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      October 19, 2017

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Best

French Lessons

  1. Rosetta Stone
  2. Innovative
  3. Pimsleur
  4. Transparent
  5. LingQ
  6. Unforgettable

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Best French Lessons

French Lessons are very popular right now. Are you finally going to take the trip to Paris that you have always dreamed of? Going to see the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Conciergerie, Notre Dame de Paris, and the Louvre in person - rather than looking at them in the pages of your travel guide?

Whether you are looking for a crash course to learn French, or want to build upon your existing knowledge of the language, there are a number of French language services available.French is one of the world's most prominent languages, spoken by about 350 million people worldwide. In fact, it is the official language of the United Nations and a number of international organizations.

Continue reading below reviews

2017

French Lessons Reviews

5 stars
Rocket Languages

ROCKET LANGUAGES Visit Site

Cost:

$99 - Full course by download

$299 - Full course by cd-rom

TopConsumerReviews.com Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award Rocket Languages' French lessons program is simple and effective - giving you the skills you need to learn the modern French language. Whether you are new to the French language or already very familiar with it, Rocket French enhances your ability to understand and speak French.

The French package contains the following:

  • Twenty-minute audio lessons (31). These lessons contain conversational French, and you will learn everyday phrases that can be used in the French community. You can listen to any lesson as many times as you want. Additionally, the transcripts of the conversations in the audio lessons are also included.
  • Grammar lessons (45). Grammar can be one of the more difficult concepts to understand, but is essential to learning a new language. These lessons contain 400 pages of grammar with 200 audio tracks and 788 activities to help you perfect the language.
  • The MegaVocab software game. This game allows you to review over 1,000 French words. This game has pictures to help you recall the words you have learned. The game also has audio, so you can practice your verbal comprehension.
  • Answers to your questions. Message boards allow you to post questions and receive answers from French teachers, native speakers, and fellow French students.

The website gives you the opportunity to sample a free, six-day course. This allows you to get a feel for the different lessons to determine whether Rocket French is a program that works for you.

Sample tracks of audio lessons are also available on the website, which we really enjoyed. The lessons are taught at an appropriate pace for learning and retention.

The product is offered with a 100%, eight-week money-back guarantee. Additionally, the website posts customer comments and product reviews. You also have the option to have the program shipped to you on a CD ROM. However, a less expensive option is to download the program straight to your computer.

We like everything Rocket French offers - from the free samples of the product to the variety of its lessons. If you want to teach yourself how to speak French quickly and economically, Rocket French is your best bet!

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4.5 stars
Rosetta Stone

ROSETTA STONE Visit Site

Cost:

From $299 to $499, depending on the levels purchased

Rosetta Stone is a well-known and efficient language-learning program. They teach language through "Dynamic Immersion," combining interactive technology with native speakers. The goal is to teach you in the same way that a child acquires and learns its native tongue. This is better than translation or memorization, which many other products use.

Rosetta Stone French offers its courses in three levels:

  • Level 1 - Starts at $209. This level teaches the foundations of the language. Level 1 is comprised of four different units: Basics (nouns, verbs, and so on), Friends and Family, Work and School, and Shopping.
  • Level 2 - Costs $239. This level teaches you how to talk about your environment. It builds on what is taught in Level 1. You can purchase Levels 1 and 2 for $339.
  • Level 3 - Costs $259. This final level teaches you how to use the basics and foundations of the language and apply them to real-life conversations. You will learn how to talk about everyday life, express your feelings, and discuss your ideas and opinions.

All three levels are available separately or you can purchase them together for $499. If you would like a more inexpensive option, three-, six-, and 12-month online subscriptions are available for a lower cost ($109.95-259.95). The information in the online subscription is equivalent to the Levels 1, 2 and 3 set. This is a good option, but remember that after your subscription expires,you will not be able to use the program to continue learning or review. Internet access is also required.

What sets this program apart is the different levels and options you have. In this way, you can select the product that best fits your needs. Rosetta Stone offers a six-month, complete, money back guarantee on their CD-ROM version. However, refunds do not apply if the product was not purchased directly from Rosetta Stone. Additionally, refunds are not available for the online version.

Rosetta Stone is the most professional product we reviewed. The website is well organized and easy to navigate. Additionally, language professors and public school teachers speak highly of the product and its uniquely effective method of language instruction. Just be aware that Rosetta Stone also comes with a higher price than many other competitors.

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3.5 stars
Innovative Language

INNOVATIVE LANGUAGE Visit Site

Cost:

$4+/month for Basic plan

$10+/month for Premium plan

$23+/month for Premium + plan

Innovative Language's FrenchPod101 program provides a wide variety of language instruction levels, from brand-new language learners to those looking to refine their accent or even learn about using French as a language of love!

The high-pressure sales pitch used by Innovative Language might make some prospective customers uncomfortable. The main site promises a free account with lifetime access, but no further information is available until you enter your name, email address, and level of learning (absolute beginner, intermediate advanced), and then activate your account once you receive the email. The confirmation page then takes you to a "limited, one-time offer" that includes the following:

  • One month of premium access (regular price of $25/month)
  • One free product download (starting at $9.99)
  • 7-day Fluency Fast Course
  • Ultimate Getting Started with French Lesson Pack, with 50 French audio lessons and lesson notes, 10 bonus video lessons, and user guide

In order to access this "one-time offer", you'll need to pay $1 as a "bandwidth fee". Otherwise, click on the "No Thanks" link and it will take you to your main account page. On that page, we got yet another "special offer", explaining that we had now been given a 7-day free trial with access to the entire lesson library and Premium tools, but we could get a 10% discount if we upgraded to a subscription plan that day. Fortunately, the sales pitch seems to finish there, as you can jump directly to audio Absolute Beginner Lesson 1, "Bistrot Français: Easy Self-Introductions in French".

In that sample lesson, we particularly like that the audio speed can be changed right on the main screen if you need to hear the lessons more slowly (or more quickly!). Also be sure to check out the spot at the top of the lesson that says "Download PDFs". Here you'll find a transcript of the lesson, lesson notes (including cultural notes and grammar explanations), and checklists to help you track your progress through the materials.

From that point, we found it difficult to know the recommended path(s) for logically progressing through the lessons. We saw that there are also video lessons, so we went to the series "Learn French in Three Minutes" found under the "Lessons" heading on the main page. Those videos made more sense than the audio files, but we weren't sure if we needed to follow the instructions to "add course to dashboard".

We recommend that students go to the Lessons navigation at the top of the page, and select "Learning Paths": here you will find groups of lessons categorized as Absolute Beginner, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. The content initially looks skimpy - for example, under the "Advanced" section of the Learning Paths, it appears to only contain two areas of instruction. However, looking more closely, we saw that the "Flexing Your Fluency" area includes a total of 89 lessons, or nearly five hours of content.

Additionally, the learning dashboard shows the recommended lesson progression under the "My Pathway" heading, access to flashcards and other tools, and access to the "My Teacher" feature included with Premium Plus memberships.

We were also confused by the pricing for Innovative Language's packages. On one page, it said that their packages were priced at $4/month for the Basic plan, $10/month for the Premium package, and $25/month for Premium+; however, on the main pricing FAQ page, the prices were listed as nearly double those amounts. The difference? The higher prices are for a 1-month subscription, and the lower prices reflect a 50% discount given for a 24-month subscription. Keep that in mind as you decide which plan meets your needs and your budget, and be sure to compare the features offered at each subscription level (e.g. interactive voice recording is included with Premium and Premium+ only, while printer-friendly lesson notes are included with all paid memberships).

Innovative Language does offer a guarantee. If you are unsatisfied with your membership at any level, you may request a refund within 60 days. Be aware that you will only be refunded for the unused time on your membership plan.

Because of the breadth of the content offered and the solid variety of teaching approaches (audio, video, MP3 downloads, mobile apps), we give Innovative Language's FrenchPod101 a respectable rating. This rating could improve with fewer hoops for prospective customers to jump through in order to check out what the French program has to offer, and less emphasis on the sales pitch.

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3 stars
Pimsleur

PIMSLEUR Visit Site

Cost:

$150 per level via download (30 lessons)

$575 for levels 1-5 via download (150 lessons)

Options available for MP3 and CD delivery

Pimsleur has been in the language lessons market for many years, establishing itself as the premier way to learn by listening. Do you find that you remember what you hear more than what you see? You'll definitely want to try the free 30-minute French lesson on the Pimsleur site - just be aware that you'll have to enter your name and email address to access it. Once you've listened to it, we think you'll come away with a good understanding of a typical introduction in French.

Although the main foundation of Pimsleur's French language instruction is auditory, the "Unlimited Software" option includes visual, interactive components like flash cards. However, there's no way to try out this part of Pimsleur's package; given that most of their competitors focus so heavily on visual learning, it would have been easier to compare program features if Pimsleur offered a sample of this part of their instruction.

If you decide that Pimsleur is the way you'd like to study French, be prepared for a big hit to your wallet: each level of French Unlimited Software (30 lessons per level) sells for $150, or you can buy all five levels as a package at a discounted price of $575. These are all provided via digital download. You can also buy just the audio MP3s or CDs, but it won't save you any money: you'll pay $550 for 81 hours of MP3s or $1,190 for the same lessons on CD. These audio lessons are the same ones that come with the Unlimited Software downloads, so it's hard to imagine why a customer would opt for the more expensive choices.

All of Pimsleur's French lessons are eligible for the FlexPay plan, which allows you to divide the total cost into three monthly payments, interest-free. You'll need to see their FAQ section for more details, to determine if you qualify for their payment plan.

While many of the French lessons we reviewed have some kind of return/satisfaction policy, Pimsleur provides a "Proficiency Guarantee": if you buy and complete the Pimsleur Level 1 French program within 60 days of purchase but you fail the novice-level test, Pimsleur will issue a full refund. We were left with several questions, especially when the link to the third-party testing site, Language Line, gave us a 404 Not Found error. Other than this "Proficiency Guarantee", Pimsleur offers no refunds for digital downloads.

Pimsleur earns high marks for the quality of its audio lessons, but the steep price tag and lack of a customer-friendly return policy make the competition look a little more attractive.

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3 stars
Transparent Language

TRANSPARENT LANGUAGE Visit Site

Cost:

$49.95

Transparent Language's French Before You Know It product features 1,000 words and 250 phrases. Whether you are just starting to learn French or already have a mastery of the language, you can use this product by customizing your own flash card list.

You will receive free vocabulary lists to share with other people. French Before You Know It also allows you to make audio flashcards of your lists to put on your iPod or MP3 player. Additionally, the product features activities and games that focus on strengthening your French listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills.

The product is available for download or as a boxed set. The software is compatible with both Windows and Macs (additional system requirements are listed on the website). The product comes with a 30-day, money-back guarantee. A smaller, sample version is available for a free download.

Transparent Language offers many free online games and quizzes. They also feature a free French word of the day, French proficiency test, and French articles to read. Even if you do not decide to purchase the product, check out the website and all of the freebies it offers. However, French Before You Know it cannot compare to the higher-rated products in our review.

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3 stars
LingQ

LING Q Visit Site

Cost:

Free for 5 lessons/month and 20 LingQs (target words), no Conversations access

$10/month for unlimited lessons and LingQs, 50% discount on Conversations "points"

$39/month for unlimited lessons and LingQs, 3,000 included points/month, 50% discount on additional points

LingQ (which is said like the word "link") is ideal for self-directed French students who are looking for real-world experience with the language. LingQ gives students texts using authentic materials in French - like magazine articles and novels - audio lessons for reviewing the texts, and facilitates connections between native speakers of French and students.

On the one hand, we appreciate LingQ's approach to teaching French: namely, that the best way to learn a language is to have up-to-date examples in written and spoken form. But, we were left less than impressed by the sample video lesson and didn't feel confident that a student would gain solid fluency in French using the LingQ method. The rationale for the structure of LingQ's French lessons comes almost exclusively from the experience of creator Steve Kaufmann, rather than a research-based, academic approach to teaching a foreign language. Kaufmann himself says that deep, personal motivation is key for succeeding with the LingQ method, which might not be a great fit for French students who just want to earn a school credit or get some extra help with the language.

We also felt that many new LingQ users would be confused by the "pay to play" structure of LingQ's connection system. In order to get the help of a native speaker of French (either for conversation practice or writing corrections), students must use "points". 3,000 points are automatically included with the highest membership level, while a 50% discount is offered to subscribers at the $10/month level. So, how much does it cost to work with a LingQ native speaker "helper"? A one-on-one conversation costs 500 points ($5) for 15 minutes, and a 100-word writing correction goes for 333 points ($3.33). From what we've seen, French students can usually get free help from native speakers, both online and in "real life", rather than having to pay for each interaction.

On a positive note, we did find a solid number of testimonials - both on the LingQ website as well as on independent sites and user reviews - that praise the LingQ method for helping French students genuinely improve their fluency. We do strongly suggest that you explore LingQ's free membership and all of its resources before committing to a membership, to make sure you know exactly what you're getting.

Overall, we give LingQ average marks. Although we may be somewhat puzzled by the structure of their French lessons, it's hard to argue with reviews that say that LingQ has been a great fit for their way of learning the language.

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2 stars
Unforgettable Languages

UNFORGETTABLE LANGUAGES Visit Site

Cost:

$64

Unforgettable French specializes in speed-learning using the "Linkword" method, which links one English word to another English word that sounds similar to the French word. Once you make this connection, picturing these words in your mind for 10 seconds will enable you to better remember and retain the meaning of the French word. The company claims that once you learn French using their program, you will remember it for life.

Unforgettable French comes in four different levels. Each level teaches you about 350 different French words. It also has brief grammar lessons at the end. All lessons use native speakers for their audio clips.

A demonstration is featured on the website to provide an accurate picture of what an actual lesson is like. In this demo, you are taught six French words using the program's speed learning technique. Additionally, you will be able to see the short grammar lessons and quizzes that are offered at the end of each section. The day after we used the demo, we remembered the six words we were taught. Before purchasing the product, we strongly recommend using the demo to experience their speed-learning method. This will help you determine whether this type of program is right for you. Additionally, if you are not satisfied after purchasing the product, there is a 30-day, money-back guarantee.

Unforgettable French helps the learner make connections to remember words easily. If you are already enrolled in a French course and have trouble remembering vocabulary words, Unforgettable French may help you better recall the information. However, we felt the grammar lessons were weak and translation was rather slow. Additionally, comparing a French word to an English word might adversely affect your ability to correctly pronounce the word. Overall, Unforgettable French is just a glorified set of flashcards. Therefore, we recommend one of the higher-rated selections.

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Continued from above

In France, the French language must be used in official government publications, public education, and legal contracts. French is one of the four official languages of Switzerland, the official language of Luxembourg, and one of Canada's two official languages. Additionally, in the United States, French is the third most spoken language.

Whether you are new to the French language or want to perfect your French pronunciation and grammar, there are a number of French lessons programs that can help you. While many French lessons cater to novices, there are systems that offer a number of instructional levels to enable you to advance your knowledge of the French tongue.

When choosing the right French lessons for you, it's important to consider the program's methods. Some French lessons offer a number of training tools such as flash cards, grammar lessons, audio lessons, and games. On the other hand, some French lessons only use one method of instruction, which might not match your personal learning style. Therefore, it is very important to find a French lessons service that employs an instructional method that fits both your learning needs and skill set.

When looking for French lessons, there are certain factors you need to consider. Some of these include:

  • Instructional Methods. Do the French lessons employ a teaching method that supports your personal learning style?
  • Skill Level. Are the French lessons geared toward beginning French speakers or individuals with a more advanced grasp of the language? Once you have learned the basics, can you continue the French lessons to build upon this knowledge?
  • Value. Do the French lessons provide superior value for its price?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best French lessons available today. We hope these reviews help you learn the world's foremost romance language right away!

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