Whether you are us­ing an app or a tra­di­tional book, it has never been eas­ier to im­prove your lan­guage skills, says Peter Ste­wart

France - - Language -

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.

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