Why Learn French From Software?
The top performers in our review are Rosetta Stone, the Gold Award winner; Fluenz French, the Silver Award winner; and Ouino French, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing a program to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 learn French programs.
There are many reasons to learn French as a second language – 29 in fact. French is the official language of 29 countries around the world, from Canada to Vietnam and parts of Africa. French can be intimidating to English speakers, but there are tricks to learning the language that help you understand and communicate before you are fluent. English is a cousin of French, and learning French is even easier if you have experience with Spanish, Italian or other romance languages.
Whether you are learning the language for fun, travel or work, learning to speak French opens new opportunities. We evaluated the best learn French software and ranked the top 10. You can also check out our articles about the French language, learning Spanish and other language learning options.
How to Choose Learn French Software
When looking for learn French software, you need to consider your schedule, learning style and fluency goal. If you ultimately want to be fluent in French, an immersive program with few English instructions is your best option. However, if you just want to brush up on the language or learn the basics fast, most programs will suffice.
You also want to consider how much time you have to dedicate to learning a new language. A majority of learn French software options revolve around you sitting at your computer. If you are often on the go, look for programs that have MP3 or audio lessons you can listen to during your commute or while exercising, doing chores and traveling. You can also find web-based courses you can work on anywhere you have an internet connection. The best online French courses work on tablets and smartphones.
It’s no secret that people respond differently to study tools. Flashcards may work for some while reciting lists works for others. Learn French software comes in a variety of forms with different activities that appeal to different learning styles. The best learn French software has a mix of activities that cover different styles of learning, the most common being auditory, visual and kinesthetic, or physical, learning.
Auditory learners respond best to music, sound or repetition. You might be an auditory learner if you read aloud to memorize lists, have a knack for music, take spoken directions well and generally retain information best through listening. Learning tools like MP3 lessons and spoken repetition work best for these types of learners.
Visual learners process information best through images, colors and maps. They may be skilled artists or cinephiles, and they may remember faces of people they met years ago. Visual learners respond well to flashcards and written notes and phrases when learning French.
Kinesthetic learners are doers who use their tactile abilities to absorb information. If you’re a kinesthetic learner, you’re probably skilled with crafts, fixing mechanical components or dancing. Strong kinesthetic learners may have a hard time learning French through traditional means and may respond best to live tutors, timed games and conversation practice.
The best learn French software caters to all types of learners while stretching mental capabilities with activities that test different parts of your brain. For example, programs like Rosetta Stone cater to both visual and audio learners using flashcard-based activities with audio cues. On the other hand, software like Pimsleur is audio-heavy, leaning towards the classic listen, repeat and retain formula.
Learn French Software: What We Evaluated, What We Found
We evaluated software based on four categories: lesson content, teaching tools, learning styles, and setup and support. In each category, we took into consideration what sets the best learn French software apart from the rest. Lessons in the best software contain activities that teach different components of French like vocabulary, language structure, spelling and phrases common in conversations. Many programs have additional teaching tools like personalized learning paths that allow you to focus on the material you need to know before traveling to a French-speaking country.
Everyone learns and retains information differently, so we focused on the most common learning styles: auditory, visual and kinesthetic. Each program has activities that present information in the manner of at least one of these learning styles. For example, Michel Thomas and Pimsleur focus on audio lessons that benefit auditory learners. Most people fall between learning styles, making most learn French programs suitable for all learners, but if you’re a strong visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner, consider the products with your learning style listed on our side-by-side comparison.
Programs with quality interfaces simplify the challenging learning process with easy navigation, few program glitches and aesthetics that keep you engaged. The best learn French software uses activities that work best for your style. Since everyone learns differently, we found that the more variety a program has, the better it can reach people with different learning styles. The overall learning score reflects the different activities you can find in each learn French program based on learning style. The higher this score, the more suitable this program is for all types of learners.
Learn French Software: Other Findings
Mobile devices like phones and tablets are nothing new. It's easy to stare at Facebook during your commute, but your phone can also be a great way to learn French on the go. We found several free and paid French lessons available through online learning and mobile apps. Because of their portability, these formats are slowly taking over the personal language-learning sphere.
Apps like Duolingo allow you to learn French on a busy schedule during lunch, on the way to work, during travel or in your off time. These programs are easy to share with others, are often free and have competitive leaderboards like other popular mobile games. There are also full online courses like those on Rocket Languages, Mango Languages and Busuu.
Learn French Software: Our Verdict & Recommendations
All three of our award winners are suitable for auditory, visual and kinesthetic learners. Rosetta Stone, Fluenz and Easy French Platinum all have beautiful interfaces with no glitches and speedy download times. These programs also have supplemental learning material to use when you’re away from your computer.
Rosetta Stone earned the top spot in our side-by-side comparison chart – mostly because it contains almost every learning French tool and feature we look for in this category. It is an immersive experience that helps you learn the language the same way children learn their native language. This program is geared for the long-term serious learner. Its core lessons teach vocabulary, grammar, structure and pronunciation. It also includes fun games that enhance these skills. You can even schedule one-on-one tutoring sessions once you’re ready to practice with a native French speaker.
Our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award goes to Fluenz French, a relatively new face on the language-learning software scene. This course uses a series of videos, practice conversations, and written and spoken French to teach you language mechanics and useful terms. The lessons build on each other to bring you closer to fluency. The topic of each lesson applies to travel, so if you aren’t aiming for fluency, you can at least prepare for your next trip. Fluenz is the only program we reviewed with a podcast, user community, mobile compatibility and standalone audio lessons. There are five installments in Fluenz that help you reach fluency.
Our Top Ten Reviews Bronze goes to Ouino French. The Ouino system consists of five components that focus on pronunciation, conversations, grammar, vocabulary and verbs. These standalone programs can be found together in the five-in-one program we reviewed. Ouino earns its award for the sheer amount of content in its activities. This French teaching program goes beyond necessary vocabulary for travel and into topics like your favorite hobbies and interests, making conversation come naturally. Additionally, the Ouino app is identical to the desktop interface to cut down on any cross-platform confusion.
Honorable mentions include Pimsleur and the Michel Thomas learning method. These programs didn’t place high on our ranking because they are specialized for auditory learners. Both programs center around audio lesson installments that you can add to your MP3 playlist or listen to on CD. Though they don’t have speech or accuracy tools, both programs use a similar method that encourages you to listen and learn in a focused and relaxed environment. Pimsleur and Michel Thomas are great if you don’t have much time to spend in front of the computer when you’re learning French.