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Language Learning Suggestion - School or App

I will be moving soon to London. I want to learn French since my better half is French. He has recommended me to go take private lessons from a local language school and then practice my language with him in our free time. However I am more of a person that enjoys learning when I had to do lot of research and learn by myself. So basically going with apps and blogs on the internet would be my favorite option. Do you guys really think learning by spending money is a good option or I should not spend money? The school he recommended is, although their reviews seem positive, spending money is just a bit against my own rules.

I will be grateful if you guys could share some good blogs and apps that allow free learning.

Posted by
8293 posts

Since you seem to favour the app option, why have you bothered to give the website of that particulate language school? Why does your husband recommmend it? You have a French husband but only when you are relocating to LONDON do you wish to learn French. How odd.

Posted by
901 posts

If you are looking for an app, have you considered Coffee Break French? They have an excellent free podcast as well as an add-on option for a small fee. The instructors, while Scottish, do an excellent job and the format is easy to follow.

Posted by
17363 posts

People have different learning styles. I vastly prefer the academic approach that introduces the student to aspects of the language's structure (gender of nouns, conjugation of verbs, etc.) from the beginning. If you want to become fluent in a language, you need something besides parroting back words and sentences.

I find that in-person instruction, whether tutoring (more expensive) or in a classroom (less expensive) works much, much better for me than pure self-study. I receive more comprehensive instruction, and I'm more inclined to practice outside of the class, if only because I don't want to show up in the next class looking like a fool. I've taken classes in the past that were classroom only, and I've taken classes that also provided access to language tapes (would be CDs now, I assume) that supplemented every week's lessons; I made much faster progress with the latter.

I believe you'll find the self-study approach is very limited, given what I assume is your target level of competency, but I don't see a problem with trying self-study for a period, maybe 3 months, then assessing how you've done.

Posted by
6321 posts

What about reading French newspapers or watching programs (news, film, etc.) in French? See if you can access some off the web, like Le Monde, etc. I don't think anything compares to reading when it comes to learning new vocabulary, grammar, punctuation, etc. For conversational skills, I always found classes with multiple participants to be most helpful due to drills and constant practice in speaking/responding to different people. I have not seen any evidence out there that blogs or apps are as effective as an academic/classroom approach, which appears much more structured and interactive.

Posted by
2 posts

Should I ask him to relocate to France instead? Sorry but your post was not helpful at all, but still thanks.

No I haven't heard of that, but can try if it’s available on Play store.

Yes, you're right but I believe that way I may need to spend much, but I think it would be worth it. I have some friends who learned other languages without attending school or private tuition. So I am curious if I could replicate since I have a person with me whose native language is what I want to learn.

Thanks to all of you for your feedback. So in short I shall give starting some months to self-learning right? That way I will be able to judge whether I am bad at self-learning and decide I should spend money or not.

Posted by
9363 posts

I love DuoLingo, a free app. The progression of the lessons is easy to follow, and they make you review what you have already learned along the way. Very nice interface. It gives you reading, writing, and listening practice.

Posted by
270 posts

Having completed five language trees in Duolingo, I am a huge fan of the app. It's by far the best app for language learning, as far as I am concerned. It's excellent at teaching you to read and write, but somewhat weaker at teaching speaking and listening skills. When I visited Turkey and Italy, I was thankful for the effort I had invested in Duolingo.

At the same time, I would highly recommend engaging resources in addition to Duolingo. Even though most of the Duo languages, including French, have grammar notes, I would still recommend getting a decent grammar book. Private lessons are probably the ideal, but I would guess that they are expensive. In addition, I have been happy with both Pimsleur and Assimil as well as YouTube and various podcasts as supplements to Duolingo. Pimsleur, in particular, was very helpful in getting me past what I call the "deer in the headlights" reaction --- where I forget everything I know -- when a real person speaks to me in a new language

Posted by
2353 posts

Love Duolingo here too. With your French hubby to guide you with grammar I think it is something that will work. Take some notes in the early stages of pronouns, articles and conjugations of the most common verbs helps.

Posted by
767 posts

Everyone has their own learning style. A tutor helped me significantly more than any apps/do it yourself program. And I even tried Pimsleur/Rosetta stone. I have been working with an Italian tutor once a week for the past 9 months and I am more conversational and confident than I have ever been by far. And I really felt it on my most recent trip to Italy.

It is difficult to practice conversation with the apps. And I consider myself a very motivated, self directed learner. But when it comes to practicing on my own, I have a difficult time coming up with things to do and life tends to get in the way. I am much more consistent when I am completing "homework" given to me.

It is great that you have your husband to practice conversation with. But if he is not used to teaching a language, that could get frustrating if that is your ONLY conversational practice. Just speculating- but a teacher is better knowing how to start simply and start making things more complex.

Do you have to commit to one way or the other? Can you sit in on a class for a trial period? Or start the online tutorials now, give yourself a month, and see how it goes.