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Duolingo French reviews: why it won’t make you fluent

duolingo french reviews

We’ll give you in-depth evaluations of Duolingo French in this article. You’ll also be able to tell if this app will improve your fluency.

Full Duolingo French reviews

Duolingo is one of the most popular programs for learning French. Due to its creative course design and completely free base version, this program is incredibly popular.

But the most often query we receive is, “Can this free online game-based learning tool make you fluent in French?” In the course of our in-depth evaluation of the Duolingo French course, we directly address that query.

Here are the complete Duolingo French evaluations:

Pros

  • Lessons are fun games that take very little time to finish.
  • The sole important language-learning tool with a free version
  • All kinds of drills and exercises are used in lessons to help students remember the material.

Cons

  • The Duolingo French program appears to be less developed than others (not very comprehensive)
  • Grammar lectures are not the main priority (focuses more on straight vocabulary)
  • The free version has significant restrictions (annoying ads and daily caps on mistakes)

How the Duolingo French app works

duolingo french reviews

We won’t be talking about other platforms here. We’ll talk about Duolingo. Let’s now discuss how their French course is structured.

The French learning “tree” on Duolingo has several checkpoints (for lack of a better term). Each checkpoint includes 20 to 30 modules covering concepts, ideas, and themes (e.g., emotions, travel, and present tense).

There are three to four lessons on each module’s six levels. Despite the fact that it can seem like a lot, each lesson is only 5 to 10 minutes long.

So there you have it—the program in its purest form. In essence, you must complete a number of modules, each of which is divided into stages and courses and gated by checkpoints.

To be clear, Duolingo chooses the order in which you complete the modules. Additionally, each module’s individual classes are only accessible after the one before it has been completed. You can test out particular modules (or entire sets of modules, if you’d like) under the more expensive Duolingo Plus subscription by passing a short test. You are free to move forward however you want.

As you complete each lesson, you earn experience points (also known as XP points), which are linked to your daily goals and allow you to track your progress. Lingots, the Duolingo currency, can be used to purchase additional features in the Duolingo store.

Duolingo wants to make learning a language more pleasurable. Therefore that is the main goal of this. They believe that by designing their curriculum to resemble a questing game, you will continue to show interest and dedication over time.

Duolingo French lessons: what are they like?

duolingo french review

Now that you know the Duolingo program’s framework let’s examine the lessons. The most important thing to keep in mind is that they are brief.

As I previously stated, each one only takes a few minutes, and the time goes fairly quickly. This is primarily due to the lesson’s 12 quick-hit, interesting drills and exercises. These exercises consist of, for instance:

  1. Listening Exercises. You might be asked to insert a word or phrase from a list into a sentence after hearing it uttered by a native speaker.
  2. Fill-In-The-Blanks. A statement may be shown next to a cartoon representation of a man; to complete the sentence, you would click “hombre.”
  3. Pairing. Ten different words, five of which will be in English and five of which will be in French, may be requested of you, and you may be required to match each correctly.
  4. Verbal training. You can be asked to repeat a word or sentence after hearing it spoken by a native speaker in order to have Duolingo’s voice recognition software verify your pronunciation.
  5. Writing Complete Sentences. It can be necessary to translate entire sentences from English to French and vice versa.
  6. Mock discussions. You might need to choose the right word from a list to conclude a series of hypothetical discussions.

The key exercises that you must complete are as follows. Again, they are succinct and to the point.

Duolingo French app cost

duolingo reviews

Let’s start this review by discussing the cost of Duolingo’s French program since that is one of the main incentives for using this program. You may already be aware that Duolingo offers a free course. True, there isn’t any cost to you.

Before you rush to sign up for Duolingo as your preferred language learning program, remember that the free edition has significant limitations. When utilizing the software’s free version, you are subject to the intrusive sidebar and pop-up adverts, daily usage restrictions, and an excessively rigid curriculum (as opposed to being allowed to jump ahead).

In other words, Duolingo adheres to the traditional “freemium” software subscription model and mostly depends on premium, paid subscriptions to make money. Additionally, the cost of Duolingo Plus, their paid subscription, is roughly $84 per year (or $7 monthly).

When you upgrade to Duolingo’s Plus subscription, the intrusive ads are gone, unrestricted access, the option to test out of units and move on, tailored lessons to analyze your mistakes, and other features are added.

Then, is purchasing Duolingo Plus make sense? I think it’s worthwhile. Although I think the premium features offer a far better experience, in the end, you should consider your budget.

You can test out Duolingo Plus’ premium service for 14 days without paying a penny to see if you prefer it over the free version.

A significant component of Duolingo’s popularity is the fact that it is free.

Therefore, if you will be paying for a course regardless, why not think about enrolling in one of the best French courses available? That is a valid worry because Duolingo undoubtedly has some disadvantages.

Therefore, if you’re going to pay for a course, I’d advise doing your homework and weighing Duolingo against the competition. At your leisure, please read our reviews of Italki, Rosetta Stone, Babbel, and Pimsleur. These four French courses all score much higher than Duolingo does.

What we like about Duolingo French

Let’s get into the specifics of this review now that we’ve covered the various membership levels and you’re familiar with the content of the courses. After a thorough assessment of the program, that is, what we like and dislike about Duolingo.

The price

Unquestionably, one of Duolingo’s best features is the availability of a free edition. It is relatively uncommon in this day and age, and who doesn’t value free? To fully utilize their service, you don’t even need to supply your credit card details.

It’s difficult to disagree with free if you’re on a tight budget or just looking to brush up on the fundamentals before a trip to Mexico, even though the free edition has some limitations, as I already said.

Drills variety

The extensive selection of exercises and courses Duolingo offers for speaking, listening, reading, and writing will be appreciated. It’s great that you may use a variety of media to practice your talents for educational purposes.

The program becomes more interesting and enjoyable as a result of the diversity. More likely than not, you won’t ever get bored in a lecture.

Quick-hit lesson work

I like how the Duolingo French sessions are structured and how brief and engaging they are. They move past really swiftly.

Students and professionals in the workforce would value this. Not everyone can set aside an hour each day to study a foreign language. It’s beneficial to be able to do a few short classes each day and still feel accomplished when you just have 15 to 20 minutes.

English translations

Because not all language learning software offers English instructions, translations, and suggestions, Duolingo classes do. Rosetta Stone, for instance, is a major proponent of total immersion. To put it another way, they seldom ever use English. And although though I think this tactic has some merit, I also think that it can irritate users.

In the end, I appreciate that Duolingo employs a lot of English in its lesson materials to keep the courses moving swiftly and to guarantee that you always understand what is happening and what is being asked of you.

Sleek digital platform

I really enjoy using Duolingo’s digital platform because of all the visual prompts and tools it provides. Their dashboard features a daily goal tracker that is quite straightforward and easy to use. Additionally, a scoreboard is available where you can challenge other users, invite friends, and monitor your streaks.

All of this combines to produce a welcoming, accommodating environment that keeps you motivated and on target. I highly recommend Duolingo in that regard.

Duolingo French disadvantages

duolingo french reviews

Lack of focus on speaking

The first issue is that the Duolingo lessons don’t do a good job of improving your speaking talents. They incorporate speaking exercises into their lessons, although they are not particularly effective.

In essence, you are asked to repeat phrases and words. You are immediately asked to repeat a word or phrase after hearing it. There aren’t any efficient settings or memory aids to help understand the words and enhance recall.

Additionally, their voice recognition technology is poor. The application often accepts a student’s poor pronunciation of a word or phrase while still telling him that he did it perfectly. It’s also not good.
We think that Italki, a program that competes with Duolingo, is considerably superior in terms of verbal training. In the audio/video classes, you are expected to use specific words or phrases and respond to a native speaker within the context of a real conversation.

Italki allows you to actively follow a conversation while the instructor keeps you on your toes by asking you to recall and use language when under duress, much as you would in real-world situations.

In our opinion, this promotes a far better environment for learning a new language.

Unnatural usage of language

It’s odd, but some of the language Duolingo employs in its lessons sound unusual. This has been the subject of many complaints, and we must agree. They employ some words and sentence structures in the most bizarre ways.

While it seems like Duolingo has recently made strides in this area, you still come across a bizarre sentence or phrase every now and then that leaves you wondering what the heck you just heard, whether from a grammatical perspective or not.

Grammar instruction

This is a really simple one. Lessons on Duolingo don’t place a high priority on grammar instruction. To be clear, we do not recommend that they cram your brain with intricate, boring grammar rules; doing so could be counterproductive, particularly if you are just beginning to learn a new language.

It would have been preferable if they had offered a little more direction or explanation on grammar rules. It would be beneficial if Duolingo approached grammar in a way that was similar to Babbel’s. Babbel includes grammar instruction in its lessons effectively and subtly.

In other instances, they may only give a brief explanation—one or two sentences—or covertly include it in exercises. I think Babbel’s method is excellent in either instance.

Ads in Duolingo free

As was already noted, there are always advertisements in Duolingo’s free version. These kinds of problems are common with free software, but there’s no disputing that they are annoying and get in the way of your main objective. It’s not that bad at first, but soon it gets to you.

You’ll know what we mean if you’ve ever played the free versions of Candy Crush, Angry Birds, or any other iPhone game. The advertisements become boring. We’re here to practice and learn French; we don’t want to be constantly interrupted by advertisements.

The free version

The free edition of Duolingo has limitations on how often you can use it. You are assigned a certain number of “hearts” each day, starting with 5, and if you answer a question poorly, you lose a heart.

If you don’t review older lessons to raise your heart count, you are only allowed five missed classes per day.

If it makes sense, then that isn’t very pleasant. But it may also be disheartening and a little annoying.

And based on what I’ve seen on the message boards, it appears that many people do that, especially given that a lot of the errors are just typos rather than purposefully incorrect comments. It’s just another unfavorable aspect of the course’s free edition.

Conclusion: should you use Duolingo to learn French?

Overall, Duolingo offers a lot of advantages. This French learning app is free and offers a great deal of exercises and activities. Nevertheless, there are unquestionably some disadvantages to utilizing Duolingo for French.

Most importantly, in my opinion, the free edition has a number of significant drawbacks and isn’t ideal for developing your French-speaking skills.

In conclusion, we think that rather than being used as a standalone language learning program, Duolingo should be used as an additional study tool. You would do better, in my opinion, to treat it more as a learning game than a real study aid.

If that’s all you need, perhaps because you occasionally want to practice your French for pleasure, Duolingo is a terrific tool. Suppose you’re serious about studying French and want to commit a large amount of time to become proficient. In that case, Italki, Babbel, Pimsleur, and Rocket French may be better choices.

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