French

29 Carefully Curated YouTube Channels for Learning French

Though French is a popular second language, it can be difficult to find high-quality YouTube videos appropriate to your level. We hope to solve that problem with this carefully curated list of our 28 favourite YouTube channels.

Whether you’re a beginner or almost fluent, we’re sure you’ll find something here to enrich your French studies.

(more…)

36 Great French Podcasts For Any Learner

Understanding spoken French at a natural speed can be a daunting task. After years of study, you may find yourself listening to the news and feeling overwhelmed by each wave of new words. Or, you may feel confident understanding one French speaker, then feel completely lost with someone else.

Whatever the case, podcasts are an excellent resource to get you used to a variety of French-speaking voices and make sure you rely on your ears rather than your eyes for understanding.

Below are 36 recommendations for French podcasts, tested by us and organized by level for your listening enjoyment. Choose one or many to accompany you on your French learning journey.

All Levels

FrenchPod101

Although FrenchPod101 requires a paid membership, it comes with some advantages. There are thousands of bite-sized podcast-style dialogues for beginner to advanced learners, plus lesson notes, quizzes, flashcards, and translations. You can also compare your voice to a native speaker’s with each individual line of dialogue.

FrenchPod101 can be a bit confusing with all the available lesson pathways and episodes, but it will probably be worth your while once you decide on a lesson pathway. There’s a 7-day free trial when you sign up for a free account. See our full review for more details.

Learn French by Podcast

Hugh and Amélie, two of the main voices in the podcast, are experienced French teachers. Though Hugh is not a native French speaker, his experience with the language shows in the structure of the episodes and clear explanations.

Each episode focuses on real-life situations and breaks down the important vocabulary you would need to navigate these situations yourself. Learn how to discuss gardening, pick up your child from daycare, or tell your friend to stop texting.

Beginners should start at the earliest episodes, which cover the basics. There are also intermediate and advanced episodes, both of which could benefit even an experienced French learner.

Coffee Break French

The Coffee Break Languages series — available in French, German, Italian, Swedish, Chinese, and Spanish — is a podcast for beginner to advanced learners. With each season, the language difficulty increases.

Each French conversation has an English discussion and analysis at the end. This makes it a great option for learners who prefer to have more context to their learning. You’ll get the most out of this series by responding to the prompts aloud. It’s also best to start at episode one if you have no background in French.

Extra lesson notes and video pronunciation practice are available in the Premium version. But, you’ll be fine listening to the podcasts on major streaming platforms. To learn more, check out our full review.

French Blabla

Caroline has taught both online and in-school French for over 10 years. This experience, plus her friendly demeanour and sense of humor, makes this podcast both educational and entertaining.

She offers “A Day in French” episodes for intermediate learners looking for bite-sized French immersion—plus her regular episodes for all levels, which include tips (given in English) to improve your French. If you struggle with pronouncing the French ‘r’ or can’t figure out why you keep seeing l’on, Caroline can help you out. Transcriptions of the episodes with vocabulary lists, grammar explanations, and writing exercises are available for purchase on her website.

Beginner

Language Transfer

Language Transfer is not so much a podcast as an audio course, but it is an excellent resource for absolute beginners. It provides a series of introductory audio courses for several different languages — including French.

You won’t spend as much time immersed in the language, but you will go into depth about how the French language works. You’ll learn major grammar points and develop vocabulary and pronunciation. You’ll also hear the instructor, Mihalis, interact with a beginner student and correct their mistakes. The goal is to respond to prompts as if you yourself were the student.

Language Transfer can support anyone looking to understand the ins and outs of learning French. If you’d like to get a better sense of what it’s all about, you can read our full review.

Little Talk in Slow French

Little Talk in Slow French may be helpful for upper-level beginners who want a little extra support to transition into immersive French podcasts. The narrator speaks mostly in French, but she will provide several translations into English for tricky words (though sometimes these translations seem a bit random). She speaks slowly and articulates clearly, covering a range of topics: cultural notes, language, history, film, and more.

À Podcasts: pour apprendre le français

As the host of À Podcasts describes, the episodes may not have a clear goal, but they have a nice ambiance. In these five-minute episodes, you can listen to natural French conversations between the host and one of his friends.

There are 4 types of episodes to choose from: “Radio Qu’est-ce que c’est’” and “Radio Quelque chose” both have transcripts and are intended for upper-beginner and intermediate learners respectively. “La chanson de la semaine” will recommend a French song (though not every week as the title implies). And “les recettes de grand-mère” will give you a new recipe to try at home.

Cultivate Your French

Cultivate Your French is narrated by Laetitia, from One Thing in a French Day. In most of the episodes, Laetitia first reads the text slowly. Then, she reads the same text at a near-natural speed. Some episodes encourage you to take part in a dialogue: you’ll hear the dialogue once, and then one voice will be muted to allow you to take its place. These are excellent episodes for upper-beginners transitioning into intermediate content.

Un Petit Caoua?

Un Petit Caoua? is a French-only podcast for beginners. In each five-minute episode, Paul, the narrator, focuses on a specific topic such as technology, cooking, or musical genres. He will then ask and respond to questions, speaking very slowly and repeating new words and phrases in multiple contexts.

Though it’s not clear if Paul will continue to produce more episodes, this channel is great for any beginner who wants to challenge themselves to listen to full-immersion podcasts.

Intermediate

Louis French Lessons and Daily French Pod

These two channels seem to be produced by the same person and in the exact same format. In each 3–5 minute episode, Louis introduces a French sentence. He then provides synonyms and examples of each word or phrase in different contexts. You can read the French sentence with the English translation in the description of every episode.

Louis also produces several podcasts for native speakers in Choses à Savoir.

Le Français à la une

If you struggle with understanding French newspaper headlines, look no further than Le Français à la une. Viviane, an experienced French teacher and journalist, reads out 3 headlines from 3 separate newspapers several times per month. With each headline, she breaks down the expressions, plays on words, and challenging vocabulary that are commonly used by journalists.

Although the episodes are intended for lower-intermediate learners (B1 on the CEFR scale), intermediate and advanced learners alike can benefit from these short, 5-minute episodes. Viviane posts transcripts of each episode with a photo of the original headline on her website, Oui-speakfrench.

Fleur-de-lis: a French Podcast

Fleur-de-lis is narrated by Sarina, a French teacher from Quebec. Her episodes seem best for upper-beginners and lower-intermediate learners wanting to transition to immersive French podcasts.

Sarina speaks only in French and articulates every syllable. You will hear different voices on the show, but everyone speaks quite slowly to ensure that you can follow along. Sarina and her guests talk about travel, literature, and psychology in these 5-10 minute episodes.

Mankai Your French

Romain gives you two different series in his podcast, Mankai Your French. The shorter, 10-minute episodes introduce general topics about culture, health, and history.

In his second series, Mankai Island, a guest must imagine themselves stranded on an island and describe what their island looks like. They then respond to a series of Romain’s questions. You’ll get to hear a variety of voices and join them on their imaginative journey.

The narrators and guests speak slowly and clearly to ensure that intermediate learners can follow along. You can email Romain to get the transcripts or ask him questions.

Paris O’Clock

Aurélie is a French teacher in Paris. She recently started this series for intermediate French learners to improve their listening comprehension and vocabulary. Listen to interviews with French speakers, learn about historical French figures and sites, and get excited about must-see French films.

Check out the free transcripts, vocabulary notes, and quizzes on her website.

One Thing in a French Day

Three times per week, Laetitia talks to you for five minutes about her day. You’ll learn about life in Paris and meet Laetitia’s friends while improving your listening comprehension.

Though major platforms only have a handful of episodes, there are over 1900 available on PodBean dating back to 2006. You can pay for a subscription to her newsletter to receive the transcript to each episode in your inbox.

If you find this series too difficult, you can check out Laetitia’s other podcast, Cultivate Your French, which will help you transition into intermediate material.

Français avec Pierre

Accompanied by Pierre’s (and sometimes Noemie’s) enthusiasm and passion for the French language, intermediate learners can enjoy a variety of episodes to level up their French.

These episodes are the audio version of Pierre’s YouTube channel, which has free transcripts available on his website. They mostly focus on important expressions, register, grammar, and common errors that language learners make.

Pierre has worked as a French teacher in language schools and high schools in Spain, and has helped prepare courses and exams for multiple organizations. He will keep you up to date with the latest slang while also ensuring that you don’t make any faux pas in your conversations.

Français Authentique

Johan from Français Authentique helps intermediate speakers improve their grammar, pronunciation, and grasp of French expressions.

He teaches you French through authentic content and provides more than simple grammar lectures; you’ll hear him explain French jokes, explore philosophy, and use common expressions in context.

Some of the podcasts are recordings of his YouTube videos; others were recorded for podcast platforms and have an accompanying PDF on the Français Authentique website. If you want more from Johan, check out our review of his French courses.

Fluidité

In Le Podcast Fluidité, Fabien speaks in easy, natural French about French culture and language. He is a French teacher and also a polyglot, and he uses his experience both teaching and learning languages to improve your French.

If you listen on his website, you can read full transcripts of every episode.

Nouvelles en Français Facile

Though the text descriptions are in Swedish, this is a French-only podcast that summarizes current events in easy French. Each episode addresses a few main headlines from recent news. You may hear a short recording of the original broadcast or interviews with locals. The narrators speak slowly and explain common expressions or tricky words in French.

Le français avec Yasmine

With a new episode every Thursday, Yasmine helps you improve your listening comprehension and understand important grammar points with her podcast, Le français avec Yasmine. She speaks relatively slowly and only in French. Learn about contractions, reflexive verbs, nuances between similar words and more in these short episodes.

You can buy transcripts to each episode, but subscribing to Yasmine’s newsletter gives you one for free.

Ehoui!

Ehoui!’s founder and narrator, Virginie, has a master’s degree in French as a Foreign Language and over 10 years teaching around the world. In her podcast, she teaches you how to interact, speak, and make yourself understood in French. Tune in to topics like how to use different verb tenses, how to understand real-life questions, and which key phrases and vocabulary you need to express your emotions.

Intermediate/Advanced

News in Slow French

News in Slow French is a paid resource for intermediate to advanced learners who aren’t quite ready to listen to full-speed news broadcasts. You can listen to the audio while reading a transcript that highlights key grammar and expressions. Intermediate learners can take quizzes and practice pronunciation after each episode.

The lessons are about 30 minutes long and includes 4-6 separate news stories.. Read our full review for more information.

French Voices

In the French Voices Podcast, Jessica helps you improve your listening comprehension through interviews with French speakers. You’ll hear from authors, planetary scientists, bird watchers, and more in natural French conversation.

Each episode comes in two parts: the first is an English introduction to the interview, and the second is the French-only interview. With the variety of French voices and vocabulary from different professions, this podcast can help you transition into podcasts for native speakers.

If you listen on the website, you can read an English summary and key French words used in the interview. You can also purchase full transcripts of the episodes. Check out Jessica’s other podcast, French Your Way, for tips on how to improve your French.

Journal en Français Facile

Journal en Français Facile is only available on the Radio France Internationale website, but it is worth the extra minute of web navigation.

Every weekday it provides 10-minute summaries of the biggest news headlines. It sounds like a typical news report, but often the journalists will help you understand words and concepts common to the news. At first listen, it may be a bit tricky for intermediate learners, as they speak at a relatively natural speed. But, if you follow along with the free transcript, you’ll likely find that you understand more than you initially thought.

1Jour 1 Mot

This podcast will expand your vocabulary in 3 minutes per day. Jean-Alain dedicates each episode to a single French word. He introduces the word in context, then provides examples of synonyms and antonyms. He then reads a quote from pop culture or the news that includes the chosen word. Finally, he provides translations into English, Spanish, Italian, and sometimes “Le langage ado”.

Choses à Savoir

Any French speaker or learner will find something that interests them in Choses à Savoir. The producers record between 8 and 15 three-minute podcasts per day and publish them under multiple podcast channels. Learn about science, history, sports, economy, celebrities, travel, sleep, and more — plus, read the free transcripts of each episode on their website.

The narrator speaks quite quickly. But, he articulates clearly and uses simpler French than you might find in the news or other podcasts.

Advanced

Émotions

Émotions by Louie Média is a popular podcast that explores both the scientific explanations and human experience of emotions. Through interviews with medical experts and powerful first-hand accounts, you’ll learn about what motivates human behaviour while improving your French at the same time. Whether it be shame, frustration, or gratitude, Émotions will take you on a powerful journey through the inner workings of the human experience.

Though Émotions was recorded for native speakers, upper-intermediate learners can also benefit from the narrator’s clear articulation. Louie Média also produces several other high-quality podcasts for your enjoyment.

3 Bières

Trois Bières is one of the most popular Québécois podcasts — it was even nominated for best comedy podcast at the Canadian Gala Les Olivier.

The three main hosts take topic suggestions from their listeners on different social media platforms and put the suggestions in a bag. They then randomly pick a subject to discuss together over a beer. Over the course of an episode, the team will choose three different topics (hence the name, 3 beers). Sometimes they invite famous Québecois artists or comedians to join them, too.

If you are an advanced learner, this is an excellent show to familiarize yourself with real life conversations in Québécois French.

Les Baladeurs

It’s not enough to call the individuals profiled in Les Baladeurs “travelers.” These are adventurers, and they will take you on a journey to relive their most challenging and thrilling experiences around the world. Join them as they Rock climb in Morocco, bike the Karakoram Highway between China and Pakistan, compete in the Whitbread sailing race around the world, and more in this high-quality series.

This is a podcast for native speakers, but the narration and interviews will give you lots of opportunities to practice your listening comprehension.

Génération XX

Génération XX interviews female entrepreneurs about their projects and experiences. Learn about their professional and personal lives; let them inspire you with both their failures and successes; and gain more motivation for your French studies and personal endeavours.

Though the series has ended, there are 100 episodes available on the Génération XX website and major streaming platforms.

Parler comme jamai‪s‬

Made in collaboration with Les Éditions Le Robert, Parler Comme Jamais discusses the use of language, and what languages say about those who speak it. The host, Laélia Véron, is the author of the book, “Le français est à nous!” Through research and interviews with experts, she explores topics such as inclusive language, dead languages, and whether or not your dictionary has a political bias.

On the website you can find background information about interviewees, reading or film recommendations, quotes, and references. Its producer, Binge Audio, also has several other high-quality podcasts for native speakers.

À Poêle

If you love food and love listening to people talk about food, then you’ll want to check out À Poêle. Every second Thursday, you’ll meet chefs, restaurant owners, or entrepreneurs in the restaurant business. These individuals represent the current and future stars of haute cuisine.

The episodes are about an hour long, but you can look in the description to find the time stamps for each topic discussed.

Radio Canada International (RCI)

RCI produces a variety of podcasts in French. Most of them focus on the history of Canada, but others highlight Canadian-led projects, interview Canadians about current events, or introduce different topics that are at the forefront of Canadian media.

You’ll hear a variety of French-Canadian accents in these engaging series while learning about the past, present, and future of Canada.

Radio France International (RFI)

RFI has over 100 different podcast channels, most of which are available on major streaming platforms, and all of which are available on their website.

Two daily podcasts stand out in particular for advanced French learners: Les mots de l’actualité and De vive(s) voix. Les mots de l’actualité dedicates 3-minute episodes to a word from the news. The narrator provides multiple examples of its nuances and how it’s used in context.

De vive(s) voix focuses on the French language in all its forms. You can explore how French words affect its speakers, curiosities in the French language, and the influence of Molière on comedy and writers.

Nouvelle École

In Nouvelle École, Antonin invites French entrepreneurs and artists to talk about their life. This is a channel for anyone looking to be inspired by individuals who carved their own path to follow their passions. Though the podcast has ended, Antonin has interviewed over 85 different people.

La Grande Librairie

La Grande Librairie is a popular show and podcast that greatly influences book sales in France. In each episode, four writers are invited to talk about their newest piece of writing. If you’re looking for a new French novel, essay, comic, or anything in a literary form, these episodes can point you in the right direction.

Final Thoughts

These are a few of many awesome podcasts available for French learners. We hope you found some gems, or that we reminded you of one that you have been hoping to check out.

Sometimes you may be in the mood for something more visual, in which case we recommend you check out our list of YouTube channels for learning French, or our favorite online French courses.

News In Slow French

Quick Review

4.5 

Summary:

News in Slow French offers three different levels of content (beginner, intermediate, and advanced) with lots of different features for each. I’m a huge fan of what’s included at the intermediate level but a bit less enthusiastic about the content at the beginner and advanced levels. That’s not to say those levels are bad, they aren’t by any means, but the material available for intermediate level learners is really fantastic. Much more than simply current events narrated at a slower pace, News in Slow French is comprensive, engaging, fun, and effective.

Quality

It often doesn’t feel like you’re studying without sacrificing on quality.

Thoroughness

The depth and unique manner in which they teach grammar and expressions is really impressive.

Value

Although it’s not cheap, there’s more content than you may initially realize.

Price

There’s a 7-day free trial for new subscribers, then the price is $19.90/month. There’s also an option to prepay for up to 12 months at a time, which doesn’t affect the monthly price.

(more…)

Mondly

Quick Review

2.7 

Summary:

Mondly is a language-learning app that teaches basic vocabulary and grammar structures. It seems most appropriate for learners with little to no exposure to their target language.

The activities mostly rely on passive recognition of vocabulary and phrases, and therefore are not very challenging. However, they are varied enough that you probably wouldn’t get bored with short, daily practice sessions.

Although I wouldn’t recommend Mondly to anyone looking to seriously learn a language, it may be appropriate for individuals studying languages with less available resources, or for individuals who are preparing to travel abroad.

Quality

Both the interface and the course itself could be designed better.

Thoroughness

It’s decent for learning vocabulary, but I thought a lot of the material wasn’t explained very well.

Value

It’s fairly inexpensive.

Price

There are three plans…
$9.99 per month for one language
$47.99 per year ($4/mo) for one language
$47.99 per year ($4/mo) for all languages

Strangely, I was able to access multiple languages even though I only signed up for one month at $9.99.

(more…)

Lang Workbooks

Price: $5.99

Resource Image

For learners of languages that use unfamiliar writing systems, the Lang Workbooks series can be a helpful and practical way to master the intricacies of writing in their target languages. Among numerous other writing systems, the series includes the Korean, Russian Cyrillic, and Armenian alphabets; Persian and Thai script; the Hindi Devanāgarī abugida; Chinese characters; and Japanese Hiragana and Katakana. The series also covers languages that use the Latin alphabet with diacritical (accent) marks, such as French, German, and Portuguese.

Many books in the series have been translated into other languages, such as Italian, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. The series also covers writing systems that may have fewer available resources for learners, such as Lao script and the Cherokee syllabary.

Each book in the series presents its featured writing system with suggested pronunciations. The practice pages in each workbook have useful features for each letter, symbol, or character, such as a recommended stroke order, font variations, example words, and a “Trace and Learn” section.

Each workbook is relatively inexpensive. In addition, the publishers of the series have granted teachers and students a license to make photocopies of the workbook pages for personal use, so you can get unlimited chances to practice. Considering the depth of information in each language’s workbook, the books in this series can provide great value for learners.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

Visit

27 Best Online French Courses: We’ve Tried Them

the best online courses for learning french banner

Finding the right resource for learning Spanish is often a daunting task. With courses becoming more accessible and numerous every year, your options are seemingly endless. Many of the online Spanish courses out there are fantastic, quite a few are awful, and even more are probably best for some learners and not for others.

Whether you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for or are overwhelmed with choice, we’re confident that the right resource for you is out there — and this post will help.

We’ve taken the time to comb through our enormous library of reviews to single out the best online courses for learning Spanish and have detailed them in this list. Only resources that have received at least a 3.5/5 star rating on our site have made the cut.

We recognize that no two learners are exactly alike. Learning style, budget, skill level, and motivation all have a huge impact on what makes a resource right for you. That’s why this list doesn’t assume there’s one course that’s best for everyone. Instead, our aim is to provide you with enough information to reliably point you in the right direction. Happy hunting!

Sort By:

4/5
Price: from $297
I Will Teach You A Language Logo
Learn French by Reading Stories

Not a typical approach to teaching languages, French Uncovered gets learners to start engaging with a story right away. This is slightly more challenging than most other courses, as the stories are entirely in French. Though it isn’t easy, the unique method could prove rewarding to those that are able to push through the initial difficulties.

The course is split into 20 chapters, providing practice in reading and speaking as well as building vocabulary and teaching grammar concepts. Review quizzes at the end of each chapter help consolidate what you’ve learned and check for understanding, though we think these quizzes would benefit from more questions.

If you particularly enjoy interacting with stories and are looking for a challenging study program, French Uncovered could be just what you’re looking for.

Pros

  • Learning French through stories can be entertaining
  • Instruction is clear
  • There are plenty of opportunities to practice what you learn

Cons

  • There are sometimes too many unrelated grammar points in lessons
  • The material could be too difficult for beginners
4/5
Price: $19.95/Month
Well-Structured Audio Lessons for Aural/Verbal Learners

Pimsleur is one of the biggest names in the language-learning world and a great course for beginners. The audio lessons place a heavy emphasis on developing listening and speaking skills early on, which is great for developing communication skills. 

Their courses don’t provide a lot of instruction related to developing reading or writing skills, and you won’t get much in the way of explicit grammar instruction in the audio lessons. There are some supplementary activities that provide some reading and writing practice, but they’re not at all a focus of the course.

There are five levels in the Pimsleur French course, each containing 30 lessons — that’s a lot of material, and it builds on itself nicely, each lesson preparing you for the next. A subscription to Pimsleur might not be the right choice for an advanced learner, visual learners, or those interested in grammar rules, but it’s a quality course.

Pros

  • You’ll start speaking more quickly than with other courses
  • The course has a great design and is easy to use
  • There’s a variety of native speakers

Cons

  • Not ideal for visual learners
  • Some may find the lessons to be uninteresting and slowly paced
  • Doesn’t pay much attention to grammar concepts or written language
4/5
Price: Free Audio Lessons, Each Full Season is $104
Coffee Break French Logo
Learn By Sitting in on French Lessons

The Coffee Break Languages series is a great source of free educational material. The audio lessons in the French series take the format of a podcast and are free to listen to. These lessons have you listen to another student take lessons from the host, Mark. 

The atmosphere in these episodes is casual, and it’s helpful to be able to listen along and see where the learner makes mistakes while assessing your own ability to follow along. Guest native speakers also join the lessons from time to time, providing listening and pronunciation practice as well as valuable insight.

The Coffee Break French course is different from other Coffee Break courses in that there’s more content available for the language. Instead of two seasons, you can study up to four seasons and get useful practice even at the advanced level.

Paying for the extra materials means you’ll also have access to a video accompaniment of the audio lessons as well as extra practice activities in a PDF. These additions make the course more suitable for visual learners.

Pros

  • Audio lessons offer great value for free
  • Lessons include lots of explanations and examples
  • Course format is convenient and casual

Cons

  • Visual learners may struggle with the audio-only free lessons
  • There aren’t a lot of interactive practice opportunities.
4.5/5
Price: $19.90/month
News-in-Slow-French-Logo
Entertaining Content and Efficient Practice

Don’t be fooled by the name. While news narrated at a slow pace may sound less than riveting, the content this course provides is actually incredibly engaging — it’s also effective at teaching French.

This resource provides material for all levels.The beginner course is great for lovers of storytelling, as each lesson tells part of a story and is great at keeping learners engaged. While the content at the beginner level is of high quality, the intermediate course is even more impressive: it’s full of useful information on French expressions, grammar exercises, and tons of interesting material.

Although there is a substantial amount of study material, it would be better if the lessons were more active and encouraged the students to use the French they’ve learned. The advanced and beginner courses, while solid, aren’t as good as the intermediate lessons.

Pros

  • The catalogue of material is extensive
  • The content is highly engaging
  • Especially good for learning grammar and French expressions at the intermediate level

Cons

  • Many of the activities don’t require you to use what you’ve learned
  • Advanced learners may be better off interacting with native content
4.2/5
Price: $12.95/month, $26.85/Quarter, $83.40/Year
Structured Practice for Beginners and Lower-Intermediate Learners

Babbel is a popular language-learning tool that’s especially useful for learners at lower levels. Logical lesson progression and excellent structure make it a solid starting point. It also makes learning French feel less intimidating by offering fun and engaging lessons. 

In addition to the thorough curriculum and quality lessons are frequent review opportunities and activities that allow you to practice a variety of different skills. The conversation exercise is particularly useful for getting used to how the language is used in natural contexts.

Potential downsides to the Babbel French course are that its speech-recognition method for providing pronunciation feedback is far from perfect and that the course content just isn’t very exciting. This also probably isn’t the right choice for more advanced learners.

Pros

  • Short lessons make for convenient practice
  • The platform is well designed and easy to use
  • Lessons teach practical language
  • The course is comprehensive and provides lots of practice

Cons

  • Exercises can get overly repetitive
  • Limited grammar review opportunities
  • The speech-recognition technology isn’t the best way to practice pronunciation
  • It isn’t the most engaging course
4.2/5
Price: From $8/Month
More Than Just a Podcast

For the subscription cost, FrenchPod101 is a surprisingly comprehensive platform for learning French. The number of audio lessons is seriously impressive, and they cover a wide range of topics at a variety of levels, from beginner to advanced.

The audio lessons may especially appeal to aural learners, but lessons also include transcripts, notes, and short quizzes, which make it a viable option for learners that prefer visual content as well. Some lessons also have videos.

Audio lessons are centered around dialogues, which can be a good way to get accustomed to hearing and interacting with French as it appears in real life. There are also lessons with a cultural focus, something that can make your study time more meaningful.

You’ll have the option of skipping around and choosing which lessons to study, which could be ideal for learners with some prior exposure to French, but the lack of rigid structure may not suit some absolute beginners. 

Pros

  • There is both audio and visual content
  • There are a lot of lessons for learners at all levels
  • Lessons cover a large variety of topics

Cons

  • The review quizzes are too easy
  • The interface isn’t the easiest to navigate
  • Some learners may not appreciate the lack of direction in lesson progression

Use the promo code “ALLLANGUAGERESOURCES” to save 25% on a subscription to FrenchPod101.

3.7/5
Price: $99.95 for Level 1, $259.90 for Levels 1-3
Comprehensive But Not Very Exciting

The bulk of practice you’ll get in the Rocket French course happens through the Rocket Reinforcement Activities, which you’ll complete after every single lesson. The high level of repetition may be effective at helping you remember what you’ve learned, but it can also get quite boring.

Most Rocket French lessons are presented in audio form and are centered around a piece of dialogue that highlights the relevant language point of the lesson. These are accompanied transcripts, lesson notes, and the aforementioned reinforcement activities. 

There are also lessons on cultural topics, which contain some valuable information, but we didn’t find them to be very well done. A speech-recognition system will help you get practice with pronunciation, but it’s not perfect.

Overall, if you can put up with the highly repetitive review activities and don’t find the lessons too boring, Rocket French could be the well-structured resource you’re looking for.

Pros

  • Effective practice activities
  • Plenty of explanations in lessons
  • Clear course structure

Cons

  • Review activities are overly repetitive
  • Lessons aren’t terribly exciting
  • It’s fairly expensive
3.3/5
Price: $9.99/Month for Premium, $13.99/Month for PRemium Plus
A Well-Structured Course with a Noteworthy Social Feature

Busuu offers courses in a number of languages, and we would have rated it higher if we were only rating its French course — mistakes in the Mandarin course are what brought the overall rating down.

The Busuu platform is well designed and easy to navigate, with solid course structure. It also has material that’s relevant for learners at just about any level, from beginner all the way up to advanced. It’s a fairly comprehensive resource, but you may find that grammar explanations and practice are lacking compared to similar resources.

A feature that sets Busuu apart from many is its social language-exchange feature. This function enables learners to submit writing and audio recordings to be evaluated by others. Getting real humans involved with feedback is far better than virtual alternatives, and you can take advantage of this Busuu tool for free.

Pros

  • Excellent course structure
  • Social feature provides quality speaking and writing feedback
  • The Busuu platform is well designed
  • Conversation lessons provide exceptionally good practice

Cons

  • Grammar practice and review opportunities are lacking
  • Some review activities aren’t designed very well
4.2/5
Price: From $38.58 for THree Months
An Academic Course with Lots of Practice Opportunities

Ouino may not be the most gamelike course out there, but that’s because it takes more of an academic approach to teaching French. One major strength of Ouino is that it could appeal to both visual and aural learners. Lessons are presented as text with color-coded important words as well as read aloud to provide listening practice. 

The structure of the exercises isn’t the most intuitive we’ve seen, so it may take some time to get used to, but the course is otherwise full of quality instruction and a variety of practice activities.

The Ouino French course may be ideal for learners that already have some experience with French, even if it’s very little. The course doesn’t require you to take lessons in order, meaning you can complete just the lessons you need to fill in any gaps and take your skills to the next level.

Pros

  • Content is suitable for both aural and visual learners
  • You can take lessons in any order you want

Cons

  • You’ll have to evaluate your own pronunciation
  • The lesson exercises can become overly repetitive
4/5
Price: Group classes from $56/month, Private classes from $132/month
Learn With Online Group Classes And A Curriculum

Often, the best type of language practice you can get comes from a real tutor. It’s hard to beat real-time feedback and personalized instruction. What really notches up the efficacy level of the tutor experience is when there’s also a curriculum involved. Lingoda brings the two together to provide structured, live instruction in either private or group classes.

The group classes on Lingoda are made up of two to four people and could be a good option for some learners, while others might prefer private lessons. With over 600 lessons to choose from, there’s practice to be had for learners at all levels on Lingoda. There’s also no need to take these lessons consecutively, so learners looking to fill in some gaps in their education could certainly use this to their advantage.

Lesson scheduling is fairly flexible, and it could make a good option for anyone looking to get speaking practice with a native speaker while also benefiting from the structure of a course. There are also “marathon” and “sprint” payment plans available; these offer the chance to earn money back for attending 90% or 100% of your classes.

Pros

  • It’s possible to schedule lessons at almost any time of day or night
  • Teachers mostly speak in French
  • There are many different lessons for learners at all levels

Cons

  • It’s not always possible to take the class you want when you want
  • Learning in a group setting may not be ideal for all learners
  • Materials are very similar for all lessons
3.8/5
Price: $16 – $21/hour
Live Lingua Logo
Live lessons and specialized courses

Live Lingua is a little bit different from other online tutor platforms in that its service is more specialized. Before you’re hooked up with a tutor, you’ll have a chance to communicate your goals with a personal class coordinator. You also have the chance to choose between several different Spanish courses, including standard lessons, exam prep, Spanish for priests, and more.

The majority of tutors seem to be from Mexico, but there are teachers from nine different countries, meaning you’ll be able to get practice in whatever flavor of Spanish interests you. The teachers are all native speakers and receive extra support and training from Live Lingua.

The platform doesn’t offer the same level of scheduling flexibility you might find on other online tutor platforms, and it’s a little more expensive than similar options, but the extra personalization and course focuses might make it worth it from some learners.

Pros

  • You should be able to find lessons that meet your specific needs
  • Tutors are from a variety of different countries

Cons

  • Lesson scheduling happens via email
  • Limited flexibility in choosing a teacher
4.6/5
Price: €129 – €149
inner-french-logo
Popular Courses for Dedicated Learners

We haven’t had the chance to test the innerFrench courses out ourselves, but they’re highly popular and seem to be of good quality. The paid courses are different from many others in that you’ll have to enroll in a course during the enrollment period; this is so that you have access to support while taking the course.

There are two courses on offer: the Build a Strong Core course is designed to help A2-B1 learners get over the “intermediate plateau” and prepare to make the transition to B2. The Raconte Ton Histoire course is for B1-B2 speakers and teaches learners how to tell their own story.

Both of the paid courses include interactive exercises and a well-planned curriculum. There are also innerFrench podcasts and videos that are available for free. In these lessons, founder Hugo covers topics such as French culture, health, and relationships all in French while speaking clearly enough to be understood by intermediate learners.

Pros

  • Courses designed for specific levels
  • Access to support while taking the course
  • Purchase of a course grants lifetime access

Cons

  • You’ll need to enroll during the enrollment period
  • It’s more expensive than other courses
4.3/5
Price: Free
Learn to Think in French for Free

There are two main reasons this course is so notable. One is that it’s totally free to use, no strings attached. The other is its unique approach to language instruction.

The Language Transfer course on French consists of 40 audio lessons in which founder Mihail directs lessons with another student. In the introductory lesson, you’re encouraged to simply listen along and attempt to respond to prompts without taking notes or really doing anything else throughout the entire course. The idea, Mihail explains, is that you’ll get accustomed to thinking your way through French rather than simply memorizing a bunch of words or grammar constructions.

While this course is remarkable in its own way, it’s certainly not for everyone. The course really only serves as an introduction to French, and it’s only relevant for English speakers. It’s also probably not a good option for anyone that struggles with lessons that are purley audio.

Pros

  • It’s completely free
  • Provides a great foundation in French for the right learner

Cons

  • It isn’t ideal for visual learners
  • It won’t take you past a beginner level
  • There’s no reading or writing practice

FSI and DLI

4.3/5
Price: Free
Free and Thorough but Dated

The Foreign Services Institute (FSI) and the Defense Language Institute (DLI) both offer multiple courses that are exceptionally thorough. They were developed to help diplomats quickly reach a professional working proficiency in French, and as such are very well thought out.

The courses are now available for free on a number of websites, some of which we’ll link to below. There are some sources that attempt to sell this material, but remember that it is easily available for free! 

The FSI and DLI materials were created in the middle of the 20th century, which means you’ll be navigating some less-than-shiny PDFs —  the subject matter isn’t the most up-to-date you could find, either. That said, the lessons and accompanying audio are still fantastic sources for the self-directed learner.

DLI courses place more of an emphasis on military terms at higher levels, but its courses are otherwise fairly similar to those by FSI.

Pros

  • Course materials are completely free
  • Courses are thorough and well designed
  • There is accompanying audio
Cons
  • Course materials may be outdated
  • The courses are dry and certainly not the most engaging options
4.3/5
Price: 49€/quarter, 299€ for lifetime access
Lingoni-French-logo
Lots of Extra Features for Beginner and Intermediate Learners

The Lingoni French course contains a wide variety of materials: videos, audio lessons, worksheets, a podcast, and interactive activities are all advertised on the Lingoni website. The course contents are designed to help learners in the A1 – B2 CEFR levels get relevant practice in a variety of skills.

The interactive activities in the lessons will have you performing translations, taking part in listening activities, building sentences, and correcting French writing samples. The podcast also has an accompanying worksheet that you can complete to practice listening comprehension.We haven’t tried out Lingoni’s paid content yet, but you’ll be able to sample some of their material for free on the Lingoni French YouTube channel.

Pros

  • Variety of practice activities
  • Content is presented in both audio and visual formats

Cons

  • The material isn’t suitable for higher levels
4.3/5
Price: Free
A Free Immersion Video Course for Beginners

French in action is a video series that makes use of the Capretz Method, meaning you’ll be exposed to content that is entirely in French right away. The award-winning videos were created in the 1980’s, so they do feel slightly dated, but they’re still a great place to get quality practice.

The narrator and developer of the Capretz Method, Pierre J. Capretz, guides listeners through the videos, prompting them to repeat after different characters. Lessons also include brief explanations in English, dialogues, and lists of key vocabulary.

Absolute beginners may find the 100% French dialogue difficult at first, but it should be possible to catch up by participating in the video lessons and exercises. It isn’t the most modern or exciting course, but it’s hard to beat for free, entertaining listening comprehension practice.

Pros

  • It’s free to use
  • You’ll get practice opportunities in a number of skills

Cons

  • The videos are a bit dated
  • More advanced learners won’t get relevant practice here
4.3/5
Price: Freemium, Subscriptions Start at $35/month
Video Course with Plenty of Extras

This video course is more than just videos. It’s a complete course with 40 core lessons that provide relevant practice for learners at every level, from absolute beginner to advanced. The course contains videos, audio lessons, quizzes, worksheets, and access to live lessons in which you can ask Alexa questions directly.

We haven’t had a chance to try out the full paid course, but Alexa offers quite a few videos for free on her YouTube channel. Her friendly demeanor and extensive teaching experience make her a great source of instruction, and some may find her lessons provide the perfect level of engagement.

The video and audio lessons with Alexa are less expensive and more flexible than live lessons with a teacher you can talk to, but they don’t provide the same opportunity for practicing speaking. You may find lots of quality practice with Alexa’s course, but you’ll have to supplement with other materials to really develop your speaking skills.

Pros

  • There are lessons for every level
  • Video lessons and interactive exercises provide a variety of practice opportunities

Cons

  • There aren’t opportunities for realistic speaking practice
4.3/5
Price: $11.99/month, $29.99/quarter, $55.99/year, $119.99 for lifetime
An Engaging Introduction to French

It’s tempting to compare Lingodeer with its more popular peer, Duolingo. They both take a gamified approach, utilizing points and appealing graphics to support lessons that are short and sweet. Many learners find this type of practice is especially appealing because it’s fun and incredibly convenient. Picking up an app to get some practice whenever you have a few spare moments can fit into just about anyone’s lifestyle.

It’s important to recognize that Lingodeer differs from Duolingo in some important ways. It’s not free to use like Duolingo, but it does boast courses that are generally of higher quality. The audio used in the lessons is of native speakers instead of text-to-speech technology, there are a greater variety of practice activities, and there are better explanations.

If you like the sound of a convenient, engaging platform that’s a step above Duolingo, you should seriously consider Lingodeer. If you mainly want to improve your conversational skills or are looking for more advanced practice, however, look elsewhere.

Pros

  • Engaging activities
  • High-quality audio
  • The app is enjoyable to use

Cons

  • It isn’t sufficient for getting communication practice
  • You’ll need to look elsewhere if you want some higher-level practice
4/5
Price: Freemium, $8.99/month
Courses With A Vocabulary Focus

Much of the content on Memrise is user-created and free to use. These materials cover a huge range of study topics and vary quite a bit in terms of quality. Some contain audio and pictures, some are essentially just flashcards of words with translations.

The official Memrise courses, on the other hand, have some more structure and offer significantly more value, especially at lower levels. These courses aren’t free, but they come with high-quality audio, a logical structure, and even videos of native speakers.

One of the things that makes Memrise effective is that it uses a spaced repetition system (SRS) to help learners efficiently commit new items to long-term memory. This and the fact that the platform is easy and fun to use make it a good place to quickly build your French vocabulary.

Pros

  • The SRS makes for efficient practice
  • There are tons of free, user-created courses
  • The app is fun to use

Cons

  • You’ll need to look elsewhere for more advanced practice
  • Website navigation is slightly clunky
  • There aren’t a lot of opportunities for practicing communication skills
4/5
Price: Free
Free and Engaging Practice

Duolingo just might be the most popular language-learning app out there. It’s incredibly appealing for a number of reasons: it’s totally free to use, there are courses in a ton of different languages, and using it feels more like a game than serious study.

For all its perks, there are some downsides to studying French with Duolingo. For one, the course doesn’t have the best audio recordings out there. It relies on text-to-speech technology rather than recordings of real people, which means you won’t get the most realistic listening practice. Also, the gamified approach, while engaging, doesn’t leave much room for in-depth explanations or super thorough lessons.

It’s hard to deny that Duolingo can serve as a great resource for supplementary practice or for a casual first introduction to a language, but you probably won’t want to rely on it as a course that will take you anywhere near fluency all on its own.

Pros

  • It’s free to use
  • Practice is convenient and fun

Cons

  • The audio isn’t the best
  • You won’t get to produce your own sentences
  • Lacks useful practice at higher levels
4/5
Price: $10.99/mo, less for longer subscriptions
Convenient Practice and a Clear Curriculum

WLingua offers French practice in the form of bite-sized lessons that make up a larger, well-structured curriculum. You can get quite a bit of practice for free with WLingua, but full access to all of the material requires a monthly subscription.

The course is a great place for convenient, focused practice whenever you’ve got a few moments to spare — something it shares with resources like Duolingo and Lingodeer. In comparison with Duolingo, WLingua offers some better grammar explanations and includes more detailed instruction in its lessons.

We haven’t had the chance to fully test this one out, but its grammar practice, thorough curriculum and amount of free material make it worth considering.

Pros

  • High-quality audio from native speakers
  • The course structure is clearly laid out
  • Short, convenient lessons
  • Valuable grammar practice

Cons

  • There isn’t much speaking or listening practice
  • The free version requires you to complete lessons sequentially
4/5
Price: €49.90 for French e-course
assimil logo
Learn French Through Phrases and Detailed Lessons

Assimil has been around for quite some time, and it’s still relevant today. Originally offering courses through physical books and CDs, you can now purchase the Assimil French e-course, which is downloadable and accessible entirely from your computer.

The company produces most of its educational material for native French speakers looking to learn another language, but the courses for English speakers are just as good — they boast excellent lesson structure, an intuitive layout, lots of listening and grammar practice, and some handy extra features.

Some learners may not find the translation-based learning approach to be ideal, but you’ll get exposed to French as it’s used in context, which can be very helpful in getting you comfortable with using the language.

Pros

  • The extra cultural notes are very well done
  • Grammar explanations are in-depth without becoming overwhelming
  • The audio quality is excellent

Cons

  • The mobile app design isn’t the best
  • You’ll have to evaluate your own pronunciation
  • The exercises aren’t terribly engaging
4/5
Price: $187-$378
Video Lessons With an Academic Slant

This may be one of the best options for learners who prefer an academic setting but would like the convenience and relative affordability of an online course. The lessons that make up a Fluenz course are presented in video format, simulating the experience of a one-on-one lesson. You won’t be able to respond to your virtual tutor, but you’ll receive thorough explanations and instruction that is specifically tailored to speakers of English.

What makes Fluenz more than just a really good YouTube channel? Excellent course structure, interactive exercises, and in-depth lessons. The interactive exercises and flashcard feature provide good practice and complement the lessons nicely, but don’t expect anything too engaging.

The academic, serious approach that Fluenz takes won’t be for everyone. The activities can become overly repetitive, the pace may be too slow for some, and it isn’t the cheapest course available. With that in mind, serious learners looking to simulate the one-on-one tutor experience could have a hard time finding something better.

Pros

  • Excellent course structure
  • Thorough, in-depth explanations and instructions
  • Podcast provides additional practice

Cons

  • The pace may be too slow for some
  • Activities can become overly repetitive
3.8/5
Price: Courses starting at €49
francais authentique
Thorough Course 100% In French

Beginners may find this course a bit daunting or unrealistic, as it’s completely in French, but learners already around an intermediate level could get lots of useful input here. It places an emphasis on developing listening and reading skills rather than speaking and writing skills, but the course founder believes this will in turn improve your productive skills.

The course is mostly made up of audio lessons and PDFs, though there is also some video material available in one of the courses. The PDFs contain transcripts of the dialogues in the audio lessons, which you’ll listen along to and repeat when prompted. The method is highly immersive and is more about absorbing French than practicing producing it.

Lessons don’t go into much depth with grammar concepts or provide lists of vocabulary, as these are things you will supposedly pick up naturally. This approach won’t work for everyone, but it could be a good choice for those that are looking to dramatically increase the amount of French that they’re exposed to.

Pros

  • Instruction is very clear and detail oriented
  • Activities are appropriately challenging
  • Audio recordings are sourced from native speakers with a variety of accents

Cons

  • You may need to supplement speaking and listening practice with other resources like tutors or podcasts
3.7/5
Price: Free
Learn French from Dialogues

This completely free method of learning French involves interacting with a number of level-appropriate dialogues. Each dialogue is in text form and accompanied by a high-quality audio recording. There are also translations, grammar explanations, extra notes to help keep you on track, and slow versions of the recordings at the beginner levels.

The platform isn’t the most modern or stylistic, so learners looking for something that’s exceptionally engaging or in a slick app won’t be satisfied. That said, there’s a lot of useful content here for free.

While there is content for learners at all levels, the bulk of useful material with French by French is at the intermediate and lower levels. It may not be for everyone, but some will appreciate the systematic approach and dialogue-based lessons.

Pros

  • The lessons build on each other logically
  • Lots of free material
  • High-quality audio

Cons

  • There isn’t enough material for advanced learners
  • It isn’t the most modern or engaging resource
3.7/5
Price: From $23/Month
Self-Study Combined with Live Lessons

Chatterbug does things a little bit differently than most other online courses. It combines a fully developed course that you can progress through at your own pace and live lessons with real tutors. These live lessons are clearly structured and are relevant to the progress you’ve made in the course.

The live lessons are great opportunities to get valuable listening and speaking practice, something that’s sorely missing from many other online courses. These one-on-one lessons are also a little bit different than you’d find on other platforms: they’re structured and include on-screen activities and speaking prompts to work through.

A Chatterbug subscription could make sense for someone that’s looking for a clearly structured course that they can work through on their own time with the benefit of teacher-led lessons. Note, however, that you won’t get the best reading or writing practice with this resource, and we weren’t blown away by any of its extra features.

Pros

  • There’s limited reading and writing practice
  • The interface can be difficult to navigate

Cons

  • Relatively high price
  • Activities can become repetitive
  • The course has a fairly slow pace
3.5/5
Price: $7.99/Month For One Language, $17.99 For All Languages
A Course for Beginners That Don’t Mind Repetition

First off, Mango Languages courses are often available for free at public libraries and other community organizations, so be sure to see if you can take advantage of free access before making a purchase. 

The Mango Languages French course has a slick design that makes practice more enjoyable, but there isn’t much material that’s suitable for learners past the intermediate level — this one’s for beginners.

Practice happens through a great deal of drilling: listening to and repeating words and phrases. The language you’ll end up repeating is practical, and it’s surely quality practice, but the endless drilling can get old. There are also useful cultural and grammar notes that add value to the lessons.

Pros

  • It’s easy to use and has an appealing design
  • There are some quality explanations and cultural notes
  • You’re likely to remember what you learn through frequent drilling

Cons

  • There’s no material for learners beyond the intermediate stage
  • The heavy reliance on drilling makes the course overly repetitive
  • Grammar practice is lacking
4.6/5
Price: €129 – €149
inner-french-logo
Popular Courses for Dedicated Learners

We haven’t had the chance to test the innerFrench courses out ourselves, but they’re highly popular and seem to be of good quality. The paid courses are different from many others in that you’ll have to enroll in a course during the enrollment period; this is so that you have access to support while taking the course.

There are two courses on offer: the Build a Strong Core course is designed to help A2-B1 learners get over the “intermediate plateau” and prepare to make the transition to B2. The Raconte Ton Histoire course is for B1-B2 speakers and teaches learners how to tell their own story.

Both of the paid courses include interactive exercises and a well-planned curriculum. There are also innerFrench podcasts and videos that are available for free. In these lessons, founder Hugo covers topics such as French culture, health, and relationships all in French while speaking clearly enough to be understood by intermediate learners.

Pros

  • Courses designed for specific levels
  • Access to support while taking the course
  • Purchase of a course grants lifetime access

Cons

  • You’ll need to enroll during the enrollment period
  • It’s more expensive than other courses
4.5/5
Price: $19.90/month
News-in-Slow-French-Logo
Entertaining Content and Efficient Practice

Don’t be fooled by the name. While news narrated at a slow pace may sound less than riveting, the content this course provides is actually incredibly engaging — it’s also effective at teaching French.

This resource provides material for all levels.The beginner course is great for lovers of storytelling, as each lesson tells part of a story and is great at keeping learners engaged. While the content at the beginner level is of high quality, the intermediate course is even more impressive: it’s full of useful information on French expressions, grammar exercises, and tons of interesting material.

Although there is a substantial amount of study material, it would be better if the lessons were more active and encouraged the students to use the French they’ve learned. The advanced and beginner courses, while solid, aren’t as good as the intermediate lessons.

Pros

  • The catalogue of material is extensive
  • The content is highly engaging
  • Especially good for learning grammar and French expressions at the intermediate level

Cons

  • Many of the activities don’t require you to use what you’ve learned
  • Advanced learners may be better off interacting with native content
4.3/5
Price: Free
Learn to Think in French for Free

There are two main reasons this course is so notable. One is that it’s totally free to use, no strings attached. The other is its unique approach to language instruction.

The Language Transfer course on French consists of 40 audio lessons in which founder Mihail directs lessons with another student. In the introductory lesson, you’re encouraged to simply listen along and attempt to respond to prompts without taking notes or really doing anything else throughout the entire course. The idea, Mihail explains, is that you’ll get accustomed to thinking your way through French rather than simply memorizing a bunch of words or grammar constructions.

While this course is remarkable in its own way, it’s certainly not for everyone. The course really only serves as an introduction to French, and it’s only relevant for English speakers. It’s also probably not a good option for anyone that struggles with lessons that are purley audio.

Pros

  • It’s completely free
  • Provides a great foundation in French for the right learner

Cons

  • It isn’t ideal for visual learners
  • It won’t take you past a beginner level
  • There’s no reading or writing practice
4.3/5
Price: $11.99/month, $29.99/quarter, $55.99/year, $119.99 for lifetime
An Engaging Introduction to French

It’s tempting to compare Lingodeer with its more popular peer, Duolingo. They both take a gamified approach, utilizing points and appealing graphics to support lessons that are short and sweet. Many learners find this type of practice is especially appealing because it’s fun and incredibly convenient. Picking up an app to get some practice whenever you have a few spare moments can fit into just about anyone’s lifestyle.

It’s important to recognize that Lingodeer differs from Duolingo in some important ways. It’s not free to use like Duolingo, but it does boast courses that are generally of higher quality. The audio used in the lessons is of native speakers instead of text-to-speech technology, there are a greater variety of practice activities, and there are better explanations.

If you like the sound of a convenient, engaging platform that’s a step above Duolingo, you should seriously consider Lingodeer. If you mainly want to improve your conversational skills or are looking for more advanced practice, however, look elsewhere.

Pros

  • Engaging activities
  • High-quality audio
  • The app is enjoyable to use

Cons

  • It isn’t sufficient for getting communication practice
  • You’ll need to look elsewhere if you want some higher-level practice

FSI and DLI

4.3/5
Price: Free
Free and Thorough but Dated

The Foreign Services Institute (FSI) and the Defense Language Institute (DLI) both offer multiple courses that are exceptionally thorough. They were developed to help diplomats quickly reach a professional working proficiency in French, and as such are very well thought out.

The courses are now available for free on a number of websites, some of which we’ll link to below. There are some sources that attempt to sell this material, but remember that it is easily available for free! 

The FSI and DLI materials were created in the middle of the 20th century, which means you’ll be navigating some less-than-shiny PDFs —  the subject matter isn’t the most up-to-date you could find, either. That said, the lessons and accompanying audio are still fantastic sources for the self-directed learner.

DLI courses place more of an emphasis on military terms at higher levels, but its courses are otherwise fairly similar to those by FSI.

Pros

  • Course materials are completely free
  • Courses are thorough and well designed
  • There is accompanying audio
Cons
  • Course materials may be outdated
  • The courses are dry and certainly not the most engaging options
4.3/5
Price: Free
A Free Immersion Video Course for Beginners

French in action is a video series that makes use of the Capretz Method, meaning you’ll be exposed to content that is entirely in French right away. The award-winning videos were created in the 1980’s, so they do feel slightly dated, but they’re still a great place to get quality practice.

The narrator and developer of the Capretz Method, Pierre J. Capretz, guides listeners through the videos, prompting them to repeat after different characters. Lessons also include brief explanations in English, dialogues, and lists of key vocabulary.

Absolute beginners may find the 100% French dialogue difficult at first, but it should be possible to catch up by participating in the video lessons and exercises. It isn’t the most modern or exciting course, but it’s hard to beat for free, entertaining listening comprehension practice.

Pros

  • It’s free to use
  • You’ll get practice opportunities in a number of skills

Cons

  • The videos are a bit dated
  • More advanced learners won’t get relevant practice here
4.3/5
Price: Freemium, Subscriptions Start at $35/month
Video Course with Plenty of Extras

This video course is more than just videos. It’s a complete course with 40 core lessons that provide relevant practice for learners at every level, from absolute beginner to advanced. The course contains videos, audio lessons, quizzes, worksheets, and access to live lessons in which you can ask Alexa questions directly.

We haven’t had a chance to try out the full paid course, but Alexa offers quite a few videos for free on her YouTube channel. Her friendly demeanor and extensive teaching experience make her a great source of instruction, and some may find her lessons provide the perfect level of engagement.

The video and audio lessons with Alexa are less expensive and more flexible than live lessons with a teacher you can talk to, but they don’t provide the same opportunity for practicing speaking. You may find lots of quality practice with Alexa’s course, but you’ll have to supplement with other materials to really develop your speaking skills.

Pros

  • There are lessons for every level
  • Video lessons and interactive exercises provide a variety of practice opportunities

Cons

  • There aren’t opportunities for realistic speaking practice
4.3/5
Price: 49€/quarter, 299€ for lifetime access
Lingoni-French-logo
Lots of Extra Features for Beginner and Intermediate Learners

The Lingoni French course contains a wide variety of materials: videos, audio lessons, worksheets, a podcast, and interactive activities are all advertised on the Lingoni website. The course contents are designed to help learners in the A1 – B2 CEFR levels get relevant practice in a variety of skills.

The interactive activities in the lessons will have you performing translations, taking part in listening activities, building sentences, and correcting French writing samples. The podcast also has an accompanying worksheet that you can complete to practice listening comprehension.We haven’t tried out Lingoni’s paid content yet, but you’ll be able to sample some of their material for free on the Lingoni French YouTube channel.

Pros

  • Variety of practice activities
  • Content is presented in both audio and visual formats

Cons

  • The material isn’t suitable for higher levels
4.2/5
Price: From $8/Month
More Than Just a Podcast

For the subscription cost, FrenchPod101 is a surprisingly comprehensive platform for learning French. The number of audio lessons is seriously impressive, and they cover a wide range of topics at a variety of levels, from beginner to advanced.

The audio lessons may especially appeal to aural learners, but lessons also include transcripts, notes, and short quizzes, which make it a viable option for learners that prefer visual content as well. Some lessons also have videos.

Audio lessons are centered around dialogues, which can be a good way to get accustomed to hearing and interacting with French as it appears in real life. There are also lessons with a cultural focus, something that can make your study time more meaningful.

You’ll have the option of skipping around and choosing which lessons to study, which could be ideal for learners with some prior exposure to French, but the lack of rigid structure may not suit some absolute beginners. 

Pros

  • There is both audio and visual content
  • There are a lot of lessons for learners at all levels
  • Lessons cover a large variety of topics

Cons

  • The review quizzes are too easy
  • The interface isn’t the easiest to navigate
  • Some learners may not appreciate the lack of direction in lesson progression

Use the promo code “ALLLANGUAGERESOURCES” to save 25% on a subscription to FrenchPod101.

4.2/5
Price: $12.95/month, $26.85/Quarter, $83.40/Year
Structured Practice for Beginners and Lower-Intermediate Learners

Babbel is a popular language-learning tool that’s especially useful for learners at lower levels. Logical lesson progression and excellent structure make it a solid starting point. It also makes learning French feel less intimidating by offering fun and engaging lessons. 

In addition to the thorough curriculum and quality lessons are frequent review opportunities and activities that allow you to practice a variety of different skills. The conversation exercise is particularly useful for getting used to how the language is used in natural contexts.

Potential downsides to the Babbel French course are that its speech-recognition method for providing pronunciation feedback is far from perfect and that the course content just isn’t very exciting. This also probably isn’t the right choice for more advanced learners.

Pros

  • Short lessons make for convenient practice
  • The platform is well designed and easy to use
  • Lessons teach practical language
  • The course is comprehensive and provides lots of practice

Cons

  • Exercises can get overly repetitive
  • Limited grammar review opportunities
  • The speech-recognition technology isn’t the best way to practice pronunciation
  • It isn’t the most engaging course
4.2/5
Price: From $38.58 for THree Months
An Academic Course with Lots of Practice Opportunities

Ouino may not be the most gamelike course out there, but that’s because it takes more of an academic approach to teaching French. One major strength of Ouino is that it could appeal to both visual and aural learners. Lessons are presented as text with color-coded important words as well as read aloud to provide listening practice. 

The structure of the exercises isn’t the most intuitive we’ve seen, so it may take some time to get used to, but the course is otherwise full of quality instruction and a variety of practice activities.

The Ouino French course may be ideal for learners that already have some experience with French, even if it’s very little. The course doesn’t require you to take lessons in order, meaning you can complete just the lessons you need to fill in any gaps and take your skills to the next level.

Pros

  • Content is suitable for both aural and visual learners
  • You can take lessons in any order you want

Cons

  • You’ll have to evaluate your own pronunciation
  • The lesson exercises can become overly repetitive
4/5
Price: $19.95/Month
Well-Structured Audio Lessons for Aural/Verbal Learners

Pimsleur is one of the biggest names in the language-learning world and a great course for beginners. The audio lessons place a heavy emphasis on developing listening and speaking skills early on, which is great for developing communication skills. 

Their courses don’t provide a lot of instruction related to developing reading or writing skills, and you won’t get much in the way of explicit grammar instruction in the audio lessons. There are some supplementary activities that provide some reading and writing practice, but they’re not at all a focus of the course.

There are five levels in the Pimsleur French course, each containing 30 lessons — that’s a lot of material, and it builds on itself nicely, each lesson preparing you for the next. A subscription to Pimsleur might not be the right choice for an advanced learner, visual learners, or those interested in grammar rules, but it’s a quality course.

Pros

  • You’ll start speaking more quickly than with other courses
  • The course has a great design and is easy to use
  • There’s a variety of native speakers

Cons

  • Not ideal for visual learners
  • Some may find the lessons to be uninteresting and slowly paced
  • Doesn’t pay much attention to grammar concepts or written language
4/5
Price: from $297
I Will Teach You A Language Logo
Learn French by Reading Stories

Not a typical approach to teaching languages, French Uncovered gets learners to start engaging with a story right away. This is slightly more challenging than most other courses, as the stories are entirely in French. Though it isn’t easy, the unique method could prove rewarding to those that are able to push through the initial difficulties.

The course is split into 20 chapters, providing practice in reading and speaking as well as building vocabulary and teaching grammar concepts. Review quizzes at the end of each chapter help consolidate what you’ve learned and check for understanding, though we think these quizzes would benefit from more questions.

If you particularly enjoy interacting with stories and are looking for a challenging study program, French Uncovered could be just what you’re looking for.

Pros

  • Learning French through stories can be entertaining
  • Instruction is clear
  • There are plenty of opportunities to practice what you learn

Cons

  • There are sometimes too many unrelated grammar points in lessons
  • The material could be too difficult for beginners
4/5
Price: Free Audio Lessons, Each Full Season is $104
Coffee Break French Logo
Learn By Sitting in on French Lessons

The Coffee Break Languages series is a great source of free educational material. The audio lessons in the French series take the format of a podcast and are free to listen to. These lessons have you listen to another student take lessons from the host, Mark. 

The atmosphere in these episodes is casual, and it’s helpful to be able to listen along and see where the learner makes mistakes while assessing your own ability to follow along. Guest native speakers also join the lessons from time to time, providing listening and pronunciation practice as well as valuable insight.

The Coffee Break French course is different from other Coffee Break courses in that there’s more content available for the language. Instead of two seasons, you can study up to four seasons and get useful practice even at the advanced level.

Paying for the extra materials means you’ll also have access to a video accompaniment of the audio lessons as well as extra practice activities in a PDF. These additions make the course more suitable for visual learners.

Pros

  • Audio lessons offer great value for free
  • Lessons include lots of explanations and examples
  • Course format is convenient and casual

Cons

  • Visual learners may struggle with the audio-only free lessons
  • There aren’t a lot of interactive practice opportunities.
4/5
Price: Freemium, $8.99/month
Courses With A Vocabulary Focus

Much of the content on Memrise is user-created and free to use. These materials cover a huge range of study topics and vary quite a bit in terms of quality. Some contain audio and pictures, some are essentially just flashcards of words with translations.

The official Memrise courses, on the other hand, have some more structure and offer significantly more value, especially at lower levels. These courses aren’t free, but they come with high-quality audio, a logical structure, and even videos of native speakers.

One of the things that makes Memrise effective is that it uses a spaced repetition system (SRS) to help learners efficiently commit new items to long-term memory. This and the fact that the platform is easy and fun to use make it a good place to quickly build your French vocabulary.

Pros

  • The SRS makes for efficient practice
  • There are tons of free, user-created courses
  • The app is fun to use

Cons

  • You’ll need to look elsewhere for more advanced practice
  • Website navigation is slightly clunky
  • There aren’t a lot of opportunities for practicing communication skills
4/5
Price: Group classes from $56/month, Private classes from $132/month
Learn With Online Group Classes And A Curriculum

Often, the best type of language practice you can get comes from a real tutor. It’s hard to beat real-time feedback and personalized instruction. What really notches up the efficacy level of the tutor experience is when there’s also a curriculum involved. Lingoda brings the two together to provide structured, live instruction in either private or group classes.

The group classes on Lingoda are made up of two to four people and could be a good option for some learners, while others might prefer private lessons. With over 600 lessons to choose from, there’s practice to be had for learners at all levels on Lingoda. There’s also no need to take these lessons consecutively, so learners looking to fill in some gaps in their education could certainly use this to their advantage.

Lesson scheduling is fairly flexible, and it could make a good option for anyone looking to get speaking practice with a native speaker while also benefiting from the structure of a course. There are also “marathon” and “sprint” payment plans available; these offer the chance to earn money back for attending 90% or 100% of your classes.

Pros

  • It’s possible to schedule lessons at almost any time of day or night
  • Teachers mostly speak in French
  • There are many different lessons for learners at all levels

Cons

  • It’s not always possible to take the class you want when you want
  • Learning in a group setting may not be ideal for all learners
  • Materials are very similar for all lessons
4/5
Price: Free
Free and Engaging Practice

Duolingo just might be the most popular language-learning app out there. It’s incredibly appealing for a number of reasons: it’s totally free to use, there are courses in a ton of different languages, and using it feels more like a game than serious study.

For all its perks, there are some downsides to studying French with Duolingo. For one, the course doesn’t have the best audio recordings out there. It relies on text-to-speech technology rather than recordings of real people, which means you won’t get the most realistic listening practice. Also, the gamified approach, while engaging, doesn’t leave much room for in-depth explanations or super thorough lessons.

It’s hard to deny that Duolingo can serve as a great resource for supplementary practice or for a casual first introduction to a language, but you probably won’t want to rely on it as a course that will take you anywhere near fluency all on its own.

Pros

  • It’s free to use
  • Practice is convenient and fun

Cons

  • The audio isn’t the best
  • You won’t get to produce your own sentences
  • Lacks useful practice at higher levels
4/5
Price: $187-$378
Video Lessons With an Academic Slant

This may be one of the best options for learners who prefer an academic setting but would like the convenience and relative affordability of an online course. The lessons that make up a Fluenz course are presented in video format, simulating the experience of a one-on-one lesson. You won’t be able to respond to your virtual tutor, but you’ll receive thorough explanations and instruction that is specifically tailored to speakers of English.

What makes Fluenz more than just a really good YouTube channel? Excellent course structure, interactive exercises, and in-depth lessons. The interactive exercises and flashcard feature provide good practice and complement the lessons nicely, but don’t expect anything too engaging.

The academic, serious approach that Fluenz takes won’t be for everyone. The activities can become overly repetitive, the pace may be too slow for some, and it isn’t the cheapest course available. With that in mind, serious learners looking to simulate the one-on-one tutor experience could have a hard time finding something better.

Pros

  • Excellent course structure
  • Thorough, in-depth explanations and instructions
  • Podcast provides additional practice

Cons

  • The pace may be too slow for some
  • Activities can become overly repetitive
4/5
Price: $10.99/mo, less for longer subscriptions
Convenient Practice and a Clear Curriculum

WLingua offers French practice in the form of bite-sized lessons that make up a larger, well-structured curriculum. You can get quite a bit of practice for free with WLingua, but full access to all of the material requires a monthly subscription.

The course is a great place for convenient, focused practice whenever you’ve got a few moments to spare — something it shares with resources like Duolingo and Lingodeer. In comparison with Duolingo, WLingua offers some better grammar explanations and includes more detailed instruction in its lessons.

We haven’t had the chance to fully test this one out, but its grammar practice, thorough curriculum and amount of free material make it worth considering.

Pros

  • High-quality audio from native speakers
  • The course structure is clearly laid out
  • Short, convenient lessons
  • Valuable grammar practice

Cons

  • There isn’t much speaking or listening practice
  • The free version requires you to complete lessons sequentially
4/5
Price: €49.90 for French e-course
assimil logo
Learn French Through Phrases and Detailed Lessons

Assimil has been around for quite some time, and it’s still relevant today. Originally offering courses through physical books and CDs, you can now purchase the Assimil French e-course, which is downloadable and accessible entirely from your computer.

The company produces most of its educational material for native French speakers looking to learn another language, but the courses for English speakers are just as good — they boast excellent lesson structure, an intuitive layout, lots of listening and grammar practice, and some handy extra features.

Some learners may not find the translation-based learning approach to be ideal, but you’ll get exposed to French as it’s used in context, which can be very helpful in getting you comfortable with using the language.

Pros

  • The extra cultural notes are very well done
  • Grammar explanations are in-depth without becoming overwhelming
  • The audio quality is excellent

Cons

  • The mobile app design isn’t the best
  • You’ll have to evaluate your own pronunciation
  • The exercises aren’t terribly engaging
3.8/5
Price: Courses starting at €49
francais authentique
Thorough Course 100% In French

Beginners may find this course a bit daunting or unrealistic, as it’s completely in French, but learners already around an intermediate level could get lots of useful input here. It places an emphasis on developing listening and reading skills rather than speaking and writing skills, but the course founder believes this will in turn improve your productive skills.

The course is mostly made up of audio lessons and PDFs, though there is also some video material available in one of the courses. The PDFs contain transcripts of the dialogues in the audio lessons, which you’ll listen along to and repeat when prompted. The method is highly immersive and is more about absorbing French than practicing producing it.

Lessons don’t go into much depth with grammar concepts or provide lists of vocabulary, as these are things you will supposedly pick up naturally. This approach won’t work for everyone, but it could be a good choice for those that are looking to dramatically increase the amount of French that they’re exposed to.

Pros

  • Instruction is very clear and detail oriented
  • Activities are appropriately challenging
  • Audio recordings are sourced from native speakers with a variety of accents

Cons

  • You may need to supplement speaking and listening practice with other resources like tutors or podcasts
3.8/5
Price: $16 – $21/hour
Live Lingua Logo
Live lessons and specialized courses

Live Lingua is a little bit different from other online tutor platforms in that its service is more specialized. Before you’re hooked up with a tutor, you’ll have a chance to communicate your goals with a personal class coordinator. You also have the chance to choose between several different Spanish courses, including standard lessons, exam prep, Spanish for priests, and more.

The majority of tutors seem to be from Mexico, but there are teachers from nine different countries, meaning you’ll be able to get practice in whatever flavor of Spanish interests you. The teachers are all native speakers and receive extra support and training from Live Lingua.

The platform doesn’t offer the same level of scheduling flexibility you might find on other online tutor platforms, and it’s a little more expensive than similar options, but the extra personalization and course focuses might make it worth it from some learners.

Pros

  • You should be able to find lessons that meet your specific needs
  • Tutors are from a variety of different countries

Cons

  • Lesson scheduling happens via email
  • Limited flexibility in choosing a teacher
3.7/5
Price: $99.95 for Level 1, $259.90 for Levels 1-3
Comprehensive But Not Very Exciting

The bulk of practice you’ll get in the Rocket French course happens through the Rocket Reinforcement Activities, which you’ll complete after every single lesson. The high level of repetition may be effective at helping you remember what you’ve learned, but it can also get quite boring.

Most Rocket French lessons are presented in audio form and are centered around a piece of dialogue that highlights the relevant language point of the lesson. These are accompanied transcripts, lesson notes, and the aforementioned reinforcement activities. 

There are also lessons on cultural topics, which contain some valuable information, but we didn’t find them to be very well done. A speech-recognition system will help you get practice with pronunciation, but it’s not perfect.

Overall, if you can put up with the highly repetitive review activities and don’t find the lessons too boring, Rocket French could be the well-structured resource you’re looking for.

Pros

  • Effective practice activities
  • Plenty of explanations in lessons
  • Clear course structure

Cons

  • Review activities are overly repetitive
  • Lessons aren’t terribly exciting
  • It’s fairly expensive
3.7/5
Price: From $23/Month
Self-Study Combined with Live Lessons

Chatterbug does things a little bit differently than most other online courses. It combines a fully developed course that you can progress through at your own pace and live lessons with real tutors. These live lessons are clearly structured and are relevant to the progress you’ve made in the course.

The live lessons are great opportunities to get valuable listening and speaking practice, something that’s sorely missing from many other online courses. These one-on-one lessons are also a little bit different than you’d find on other platforms: they’re structured and include on-screen activities and speaking prompts to work through.

A Chatterbug subscription could make sense for someone that’s looking for a clearly structured course that they can work through on their own time with the benefit of teacher-led lessons. Note, however, that you won’t get the best reading or writing practice with this resource, and we weren’t blown away by any of its extra features.

Pros

  • There’s limited reading and writing practice
  • The interface can be difficult to navigate

Cons

  • Relatively high price
  • Activities can become repetitive
  • The course has a fairly slow pace
3.7/5
Price: Free
Learn French from Dialogues

This completely free method of learning French involves interacting with a number of level-appropriate dialogues. Each dialogue is in text form and accompanied by a high-quality audio recording. There are also translations, grammar explanations, extra notes to help keep you on track, and slow versions of the recordings at the beginner levels.

The platform isn’t the most modern or stylistic, so learners looking for something that’s exceptionally engaging or in a slick app won’t be satisfied. That said, there’s a lot of useful content here for free.

While there is content for learners at all levels, the bulk of useful material with French by French is at the intermediate and lower levels. It may not be for everyone, but some will appreciate the systematic approach and dialogue-based lessons.

Pros

  • The lessons build on each other logically
  • Lots of free material
  • High-quality audio

Cons

  • There isn’t enough material for advanced learners
  • It isn’t the most modern or engaging resource
3.5/5
Price: $7.99/Month For One Language, $17.99 For All Languages
A Course for Beginners That Don’t Mind Repetition

First off, Mango Languages courses are often available for free at public libraries and other community organizations, so be sure to see if you can take advantage of free access before making a purchase. 

The Mango Languages French course has a slick design that makes practice more enjoyable, but there isn’t much material that’s suitable for learners past the intermediate level — this one’s for beginners.

Practice happens through a great deal of drilling: listening to and repeating words and phrases. The language you’ll end up repeating is practical, and it’s surely quality practice, but the endless drilling can get old. There are also useful cultural and grammar notes that add value to the lessons.

Pros

  • It’s easy to use and has an appealing design
  • There are some quality explanations and cultural notes
  • You’re likely to remember what you learn through frequent drilling

Cons

  • There’s no material for learners beyond the intermediate stage
  • The heavy reliance on drilling makes the course overly repetitive
  • Grammar practice is lacking
3.3/5
Price: $9.99/Month for Premium, $13.99/Month for PRemium Plus
A Well-Structured Course with a Noteworthy Social Feature

Busuu offers courses in a number of languages, and we would have rated it higher if we were only rating its French course — mistakes in the Mandarin course are what brought the overall rating down.

The Busuu platform is well designed and easy to navigate, with solid course structure. It also has material that’s relevant for learners at just about any level, from beginner all the way up to advanced. It’s a fairly comprehensive resource, but you may find that grammar explanations and practice are lacking compared to similar resources.

A feature that sets Busuu apart from many is its social language-exchange feature. This function enables learners to submit writing and audio recordings to be evaluated by others. Getting real humans involved with feedback is far better than virtual alternatives, and you can take advantage of this Busuu tool for free.

Pros

  • Excellent course structure
  • Social feature provides quality speaking and writing feedback
  • The Busuu platform is well designed
  • Conversation lessons provide exceptionally good practice

Cons

  • Grammar practice and review opportunities are lacking
  • Some review activities aren’t designed very well

LingQ

Quick Review

Summary:

LingQ is a language learning platform that makes it easy to read and listen to interesting content at varying difficulty levels. As you read, words will be marked as known and LingQ tracks the total number of words you “know”. The content comes from lots of different places with very little of it being original. They also make it very easy to upload your own content.

Quality

The LingQ reading app is enjoyable in most languages, easy to use, and can expand your vocabulary. However, I found the user content frustrating to navigate.

Thoroughness

With the import function, users can choose to study almost anything they want.

Value

Now that other apps provide similar functions, the monthly subscription may be a bit overpriced. However, the yearly subscription seems fair.

Languages

Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, English, Korean, French, Russian, German, Portuguese, Italian, Swedish, Dutch, Greek, Polish, Esperanto, Belarusian, Latin, Ukrainian. There are also 20 additional languages in Beta.

Price

Premium membership costs $12.99/mo, $71.94/half-year, $107.88/year, $191.76/2-years; single-language lifetime membership costs $199

When I first signed up for LingQ, I wasn’t very impressed. Its seemingly random lesson library, filled with custom cover photos and inconsistent title formats, made me want to click on just about anything to get away from that page.

However, after exploring every function I could find, I realized that the reading tool has several useful functions for anyone trying to learn a language through extensive reading. Most importantly, it makes reading in other languages feel manageable.

The site has three main pages: Lessons, Tutors, and Community. Within them, you can find free and purchasable lessons, coins, an avatar, writing exchanges, a community forum, audio playlists, and challenges.

I mostly used LingQ for reading in Spanish and dabbled in French, Chinese, Japanese, Swedish, and Korean.

Choosing a Lesson

Three of the first articles that appear on the application's homepage with the percentage of unknown words highlighted in red.

Judging by how LingQ advertises learning a “language from content you love”, I assumed that the lesson library was where the gold is. However, I felt like I was looking at a pool of random content rather than curated texts and struggled to identify lessons that sparked my curiosity.

Although LingQ lets you browse the lessons by topic, the lessons didn’t always match the topic I had chosen. I eventually chose a guided course, which consisted of a more organized series of lessons within a specific theme.

Each title in the library displays the percentage of new words within the text plus the number of words from which you have created LingQs (we will get more into that in a moment).

As you read and differentiate between known and unknown words, you will be able to assess which content is most suitable to your level.

You can also see how many people liked the lesson and the level category (although these are determined by whoever uploaded the text, so they are not always accurate).

It seems that users contribute most of LingQ’s content and source it from podcasts, books, magazines, news sites, textbooks, and more. Sometimes I found high-quality lessons uploaded by paid resources themselves to advertise their products.

Although LingQ does its best to delete copyrighted content, they do not seem to be actively filtering through the lessons and courses. Therefore, you may occasionally find plagiarized books or other media on the site.

LingQ has a series of guided beginner courses whose lessons build on one another, introducing a limited number of new words each lesson and continually reinforcing them in each section. Unfortunately, after you go through the basic lessons, you will mostly be on your own to find content appropriate for your level.

Several words in Swedish from a beginner lesson with words highlighted in blue and yellow.

Finally, the “Lesson Store” tab includes paid material. At the time of this writing, they were only available in Spanish and included material by popular products such as Linguaphone and Spanish Stories by Olly Richards.

Importing Your Own Material

Page for importing lessons manually

The best part about LingQ is that they make it easy to import almost any ebook, blog post, news article, YouTube video, and even Netflix subtitles into the app.

Space to import ebooks into the application

With the LingQ browser extension, it gets even easier — I could import blog posts and news articles in seconds and open the lesson directly from that page.

And that’s not all.

Quick-Import screen from the LingQ Chrome Extension

The LingQ browser extension can also import any YouTube, Animelon, or Viki video with subtitles. Then, it will create a downloadable audio file from the video that you can sync with the subtitles. Sometimes it takes a bit of tinkering to get the audio and text to sync, but the platform makes it relatively straightforward to do.

YouTube video from EnchufeTV with highlighted subtitles

I enjoy watching YouTube videos in Spanish, but I’m often not sure how much I actually understand. My favorite way to use LingQ was to import a video, then read and listen to the subtitles one by one. After several repetitions, I was able to listen to the audio without the text and identify words that I had originally only understood through context. A similar tool is available on Yabla, but it doesn’t let you import your own content, nor does it highlight your unknown words

Lessons: LingQs and Definitions

The first page of El Principito in the LingQ reading tool with all the words highlighted in blue.

The first lesson that you open, whether it be from LingQ, another user, or personal imports, will have a mass of blue words. Your goal is to turn all of those words either yellow or colourless to complete the lesson.

By clicking on blue words or phrases, you automatically turn them yellow and create a LingQ. These LingQs earn you coins and also appear in SRS flashcards for later review. You can then choose a common definition from the community or write your own from a dictionary of your choice.

The Spanish word, náufrago, highlighted in dark yellow The Spanish word, náufrago, highlighted in yellow The Spanish word, náufrago, highlighted in light yellow and underlined The Spanish word, náufrago, underlined

Although there is also the option to identify how well you know the word on a scale of 1-4, this is only relevant if you consistently use the SRS flashcards or if you want to see your words appear in different shades of yellow.

A page of definitions and choices for different dictionaries within the LingQ reading tool

Once you have chosen a definition, you can see a list of common questions about the word or ask a community tutor in the forum.

A series of community questions and a text box to ask your own question

Flipping to the next page will mark all blue words as known, while the arrow in the bottom right-hand corner allows you to review all of the LingQs from the current page through SRS flashcards.

Page with user's chosen definition of a given word

A neat feature in English, French, Portuguese, Italian, German, and Russian, is that verbs will automatically generate a series of tags to identify who is speaking, the infinitive form, and the verb tense. Keep in mind that identifying one verb tense as known does not identify any other conjugation of that verb as known.

Many lessons also include an audio file with adjustable speeds, which will be added to a playlist after you have completed the entire lesson. I found it helpful to listen to the audio after reading the text to test my listening comprehension.

Page from the book,

Of all the functions LingQ’s reading tool provides, I was primarily motivated by watching blue words decrease in frequency as my LingQs and known words increased.

Flashcards

Adjustable settings for flashcard review

There are several types of SRS flashcards that you can use for reviewing LingQs, either with specific words at the end of each page of a lesson or in the vocabulary section at any time. These include regular flashcards, reverse flashcards, cloze deletions, multiple-choice questions, or dictations. They are based on the definitions and contexts from which you chose each word.

A flashcard with the Spanish word, A flashcard with an English definition A flashcard with a word in Spanish and multiple choice options A flashcard with an audio file and a text box to type a response

If you are a beginner or intermediate learner, you may be intimidated by the numerous LingQs that appear for review by the end of a lesson.

Button showing 171 words for review

But, fear not — LingQ explicitly states that the purpose of the platform is to learn words in context, and it is not necessary to go back and review hundreds of LingQs at a time.

Personally, if there were 6 – 7 LingQs on a page I was reading, I reviewed them for extra practice, but any more than that and I moved on.

Lessons in Chinese and Japanese

LingQ’s structure is not necessarily a best-fit for all languages. I found LingQ enjoyable, motivating, and effective for my Spanish studies, but far less so for Chinese.

Unless you want to read as much of your own content as possible, I think that Chinese and Japanese learners will find more specialized support from graded readers. Typically, these provide context-specific definitions and explanations.

For example, The Chairman’s Bao identifies grammar, keywords, and proper nouns, in addition to providing writing practice, stroke order diagrams, and flashcards. Satori Reader for Japanese also identifies key grammar points and vocabulary explanations for how words are used in specific contexts.

Given that LingQ serves so many different languages, it’s understandable that most of these very helpful features are not available on the platform. However, LingQ’s lack of specialization does make it difficult to recommend for these languages.

Other Features

Combined with the SRS flashcards, the reading tool was the only part of the site that I enjoyed using. The rest of the platform seems to mush features from several other resources together, most of which detracted from my overall experience.

Community Features

In theory, it can be motivating to have a community of fellow language learners who interact with the same resource. However, I found LingQ’s approach to integrating these features less effective than with other apps.

There’s a community forum for language learning discussions, a series of language learning challenges, and an area for writing exchange.

I found the writing exchange feature to be less interactive and customizable than those in LangCorrect or Busuu. This could be because users can’t filter the language they want to provide corrections for. Therefore, whether or not you receive a correction may be dependent on if a native speaker is looking to correct someone’s work at the exact moment that your sample appears near the top of the writing feed.

Tutors

Anyone can become a community tutor and set a rate for both speaking and writing corrections. Like Verbling and italki, LingQ takes 15% of the charged fee. Unlike Verbling and italki, there don’t seem to be any student testimonials, and I couldn’t see how many students contributed to the tutor’s star rating. Ultimately, I prefer to use iTalki or Verbling, where the application process for tutors and teachers requires more verification.

Avatar

The purpose of the reading tool is to create LingQs, which in turn earns you coins. However, the only way to spend these coins is on your avatar’s clothing and background. Therefore, one might assume that the avatar would be an important feature on LingQ.

Not so much.

Judging by the outdated Comic Sans font in the avatar store, and everything else about it, I don’t think it has been updated in several years.

The way users can interact with the avatar items is limited. Each clothing item is attached to an outfit, so as much as I tried, I could not make my flamenco dancer wear soccer shoes.

Additionally, several background items require the purchase of a previous background item, but these items cannot be used simultaneously.

A small blue creature with feet but no arms A blue creature with arms and legs, flamenco dancer hair, and high heels

I was pretty disappointed that I couldn’t use my LingQ coins for anything useful, or at least enjoyable. Hopefully, LingQ will change this in the future.

LingQ Does Not Provide the Same Support as Graded Readers

LingQ’s approach to providing level-appropriate content is based on the user’s experience using the app and not on pedagogically curated material. Therefore, I would only use it at times when my goal is to read as much content as possible. Otherwise, I would still prefer graded readers or graded reading apps.

Du Chinese, the Chairman’s Bao, and Pleco’s graded readers are still my first recommendation for Chinese.

Beginner and intermediate German learners with Android devices may prefer Readle, which has reading comprehension questions at the end of each level-appropriate lesson.

Although I have not tried Satori Reader, our team’s review paints it as an ideal app for advanced Japanese learners who are nearly, but not yet ready for native speaker content.

Only the Premium Version is Worth It

Given that the best part about LingQ is being able to identify known and unknown words at the glance of a page, the free version is pretty much useless.

It only allows 5 imported lessons and 20 LingQs total — whether or not you delete them from your vocabulary list. Exceeding this limit prevents you from looking up definitions, marking words as known, or identifying unknown words. To me, this completely defeated the purpose of the app.

Text describing how much 1 on 1 conversations, group discussions, and writing corrections cost.

On the other hand, the Premium Plus version at $39.99/mo adds 3000 points each month, which allows you to purchase live classes, writing corrections, group discussions, and lessons from the lesson store. All of these features can be easily replaced by higher quality services, such as italki and LangCorrect.

So, I would only recommend the premium version, which costs $12.99/mo or $107.88/year.

Downgrading to the Free Version is a Pain

One frustrating part about LingQ is that the developers make it very difficult to downgrade to the free membership.

First, LingQ will try to entice you with several different offers to make you stay. One of them gives you 50% off three months. Another offers you the “Vacation Plan,” which costs $2/month to store all of your data. Lastly, it will offer you a lifetime plan for one language.

Once you get to the last offer and click “delete my data,” you will probably encounter a popup that informs you to delete all but 5 of your lessons.

It is impossible to downgrade unless you go back and manually delete your lessons, which is disappointing if you were planning on using them for the remainder of your payment period.

Similar Resources

OPLingo has many similar features to LingQ, including allowing you to import your own text, embed YouTube videos with subtitles, and identify unknown and known words. The free version allows you to look up unlimited words, but like LingQ, it also limits users to adding 20 unknown words.

I am a huge fan of OPLingo because of how they use their subscription fees for international outreach projects, but LingQ currently has a more intuitive and developed user interface.

Readlang also has a similar, limited free function, which allows you to identify words you are learning across texts. It also rates the difficulty of each text in the library based on the CEFR scale (although the accuracy of this is questionable). Unfortunately, it only supports .txt and .epub imports, and it takes far more effort to sync YouTube subtitles compared to LingQ.

Final Thoughts

I found LingQ most effective and enjoyable for Spanish, which I can read at an intermediate level. It was least useful for languages in which I have no background or am mostly fluent.

Although I did not enjoy the lesson library, I’m sure that others would see it as a goldmine for interesting content. I was more than happy to use the import functions for my own material without sifting through community content.

I would not use LingQ for any feature except for the reading tool, but this feature is so useful that it would be worth the subscription price.

The SRS flashcard system is great for reviewing vocabulary on specific lesson pages, but I would never try to learn all of my accumulated LingQs through regular review. I prefer to learn new words through paying special attention to those I had previously highlighted and incorporating some words into writing for correction by my Spanish tutor or the LangCorrect community.

Overall, I have a lot of criticisms about the platform as a whole, but I think the reading tool is great. If you don’t need to look at a fancy user interface or import PDF files, Readlang and OPLingo are fine alternatives.

Our top picks for language resources vary by language — you can find our favourite reviews for the language you’re learning at the bottom of this page.

MOST RECOMMEND RESOURCES BY LANGUAGE

Learning a language doesn’t have to cost money.

Sign-up to get a huge list of free resources tailored to the language you’re studying.

[contact-form-7 id=”11784″]

We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

OPLingo

3.5 
Price: Freemium, Premium Subscriptions cost $6.99/mo, $60/Year

Resource Image

OPLingo is a community-oriented, non-profit language learning site. It essentially combines the functions of LingQ, LangCorrect, Readlang, iTalki, and HelloTalk.

The free version gives you limited access to some functions, but by paying for a membership you support ethical causes — such as building a primary school in Tanzania.

You can browse user-contributed texts or easily import your own YouTube videos, articles, or ebooks into the Reading Tool. OPLingo has also developed hundreds of audio conversations in several languages, including Tagalog, Cebuano, Thai, Swahili, and Russian.

Within each page, you can read a transcript and get definitions and pronunciations of unknown words. By identifying which words you don’t know, the next passages you read will highlight the number of known or unknown vocabulary words.

In their Write & Correct section, you can write in over 100 languages and exchange corrections with other users, although Spanish, French, and English learners have a better chance of receiving corrections than other languages at the moment.

You can also practice a language by texting with fellow community members, or by hiring a teacher in your target language.

OPLingo has a lot of potential and is a good alternative to LingQ, but it needs a community of learners to help it grow — so check it out!

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

Visit

AmazingTalker

2.5 
Price: From around $10 per 50-minute class

Resource Image

AmazingTalker is an italki and Verbling competitor that lets you book classes with language teachers and academic tutors of your choice. It has a lot of attractive features for students, but teachers complain about high commission rates and lack of support.

It boasts a 3% acceptance rate for teachers and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not happy with your class, they’ll rebook you another one for free. There are lots of teachers to choose from, or you can also use their AI Matching Service to find a tutor. The teachers’ profiles include videos, reviews, and their résumé.

However, AmazingTalker doesn’t seem a great choice for teachers. It charges English and Japanese teachers astonishingly high commission rates of up to 30%. While these rates fall as teachers earn more through the site, they have to make $1,500 a month before the commission reaches levels comparable to italki and Verbling. Making it worse, there’s an additional 8% fee for payment processing and tax that all teachers have to pay, no matter what language they teach. 

There have also been complaints on Reddit from teachers claiming to have been harassed by students and fellow teachers. However, we cannot corroborate these.

Given all this, we’d recommend trying italki (review) or Verbling (review) first. Alternatively, check out our guide to the best platforms for online language classes.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

Visit

Verbling

Quick Review

4.6 

Summary:

Verbling is an online language-class marketplace where you can take lessons with teachers of your choice. It has some student-friendly extra features, including a built-in online classroom, flashcards, homework calendar, and a filing system for lesson materials. There are also useful but disorganized forums where you can discuss languages, share writing for critique, and do free language drills and exercises.

The lessons are generally high quality and well structured, plus the filters make it easy to find teachers who specialize in everything from accent reduction to interview preparation. 

However, it can be slightly pricier than alternatives, so if you’re on a tight budget, you may want to look elsewhere. It also has fewer languages than some of the bigger competitors, so it might not be a good choice if you want to study Azerbaijani, Khmer, or Yoruba.

Teacher Quality 

There are some less experienced teachers, but I found the lessons to be more consistently high quality than on italki.

Platform 

The classroom technology, flashcards, and filing system are fantastic for learners and easy to use.

Value

Some teachers charge more than on italki, but you get better classroom technology, more privacy, and fewer disorganized teachers.

Languages

Verbling lists 65 different languages on their platform, from Spanish and Mandarin Chinese through to Twi and Berber. Not all of them have available teachers, however.

Price

Prices are set by the teacher and range from $5 to $75 for an hour-long lesson. You can get discounts for buying packs of 5, 10, or 20 lessons with a teacher. Every student gets one free trial lesson, after which they’re $6 each.

(more…)