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The top five smartphone apps for learning French
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The top five smartphone apps for learning French

Joshua Melvin · 14 Apr 2016, 12:09

Published: 14 Apr 2016 12:31 GMT+02:00
Updated: 14 Apr 2016 12:09 GMT+02:00

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The most common excuse of expats who still haven't expanded their vocabulary beyond 'bonjour' and 'baguette' is a lack of either time or money.

But even if you can't face the thought of going back to school or poring over textbooks, a slew of language-learning apps for smartphones and tablets means you can learn French while sitting (or more likely, standing) on the Metro, in your lunch break or whenever you have a spare five minutes.

There are hundreds of apps out there, but The Local has rounded up the top five from the Google Play Store.

They've got verb and vocab sessions, speaking practice and games so whether you just want to learn the basics to place your order at the bistro, or are determined to become fluent, you can choose the right app for you. All the apps listed have offline modes, so they won't even eat into your data allowance

Let us know if you have used them and if they helped you.

1) Learn French by Bravolol Limited

Perfect for tourists or beginners, this app teaches you 800 of the most common and useful words and phrases. A French-speaking parrot helps you train spelling and authentic pronunciation - you can record your voice to see if you're getting it right, and the words are sorted into topics so you can choose those most relevant to you.

User Janet Perez wrote: “Simple and helpful. It is easy to use it, it teaches you the basic greetings and words, the pronunciation and it doesn't have annoying commercials."

2) Learn French - Speak French

The app's creators promise that learning French is "easier than you think", and its 50 million users worldwide seem to agree, judging by its positive reviews. It's aimed at those who want to develop a comprehensive understanding of French, with vocabulary and grammar units, audio dialogues and language games - you can even send exercises to a native speaker for feedback.

“Awesome! I studied French as a subject but I found this app worth a dozen books,” user Waqar Rizvi said in a Play Store critique.

3) Learn French 6000 Words

As this app’s name suggests, this app is a vocabulary builder, teaching you the 6,000 most common words in French, so it's suited to anyone aiming at comprehension (of menus and signs, for example) rather than conversation. The words are organized in 15 themes with illustrations, phonetic transcriptions and recordings of native pronunciation, and you can test your knowledge using one of the seven language games. Students can also set the difficulty of the the app according to their level: beginner, intermediate or advanced.

“Great vocabulary builder. Wide selection of vocabulary, also builds spelling skills. Graphics for words are helpful (and funny)” user Amanda McQ commented in the Google Play site.

4) Le Conjugueur

If you're already familiar with the basic phrases but want to brush up on your grammar, this handy app is a must. You can look up 9,000 French verbs to find out how to conjugate them in any tense, helping you avoid errors even when you're dealing with the tricky irregulars or one of the less common tenses.

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User Chris Isbister wrote: “Excellent. A solid app for reviewing verb conjugations and definitions, as well as conjugation rules, all without requiring an internet connection.”

5) Duolingo

One of the most comprehensive and best-rated language-learning apps out there, Duolingo's makers claim 34 hours on the app "are equivalent to a semester of university-level education". Grammar, vocab and phrases are organized into different topics which you work through in small, bite-sized lessons. It evolves as you go so that you'll be tested on the topics you struggle with most. The only downside is that you can't pick and choose specific topics to learn, but have to unlock them in the correct order.

“Amazing! Duolingo is really easy and fun and really does a great job of teaching the language you have chosen!! Its cool that you get 'gems' when you finish a topic and can spend it in the store to get icons or clothes for the Duolingo bird!” writes user Hannah Bottomley.

SEE ALSO: Ten free and easy ways to learn French

Joshua Melvin (joshua.melvin@thelocal.com)

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