The Best French Apps for Learning French

If you are anything like us here at Brainscape, you probably spend hours on your phone every day, emailing, texting, and most importantly, using apps.

While there is something endlessly addicting about trying to reach 2048 over and over, and it can be awfully satisfying to swipe left on Tinder, we have to admit our time could be better spent on other things. Thankfully, there are some great educational apps out there for a more productive phone session.

Not long ago, we posted some of the best education apps for language learning in our post on the Top 5 Language-Learning Apps and Websites. While those five apps are great to get on your phone if you already have the basics down, they are not necessarily ideal when you are just starting out. For you, newbie Francophiles out there, don’t despair. These 7 French apps are some of the best apps to learn French and will get you started acquiring and mastering the language in no time. Très Bien!

Top 7 Beginner Apps for Learning French

1. Duolingo

If you want learning to be fun in a game-like setting, Duolingo  is a great place to start. You can learn vocabulary, conjugation, reading, writing, pronunciation, and listening skills on the app in a way that is competitive and fun. Duolingo has been ranked as the highest-rated French learning app on the Apple App Store for good reason. It’s free, fun, easy to use, and gets you the basics fast. Just be aware that while it may be fun to make learning a competition (with prize badges and everything!), the app isn’t too strict on grammar. You can easily develop bad habits if you aren’t careful, so make sure to supplement any Duolingo learning with a quality vocab and grammar app.

2. Learn French with Busuu

Busuu is based around a community of native French speakers, which makes it easy to ensure that you are learning French the way native speakers really use it today.  You will get a lot of oral practice with and even some feedback on written work from native speakers. Plus, the app makes sure that you learn idioms and modern slang (so you won’t arrive in Paris and sound like you are straight out of a 1950s TV show). Unfortunately, all this interaction with native speakers doesn’t come cheap, as it requires a membership cost of about $20 per month. Plus, the quality of feedback isn’t always even — sometimes you get great information, but other times, you get hardly a cursory response.

3. Classics2Go Collection (French)

Reading in a language you are trying to learn is a must. That’s why this free app is so great. The French Classics2Go Collection has a large selection of fairy tales and other simple, classic children’s stories that you can read at an early stage in your French learning. Not only are these stories familiar, making the vocab and grammar concepts at play easy to digest, but Classics2Go even cross-links with its English app so you can read the versions side by side for a refresher. Plus, once you are getting more fluent, you can easily explore the library for some more complex books like Les Trois Mousquetaires or Madame Bovary.

4. Larousse English-French Dictionary

Every new French learner needs access to a good dictionary, and the Larousse English-French dictionary is the crème de la crème. While it may be tempting to use Google Translate to look up every word you are unsure of, a good dictionary like this one gives you context and connotation as well — critical details for learners. It even has tons of idioms and phrases to keep you in the know. Plus, you can get the words read out loud to you in the app for pronunciation practice.

5. Brainscape French

A dictionary is a great way to learn a specific word that you lack, but unfortunately, it can’t really be used as a way to retain new vocab. That’s where Brainscape’s adaptive flashcard app comes in. Using its custom adaptive learning technology, Brainscape will drill you on thousands of French vocab words such that you spend more time on words you don’t get and less on those you have already mastered. According to extensive scientific research, the key to retention is effective repetition, and Brainscape is the only app on the market that uses the custom algorithm shown to be the best-designed to foster this type of learning.

Not only does Brainscape French have verb conjugations and thousands of vocab cards with audio, it also has a Sentence Builder component that will build up your mastery of grammar concepts through the constant translation of increasingly advanced sentences. Brainscape has also recently added flashcard decks for listening comprehension, as well as others tackling French history and pop culture. If you want to build a robust vocabulary, Brainscape’s methodology is the proven best way to get started.

6. Le Conjugueur

French verb conjugations are tricky. That’s why this app is so fantastic. Le Conjugueur allows you to practice translating verbs and identifying the appropriate tenses to use in different scenarios. Use it to supplement your verb practice and ensure you become a well-rounded conjugator!

7. Rosetta Stone

It’s almost impossible to talk about language learning without mentioning Rosetta Stone. Not only has Rosetta Stone’s app been around the longest, but it also offers a balanced approach. You get to practice speaking, writing, and reading at each skill level. Rosetta Stone offers a completely immersive language learning experience, which means that no English will be found anywhere in this app. This has its advantages (such as learning like you would as a child), but it can be frustrating or even ineffective for some new learners, so consider what kind of learner you are before committing. After all, this program has the largest cost — a whopping $199.99 for all the features.

Get Learning!

Once you get some of these programs on your phone, tablet, or computer, you will be well on your way to speaking French couramment in no time. Don’t delay. While at Brainscape we are partial to our own app (because we know how much it can help you!), getting a few of these apps and using them often is going to support your learning even more. Get the best French apps for learning French on your device now and let us know in the comments what other French learning apps are your favorites.

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