MyFrenchLife™ member survey results: your favourite apps & websites for learning French
When you’re reaching for your French language goals, it’s important not to waste time on methods that don’t get results. There are so many amazing online resources and tools out there, especially French learning Apps – but how do you know which will work for you?
With a community full of savvy Francophiles learning French, we thought there could be no better way to find out than asking for your recommendations. So, we put together a special membership survey to find out what makes MyFrenchLife™ members tick when it comes to learning French.
We wanted to hear your stories; how you’re struggling, being challenged, inspired and rewarded by this adventure.
So, selon la communauté, what are the best online resources, websites and apps to choose? Let’s find out…
The best apps & websites according to our community
With so many ways to learn French, we’d be silly not to explore the possibilities!
The struggle to wrap your head around some difficult pronunciation or seemingly contradictory grammar rules can be clarified with some simple explanations and practise. Apps and websites are a great way to do this!
There are plenty out there that promote different ways of learning French – the difficulty lies in how to find your own method. Here we’ve asked you, our members, for your hot tips on the best apps and websites going round.
For general language skills when learning French
For general practice and different language lessons, we all love to use French About.com. The ever-helpful Laura K Lawless covers everything from idioms to grammar rules and her website is always a great resource for learning French.
For a general dictionary, many of our members use the Wordreference or Collins Online. We’ve also heard high praise for the Larousse dictionary app for Apple and Android – great when you need to look up a word on the go.
For practising your spoken French
To master the pronunciation of particularly tricky French words and to have an accent parfait, go no further than 123 Dialogues. These are great little snippets that allow you to practise speaking French in the comfort of your own home. What’s more, there are many, many clips to keep you going.
To practise conversation, some of our members use Verbling.
Verbling is an online community of language tutors teaching over live video stream. Verbling offers more than just conversation practice, with many tutors taking grammar classes as well. The sessions vary in price, depending on whether you are taking a class or booking a private conversation session for learning French.
For building up your vocabulaire français
To build upon your vocabulary, MindSnacks is an app that some of you love to use. Introducing French vocabulary and conversation skills through games, the app is a great way to spend a train journey to work or a few spare minutes in a lunch break learning French.
The first lesson is a free trial so you can try before you buy! The app is available for iPhones and iPads.
Verbe2Verbe is also a great application for checking the difficult conjugation of verbs while learning French. V2V has both an Apple app and a useful website so irregular verbs are always easy whenever you get stuck! You can test your knowledge of verbs too, to check just how much you have learned.
Duolingo is probably the most popular app or website for learning French vocabulary and practicing conversation – plus it’s entirely free! Duolingo offers both Android and Apple apps both of which have rave reviews, from users and technology experts alike.
Tuning your French ear
Many of our members regularly tune in to podcasts in French as a way to stay abreast with the current affairs and practice their listening skills au même temps.
1. News in Slow French
News in Slow French is a fantastic way to go about this, particularly for those of us who are yet to master French listening comprehension. The great thing about this website is that you can follow along with the transcript of the podcast, to check your listening comprehension. If you choose to subscribe to the website, you also have an iPhone/ iPad app available for you to use.
RFI offers the news in simple French with a podcast available for you to download. With the transcript available and comprehension questions and activities to follow, many of our members find this is a fantastic way to solidify their knowledge. RFI also offers an iPhone/ iPad app.
FrenchPod101 runs lessons through podcasts on everything from conversation skills to grammar rules to practising written expression. And according to our members, the free version of the Apple app is almost as good as the premium for learning French.
4. Learn French by Podcast
Learn French by Podcast is a similarly designed program that some of our members prefer due to the introduction of very practical vocabulary through the recordings.
TV5 has a video wrap-up of the news with their broadcast of 7 Jours sur la planète which is slightly more challenging than the audio because there are no transcripts. However, for those visual learners, being able to see news story headings and footage can be a great aid with comprehension.
2. BBC French language programs
The BBC French language programs have also been praised as useful for listening practice as well as general lessons in learning French.
The Talk French program is for beginners comprised of a variety of videos while the more advanced Ma France focuses on interesting cultural aspects of France.
For reading in French
As with many of our members listening to current affairs podcasts, many also read up on the news in French.
Le Monde is popular but can be difficult to read for many French learners.
2. Le Petit Journal
As an alternative, many of our members subscribe to Le Petit Journal newsletter and regularly check the website.
20minutes is also a popular choice for easier-to-read articles about sport, celebrities, music, art as well as current affairs. Available for both Android and Apple, this is a great (and quite entertaining) way to keep up your French reading and stay informed!
4. France culture
France culture is also a fantastic website with a wide range of interesting articles to read, as well as a variety of podcasts and videos to choose from.
5. Bien Dire magazine
Alternatively, for those who prefer to read the hard copy, Bien Dire magazine is a fabulous resource for learning French. Not only does the bi-monthly French magazine have many articles on French news and culture, but an audio CD is also included to practice your listening skills. Each article is rated by difficulty level and includes lists of important vocabulary.
6. Right here!
Oh, and don’t forget that MyFrenchLife.org also has a great selection of French articles!
Now it’s testing time!
Alors, many of our members are converts to the above apps and websites, but will they work for you? You’ll never know until you try… Maybe you’ll discover some more great resources along the way to share with the MyFrenchLife community!
What apps or websites do you find most complimentary to your learning? Share with us your favourite learning French Apps, feedback and tips below for learning French.Read more from our community survey results series… 1. Private tuition vs. group learning – which will work best for you? 3. Why are you learning French? Image Credits
1. Apps, Jason Howie via Flickr.
2. Wordreference homepage, via Wordreference.
3. 123 Dialogues, via YouTube.
4. MindSnacks, via MindSnacks.
6. 7 Jours logo, via TV5.
7. Le Petit Journal logo, Canal+ via Wikimedia.
1. Amazing French learning Apps and tools
2. Top French learning Apps and tools
3. Top Apps and resources for learning French
NOTE: This popular article was refreshed and republished in 2021
Wordreference and Duplingo – my loves! They are both definitely lifesavers and great resources to complement your learning. Babel is also really good (even though not entirely free). It’s structured really well to help you move along at your pace.
I’ve now downloaded MindSnaps for the journey home- thank you for this article! I find that apps like these are fantastic for metro rides, waiting for friends- so much better than scrolling through your facebook feed!
Your article is quite interesting. As an experienced French tutor (skype and classic tuition), let me share, with you and the community of my French life, my opinion and my professional approach.
Learning a language alone and online is very difficult because you need to be determined and really focused.
Duolingo is a good app for intermediate 1 students (the level for beginners is a bit too high).
MIndsnacks is good for the fun (and also for those who have memory issues) but if your goal is to learn how to speak it is not enough.
Wordreference is a dictionnary online and I never ever recommend to my beginners students to use a dictionnary to do their own sentences.
1. Firstly because they are tempted to translate literally from English to French (and everybody knows it never works)
2. secondly because in 95 % of the cases they will use the wrong word for their translation.
The podcast is a good approach but you need to have a very good understanding, most of the time they are too fast to understand (even the slow news).
Of course the newspapers are for those who have already an advanced level in French because the level of language used is the French literate.
So in conclusion of my comment, all supports are good as long as you use the one perfect for your level.
GREAT resources!! I didn’t know of Ma France OR 7 Jours!!! Merci Merci Merci!
Here’s another fun idea for using technology to test your French – for when you are super sure of yourself – try using voice recognition to write texts/emails/posts in French. That’s hard enough in English but it French it would be near impossible for all but the most fluent. Your accent would have to be spot on!