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Babbel French Review

babbel french review

You want to learn French, so you’re considering using the Babbel app. That’s fantastic. But before you start, read this Babbel French review for your consumption.

We cover the major strengths and weaknesses of Babbel French

You want to learn French, so you’re considering using the Babbel app. That’s fantastic. But before you start, read this Babbel French review for your consumption.

Let us spare you the guesswork and the wasted time, then.

I can confirm that this app works, at least for me, after using it every day for a month. However, no two students are ever alike. So that you can decide if the Babbel French app is right for you, let me break down what I dislike and don’t like.

How the Babbel French app works

Let’s begin this review by going over the Babbel French program and its functions. In comparison to other apps I’ve used, its content organization and structure are fairly standard.

In essence, you have to progress through several levels, including newcomer, beginner, intermediate, advanced, etc. Then, there are typically between 2 and 8 “courses” that cover various subjects and themes within each overarching level. There are then between 5 and 15 lessons to finish in each course.

You see what I mean. The lessons, however, are what matter in the end. To maintain consistency, you should try to finish one to two lessons each day. Therefore, let’s quickly review the lessons themselves.

Babbel’s Lessons: what are they like?

how the babbel french app works

Lessons in Babbel are very brief. They all only take 10 to 15 minutes to finish, and time flies by. And the reason for that is that each lesson includes several briefs and interactive exercises. Each lesson consists of roughly a dozen rapid-fire exercises covering reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

Among other things, there are short grammar drills, fill-in-the-blanks, matching pairs, listen-and-repeat exercises, phrase-to-image matches, and digital flashcard drills. It’s a quick, blended strategy that is very diverse.

In all honesty, as I’ll discuss further in this review, I like how Babbel presents the same material to you in a variety of different formats and forces you to engage with it. This is different from other language learning applications (like Rosetta Stone, for instance), which essentially repeat the same format for the exercises.

To be honest, the Babbel lessons are never boring, and the app is enjoyable because of the fast-paced blended learning style. So, from the standpoint of a lesson as a whole, Babbel gets high marks from me.

Babbel French cost

After giving you a taste of the Babbel lessons, let’s quickly discuss pricing and how Babbel French compares to rivals. Three different subscription lengths are available from Babbel: a 3-month plan, a 6-month plan, and a 12-month plan.

Before discounts, these packages range from about $7 to $14 per month. Babbel also offers a lifetime plan for those who are interested; it is about $200 and offers access to all Babbel languages. In terms of overall pricing, Babbel outperforms its rivals in a big way.

Their plans are more affordable than those offered by Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur, and Rocket French, to name a few. Babbel is undoubtedly on the more affordable end of the spectrum and offers a great value for $6 to $9 per month (if you can score a deal).

Additionally, it’s important to note that Babbel does offer a 20-day money-back guarantee if you want to try out this app before committing. Although it doesn’t quite compare to a free trial, it accomplishes the same thing.

What we like about Babbel French

Let’s move on to the important stuff now that we’ve discussed pricing and what the Babbel program and lessons are all about. Let’s talk about the aspects of Babbel’s French program that I like and dislike, starting with the features I value most.

aspects of babbel's french program

Lesson format

The lesson structure used by Babbel is one of my favorites. They move quickly and are full of variety and fun. Babbel is the best option for people who don’t have an hour to devote to a lengthy lesson each day and are attempting to fit studying in around a busy schedule.

Lessons only take about 10 or 15 minutes to complete, which is something I appreciate. They are ideal for parents who are busy and working professionals.

Easy grammar tips

Next, I appreciate how Babbel incorporates grammar instruction into its lessons. Companies that teach languages frequently struggle to strike a balance when it comes to grammar. As you learn a new language, it’s crucial, in my opinion, to establish the fundamental grammar building blocks as soon as possible.

However, if businesses place an excessive emphasis on detailed grammar instruction, I believe this can impede learning and slow down progress. However, I think Babbel has done a really good job balancing this. They keep their grammar insights and descriptions short, and they do an excellent job subtly weaving these quick teaching points into the lessons.

Speech recognition software

Third, I think Babbel’s speech recognition system is state-of-the-art. I found their software to be quick and accurate as I completed a variety of verbal practice exercises, which isn’t always the case with language learning apps.

Some language learning programs advertise the presence of “speech recognition software,” but it is extremely subpar and hardly seems to work. Babbel’s, in contrast, is outstanding. Babbel, therefore, receives a thumbs up in that regard.

Quick-hit review sessions

Babbel bombards you with quick-hit review sessions in between lessons. Babbel will ask you to finish a quick review every time you log in to finish a new lesson.

They typically only take 3 to 5 minutes to complete, but they’re great for jogging your memory and ensuring that the information is retained. This kind of repeated exposure to vocabulary helps it stick in your long-term memory.

What we dislike about Babbel French

Now that I’ve mentioned the benefits of Babbel French, let’s turn the tables and discuss the drawbacks.

Expensive live class upgrade

The first drawback I want to mention is related to the live classes I just mentioned. Even though I love the interaction and instruction in live classes, they can be quite expensive. Depending on the package you choose, the monthly cost of the Babbel Live subscription ranges from $50 to $100.

If you plan on attending several classes per week, you very well might get your money’s worth out of upgrading to the live subscription, but in all honesty, I just don’t think many people have that kind of time on top of finishing the regular lessons and practice work. In conclusion, I just wish the live classes were a bit more reasonably priced.

Needs more speaking exercises

My second complaint is that the Babbel curriculum and lessons are not the best for enhancing your conversational abilities. Don’t get me wrong, there are exercises for a verbal practice where you repeat words and phrases, but they are fairly simple.

There aren’t any elaborately staged conversations or protracted speaking drills. Many times, after learning a new phrase, it fell to me to try to imagine the context in which I would use it.

I would have to envision the situation in which I would use it before practicing with a fictitious conversation with a friend. This is in contrast to a few other language learning programs like Pimsleur and Rocket Languages, which heavily rely on audio practice and mock conversations.

To be honest, I just think Babbel should offer more robust speaking exercises.

Not great for advanced learners/language mastery

Finally, because the Babbel French lessons are somewhat light when it comes to extended speaking exercises and conversational practice, I see this course as being best for beginner to intermediate learners. Babbel might not be the best choice if you want to master French and reach an advanced level of fluency.

Of course, once you reach that stage, you could always add in some live classes to gain more experience in conversation.

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