“I want to learn French. But where should I start, and is it really a useful language to learn?”
French is indeed a useful language to learn – much more than you might realize – and there are many options for you to start learning.
Even if French does not have the same total number of speakers as Spanish or Mandarian, it far exceeds them in terms of the places that speak French. French is more truly a global language, and an official language in 29 countries including:
- Europe (Belgium, Monaco, Switzerland)
- North America (Canada)
- Middle East and North Africa (Lebanon, Algeria, Morocco)
- Africa (Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, and others)
- the Caribbean (Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin)
- the Indian Ocean (Seychelles, Mauritius)
- South-East Asia (Vietnam)
- the Pacific Ocean (Vanuatu)
It is globally dominant in fields like art, cuisine, fashion, culture, history, literature, philosophy, diplomacy and politics.
There are many options for you to choose from, but if you are serious about learning French, you should really purchase your own French language learning software. Even if you are taking a course at school, Alliance Française, or elsewhere, having your own language learning software is essential. You can learn wherever, whenever, and however often you want, at your own pace.
The problem is that there are so many software options for you to choose from.
You have to be clear on why you want to learn French, as well: is it for school, for work, for travel, for pleasure, or a combination? Knowing this will help you decide what is the best French languge learning software for you.
We will review 4 of the most popular options here – Assimil, Rosetta Stone, Fluenz, and Rocket French – which should give you a good overview of the entire market of software offerings.
Assimil is not generally well-known among English speakers because it is a French-based language learning company. However, that is its strength for learning French, in particular.
They have an intimacy with the French language beyond most other courses designed for English speakers. Even their teaching methods are more French. For instance, it not only comes with 4 CDs, but also a 591 page book, which some might consider the best book to learn French. When you learn conversational French from Assimil, their is an air of authenticity that is unmatched.
For French, you must understand that formality is extremely important, once you want to get beyond a purely beginner’s level. The French language is so sophisticated and complex, that this is absolutely necessary for anyone who needs to engage with French literature or written French.
You can read customer reviews and purchase the product by clicking here:
Rosetta Stone is so popular around the world, and it has helped millions learn the second, third or fourth language of their choice.
Rosetta Stone’s method is distinctive, and you should decide whether it is what you need. Basically their philosophy is that you should learn any new language just the way a child would learn their first language, that is through pictures, images, situations, etc., figuring out the language WITHOUT ANY TRANSLATION TO ENGLISH. This philosophy on how to speak French fluently has achieved great success.
Rosetta Stone language learning software is expensive, however, and this has left quite a number of people dissatisfied with what it delivers, since it severely downplays grammar, language rules, and other aspects of written and formal language. For French, this is a serious drawback.
On the other hand, many people do not really want to learn all those difficult grammar rules, and they just want to get on with the task of communicating. Especially if you are a working professional, or a tourist who wants to explore places off the beaten tourist tracks, face-to-face communication is all you really want, and Rosetta Stone is great for that.
You can read reviews and get your copy here:
Please note that you do not have to buy the full set if it is out of your price range. They do also sell the first two levels for beginners as a separate and less expensive package.
Fluenz is a relative newcomer to the scene of language learning software, but they have made a huge impact with their high-quality and their own distinctive methods.
Fluenz has set itself up in direct opposition to Rosetta Stone and they insist that adults do not learn like children. They believe that it is absolutely necessary to give explanations in English in order for English-speaking users to understand a new language fully.
In addition to their distinct language learning philosophy on how to learn French easily, they really concentrate on providing beautiful, high-quality products. They are kind of like the Apple of language learning software as compared to Windows.
Their Fluenz French learning software, like Rosetta Stone, comes at a premium price, and they give you a wealth of language learning material. It is extremely thorough and complete, going well beyond learning French basics.
You can read customer reviews and purchase the product by clicking here.
Rocket French is produced by Rocket Languages, and is sort of the brash new kid on the block. They provide excellent quality and an extremely competitive price that really give their more expensive competitors a run for their money.
PC Magazine has even named Rocket Languages as its Editor’s Choice for language learning software.
The features that come with Rocket French are impressive, including community forums, lifetime membership, free premium upgrades, games, culture lessons, MP3 and iPod downloads, software to help you learn French pronunciation to properly develop your French accent, and more. They are really devoted to helping you learn French easily. They have listed a comparison chart below:
If you are on a budget, it is really a no-brainer that Rocket Languages provides the best value for money.
They do not offer as many resources as Fluenz, for example, but at 20 CDs, including 33 interactive lessons, 31 culture lessons, and 31 other lessons, their customer base is extremely satisfied. If you want to learn French online, for beginners this is excellent.
Our Recommendations: “I Want To Learn French”
So, to sum it all up, if you want language learning software to learn French, our recommendations are this:
For students taking a formal French course, Assimil is the best option.
For working professionals or travellers who can afford to pay a premium, and do not wish to take up your time with learning French grammar or language rules, then Rosetta Stone is for you.
If you are a stickler for quality and comprehensiveness, the Fluenz French is for you.
And Rocket French is the obvious choice for learning French for beginners, espcecially if you are on a budget.
There you go. Now you can move from saying, “I want to learn French!”, to now do something about it and take action right now. You really have nothing to lose, and a whole lot to gain.