SPOILT FOR CHOICE
Whether you are using an app or a traditional book, it has never been easier to improve your language skills, says Peter Stewart
In a world where technology is constantly evolving, it is no surprise that learning a language via a smartphone app is becoming increasingly popular. But there is still something special about using books, and with such a range of printed and digital material available today, you have plenty of options when it comes to studying French.
If communicating more naturally with locals is a priority, then What They Didn’t Teach You in French Class (Ulysses Press, £6.99) is an ideal choice. This easy-to-use phrase book is packed with hundreds of slang words and expressions used in bars, cafés, sport and on the streets. Each comes with a succinct English translation and an explanation of their use in French.
For a more academic approach, learn the basics with French Tutor: Grammar and Vocabulary Workbook (Teach Yourself, £19.99). The 25 short sections feature more than 200 skill-building exercises that will introduce important grammar points as well as personal tips on perfecting your French.
Apps are an effective way of picking up a language on the go, and a popular example is Learn French by Bravolol (bravolol.com), which draws on more than 800 common words and phrases. With the help of a talking language assistant, you practise pronunciation and spelling, and use the voice recorder to make sure you are doing things the correct way.
Another helpful app is the Rosetta Stone: Learn Languages app (rosettastone.com), which is based on the full immersion method and features interactive word games that will expand your vocabulary for everything from eating out to going on holiday.
For a different take on learning French, seek out a copy of the documentary film Être et Avoir. Filmed during the course of one year in a village school in Auvergne, it is an uplifting portrayal of a teacher and his primary school pupils. The story serves as a window on the country’s education system and shows the different styles of French language used by adults and children.