Summary: Earworms is a unique language resource that relies on audio lessons mixed into music. The theory is that you will find the music catchy and thus remember your lessons easily. The whole idea behind Earworms is the psychological theory of memory association. You would associate some information with the music and thus remember it easily. However, the music used in these lessons will not appeal to everyone, at least it didn’t for me. Moreover, the lack of visual aid and no exercises to assess your skills make it harder. I would only recommend this for people who have failed to learn through other online resources or perhaps someone looking to learn a few phrases before a trip.
With a lack of exercises and visual aids, I can’t really say that it will prove to be a useful resource.
All the lessons are comprised of various phrases that they think will be useful for anyone willing to learn French. Unfortunately, they’re too shallow and poorly structured.
With such low utility, it is important to have a low-price tag. Fortunately, they have followed this idea and thus you won’t be losing out too much if you opt for this.
The repetition of the phrases
Some of the tracks aren’t half bad
I Don’t Like…
Tracks aren’t as catchy as I expected
Lack of visual aids
Complete absence of a testing system
Price: Each volume can be purchased as an mp3 download for £8.32 or as a CD for £14.99. You can save a little money by purchasing bundles as well. You can also purchase via the app for £9.99 per volume.
Summary: Duolingo is a great mobile learning application that teaches you the basics of several languages. While it is far from comprehensive and doesn’t go too deep, it excels at getting people to study a little bit every day. Duolingo makes learning French fun, easy, and free.
It takes a while to get used to the teaching methods, but otherwise the quality and design are great.
Duolingo is made for people who just want to learn the basics of the language without going in too deep. It touches the surface of almost all the topics.
This resource is completely free and accessible to everyone. You could, however, learn French faster with other resources.
The option to learn French from languages other than English
It is completely free
The incentive system keeps you motivated and coming back day after day.
I Don’t Like…
The low content depth
The ads in the mobile app get irritating after a while
Price: All the content available in Duolingo is free. If you want, you can pay to remove the advertisements and get a chance to download offline lessons. You can do this at $9.99 a month for one month, $7.99 a month for 6 months or $6.99 a month for 12 months. Other than that, there are only some in-app purchases that might make your learning more fun, but nothing pertaining to the actual educational content, save 2 or 3 bonus lessons.
Summary: Pimsleur consists of audio lessons whereby learners listen to a native speaker before repeating the sentence after them. As the vocabulary, the complexity of the phrases and the difficulty level increase, repetition of previous words helps to hammer home what you have already learnt. For speaking and listening comprehension it is definitely effective although there is no focus on reading, grammar or cultural immersion. The format will almost certainly help you improve your language skills but the method seems outdated and monotonously boring. On top of that, it is prohibitively expensive for what it offers. This review focuses on French but it’s just as applicable to other languages.
The audio quality is great but that’s all the course really consists of! Easy to use but very repetitive.
There is no in-depth analysis of grammar or the cultural context. Listen, repeat, listen, repeat is how you are meant to learn the content.
Insanely expensive for what it is. There are way better options out there that are much cheaper than Pimsleur.
The format does make you think and engage with the material. By listening to the narrator and then answering their questions, you really have to focus on the lessons.
I’m pretty sure that if you followed the audio lessons for a while you would improve your French and increase your confidence.
I Don’t Like…
While you may improve your speaking and comprehension skills, you won’t actually understand why the language is formed like that. Consequently, it may be hard to divert away from the prescribed conversations they provide you with.
Some people will respond well to the Pimsleur formula but many will find it outdated and boring. There is a lot of repetition and I didn’t find the content particularly enjoyable to work through.
So expensive! Almost insultingly so for what they are offering.
Price: There are an almost infinite number of different payment options for Pimsleur’s French audio lessons (take a look down below for more information). For people looking to try Pimsleur’s learning method before delving into the 150 French lessons on offer, you can access the first lesson for free on their website. Level 1 of the course consists of 30 lessons and costs $119.95 while the complete French course comprising all five levels will set you back $550.
Alternatives Speechling is a great (and free!) option that, much like Pimsleur, allows you to get lots of practice speaking French. Premium users can also receive unlimited corrections on their pronunciation – save 10% with the coupon “ALR123”.
Glossika is much like Pimsleur in that they offer lots of speaking practice but the materials are a bit more advanced and move much quicker.
Rocket French offers a structured course for beginners and FrenchPod101 has tons of podcast style lessons at an affordable price.
With most language learning resources, people will generally agree on if it’s useful or a waste of time and money.
Pimsleur is a bit unique in this regard. I haven’t yet come across another course where opinions on it are so divided; many people swear by it while others would rather use anything else.
Pimsleur offers courses for lots of different languages but the overall content and quality remains consistent. For a more positive take on Pimsleur, I’d suggest reading our Pimsleur Italian review. Despite being Italian focused, it’s just as applicable to French learners.
Summary: One of the most simply designed resources on the web, Frantastique is more than meets the eye. It follows an ideology which believes in immersing the students in the language and culture while making use of AI. I would recommend it to people who know at least bits and pieces of the language and don’t care about spending the insane prices they’re asking for.
The immersive lessons force you to sink or swim but the design is lackluster.
The content that is presented to you is based on where you lack in the language and their revision system is very well done.
With the high price and a limit on the number of lessons you can access per week, Frantastique is terrible value for the money.
The unique way of teaching
The emphasis on revision
The level of personalization of lessons
I Don’t Like…
The extremely high cost
You’re limited to accessing five lessons per week
Bad graphical interface
Price: Prices vary according to subscription length and plan. The one month and 3-years plans costs are as follows; $24 – $65 per month for the Basic plan, $36 – $98 per month for the Premium plan and $48 – $96 a month for the Pro plan. Progressing to higher plans gets you a few additional features but the number of lessons is limited to 5 a week in each case. There is also a standard 7 lesson free trial available.
Summary: Rocket Languages offers courses in a number of languages. Some are quality courses and others are nothing short of awful. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with Rocket French. The content is well structured and will force you to practice a variety of skills. You can choose to use either the website (recommended) or the app to learn the language whenever you please. Its lessons will not only help you get started but also if you’ve already learned some French.
While the app isn’t perfect, everything works as intended and the lessons are designed well.
The content is as thorough as one could hope to find.
The price tag for the lessons is relatively high but justifiable.
The emphasis on speaking skills
Thorough quizzing after every lesson
Leaderboard and Streak system
I Don’t Like…
The high price tags
The travelogue lessons aren’t as easy as they should have been
The lessons can be repetitive and monotonous
Price: Level 1 costs $99.95, Levels 1 and 2 cost $249.90, all three levels together costs $259.90.
Pimsleur is a somewhat similar course that focuses more heavily on oral language.
Rocket Languages offers courses for quite a few different languages. It seems that the quality of these courses can vary significantly, with Rocket Chinese and Rocket Portuguese both being downright awful.
Rocket French and Rocket Italian, on the other hand, are both well-made products that we would recommend.