French

French Classes

2.7 
Price: 29.5€/year

Resource Image

French Classes is a website that contains French lessons with accompanying exercises, transcriptions with audio, and 120 dictation exercises. The thirty-six beginner lessons will take you through the basics and lead you to full immersion at the intermediate and advanced levels. There are also about 200 supplementary audio lessons about travel, news, society, and culture with accompanying transcripts and contextual notes to support your learning.

Each lesson is divided into two parts. The first part contains a grammar lesson, while the second contains a series of exercises. Both sections have an accompanying audio file recorded by native speakers. Unfortunately, the website does not detect your mistakes automatically, so you will have to check your responses yourself for the dictation and grammar exercises. This also means that you have to grade yourself on your progress.

Overall, French classes may not be worth the investment unless you truly enjoy reading and listening to long grammar explanations. Also, you probably won’t be able to advance through the lessons without the support of other resources, like a private tutor.

As an alternative, learners of all levels can check out TV5 Monde, while beginners may want to try French in Action or Podcast Français Facile . These are all free resources that have dynamic lesson structures.

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

lexilogos

3.5 
Price: Free

Resource Image

Although Lexilogos seems to have entirely neglected its aesthetics, it holds more than meets the eye. If you click on one of the 130+ languages listed at the bottom of the page, you will find a series of resources to support your studies. This is especially useful for less-studied languages, like Marathi, Basque, and Pashto. Although the lists don’t provide recommendations for applications, they do provide a list of dictionaries, keyboards, news sites, books, and research papers. Additionally, if you switch to the French version of the site, there are even more languages and resources available for you to explore.

Within each language’s page, there is also a dictionary search function. You will notice that more commonly studied languages will have dozens of dictionaries to choose from, while less commonly studied languages may only have one or two.

Overall, Lexilogos is a great option for finding resources for less commonly studied languages. They regularly update their site, so make sure to check back if you don’t find what you’re looking for the first time around.

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

Duolingo

Quick Review

Summary:

Duolingo is a super popular free language-learning app. It’s available for desktop as well as mobile and offers over 90 different language courses in over 20 different languages — there are currently 35 languages with English instruction. The Duolingo approach is gamified and easy to use, but the bite-sized lessons don’t offer much in the way of in-depth practice. The Duolingo tag line is “Learn a language in just five minutes a day.”

Quality

It’s easy and fun to use, but some pronunciation and grammar instruction is of low quality, especially for Asian languages.

Thoroughness

The app works well for learning the basics, but there’s little speaking practice and grammar instruction is limited.

Value

It’s a lot of content for free, but you’ll need to use supplementary resources.

Languages: Duolingo offers 35 language courses with English instruction, three of which are constructed languages. Courses are available in most popular languages, including Spanish, French, German, etc.

Price

Duolingo is totally free. Duolingo Plus offers a few additional features and is available for:

$12.99/month (paid monthly)
$6.99/month (12-month subscription)

(more…)

Rosetta Stone

Price: Subscriptions start at $35.97 for 3-months

Quick Review

2.7 

Summary:

Rosetta Stone is one of the most well-known resources for learning languages. It takes an immersive approach to teaching and is widely used by corporations and individuals alike. High levels of repetition and an absence of translations or explanations are hallmarks of the course.

A Rosetta Stone course could be most suitable for learners that don’t mind repetitive exercises and prefer to learn from pictures and context rather than translations and explanations. It’s probably not a good option for anyone wanting to significantly improve their speaking or writing skills, or those looking for an engaging course.

Quality

The platform is a bit clunky on desktop, but the material is accurate and presented clearly; lesson mechanics are fairly intuitive.

Thoroughnes

Without much opportunity to build your own sentences, I don’t think you’ll reach a conversational level with any notable speed.

Value

I think there are many more efficient and less expensive ways to learn a language.

Languages

There are courses in 25 different languages — popular ones like Spanish, French, German, Mandarin Chinese, and less-studied languages like Greek, Hebrew, and Swedish.

Price

Subscription Type Subscription Length Total Price* Price Per Month
One Language 3 Months $35.97 $11.99
All Languages 12 Months $179 $14.92
All Languages Lifetime $199 N/A

 

*This is the amount you’ll pay.

(more…)

Polly Lingual

Price: Freemium, yearly subscriptions start at $2.99/mo

Resource Image

Polly Lingual is a phrasebook app and website with a series of basic word lists, flashcards, and memory games. Some of the phrases are pronounced by native speakers, while others use text-to-voice.

Unlike other phrasebook apps that focus on phrases alone, Polly Lingual introduces the basic alphabet in languages with non-romanized scripts. You can quiz yourself on the basic vowels and consonants in Russian, Hebrew, Korean, Japanese, and Arabic. Polly Lingual may be helpful for a quick review of what you’ve already learned, but if you’re keen on learning to write a new script, you may want to check out Write It! or Write Me.

There are also Polly Ambassadors — tutors who will provide short videos of language learning tips throughout the site. You can send them a personal message or hire them as a private tutor.

Overall, Polly Lingual only teaches basic phrases and will probably not help you learn how to construct your own sentences. If you’re just beginning to learn another language, check out French in Action, Red Kalinka (Russian), Chinesefor.us, 90 Day Korean, Portuguese lab, or Pimsleur to get more out of your time. Also, Italki will give you more options for private tutors, if that’s what you’re looking for.

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

YouGlish

Price: Free

Resource Image

YouGlish is a website that has indexed millions of video clips to put words in context for language learners. After searching for a word in your target language, you will see a YouTube video with subtitles and your target word highlighted in yellow. When you have heard the word, you can continue listening to the video or move on to the next example. You can also slow down the speed of the audio, click on a sentence in the transcript to replay it, or skip backwards 5 seconds to listen again. Sometimes you can watch over 1000 videos with your target word, other times there may only be a couple dozen available.

Some languages also allow you to choose between different regional dialects, such as: French from Canada or France; Chinese from Taiwan or China; and Spanish from Spain or Latin America.

You will need to search for the word in your target language, so you can check out WordReference or Linguee to get a translation. Forvo also provides audio clips of native speaker pronunciation, but with YouGlish, you can practice listening to these words in context.

If you want help with reading the subtitles, you can download Readlang for on-screen translations. The Zhongwen Chrome extension will be better for Chinese learners, as it provides the pronunciation of each character as well as a definition.

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

Conversations - IWTYAL

3.5 
Price: $197

Resource Image

Conversations by I Will Teach You a Language is a downloadable program that uses Comprehensible input (CI) as a strategy to improve your language level. Comprehensible input is when you consume second language material that is just above your current level, which in IWTYAL’s case, is about A2-B1 on the CEFR scale.

The Conversations program includes material of a manageable length with full transcripts and English translations. It is 20 chapters long and follows six characters, two of whom have just moved to the countryside from the big city. You will listen to realistic dialogues between the characters and learn everyday colloquialisms and slang. The characters have a variety of accents within each language, and they speak at a relatively natural speed. The series has the same content in each language, but there are variations based on cultural differences.

IWTYAL probably has good quality materials, but it is quite expensive compared to other CI resources. Intermediate learners can check out innerFrench, Japanese With Noriko, Russian With Max, and Dreaming Spanish for some high-quality, free alternatives. Chinese learners might want to check out Du Chinese and The Chairman’s Bao for graded readers with audio. 

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

French by French

Price: Free

Resource Image

French by French integrates four main characters into a series of short dialogues to help you learn how to read, write, and speak French. Each lesson contains a dialogue with a recording by (seemingly) professional voice actors. Don’t worry if the dialogues seem short at first; they will get longer as you progress through the levels.

Next, you will read the English translation and the new vocabulary from the lesson. You can skip the following grammar explanations to dive into translation exercises — these exercises are composed of words you have already learned, which will help you become comfortable using them in a variety of contexts.

The beginner and intermediate lessons each contain 50 lessons. From lesson 1, you will hear the dialogues spoken at a relatively natural speed (but there is a slow version available until beginner level 2). Unfortunately, the advanced level has very few resources, so you will have to go elsewhere to advance your skills.

The exercises are not as gamified as in apps like Duolingo or Lingodeer. However, if you enjoy reading, French by French will help you systematically advance your language skills. Combine your learning with videos from Alice Ayel’s YouTube Channel for beginners, or innerFrench for intermediate learners, and you’ll develop a foundation of French in no time.

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

Alice Ayel

4.5 
Price: Freemium, with subscriptions starting at 4.75€/mo

Resource Image

Similar to Dreaming Spanish and Comprehensible Russian, Alice teaches French using comprehensible input. With this method, she speaks at a level just above that of the learner: you do not have to understand every word, but through gestures and images, you can gradually increase your comprehension abilities. Alice’s YouTube channel has hundreds of high-quality videos that tell stories, tour you around different countries, and teach about francophone culture.

Alice has also developed a self-paced video course for total beginners to later beginners. It contains transcripts and audio files, with bonus stories for all levels. She does not teach the nitty-gritty details of French grammar — instead, you will learn through listening, similar to the way you learned your first language as a child. Remember that this method is not for everyone, so if you don’t enjoy it, there are other ways to learn a language. Watch some of her YouTube videos to see if this style suits you, and if so, then subscribe to her French learner’s community to gain access to the course. She also sells a series of beginner books that you can enjoy without a subscription.

For comprehensible input at the intermediate level, Hélène from Wandering French will teach you about the Quebecois language and culture while touring the world, while Hugo will continue to teach you about French culture in innerFrench

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

Bien Dire

Price: Free Trial, e-magazines from 9€, e-subscriptions from 49€

Resource Image

Bien Dire is a leveled reading series that targets a pair of CEFRL levels in each issue (ex. A1-A2, A2-B1, C1-C2). As the magazine only covers two levels at a time, you can step out of your comfort zone without feeling too overwhelmed. Absolute beginners can find a series of free introductory lessons on the site before diving into the magazines.

Each 50-page issue will train your listening, oral, reading, and written skills. You will read a series of short articles with new vocabulary italicized within the text. If you have chosen the appropriate level, you should probably be able to understand about 80% of the content without looking at the definitions at the bottom of the page. Audio files recorded by native speakers accompany both the hard copy and digital versions of the magazine, and there are quizzes at the end of the magazine to test your comprehension.

Bien Dire is a fantastic resource for any French learner, but especially for those who don’t have a lot of free time. You can read high-quality bite-sized articles about French culture, history, travel, news, food, pronunciation, and more.

With limitless cash, Bien-Dire and Frantastique would be the perfect combination to support an avid reader to fluency. You can try two sample magazines on their site to see if the investment is right for you. For English learners, the publishers also produce an ESL counterpart, Go English.

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