Top 5 Sites to Learn French Online
First, let's look at why learning French is a good idea.
It's the world's second most-common language spoken by all speakers (both native speakers and people who use it as a second-language). Many lists of most-spoken languages list only native speakers, but it's far more useful to list languages that can be understood by a greater percentage of the world's population. In this regard, it's only behind English. So it's very useful.
Learning French will not only aid you in your travels abroad to French-speaking countries, but will also open doors to you in your career. Thanks to France's imperial past, it's widely dispersed throughout the globe, particularly on the African continent. As well as being spoken as a first-language in several of the world's business hotspots, including: Switzerland, Canada, France and Luxembourg.
Secondly, let's take a look at why it's a good idea to learn French online. Learning online is far less-expensive than learning through a tutor in most cases. It can also be done at your convenience. One of the biggest barriers to taking on something difficult -- that requires constant effort – is that it's very easy to make excuses for yourself if you are struggling to find the time. Learning online can be done when you do have the time to spare.
It also helps with revision. A tutor might provide you with some materials, such as MP3s and textbooks, but it's not always as comprehensive and as easy to access as an entire language course that you can constantly revise. You also do not need to stick to one website, you can benefit from several at a time, including some that are free.
So what are the top 5 sites for learning French online?
1) LiveMocha - Learn French Free Online
Though it constantly boasts of being free, it isn't actually free. It's based on the freemium model, meaning that you get some content for free but you have to pay for the best stuff. You can certainly make good-use of what's free and then pay for “beans” or a “gold key” when you're more advanced.
There's over 160 hours of French lessons available for free, with tips from native speakers and a focus on conversational French. The paid version allows you access to video and audio downloads, thorough grammar instruction and exercise reviews from instructors who are qualified to teach French. Overall, the paid content is a lot better and will give you a much more comprehensive course.
LiveMocha also boasts a great community. It's easy to use and the lessons are easy to understand. Far too many language learning courses throw you in at the deep-end without explaining what's going on LiveMocha lets you know what you're supposed to be doing and the human interaction can help bring you along quickly.
There's also a mobile app available.
2) Acadsoc - Best Platform for Learning French Online
Acadsoc is an online tutoring website for many subjects, with tutoring provided by academics from the world's top universities. Language learning is just one subjects they teach, and French is one they do very well. Because of the multitude of subjects offered, it might not be as well-known as other websites when it comes to learning a language, but it's far better than most dedicated language learning websites because of the quality of instruction.
The great thing about this website is that you know you're getting a person who knows their subject matter, rather than someone who's just thrown a course together. All of their professional tutors have graduated from an Ivy League university.
Much of the tutoring is done one-on-one, online. So you get all of the tutors undivided attention. Which means you cannot be held back by other students if you pick it up quickly, and you won't feel left behind if you do not.
There are free lesson trials available if you want to see how well the lesson format works. The paid lessons from then on are very competitively priced.
The French lessons are suited to students of all ability levels. The tutors really go out of their way to help you, and in addition to this there's 24/7 customer support available.
All of this makes Acadsoc one of the greatest French learning websites out there.
3) Busuu - Get Help from French Tutors
Like LiveMocha, Busuu also has a freemium payment model. It's very similar to LiveMocha, however it's not quite as good. If you want to use only the free content however, there's a little more of it available than on LiveMocha.
It's also a slightly more aesthetically pleasing layout, if that matters to you. This website excels in writing practice, which is an oft-neglected aspect of online language learning. Overall, it's a fantastic site to learn French, at least for the beginner-intermediate level.
4) Fluentify - Featured French Tutoring Service
Mostly, Fluentify is for the advanced French learner who wants to brush up on their conversational French, their pronunciations and accent. Though it's marketed as a natural way to learn, you'll struggle to learn a lot without having at least a decent knowledge of French before you start.
That being said, it has some major advantages for those that do have some knowledge of French. One being that you can choose from many tutors to find one you get along with. You can choose your tutors by common interests, accent and looks, which means that the conversation can often be much more natural. Just don't expect structured lesson plans and grammar rules to play a big part in your Fluentify experience. It's also a case that this unstructured, informal and conversational method may help you relate to French-speakers faster than with a classroom-style method.
5) Babbel - Learn French Online Free
The greatest thing about Babbel is that it's absolutely free, well, actually it's paid for by the tax payer contributions of some EU member states, so it's not absolutely free but free-to-use for everyone.
With it being free though, don't expect too much. It basically functions like a Rosetta Stone-lite. With a similar style to that of the RS program, though not quite as good.
There's also a lack of any kind of tutoring., as you would expect if tutors are not being compensated for their time in some manner. So a lot of learning is done through clicking multiple choice questions while viewing photographs and listening to recordings. You can contact other learners who are learning your native language and also speak French, but it's not the best way to learn as you may have difficulty understanding each other. These people are also not qualified tutors.
With all of this taken into account, it's probably the best free service out there, but doesn't come close to the best paid language learning websites. It's not a bad idea to start at Babbel, and see how you take to learning French online. If you are starting to advance you can always use a premium service in the future.