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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

French and Francophone Studies: Language

Apps for Your Phone and Computer

Beelinguapp is a free app exclusively for mobile devices and focuses on learning and practicing languages through reading. Within the app, you can listen and read stories in your language of choice, as well as follow along with its English translation. The side-by-side reading lets you check any vocabulary or sentences you don't quite understand. A variety of stories are available, including folk and fairy tales, mysteries, classics, and more. 

Access for Apple Devices            Access for Android Devices

Busuu is a free language learning app, providing access to lessons for twelve languages. The app uses the four main language concepts--reading, speaking, listening, and writing--and provides tailored lessons to aid in the learning process. Additionally, Busuu can connect users to native speakers, who can provide feedback on lessons, writings, and more. You can access the app on your computer or mobile device.

Access for Apple Devices                      Access for Android Devices

Drops is a free app that uses game-style mechanics to help you learn the language. The short, five minute lessons combine aesthetically pleasing word games with mnemonic devices. Drops also has a companion app, called Scripts, for learning character-based languages (or languages with a different writing system). While the basic app is free, there are also subscription options for more features. In addition to accessing the app on your device, you may also try it in your browser or download it to your computer.

Access for Apple Devices        Access for Android Devices

Duolingo is a free language learning application that you can use on your computer or your mobile device. The app uses a game-like system to aid learning, letting you accumulate points for every correct answer, and even allowing you to compete against your friends. Small, short lessons make up a majority of Duolingo exercises, and the more you use the app, the more personalized your lessons become. There are a variety of languages available (with more being added every day), and no limit to how many you can learn! Best of all, you can practice your language skills wherever and whenever you want! 

Access for Apple Devices                  Access for Android Devices

 

Babbel- This app is a paid "cousin" of Duolingo, though with 40 free lessons, it is a great option! Each class uses pictures to teach you vocabulary. Then the words you learned are used in related phrases and short dialogues adjusted to the the level you are at to build conversation skills. There are handy pop-ups that explain the most important grammatical points related to the learned material and if you are on a computer, they also include short cultural notes. You can also get separate packages devoted to improving specific skills such as grammar or vocabulary if you already have some experience with the language and only want to improve certain skills. Lastly, Babbel’s classes can be downloaded and kept offline for you to study.

Access for Apple Devices                    Access for Android Devices

Memrise is a free app designed to adapt to your needs as you learn a new language. It provides audio and video clips from native speakers to help with pronunciation, vocabulary building, and to grow your own speaking skills. Rather than focusing on grammar, Memrise prioritizes speaking confidently and learning how to communicate. 

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Mondly is a free app that uses course materials, chatbots, and augmented reality to aid the language learning process. They have 33 languages to choose from, and even allows you to learn a new language using your native language, instead of from English. This is relatively unique amongst language apps. The free version of Mondly gives you a daily lesson as well as seven other "Hello" lessons. Like Duolingo, Mondly awards you points for correct answers, even ranking you among other users in a friendly competition.

Access for Apple Devices                  Access for Android Devices

Conversational Apps

HelloTalk is a language learning app that focuses on learning through conversation. The app connects you to native speakers of the language you wish to learn, as well as allows you to teach them your native language as well. You can communicate with them through messages, voice recordings, video and voice calls, and even drawings. Additionally, the app provides language tools to help with pronunciation, translation, and tools to correct grammar or vocabulary errors within messages.

Access for Apple Devices           Access for Android Devices 

Like HelloTalk, Tandem is a language exchange app that uses communication with native speakers to help teach or aid in language acquisition. After joining Tandem, users may start conversations with native speakers of the language they wish to learn. Communication methods include text messages and voice and video calling/recording. Additionally, there are correction and translation tools for users, so they can correct grammar and vocabulary while chatting with one another.

Access for Apple Devices              Access for Android Devices

​HiNative- A Free App! This app makes learning correct pronunciation a breeze. It allows you to get the benefits of getting in touch with native speakers without the hassle of searching for an exchange partner or having to schedule a chat. Anything is up for question here; you can ask for translations, input on pronunciation, or advice on cultural norms. You can also help fellow learners with the knowledge of your own language(s)! 

Access for Apple Devices            Access for Android Devices

Rosetta Stone

The Library subscribes to Rosetta Stone Foundations, which features 30 languages from around the globe. To enter the database, go to Rosetta Stone Foundations/ Alternative link . You can also use Rosetta Stone on a mobile device. To get set up, use the Tutorial for Rosetta Stone Mobile.

If you have trouble entering the database and signing up for an account, contact Paula Carns at pcarns@illinois.edu.

If you have difficulties once you set up your account, please use the "Contact Support" option at Rosetta Stone (linked off of the entry page).

Free Online Courses

Bonjour de France--a "cypermagazine' for learning French with videos, quizzes and games.

Mooc - Free Online Courses offered by Universities. Click on the orange tab GO TO COURSE in the middle of the page, and choose whichever course fits your needs -the World Mentoring Academy, or Self-Paced, or the Foreign Service Institute, and upon receiving the list of results, select the second page and get to the French link. There are also other languages like Italian, German, Chinese, Spanish and many others.

Français Interactiv--The Department of French at UTAustin offers an online course with PFFs for learning French.

Le Point du FLE--A gateway to lessons and activites as well as links to the best online tools for learning French as a foreign language.

 

Radio France Internationale's Savoirs--offers audio podcasts on a wide range of topics along with exercises

 

C.A.F.E : French Courses -- Free exercises and dictionaries

Amélioration du Français : Improve Your French -- Online exercises

Print & Electronic Textbooks

The UIUC Library has a number of print and electronic textbooks for learning French. Below are a selection of them. To find more, search search the Catalog using the subject heading:

French Language Textbooks.

 

Electronic Textbooks

Rochester, Myrna Bell. Easy French Step-by-Step: Online Version. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009.

 


Print Textbooks


Muyskens, Judith A. Bravo!: communication, grammaire, culture et littérature. Boston: Heinle & Heinle, c2002.

 

 Carpenter, C. and Broady, E. Savoir-fare: An Advanced French Course. London; New York: Routledge, 2000.

Vocabulary Building

Duffy, Jean H. Using French Vocabulary. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1999.--Vocabulary is arranged in 20 chapters according to theme, from the human body to shapes and patterns, to agriculture and industry. A variety of exercises are included.


Fischer, Wolfgang and Le Plouhinec, Anne-Marie. Mastering French Vocabulary. Barron's: New York, 2003.-- Vocabulary is arranged by 24 thematic sections (ie. Communications and Mass Media and The Economy and Business). 

Flashcard Apps--An excellent way to build vocabulary is with Flashcard apps. To find the best ones, search online for "flashcard apps for language learning."

Free French Podcasts

Learn French by Podcasts iTunes A well-reviewed series of lessons for beginners and those who want to brush up on their French.

 

Learn French with Daily Lessons iTunes These lessons are brought to you by French teachers from Paris. They are best suited for those who already have some beginning French under their belts. While the podcasts are free, the texts must be purchased.

Native French Speech Podcast iTunes  Listen to interesting conversations between Native French speakers and learn about everyday life in France and cultural French topics.

 

The French Podcast These podcasts, presented by a Franco-English couple living in a small town near Lyon, offer natural, authentic french conversations, audio notes at the end of each podcasts, and full, free transcripts of the conversations. 

CDs for learning French

 

Barriol, Jenny. French without the Fuss. New York: Living Language, 2002. Book plus CDs

 

Pimsleur French Langauge Series

Pimsleur language programs. French I A  the complete course. New York, NY : Simon & Schuster Audio, 2001.

Pimsleur language programs. French II A : the complete course.  New York, NY : Simon & Schuster Audio, 2003.

Pimsleur language programs. French I B : the complete course. New York, NY : Simon & Schuster Audio, 2001.

Pimsleur language programs. French II B : the complete course. New York, NY : Simon & Schuster Audio, 1998.

Ultimate French: Beginner-Intermediate. New York: Living Language, 2004. Book plus CDs

Ultimate French: Advanced. New York: Living Language, 2003. Book plus CDs