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5 Best Apps for Learning French

Maybe you’re part of the 70% of parents who think that French skills can help your child land a job in the future. Or maybe you’re just trying to brush up on your high school French before visiting Martinique. Whether you want to learn French yourself or your kids need a little help in school, app-based learning can be fun, rewarding, and best-of-all, easy.

(Note: most of these apps either support multiple languages or come in other versions too).

Mind Snacks

The app: Mind Snacks.
Platform: iOS.
Cost: First lesson free, $6.99 for 50 more lessons.
Age: Kids.

Mind Snacks is a champion of the game-centric approach to language learning. The app comes with 9 games designed to help a French learner memorize words, practice verb conjugation, and learn word gender. It comes with clips from native speakers and covers reading, writing, and speaking.


The app: MosaLingua.
Platform: iOS & Android
Cost: $6.99 with in-app purchases.
Age: Teens.

MosaLingua is something of a combination of a learning app and an audio phrasebook. The thing that sets MosaLingua apart from other learning apps is its use of the SRS (spaced repetition software) technique. Basically, when MosaLingua is quizzing you on words it will bring up a word just as you’re about to forget it. This is a better way to learn things long-term than the more common technique of quizzing you a lot on words you’ve just learned and then moving on to something else.


The app: Memrise.
Platform: iOS & Android.
Cost: Free with in-app purchases.
Age: Everyone.

Memrise is pretty impressive in that it’s massive in scope, easy to use, created with the help of thousands of users worldwide, and uses humour to help you remember stuff. Each entry has a “help me remember” button which, if you click it, will come with a user-created joke or meme designed to help you remember what you’re learning. Example: the most popular meme for the phrase “quoi de neuf?” (i.e., “what’s up?”) is an angry-looking cat with the text “WHAT’S UP? I’ve had QUITE ENOUGH of you!” Learning through lolcats? Hey, why not?


The app: SpeakEasy.
Platform: iOS & Android.
Cost: Free.
Age: Everyone.

SpeakEasy is a phrasebook app with an emphasis on learning. It has over 180 travel phrases with audio clips spoken by a native speaker. Each phrase comes with an English translation, phonetic spelling, and a slow-play feature to help you really nail pronunciation. Especially helpful: this app doesn’t require an Internet connection to use. Practice your French wherever you go.


The app: Duolingo.
Platform: iOS & Android.
Cost: Free.
Age: Everyone.

Duolingo won both Apple’s App of the Year and Google Play’s Best of the Best in 2013, so they must be doing something right. Duolingo, like lots of apps, makes a game out of learning, but the thing that makes people love Duolingo so much is its simplicity. Lessons are short. The interface is minimalist. Subjects are broken down to their smallest possible categories. If you’re short on time or simply have small windows of time, Duolingo is great because about five minutes will get you through one unit.

The Bottom Line

One of the best things about app-based learning is that it lets you learn anywhere at anytime. Waiting for the kids to finish soccer practice? Sitting on the subway during a morning commute? Killing time before a meeting? All are valuable opportunities to learn. As for your kids, if they’re the type to never put down their phones, you might as well turn phone time into a learning opportunity.