Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
& Kellie Jez
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Spoken by over 200 million people across the world, the language of love continues to beguile us. Romantic, melodic, and incredibly alluring, French is fashionable, passionate, and sophisticated. It is also the official language of multiple global organizations, including the United Nations and the International Red Cross.
If you are looking to dedicate some time to learning French, here are some of the very best websites, apps, and courses to get you going.
Offering over 3,000 words of vocabulary, Babbel is one of the largest language learning platforms in the world. Interactive learning methods help to improve your vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation in a relatively short space of time using fun and effective teaching methods.
Babbel lessons focus on building basic conversational skills covering a wide range of topics that will have a meaningful everyday purpose. Covering everything from simple greetings and basic chatter, if you study hard enough, you can quickly obtain a diverse education in everything you need to converse like a native.
Particularly well-suited to those that like to learn on the go, the 10-15 minute lessons are great for studying while you are commuting, on your lunch break, or simply when you are feeling motivated to learn more.
Before you commit to a paid subscription, Babbel offers a selection of free introductory lessons to see how you like it. If you choose to sign up, prices range from $6.95 to $12.95 per language, per month, depending on how long you choose to sign up for. There is also a 20-day money-back guarantee should you decide that its teaching methods are not for you.
The app is available for both iOS and Android, or you can learn online using the website.
This innovative language learning tool promises to deliver the equivalent of 4 years’ worth of high school French classes in just a few short weeks. With over 10,000 audio flashcards featuring the most common French words and phrases, you will be able to form authentic sentences and garner a really good grasp of the French language pretty quickly.
Featuring a fully adaptive, spaced repetition system that Brainscape calls “Intelligent Cumulative Exposure,” you can learn new words in the context of real sentences via the use of over 10,000 audio flashcards.
Unlike many of the other immersive language apps, this one explains how to speak and use the language in English to help you learn and understand much faster. It also offers a series of ongoing feedback, statistics, and visualization tools to help you to measure your progress.
Brainscape lets you create, share, and study your own content for free and is available on iOS and Android. If you want to subscribe to its Pro package, subscription costs range from $4.99 per month for a 12-month subscription, $6.99 per month for a single semester, $9.99 for a single monthly subscription, or a 1-time $129.99-lifetime payment.
This popular online language learning platform claims to be able to improve your foreign language skills in as little as 16 hours, while just 22 hours’ worth of lessons may teach you the equivalent of a whole semester at college. A bold claim indeed!
With over 100 million users worldwide, Busuu offers bite-sized lessons that can be enjoyed wherever you are headed. Lessons are structured around a series of useful topics and contain exercises to help you grow your vocabulary and improve your grammar.
In just a few short lessons, you should start to build both your conversational and writing skills as you learn to form sentences, hold a conversation, or undertake written work. Using a range of methods, users repeat keywords and phrases to help reinforce word recognition and build confidence.
Busuu offers a free version of its language course that offers a choice of flashcards to help you learn a single language. The Premium version, however, offers a range of grammar exercises, quizzes, and feedback, as well as the ability to download lessons to your device to learn when you are offline.
The Premium version costs $59 for a 6-month subscription or just $9.99 per month. Busuu is available online or via the app on Android and iOS.
Offering an informal and fun way to learn a new language, Coffee Break French delivers a range of podcasts and online lessons for its subscribers to dip into when they have the time. The audio podcasts last around 15-20 minutes each, and there is a wide range of topics from which to choose.
Broken down into “seasons,” learners can choose from Absolute Beginners, Lower Intermediate, Upper Intermediate, and Advanced Learner levels, all of which offer a mixed bag of vocabulary and grammar to help you build sentences or improve your existing language skills.
If you would like to take your learning further, each season also comes with a full online learning course that includes bonus audio materials, video episodes, and lesson notes.
Available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify, Coffee Break French offers free access to all of its podcasts. If you want to enjoy all of the extra benefits of an online course, there is a 1-time subscription fee of around $120 for 1 season of 40 lessons.
Drops offer immersive and engaging language lessons that are designed for those that don’t have a lot of time to spare. In just 5 minutes a day, the beautifully illustrated flashcards can help you build a new language learning technique that will have you speaking French in weeks.
Learners can create visual associations as they work their way through over 2,000 French words to help them form perfect phrases and sentences.
There are plenty of opportunities to practice using a variety of exercises, and the instant feedback feature and detailed statistics will quickly and concisely show you the words you need to practice a little bit more. There are also 100 well-curated French word lists that you can customize to fit your exact learning needs.
You can learn via the website, or download the Drop app for iOS or Android to continue your learning, even when you are offline. When you create an account, you can try Drop’s premium features for 7 days.
If you like the program, you can subscribe for more ad-free learning for $10 per month for a monthly package, $3 a month for a yearly package, or a 1-time payment of $160 for lifetime access to the app.
Duolingo is another one of the biggest names in online language learning, and its personalized, game-style learning technique is scientifically proven to work wonders. Offering lessons that adapt to suit a variety of learning styles, its tailored exercises will help you learn faster and more effectively.
A series of interactive exercises deliver instant feedback so you can see which areas need more practice. If you like to be rewarded while you learn, there are virtual coins to be earned and new levels to discover as you progress on your language learning journey.
Flashcards and multiple-choice questions also help learners to commit new words, phrases, and sentences to memory, while your grammar is regularly reviewed to help you fully understand the structure of the language.
Duolingo can be used on the website, or as a rather useful app on both Android and iOS. As one of the most popular language-learning tools, it may surprise you to know that you can also learn for free if you don’t mind watching onsite ads.
There is also a premium Duolingo Plus package that removes all those annoying ads, lets you download lessons to learn offline, and offers unlimited use of the Duolingo mobile app. This will cost you $9.99 per month, or a discounted rate if you pay for a year upfront.
The brainchild of author and polyglot Gabriel Wyner, this flashcard based system claims to make learners almost fluent in less than 6 months. It looks beyond just the basic survival techniques you need for a short vacation, and towards a deeper understanding of the language.
This method is based on more than just remembering keywords, and is instead focused on how the brain stores and retains information.
Using a selection of cleverly designed flashcards, Fluent Forever teaches you grammar and vocabulary using spaced repetition. It tests your knowledge at regular intervals so you can focus on the words that you are struggling with in the next round of repetition.
You can create your own cards by choosing images from the app, meaning that you always have a personalized visual representation of every image to help you retain all the new words you learn.
Paid-for subscriptions cost from $6.99 to $9.99 per month, depending on how long you sign up for, and give you access to a broader range of topics and additional online learning assistance.
FluentU teaches French learners via a powerful range of relevant and engaging content that includes videos, commercials, trailers, and even music videos. It focuses on helping students become fluent in meaningful French that you can use in everyday business and social situations.
There is a wide range of topics to choose from, and different levels of ability to suit students of all levels. You can watch the videos in your own time, before examining the written dialogue and repeating them using quizzes and flashcards.
By becoming fully immersed in French culture, and using the tried and tested technique of timed repetition, FluentU offers a more visual approach to learning a new language.
FluentU offers a free 14 day trial to new subscribers, and if you like the program, you can download the app on Android or iOS. An annual subscription costs $240 per year, or you can pay $30 per month.
This innovative language learning tool aims to teach learners of all abilities in a fun, effective, and engaging way. By offering culturally-relevant podcast-style lessons, learners can grow both their confidence and vocabulary as they learn to communicate in near-perfect French.
Levels of learning range from beginner to advanced, and lessons are organized into “Pathways” that offer around 25 lessons, with literally thousands to choose from. Presented by a variety of different hosts, they are designed to be fun but effective. There are lesson notes for each podcast that can be downloaded to help you learn on the go.
If you want to try before you buy, FrenchPod101 offers a free version with 3 free lessons every week, or you can choose to sign up the Basic, Premium, or Premium Plus versions for better podcasts across more Pathways. Prices range from $8 to a whopping $549, depending on the package you choose and the length of your subscription.
You can learn via the website, or download the Innovative Language 101 app on iOS or Android.
Lingoda offers 60-minute immersive French classes in small groups of 3 or 4 students at a time. Being taught by native French speakers, Lingoda is suitable for everyone, from beginners to advanced speakers. Teachers rotate regularly, so learners get to experience a variety of accents and natural conversation while they learn.
Using a combination of speaking practice and situational training, the online classroom environment makes it easy to apply the French you learn to potentially real-life situations. The focus of the lessons is to build an extensive vocabulary that can be used to form meaningful sentences to get you speaking like a native in no time.
Unlike many of the other French courses online, Lingoda lessons are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Small classes with highly experienced teachers will help you to express yourself confidently in French in as little as 3 months.
Learners can enjoy a free 7-day website trial or enjoy 1 class a week for $69 per month, 2-3 classes a week for $159 per month, or classes every day for $269 per month.
This learning tool is primarily used for teaching the often harder to grasp Asian languages, but it is becoming pretty successful with European languages, too.
Similar to the Duolingo method of teaching, learners can enjoy an almost game-like experience that helps them to commit new words and phrases to memory quickly and easily.
The basic-looking homepage takes learners through a range of themed lessons that are all accompanied by multiple-choice quizzes, translation tasks, and listening exercises, all accompanied by the rather lovely Lingodeer mascot.
Users are also able to enjoy “stories” that allow them to listen to lines of dialogue and record themselves speaking to help improve their pronunciation as they progress. You can also download lessons to learn on the go, and there is even a silent mode to let you learn visually when you should really be listening to something else.
You can learn via the website, or download the app for iOS or Android. There is a free 7-day trial that you can sign up for online, or you can subscribe to enjoy full access to all lessons for $11.99 a month, $29.99 a quarter, or $59.99 a year.
Memrise offers a unique leaning aid that works well alongside more traditional language lessons, or for anyone who wants to brush up their existing knowledge. By working your way from 1 lesson to another, you can study a wide range of topics with content suitable for entry-level learners through to more advanced speakers.
Learners are shown just a few words, characters, phrases, or concepts, then quizzed on them to help commit the new information to memory. Using both written and audio material featuring native speakers, each lesson only features 7 or so new words or phrases, making them easy to digest and remember.
For every character, word, or phrase that you learn, a plant appears in the upper right-hand corner that grows the more times you get questions about it right. The lessons begin to speed up and add more content as your ability and confidence grows.
You can study using either the laptop version or download the app on Android or iOS. The free basic account gives you access to lots of content, but more advanced learning tools are available on the paid-for Pro membership, which costs $9 per month, $59 per year, or $129.99 for a lifetime membership.
The fun, game-style app from MindSnacks is much more than just a memorization tool — this French app is loaded with 9 great games designed to enhance your vocabulary and conversation skills.
There are 1,000+ words to be mastered, and each game in the app has matching audio clips spoken by a native French speaker to help you get your accent perfect, too. The games will also help you to really grasp the nuances of French grammar, and the personalized learning algorithms will help to maximize your memory retention, making you more fluent much faster.
Although the idea of games may sound a little childish, the MindSnacks French app is actually designed with game-playing older children and adults in mind. You can download the free iOS app, but there are in-app purchases and upgrades available.
This language learning app delivers 10-minute lessons to help you grow your vocabulary, work on your listening skills, and practice your pronunciation in bite-size pieces. Short grammar lessons also help to understand the formation of sentences and the structure of the French language as a whole.
Using timed repetition, the 3,000+ vocabulary flashcards will help you to get a grasp on the most useful French words and phrases, and the audio clips will help you to improve your pronunciation. There are also useful learning tips, customized topics, and proficiency certificates across 10 difficulty levels of learning, making this app perfect for absolute beginners and more advanced speakers alike.
MosaLingua can be enjoyed on the web from $4.99 a month (or 1 payment of $59.90 for an entire year of access), or you can download the app for iOS or Android for $4.99. Offering lots of dialogues that tie into the realities of everyday life, for the price, this app is one of the most cost-efficient options on our list.
The Pimsleur method is based upon research developed by linguist Paul Pimsleur decades ago. This audio course shows you phrases or words first in French and then in English, and you are asked to repeat them.
Using spaced repetition, you will need to say the words out loud at regular intervals. As your confidence grows, the intervals get longer and longer to help you commit every phrase to memory.
This course offers a very simple but effective way to learn a new language. The flashcards are easy to use for vocabulary reviews, and the speed round games and quick match quizzes will help you to visualize your new language. There is also a role-play tool that gets you started on conversational transcripts, as well as a driving mode for listening while you commute.
Your Pimsleur course can be shared with 3 household members on unlimited Android and iOS devices, and the courses are compatible with Amazon Echo devices. Learners can sign up for a free 7-day trial, or you can purchase the full course for the cost of $24.95 a month.
For more than 25 years, this giant of language learning has been offering a wide range of courses to learners from all over the world. With a teaching method that aims to help you to “learn the language and not just the words,” Rosetta Stone is a very effective language tool for learners of ages and abilities.
Using a honed technique that it calls “Dynamic Immersion,” the lessons combine images, words, and sounds to teach words and grammar using spaced repetition. Words and concepts are introduced to the learner in a way that has been designed to accelerate the language learning process, and group sessions are a useful way of increasing your confidence.
Flashcards, written exercises, audio lessons, and even its patented speech recognition system are all designed to help you build up to contextual conversations in the language of your choice within just a few months.
Available as a desktop site, as well as on iOS and Android, Rosetta Stone is not only one of the most recognizable names in language learning, it is one of the easiest to use, too. There is a free demo available on the website, or you can sign up for 3-, 12-, or 24-month subscriptions costing between $36 and $167 for 1 language.
Hot Tip: Rosetta Stone also offers a lifetime unlimited language option for a single payment of $299.
Offering live, online group classes led by expert French teachers, TakeLessons provides on-demand language classes anytime you want them. Using 2-way video technology means that you can fully interact with your teacher to receive instant feedback. Each class is 45 minutes long, and you can attend as many classes as you want to.
Group classes mean that you can enjoy the feel of a classroom environment even if you never have the time to commit to a traditional learning course. Classes are taught at regularly timed intervals, so you should always be able to find a class time to suit your lifestyle. Class topics include survival French for beginners, must-know French vocabulary, and essential elements of French grammar.
Joining an online course with TakeLessons should improve your French in around 3 to 6 months. Subscription costs around $11.99 per month. You can take a free 14-day trial and you can watch content via the website or the Take Lessons Live app on iOS or Android.
Learning French is easy with the right language learning tools. Whether you prefer joining other learners in a virtual classroom, or would rather listen from the privacy of your own car, there are numerous ways in which to learn French to suit your lifestyle.
Basic survival courses will teach you enough to get you through your next vacation, while more advanced courses could have you speaking like a native in just 3 to 6 months if you are prepared to put the time in.
It’s quite easy to learn French by yourself, and with so many great websites and apps that also have the ability to download content offline, you can learn from anywhere. Provided you are willing to put the time in and stick to a course or program, there is no reason why you can’t learn French by yourself.
You can learn French online for free by using apps and websites. Most platforms will have a free trial or a certain amount of beginner classes for free, such as Duolingo. As you expand your skills, you may need to pay to upgrade to more advanced content.
Aside from French classes or living in a French-speaking country, it is easy to learn French using online courses or apps, provided you stick with it. Most online learning platforms will use a combination of audio and visual components to help teach you the language. With how convenient and portable these online methods are, it is a pretty easy way to learn French.
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