaches you about seven new words. It does this through a combination of fun exercises such as rearranging sentences, matching a picture to the word, and repeating a phrase in French to be assessed. And there are only about 20 of these questions per unit, so you can get through it pretty quickly. Duolingo is not time-consuming. If you only take 20 minutes every day to go through 3–4 units, you can probably get through all the units in Duolingo in three months. That’s 1500 words in three months!
All in all, a great iOS French app and Android French app that actually succeeds in teaching the committed student French with less than 20 minutes of daily practice.
Duo Lingo is highly recommended for beginners!
MindSnacks is a beautifully designed iOS app for French learners. Even though the app is designed for students, I suspect you’ll find the iOS French app to be highly enjoyable in helping you learn new French words.
Widely acclaimed for its game oriented approach to revising French words, MindSnacks helps you learn new words through 9 games. The app is divided up into different units of vocabulary like food, job, transport, and for each vocabulary set, you can use these games to help learn and strengthen these words.
In one game, a word flashes on the screen, and you have to match it to the drawing. Get as many right every round for high scores. In another game, a bunch of French words and English words appear as balloons. Your challenge is to match as many pairs as possible.
With over 50 vocabulary sets available, you’ll find that these games will help you get through most of the heavy lifting in an entertaining way, helping you comb through the basics in no time.
Mosalingua is a platform that’s a good blend between an interactive French app and an audio phrasebook.
What makes Mosalingua unique is its use of the SRS technique when presenting new words. Basically, SRS is a way to calculate when words should be presented for you to revise just before they’re about to be forgotten. That way, in the long term, words you learn will stick with you a lotlonger.
With over 14 categories and 100 sub-categories, all with conversations and audio files to boot, and covering over 3000 phrases in its audio phrasebook, Mosalingua is designed to help you absorb all this material (and keep it!) in the shortest possible time.
For an app that has received largely positive ratings for its iOS French app and its Android French app, Mosalingua French is a great course to check out.
It’s almost impossible to speak about French language learning without mentioning Rosetta Stone.
One of the oldest and most popular learning methods around, it’s now available as a mobile app.
Rosetta Stone sets itself apart from many other teaching methods by offering a complete immersion in the French language. From the very beginning, it teaches French purely through French – there’s not a word in English inside the course.
By doing this, it simulates the environment that it believes is most conducive to learning a new language – when we were young children learning to speak our mother tongues.
Even though it can seem alien at first, by linking concepts and objects directly to French words (instead of their English equivalents), Rosetta Stone is a method that has great long term benefits.
You’ll be taken through a well sequenced pace where you’ll be exposed to words, sentences and phrases that builds on top of what you’ve already learnt. For instance, you might be taught the French word for man (l’homme), woman (la femme), water (l’eau) through pictures.A phrase might then be shown to you that says “L’homme et la femme boivent d’eau” (the man and the woman is drinking water).You might not know the word “boivent” (to drink), but based on what you’ve already learnt, along with visual aids, you can probably guess.
If you’re a complete beginner in French, and you’re looking for a French iOS / Android app that allows you to learn French in a pure way, Rosetta Stone might be what you’re looking for.
One of the most innovative apps for learning French words I’ve seen in a long time, Memrise is an excellent choice for your learning needs if you’re struggling to remember French words after a while.
Its methodology is highly unique. Unlike most apps, it doesn’t (just) teach words through pictures. It teaches you French words through humour. For example, the phrase “j’attends” (I am waiting) might be remembered by “I am waiting until I am old enough to attend school”, along with a picture of a baby with a pacifier. (You have to see it to really see the humour!)
The best thing is that these aren’t created by professionals – these are submitted by the community. So you’ll be seeing firsthand how other people learning French manage to learn tricky words by disguising them through clever jokes – an approach I’m sure you’ll find highly effective.
Memrise has many modules ranging from Basic to Advanced levels, where words are presented in batches of fifteen centered around themes like verbs, thoughts, feelings and colors.
A really creative way of tackling one of the most difficult problems of learning any language – acquiring vocabulary, the Memrise iOS and Android French apps are definitely worth checking out.
Open Language French is a bit more formal compared to other apps – it’s actually based on the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), which is an internationally accepted scale of measuring language proficiencies of foreign language speakers.
It has many components in a lesson. You start off with a dialogue, which the lesson is centered around. Two native (or bilingual) hosts play out the dialogue, and interject English notes to explain new concepts and words along the way, so in a sense, even though you’re learning French with an app, it feels like you have two teachers.
After that, you can go through vocabulary to solidify some new words, as well as expansion for additional related phrases to expand your vocabulary.
There are also some great classroom themed activities like doing a written task on the learnt material (for instance, you might be asked to write a short paragraph on a favourite movie), and there’s also a discussion section where you can ask questions on the lesson.
While it feels less entertaining than many other apps listed here, it’s also one of the most comprehensive apps that cover a lot of ground. Highly recommend Android / iOS app for learning French.
What makes Busuu French really unique from the other apps is that it has an active community of users to help you practice speaking French.
The Busuu app is also based on the CEFR, so its material is highly certifiable. In each lesson, you’re typically taken through key vocabulary, the dialogue, a writing exercise, a practice speaking session with native speakers, dialogue recording, and a lesson review to close things up.
Similar to OpenLanguages, it’s very comprehensive in the topics it covers, and the exercises designed around speaking, writing, listening and speaking.
So if you’re someone who prefers a program with a lot of different exercise types to it, in particular – lots of native speakers to practice with, the Busuu French app for the iOS / Android might just be the thing for you.
SpeakEasy is actually a phrasebook app available for iOS and Android you can take with you on the go.
Armed with native speaker recordings, you can be sure that you can get the whole experience when travelling to a French country. So when you find yourself in situations where you have to speak French, you have these recordings to fall back to.
Some cool features SpeakEasy has includes the slow playback feature, and also flashcards. This way, you’re really armed with everything you need to succeed with learning new French phrases!
A great time to learn French with apps
As you can see, many of these apps share a common goal – to distill learning French into its bare essence and present it in fun French language lessons.
Learning French through apps is truly a great way for French learners…whether you’re a beginner or an advanced learner.