Knowing at least one foreign language is pretty much vital in today's joined-up world. Traditionally, the second language most people go for in the UK tends to be French, and there are still very good reasons for that. As with most forms of education, the best way of doing it yourself now is to use the power of the internet. There's a bewildering array of apps available for learning French, so here are five of the most highly recommended.
One of the most popular of all language apps, Rosetta Stone offers 24 languages, including French. The approach is immersive — you're exposed straight away to conversation, and you have to work out how to respond, just as in real life, though without the potential for embarrassment.
The app incorporates speech recognition software and will give you feedback on your pronunciation. After three days free, Rosetta Stone costs either $11.99 for three months of French or $14.92 for any language for a year.
Another immensely popular language app, Duolingo uses a game-like approach for learning its 26 languages, including French. The emphasis here is to make learning fun, and they claim you can study effectively for as little as five minutes a day.
You can customise Duolingo to your own needs and learning style. It's free, if you're willing to put up with the ads, but to get rid of them and access a few extra features costs $9.99 a month.
While Busuu's approach is more traditional in some ways, with lessons covering everything from grammar to conversation, it makes use of social networking to allow you interaction with both other leaners worldwide and also French speakers. It can also learn your preferences and personalise your lessons. Busuu is largely free, but you'll need a subscription for some of its features. This costs from $9.99 for one month to $69.99 for a year.
MosaLingua's approach is repetition based, offering Spaced Repetition to help embed what you learn in your long-term memory. It uses a combination of flashcards with audio pronunciation, along with pre-recorded dialogues, as well as more traditional grammar and vocabulary. MosaLingua is very cost effective, costing only a one-time fee of $4.99 to download, and it offers periodic bonus content which you unlock as you advance in your learning.
A memory-based app, Memrise offers French as one of its 16 languages. It uses a variety of methods to help you remember and offers tests and quizzes so you can check your progress. You can also access video clips of native speakers, which you can compare with your own pronunciation. You can have one lesson free, and then Memrise costs $8.99 per month. There's a discount if you're paying annually, or you can pay for a lifetime membership for $139.99. Learning on your own can be a convenient approach in a busy schedule, but in general you're likely to learn French faster if you combine this approach with input from a tutor. Why not register with TutorExtra to check out the French tutors available in your area?