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Babbel Review

Sunday, April 14th

2024 French Lesson Reviews

Babbel Review 4.5 Star Rating


4.5 Star Rating
  • Placement quiz
  • Speech recognition
  • Free trial
  • Continual review to improve long-term learning

Babbel knows that learning French takes practice and repetition. With several lessons at the beginner and intermediate levels, all including review of the previously-taught material, you have plenty of opportunity to improve your language ability here.

Start out running

Babbel starts out right away with conversational phrases so you can meet people when you travel, and their speech recognition technology gives you feedback to see if you would be understood. The lessons are created by linguists and are in accordance with the official European levels of fluency markers. If you don't care to learn on your own with the online program, there's Babbel Live where you can take live classes, as many as you like, within your subscription time period.

Your first lesson includes French you can use in conversation

You'll start out with French phrases that are usable conversationally. This can give you a boost of confidence and motivation to want to speak right away. Some popular online French programs may never get to actual conversational phrases, and instead you'll talk about what the boy eats or where the girl goes. Not with Babbel.

You'll learn from linguists

Babbel's courses are prepared by linguists and the levels you reach are the levels that European students use when advancing in their language courses. You know that your European level A1 actually means something rather than simply moving from one random lesson to another. Babbel's goal is to get you to move higher on the European fluency scale.

You can know where to start, even if you've had French lessons in the past

Take their placement quiz to show what you've remembered from your previous classes, and they'll place you in your appropriate level. Would you rather just start from the beginning? Sure, you can do that, too.

How it works

Your Babbel lesson presents the material, and then you'll practice it with fill-in-the-blank activities, match words and images, and you can repeat spoken words into your mic and get feedback on your pronunciation. The added bonus is that there's a review bar at the bottom of the page so you can practice vocabulary that you have learned in previous lessons to make sure you haven't forgotten it.

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It recognizes your voice

Do you ever wonder if you'll be understood by a native speaker once you start speaking French? Babbel can help with that when you connect your microphone. Babbel's speech recognition technology listens to your voice and compares it to their native French speaker so you can have instant feedback. It's not perfect, and most speech-recognition isn't, but it is good.

It's great for beginners or intermediate French learners, but not if you're advanced

There are several lessons to help the beginning French learner, and many others in the intermediate level. Once you get to an advanced level of French, you'll want to choose one of our other highly recommended online French programs to hone your skills as Babbel probably won't get you there.

Spaced recognition really helps

Babbel has a key method for retaining what you've learned, known as spaced recognition. This is where you'll learn words and phrases, practice them, and move on to the next lesson. In that following lesson, they'll sneak in those previously-learned words so you can commit them deeper to memory. It's a style that language teachers use in the classroom - under a few different names - and they find it quite helpful for their students' progress.

Babbel uses an appropriate amount of English

When you want to know why you'd greet an adult differently than you'd greet a child, Babbel explains that to you. They're careful to overtly explain why certain words and phrases are used in different situations rather than have you stop and deduce it on your own. In this method, it's a better use of your time to just get an answer to your question "why" rather than wonder and maybe you'll figure it out in time. Because Babbel will use English to help you learn, you'll get the answers you need.

They remind you to take your lessons

Habits can be hard to start, and our busy lives can get in the way. Babbel recognizes this and offers you push notifications to take your lessons. You tell them if you want notifications daily or otherwise, and when you want to learn - perhaps first thing in the morning, during a lunch break, or maybe just before you retire to bed. Let Babbel help you find and keep the rhythm.

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Here are the current prices for Babbel as of the time of our review:

  • Babbel Traditional
    • 6 months for $89.70 ($14.95 per month)
    • 12 months for $179.40 ($14.95 per month)
    • Lifetime access for $239
  • Babbel Live
    • 1 month for $99
    • 3 months for $209 ($70 per month)
    • 6 months for $359 ($60 per month)
    • 12 months for $500 ($50 per month)

Free trial

Once you sign up for Babbel, free of charge, you can try the first lesson in each course at no cost. This is a good way to find out what you'll learn at each level as well as a bit of a taste for Babbel, and that's the point. You'll have enough access for that taste, but not to really have free lessons and learn a significant amount of French, and still be encouraged to make a purchase.

Try Babbel Live for something different

Babbel Live consists of real, live classes via video chat. The room will have six or fewer students and you can take as many classes as you like in a month. These classes can also start at the beginning level (A1), and they will continue through an advanced level (C1). These level designations are official European fluency levels, where you know exactly what you'll be able to do at each level - they are not random company-based designations. Enjoy the class in French, take notes, review material, and don't worry about homework or tests, as there aren't any. When you sign up for Babbel Live, you'll also have access to their app and online material in the traditional Babbel format. Students of Babbel Live must be 16 or older.

There's a money-back guarantee

Babbel has a 20-day money-back guarantee that starts the day you sign up. Be sure to contact customer service within that time period to receive your full refund if Babbel's not for you.

Babbel keeps you interested while you learn real, conversational French

From the get-go, you'll learn useful, conversational phrases with Babbel. The lessons aren't random, as they coordinate with the official European fluency levels. There's always an opportunity to review as you learn and move forward with your skills. The speech recognition software gives you confidence to know if you'd be understood by a French person, and if you want actual, live classes, try Babbel Live. Babbel is great for all of these reasons. Our only wish is that they would carry their French lessons into the highest fluency levels for those who are pretty fluent and want to hone their skills.

Who Offers the Best French Lessons?

When we think of someone speaking French, we think soothing and seductive, as it's simply dreamy to hear. We think of the romance of Paris with the Eiffel Tower, of Southern France with the rolling lavender fields, of the Alps with the snow-capped mountains, of the coast with the warm sandy beaches. And of course there's the decadent French food and wine.

Learning French allows you to more fully enjoy French culture. When you learn French, it opens the door to learning phrases that the French speakers use in conversation, manners and mannerisms, how the French live and interact in everyday situations, and perhaps gaining an appreciation and insight into their art and history. There are so many doors to be unlocked once you take the first step.

The Best French Lessons Compare French Lessons Compare French Lesson Reviews What are the best French Lessons Best French Lesson Reviews

French Lesson FAQ

That can be a tricky question! It's estimated that there are about 76 million people who speak French fluently as their first language. But, there are another 235 million individuals that use French daily and fluently without it being their native tongue, plus up to 110 million who use it as a second language with varying levels of proficiency. Beyond France itself, you'll find speakers throughout Africa, India, the Caribbean, and Canada.
There are many different French dialects, depending on where it's spoken, but for the most part they're all mutually understandable. If you learned French from a Parisian and then traveled to Montreal, you would still be able to use the language without much of a problem - though you might need to pick up new vocabulary and train your ear to hear it a little differently. It's similar to the regional accents you'll find within the US - think of how English is spoken in New York vs. Texas, for example - or how English differs depending on whether you're in Canada, England, or Australia.
According to the US State Department, French is a Category I language. That means that French is closely related to English, making it easy to learn! (Spanish, Italian, Swedish, and Romanian are some of the other languages in that category.) Most students of French find the language to be somewhat familiar, which makes it more comfortable to study and to retain the vocabulary.
Start by learning some basic vocabulary. If you've got plans to use French in a specific context, like an upcoming vacation or a business meeting, choose some words and phrases that you'll need there. And, as with any language, the more you can expose yourself to the way it's used by native speakers, the more you'll pick up without even trying. Many students swear by watching TV shows and movies in French (with or without subtitles)!
You won't find a way to learn French that's more convenient or affordable, that's why! While French is one of the most commonly-taught languages in American schools, it can still be hard to find a class that fits your busy schedule. Even if you can find one that works, you may pay a lot of money for a semester of coursework; for that same investment, you could access years of online French lessons.
One reason French is easier to learn than some languages is because it uses the same alphabet is English - mostly. There are a few different characters that you'll need to know how to produce. Fortunately, they're not hard to make: on a smartphone, you can usually hold down the base letter (like c, e, or a) and accented options will pop up. On a desktop pc, there are shortcuts you can use when typing.
Not at all. You could pay under $300 for three levels of French coursework, or study as long as you like on a subscription plan that ranges from $4 to $23 per month. That's much more affordable than in-person lessons!
Each language platform has different policies regarding satisfaction guarantees and refunds. For subscription-based French lessons, you can probably cancel future payments but might not get your money back for what you've already spent. If you've paid a one-time fee for a language program, there may be a 30- to 60-day refund period. We recommend utilizing any trial options offered by a French lessons program before committing to it: you can usually find sample lessons or a one-week all-access pass, and that will help you get a feel for how the platform teaches French.
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Continued from above...

Naturally, when we think French we think of France. Yet French is actually a global language and the official language of 29 countries, so you can practice your French language skills in more than one place. French is also a heritage language in all or part of Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, and even the US - like Louisiana.

Picking up the French language may be easier than you might think. Some of us are intimidated by the unusual sounds and the silent letters, but did you know that there are many words that look like English? We'll bet you know these French words: table, responsable, ambiance, brilliance. There are about 1,700 words in French that look like the English word, so there's a good start.

When choosing among the several options for online French lessons, here are some things to consider:

  • Free trial. Look to see if there's a chance to try out the lessons before you buy them to see if this is how you want to learn and to see if you'll stay motivated. Most options include at least a free trial, and some have free access to a limited amount of lessons so you might be able to get all of what you want for free.
  • How they teach. Today there is such a variety of teaching methods in the various online French lesson companies. You can learn individual words with flashcards first and then build to speaking or reading. Some teach by where you hear conversational phrases and build on those. Some build their lessons around grammar and vocabulary while others don't teach grammar specifically - you'll innately catch on the more you practice. Some cut to the chase like textbooks and some use AR and VR to keep you hooked and motivated.
  • How much French you may already know. If you're a beginner, the French lesson world is your oyster - there's so much for you to choose from. If you are at the advanced level and want to polish your skills, most online programs don't teach to your level; though there are a few that could work for you.
  • Your budget. There are some programs where you should be able to get quite a bit of practice for free. Others have a reasonable cost. Some have options for you to have a one-on-one instructor, and those will cost a bit more.
  • One-time purchase or monthly subscription. There's the good, old fashioned way of purchasing a course, and that's where you keep the lessons, learning at your own pace, guilt-free if you need to take a long break. The subscription method is where you pay per month or year to use the product and it automatically renews at the end of that subscription time. You'll be motivated to not take a long hiatus from lessons if you know that your subscription auto renews whether you use it or not.
  • Satisfaction guarantee. Most have a period of time where you can try out the courses to know if you really like them and want to continue. If you're not happy within that time, simply ask for a full refund

Top Consumer Reviews has researched and ranked the most popular French courses available today, to make it easy for you to choose how you'll want to learn French. Whether you're thinking of learning French for the first time or brushing up on what you may have taken in high school, now is a great time to learn French online as there are such a variety of French lesson programs out there. We're sure you'll find at least one that you'd like to try.

Compare French Lessons

Select any 2 French Lessons to compare them head to head

  • Busuu
  • Rosetta Stone
  • Babbel
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  • Memrise
  • Mondly
  • Rocket Languages
  • French Pod 101
  • Pimsleur
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  • Fluenz
  • Unforgettable Languages
  • LingQ
  • Strokes International
Busuu vs Rosetta Stone Busuu vs Babbel Busuu vs Italki Busuu vs Memrise Busuu vs Mondly Busuu vs Rocket Languages Busuu vs French Pod 101 Busuu vs Pimsleur Busuu vs Ouino Busuu vs Fluenz Busuu vs Unforgettable Languages Busuu vs LingQ Busuu vs Strokes International Rosetta Stone vs Babbel Rosetta Stone vs Italki Rosetta Stone vs Memrise Rosetta Stone vs Mondly Rosetta Stone vs Rocket Languages Rosetta Stone vs French Pod 101 Rosetta Stone vs Pimsleur Rosetta Stone vs Ouino Rosetta Stone vs Fluenz Rosetta Stone vs Unforgettable Languages Rosetta Stone vs LingQ Rosetta Stone vs Strokes International Babbel vs Italki Babbel vs Memrise Babbel vs Mondly Babbel vs Rocket Languages Babbel vs French Pod 101 Babbel vs Pimsleur Babbel vs Ouino Babbel vs Fluenz Babbel vs Unforgettable Languages Babbel vs LingQ Babbel vs Strokes International Italki vs Memrise Italki vs Mondly Italki vs Rocket Languages Italki vs French Pod 101 Italki vs Pimsleur Italki vs Ouino Italki vs Fluenz Italki vs Unforgettable Languages Italki vs LingQ Italki vs Strokes International Memrise vs Mondly Memrise vs Rocket Languages Memrise vs French Pod 101 Memrise vs Pimsleur Memrise vs Ouino Memrise vs Fluenz Memrise vs Unforgettable Languages Memrise vs LingQ Memrise vs Strokes International Mondly vs Rocket Languages Mondly vs French Pod 101 Mondly vs Pimsleur Mondly vs Ouino Mondly vs Fluenz Mondly vs Unforgettable Languages Mondly vs LingQ Mondly vs Strokes International Rocket Languages vs French Pod 101 Rocket Languages vs Pimsleur Rocket Languages vs Ouino Rocket Languages vs Fluenz Rocket Languages vs Unforgettable Languages Rocket Languages vs LingQ Rocket Languages vs Strokes International French Pod 101 vs Pimsleur French Pod 101 vs Ouino French Pod 101 vs Fluenz French Pod 101 vs Unforgettable Languages French Pod 101 vs LingQ French Pod 101 vs Strokes International Pimsleur vs Ouino Pimsleur vs Fluenz Pimsleur vs Unforgettable Languages Pimsleur vs LingQ Pimsleur vs Strokes International Ouino vs Fluenz Ouino vs Unforgettable Languages Ouino vs LingQ Ouino vs Strokes International Fluenz vs Unforgettable Languages Fluenz vs LingQ Fluenz vs Strokes International Unforgettable Languages vs LingQ Unforgettable Languages vs Strokes International LingQ vs Strokes International
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