Frantastique is a language app that does things very differently. First and foremost, if you’re lacking a sense of humor, or even a faint sense of the ridiculous, you can stop reading now. The catalyst for learning French in Frantastique consists of two aliens discovering France with the help of, wait for it, a recently defrosted Victor Hugo whose modesty is concealed by a long white beard. It's very quirky, but that's why it earns a place on our list of the best learn French software.
Frantastique review: Method
From the get-go, the whole course is in French, so a basic understanding of the language is required, though you can toggle to English if you’re a bit rusty. This is very similar to how Rosetta Stone operates. You’ll be asked to take part in a seven-lesson assessment and the Frantastique algorithms’ will work out your personal strength and weaknesses to create five bespoke lessons every week.
You’ll be notified of a new lesson by email and then you can begin. The lesson begins with a review of the previous lesson and reminds users of weak areas which they can revise or set as future reminders. The main feature is a movie or comic strip, charting the increasingly bizarre (and entertaining) exploits of our three main characters. At the end, a small video or clip relating to an aspect of French culture that links to the story plays automatically. Following this you’ll be asked a series of questions on what you’ve just seen, commonly in a multiple-choice format, before sending off your answers. In less than a minute, you’ll get your results with detailed explanations as to how you fared. Viola!
Frantastique review: Cost
Frantastique is not cheap, but there is a 30-day-free trial, and it’s a monthly subscription after that so if you’re not happy you can go without having committed to a small fortune. There are three tiers of service:
Basic: For $24 a month you’ll get five lessons a week, which works out to be between five to six hours’ worth of training a month, though this will depend on the participation rate of the user. Included is your personalized content, with key aspects annotated into your very own ‘Cahier de Cours’ that contains a printable vocabulary for offline learning, grammar, personal statistics, progress and more, plus a certificate of completion once you’ve reached the appropriate level.
Premium: According to Frantastique this is its most popular option. It costs $36 per month and you get all of the features in the Basic package in addition to ‘Premium Support’ which prioritizes any technical issues you might be experiencing (which doesn’t bode well if we’re honest) with a ‘Personalization by Sector’ feature allowing users to gear the language towards particular interests, such as the arts, business, finance, marketing etc.
PRO: You get all of the above for $48 per month, plus pedagogical support in which users can communicate directly with members of the Frantastique team to better understand particular areas of study within each lesson. The best feature of the PRO option may be the certified professional diploma; the student’s identity will be verified and tracked from the very beginning then awarded to each student on completion of the course.
Should you try Frantastique?
The cost will be an issue for students or anyone on a low salary, especially if you’re hoping to get a professionally recognized diploma and the end of the course. If you need something cheap, Duolingo is a better option. And the little tale of the aliens and the perpetually nude Victor Hugo might not appeal to everyone, but for those who like things quirky, it will really connect and engage. Assuming you do have the funds to tackle Frantastique then you’re in for a treat. Yes, it’s learning stuff, and that always comes with a given degree of tedium, but this great little course does all that it can to make it fun and engaging while being a genuinely competent language course. Magnifique!