Lately I haven’t been crafting but instead I’ve been learning French. We go to France very year and one day hope to retire there, or at least spend a lot more time out there.
We love the peaceful existence in rural France. It’s such a change from our rush, rush, rush lives in the UK. I would love a little farmhouse with a garden and pottery shed out there. I can dream!
Of course, to get the most out of visiting another country you really have to speak the language. We really want to be able to interact more with the locals and learn the culture.
I learnt French in school but that was more than half a lifetime ago now so I really didn’t know how to speak it anymore. Hubby however, found a really good app for android and PC called Duolingo. It has many languages to choose from. In fact, my daughter is using it to help with her Welsh as well. And the best thing is that it is free to use. You can pay a monthly subscription to be able to download the lessons but we haven’t needed to.
Nb. Duolingo have not asked me to review them and they don’t know that I am. There is no reward to me for blogging about them.
Duolingo works very much like Rosetta Stone (which was horrifyingly expensive when I bought it). You learn the language the same way as children learn their native language. The grammar seems to become intuitive the more you use this app. I did wonder if it was suitable for children to use as well, but Missy has really taken to it and she’s only 10. That really surprised me. Last time we were in France she was even trying to speak French to the other children in the park.
This app however, isn’t suitable for a quick crash course in holiday phrases. It teaches the language so that you are able to construct your own sentences and questions, but it does take time to work through. We have been using it for about 6 months now and I feel that I only have a basic grasp of the language. Don’t forget as well that it is a recap for me as I did 5 years of it in school.
One of the features that we like are the clubs. We have formed our own club called ‘Off to France’ where we can see each other’s progress on compete with each other. Quite a few people who we don’t know have also joined our group and also compete for the top position on the leader board each week. 🙂 And according to my progress check I am now 26% fluent! I don’t feel like it though.
Duolingo are bringing out a new feature called stories where intermediate and advanced students can read stories in their choosen language. So far it’s only in Spanish and Portuguese but I’m hoping that French will be available soon. In the meantime, I’ve used my kindle unlimited subscription (see my links on the right hand side for kindles) and I’ve downloaded some children’s books in French.
All in all, I think this is a wonderful app and I really can’t believe that it is free. I would happily pay a one off price for it (but am not keen on subscriptions), especially as all three of us are using it together. It’s a great way to exercise my brain as well now that I don’t go out to work and don’t like crosswords! 😉
So I guess I’ll leave you with a photo of me in France a few years ago wearing my rather fetching beret!