How to Learn French Online: A Comprehensive Guide
Known popularly as the “language of love,” the French language has become one of the most common languages across the world, with a wide population of fluent speakers. When you start to learn French, it can seem quite intimidating. Words on the pages seem to vary in comparison to how they are spoken. Pronunciation is the part most learners struggle to master.
But here’s the thing – French isn’t that difficult of a language to learn. In fact, it’s easier for English speakers. French shares a number of common words with English. Learning any language through books and classes can squeeze the fun out of it too soon, unless you like sticking to your pens and papers. So, for the ones who are looking for a fun yet effective approach to studying French, we have prepared this comprehensive guide to learning French online.
Why You Should Learn French Online
There are many reasons you should consider learning French. Maybe you have friends or family residing there, or you’re planning to visit France or a country that speaks the language. Perhaps you want to conduct business with someone from France. Or maybe, for romantic purposes, because your significant other is a native speaker. Whatever the reason, be excited!
Why Learn French?
With more than 229 million speakers worldwide, French is the 10th most spoken language globally. Even the basics of the interesting language can open you up to a world of opportunities. Maybe you have already found a clear source of motivation to learn French, but let’s talk about a few more reasons speaking French could be beneficial:
- A better experience when touring French-speaking nations: General people in the common tourist zones of France or any French-speaking country for that matter, have some level of English proficiency. But this is mostly the case with the younger generation. The older generation might not even speak one word in English. When taking a train, buying tickets or dining in a local restaurant in regions that don’t see a huge number of foreign visitors – the locals won’t be of much help if you don’t know French.
- Immerse yourself in the culture: Learn French to enjoy the French culture to the fullest. As you spend time learning the language, you will inevitably gather knowledge about the country’s culture. France is a country of rich cultural heritage with incredible feats in literature, art, film, music, and cuisine. Why not learn such a language?
- Not as hard as you think: We would like to bust the myth that French is a super demanding language. In reality, you can learn it pretty quickly. Learning any new language requires a certain level of dedication and effort, so that’s the case with French too. It’s nothing out of the ordinary. You will find yourself engaging with the culture or having conversations fast.
- Form real connections with the locals: A French speaker will bond with you faster if you know their native tongue – just like anyone would around the world. Language is one of the best forms of bridge between one person and another. The native speakers will appreciate you making an effort to understand and speak their language.
- Stepping stone to other languages: After you learn French, you will find it easier to master others. Related languages like Italian or Spanish will be much easier to study, as you have an understanding of what it is like to learn a new language.
Learning French Online – Considerations
Thanks to technology, everything can now be accessed on the internet. You don’t need to do in-person classes to master a language. Some language-learning performances have shown amazing results in helping a learner achieve intermediate or advanced level proficiency. You could be sitting at home with a cup of coffee as you study the sentence structures of French. Going out to attend an event you would rather not be at? Carry the lessons with you at all times so you can sneak a little session when you can.
Moreover, there is a plethora of resources on the internet that can pave the way to your fluency. Paid resources for every price range are available too. Learning French online doesn’t come with a budget restriction. If you didn’t notice already, the internet is huge. Any kind of needed resource can be found on your phone or laptop, and isn’t limited to in-person learning or local availability.
There are four aspects to mastering any language: reading, listening, writing, and speaking. In addition, cultural understanding can be marked as a valuable part of the experience. To learn French to the best of your ability, you must diversify the learning. How to do that? Employ resources from multiple categories that target each of the aspects carefully.
While acknowledging your learning strengths is extremely important, differentiating that from your skills is equally needed. For instance, if you find yourself able to understand and retain vocabulary and grammar concepts best through reading, congratulations because you have great learning strength. However, if you skip speaking intentionally and just stick to your reading materials because you’re inexperienced or nervous in that region, this is a huge mistake.
We will be mentioning some of the best online resources (platforms) where you can learn French. These contain everything you need to be fluent.
French Courses and Tutoring
Many people feel more comfortable in a classroom-style structure. If you’re one of them, you’re in luck! There are plenty of options to pick from, at a wide range of prices. Some websites offer tutors as well, which lets you get a more flexible, personalised, need-based experience.
Anyone interested in learning French should check out FrenchPod101. As the name suggests, this platform is based on a podcast method. The podcasts are available in both video and audio format, the latter being the ideal choice for learners always on the go.
They offer learning tools in the form of slideshows, flashcards, and word lists that align with the lessons and podcasts. FrenchPods101 holds plans and resources for everyone – from beginner to advanced. One can interact with native French speakers in two ways: the voice-recording tool that allows you to develop your pronunciation by comparing yours with that of the local speakers; or, get a Premium+ subscription to get 1-on-1 weekly lessons with a French teacher. The lesson will require you to do homework, a great option for people more accustomed to a structured approach.
One of the best things about this platform is the flexible pricing plans, making it the best budget option amongst the paid courses for French learning. Depending on your chosen subscription level and the duration you wish to learn, you can select from various price packages. Premium+, the most immersive plan costs you $549 for 24 months. Alternatively, the Premium plan is cheaper and will set you back $240 over 2 years. This comes with every feature of FrenchPod101 except the one-on-one learning programs.
Lingoda has an impressive base of native teachers, 24/7 class availability, and helpful downloadable material. Classes can be attended with just audio or a webcam. Both individual and group classes are also available.
Language levels go up from complete beginner to advanced. This is one of the best platforms to learn French online if you want to constantly hear the language beside you. The teachers are instructed to interact in French as much as they can, even for a beginner class.
One thing that can be both a disadvantage as much as an advantage is the structure of the classes. There is little flexibility in group classes, so don’t expect them to deviate from course material often. However, individual classes are much more flexible.
There are different plans within different price ranges depending on how often you want to do classes. It’s $9.5 per class for a monthly subscription of $6.75 per class for a 3, 6, and 12-month subscription. All plans come with a 7-day free trial.
For nine years, Duolingo has been an attractive and easy-to-use interface for learning a variety of languages. It’s offered in both a mobile and website application. This is a good option if you don’t want to pay to learn French online but there is a paid version too. While the paid version wouldn’t give you access to any higher levels (technically), it gives you offline functionality.
Duolingo is an interesting point for beginners to French. But we must mention that Duolingo alone won’t be enough to give you the most proficiency in the language. You can expect to be brought up to an upper beginner level. Try to refer to other forms of study if this is your chosen method to learn French online. That being said, we highly recommend Duolingo for the fun, easy, and welcoming interface. Plus, the essential basic vocabulary is inputted well.
If you thrive in a personalised learning environment, iTalki is the one for you. Learn French on iTalki from their community of 785 professional French tutors and teachers. The online platform charges $6 (base rate) for an hour. You can sort through teacher’s countries, prices, other languages spoken, and more by using the advanced search feature. After you narrow down the teachers, make sure to check out the short introduction videos, go through student reviews, and make an appointment for a trial lesson.
Every teacher and tutor on iTalki has a unique teaching method. It’s important to mention what you’re looking for. Prefer a structured approach with tons of notes and textbooks? Look up a professional teacher who drafts lessons based on textbooks. Just want to improve your speaking skills and want a native speaker to converse with? Get a tutor!
Berlitz is one of the oldest and most renowned language schools famous for its communicative, immersive style, learning, and using language with a natural flow. Although the corporation has hosted lessons for years at the language centres, you can now take up online classes. The French classes are taught by Berlitz-certified teachers, and you can sign up for other group or private classes as well.
You can also take up a program meant for online-self-paced studies, known as Berlitz Connect. The materials are provided online so you can study on your own. But you can also take up 30-minute teaching sessions with instructors too.
Their 12-week online group class gathers twice a week. The session lasts about 90 minutes and costs $1,620. Berlitz Connect with 10 speaking practice sessions costs approximately $699 for 6 months, or about $850 when going for the 12 months option.
For years, Rosetta Stone has been a household name to learn French. It’s one of the most popular and best self-paced language learning platforms. Choose from 25 languages! According to the company, the curriculum is entirely immersive, meaning you can learn from exposure to its intuitive contexts, trying to replicate the way we understand and learn our mother tongue naturally.
The materials of Rosetta Stone can be accessed from your mobile, desktop, or tablet. You get inclusions like audio companion lessons, a phrasebook, stories, as well as instant feedback from the company. They will use voice recognition software for the last. Additionally, some plans come with live tutoring now. Practice with native speakers to learn French online effortlessly.
A 3-month subscription to the online service costs about $12 a month, totalling $36. The Rosetta Stone Unlimited Language subscription costs roughly $179 for a year and $249 for two years.
The Bottom Line
You can learn French from multiple great sources, all of which will be determined by your needs. The online option is extremely popular now due to the convenience and ease it offers. You might be more comfortable with an in-person option, which many of the online platforms offer too. Looking to learn French? Get started today, with a wide range of learning sites to choose from!