If you’re looking for an alternative way to learn the French language, you could download Babbel and start studying straightaway. This app has a system of learning that is rooted on the most up to date technology and teaching methodology, which means that studying any new language is no longer a laborious task, but a process that you will enjoy.
Babbel French has been designed by specialist and has also been improved over the years through their customer feedback. With the app available for Android, iPhone and iPad here, you will learn new vocabulary through some interactive activities and additional tools that will allow you to teach yourself the words and phrases that you need or want to know. You will also gain a better understanding of how the words are used in a real-life conversation, which will successfully deepen your knowledge of the French language even further. The app has many excellent features:
- 3000 vocabulary words with pronunciations, example sentences and pictures.
- A Review Manager that is integrated already.
- A range of vocabulary that caters for basic and advanced level students.
- A wide variety of diverse themes as well as sub-categories.
- Some free lessons.
- Contact with native French speakers and other language learners across the world.
- Sending text messages to native French speakers for personal feedback.
- Practicing the language.
- Available in other languages.
This app is also available in various other languages including: Dutch, English, German, French, Indonesian, Polish, Italian, Portuguese, Turkish, Swedish and Spanish.
Practicing your French
With Babbel you could practice your own pronunciation because it has a unique integrated speech recognition system. So, you can begin to relax now, especially if you’re the kind of person who is scared of speaking in front of others. The integrated speech recognition feature will allow you to practice and score your pronunciation in French so you know exactly how well you are doing and work on any areas of improvement, all at a pace that suits you. You can say fair well to those days when you felt embarrassed and couldn’t get your words out properly because your nerves got the better of you.
Assessing your Progress
In addition, French Babbel also has a clever review manager that introduces the words that you have learnt in the best possible time-intervals so that they can get assessed regularly. This feature will make it a lot simpler for you to be able to distinguish the exact content that you need to revise and when it’s the best times to do so. Remember that the app is aware of what you know already and what your weaknesses are, so the app will recommend the topics that you need to work on more.
Every time you utilise this app, all the areas that you need to focus on so that you can successfully develop your language skills further will be displayed in a prominent place. The regularity of the Review Manager is in agreement with “spaced repetition”. This may sound a bit too technical, but it is just a process that optimises your ability to retain what you have learned. This feature is almost invisible and you won’t even notice it that much, apart from spotting that you’re learning a lot quicker, retaining things for much longer and that you’re capable of applying your existing knowledge loads quicker.
What Babbel Offers
With Babbel, you can access more than 3,000 words with pictures, pronunciations and examples of sentences. The very first lesson in any group category is included in the app already, plus, if you’d like to learn even more, you could download all the other lessons via the app. You will have to pay for all the additional lessons and we have discussed this in more detail later on.
The actual software has been designed by experts as well as language professionals and has been improved over the years with customer feedback. The app itself has been put together quite nicely and is really easy to navigate your way around it. You will have to create an account to begin with, which is incredibly simple and does not take long to do. Then after signing in, you’ll see a dashboard that has plenty of helpful information and also lets you begin a lesson in addition to practicing your French.
Social Element to Learning French
The app has some inbuilt social networking features, this means that it is even easier to practice your French with other people. Babbel originally started as a social networking website that was devoted to languages, and this still continues to be a live component of the programme today. You have the opportunity to contact other people who are using the same app, who might be keen to help you. Plus, because Babbel has a really broad and varied service user base, the likelihood of you finding somebody who is willing to mentor you in exchange for some assistance with their English is very high. There is no in-built voice communication though, however, you could send an email message or chat via texts with any other user. You can post any queries that you have on their live user forums too. We believe that the majority of users will probably favour this somewhat less personalised style of communicating with someone that they don’t know too well.
Babbel French is a subscription based app, which will give you access to more than 3000 vocabulary words and pictures. All the individual lessons do not follow a set pattern because they are designed for an audience with a wide variety of requirements and capabilities. However they are arranged into various topics ranging from food and drinks, animals sport, communication, holidays to the environment it has been grouped into themed lessons that are managed into small chunks. For instance, there are 16 themed lessons, and each one is further divided into two separate sections, in addition they are complemented by an additional review lesson and you will be introduced to the French words and pronunciations that you are finding difficult. All the individual components are designed to take you around 15 minutes to complete.
1) Learn and remember – you are introduced to about 4 new words to begin with, like tea, drinks, juice, and coffee at this point and you are expected to complete two simple exercises that involve remembering the word and the first letter that it is spelt with . You will then be introduced to 3/4 additional words and expected to complete similar activities.
2) Deepen Your Knowledge – here you practice and apply the words that you have learnt in the activity one. The first activity in this section involves listening to the new vocabulary and matching it with the correct image. You will then be shown an image of each new item that you have just learnt separately and expected to spell it correctly. All the letters used to spell the words are randomly displayed on the screen. After you complete this activity, you will be asked to practice any words that you guessed incorrectly in activities one and two.
3) Vocabulary – You are given a least of all the words that you have learnt. You can hear and practice each one as many times as you like.
The free lessons that we tried all had a set pattern and they cater for complete beginners or those looking for a refresher. Here, you can learn words that are related to any topic of your choice and you have 27 themes that you can choose from in total.
In each lesson you will learn around 6 to 8 different words and every lesson has a combination of activities – 4 in total – that involve repeating things as well as interactions so that all the vocabulary in the lessons can be reinforced. The activities evenly concentrate on pronunciation of words and phrases, spelling and each one comes with a descriptive image.
During each phase of this programme your pronunciation will be monitored and all the words and phrases that you repeat will be evaluated and given a score. Moreover, the progress that you make throughout this course is dependent on clear repetition. This means that you must pronounce all the words/phrases properly on one occasion (as a minimum) throughout the programme. In reality, the system of rating is generous enough to ensure that you do not get discouraged; however, it is strict enough to ensure that a native French speaker can comprehend what you are saying. Whilst you progress throughout the course, all the phrases and words that you have learnt will be stored. You can search and filter all these later on for useful revision and reviews.
The Good Points
- The app is flexible so you can use anywhere and at any time.
- You get to learn a significant amount of useful vocabulary and phrases.
- There is a social networking element so that you can practice your French with native speakers.
- You can assist other people to improve their chosen language in exchange for help.
- There are several payment options that you can choose from and you can just try the app for a month if you want to before committing to buying the whole thing.
- You will be reminded about the areas that you need to improve at regular intervals and encouraged to keep practising.
- The “unlimited” option activates all the content that is inside this app permanently.
- It is affordable!
The Bad Points
- Some of the lessons take a bit of time to download.
- You might not get the full range of vocabulary that you expect for a specific topic that you are interested in.
- There is no in-built voice communication system, you have to email or send text messages instead.
Leaning French isn’t simple, however, Babbel have made the entire process a lot easier by developing a well-structured and user friendly mobile app for iPads and iPhones. All the lessons are organised and give you ample opportunities to practice what you have learnt. When you start to learn French with Babbel, it feels more like you’re playing a fun game than doing a complicated activity that seems like a chore to finish. Moreover, you will be able to carry on reviewing all the materials until you get to the point where you have grasped and remembered all the information on the app.
Whilst people who are complete beginners and those who want to refresh their vocabulary will undeniably benefit a lot more from this particular app compared to people who are almost fluent, Babbel is a perfect way to include learning French into your daily routine. You can purchase this programme online if you prefer, but it is more expensive and you won’t have the same flexibility that you get with the iPhone & iPad mobile edition.
There is one more thing that we have left to mention. Babbel have language learning apps for more advanced students and courses in various other languages too.