In conjunction to French podcasts , French books and perzonalized French lessons, language apps are a great way to keep up your practice and establish good learning habits. While private lessons do provide you with the flexibility to learn at your own pace and on your own schedule, language apps give you even more flexibility in the sense that the quick and simple lessons that they provide allow you to learn even in your downtime. For example, with an app, you have the ability to learn on your daily commute or even during your lunch break – times that would be difficult to squeeze an entire private lesson into. In this article, you will find some of the best French language apps to use in conjunction to your French lessons. Happy practicing!
Focused on speaking, comprehension, and listening, rather than tedious grammar rules, Pimsleur offers 30-minute lessons designed to complete on your commute, while cooking dinner, on a break, etc. This app consists of numerous interactive audio lessons as well as optional activities such as flashcards and matching that allow you to see what you are learning in the audio. Also emphasizing “spaced repetition,” this app is a good tool to improve your long-term memory of French, and a great resource to use to supplement the French lessons you are already taking. This app offers a 7-day free trial but does require a monthly subscription after that. ($14.95 per month)
This app is an incredibly helpful tool to supplement your French lessons. There are no games or anything like that, just verbs and grammar! Due to this, Le Conjugueur is not going to necessarily teach you French in the same way that the others do. Containing the conjugations for almost 9000 French verbs, this app allows you to become more familiar with different tenses and rules. There is no corporate aspect of this app, so you can think of it more like a useful study tool. The cost is only 0,99 $.
Often compared to Duolingo, Busuu breaks full language courses down into brief lessons, allowing you to practice your French on your commute, during a break, etc. Aside from the similarities in structure, however, Busuu has a few key differences from Duolingo that might be more appealing to different learning styles. If you are looking for more grammar-focused exercises, Busuu will be a better option, as the focus on grammar in this app is a bit heavier than that of Duolingo. Also, Busuu allows you to customize your account based on what kind of French you are interested in learning (ex: for business or for travel). Lastly, Busuu also has a corporate aspect that allows you to connect and speak with other language learners. Like Duolingo, any level of French speaker can use this app to supplement what they are learning in their French lessons. For the price, you can use the app for free, but like Duolingo, to access more activities a monthly subscription is required. ($9.99 for one month, $44.99 for six months, $69.99 for twelve months)
Also structured around progressive lessons, this app places a large emphasis on the importance of speaking and dialogues. The lessons utilize different cognitive techniques proven to strengthen the user’s long-term memory of the language, such as “spaced repetition.” They also cater the lessons to whatever your native language is and try to incorporate lessons that work with all learning styles. In Babbel’s French course, there are currently over 50 courses, each containing 10-20 individual lessons. This app requires a monthly subscription but does have a free trial option. ($13.95 per month with cheaper prices for longer commitments)
Structured in the same level progression format as Duolingo, Babbel, and Busuu, Memrise approaches language learning from a 3-step process based on natural language acquisition. Step 1 is to learn real-life words and phrases specific to your own needs. Step 2 is immersion. Memrise only uses audio and video clips from native speakers rather than computerized voices, so you get better at comprehending the language in a real-world context. Step 3 is speaking. Memrise emphasizes that it doesn’t overwhelm its lessons with grammar rules, but instead focuses on gaining confidence in speaking and being understood. Overall, it is very easy to personalize your learning on Memrise. You are able to try this app for a free trial, but do have to pay a monthly subscription, the price of which is based on how long you commit, the longer commitment being the lower price. ($8.99 per month, $7.50 per month with a year commitment, $139.99 for lifetime subscription)
The curriculum of Brainscape Learn French is all about flashcards! However, this app is not just singular vocabulary words and translations. Each flashcard contains the target word(s) in a sentence, so that you are able to grasp the context of the word and be exposed to French sentence structure as well. In addition, each flashcard also has audio so that you are able to hear the pronunciation, and grammar explanations so that you understand why the sentences work the way they do. Similar to Babbel, this app also places an emphasis on “spaced repetition.” The first level consisting of 10 flashcard decks is free, but to access more decks, you must pay a fee. ($9.99 per month, $41.99 per six months, $59.99 per twelve months, and $129.99 for a lifetime subscription)
One of the more popular language apps on the market, Duolingo offers quick lessons in a game-like style. With this app, you will be able to practice vocabulary and conjugate verbs, as well as complete listening and speaking lessons. In the app, you progress through different checkpoints, unlocking more levels as you go. For example, the French course contains nine units with a total of 743 lessons, as well as over 200 interactive stories and a number of free podcasts that come with the free subscription. Any level of French speaker can use this app, as when you create your account, you are given a placement exam to determine where you should begin. You can download the app to grasp the basics or use it to practice what you already know. This app is free, but to access many of the extra features, you do have to pay a monthly subscription. ($9.99 per month)
While there is no denying that these apps will help you learn and practice a language, the best way to quickly and effectively master a language is by combining the practice that you are getting on your app with the instruction of a French tutor or private language lessons. If you do decide to practice with one of these apps, it would be beneficial to make the practice a habit, that way your progression comes quicker, and you accomplish your goals at a faster pace. For more resources on learning French through technology, head over to my article about How to Learn French Online!