Searching the internet for the best and brightest French immersion software?
The immersion part is key here—you’re not just looking for any old software.
You’re looking for something that will totally plunge you into the deep end of French language learning.
But you still don’t know how to tell which programs are the cream of the crop.
You’ve landed on the right page.
With so many programs out there that promise to guide you on the path to fluency, how do you know where to get started?
Fear not. If you don’t have time to take a gap year in France or to attend weekly language classes, you’ll find solace in these great programs.
We’ve found the most complete, comprehensive and effective French immersion software deals out there. Each program is designed to help you with your language goals. The best thing about them?
All you need is 30 minutes a day with any one program to become immersed in French!
French Immersion Software: 5 Stellar Programs for Language Learning
Rosetta Stone is one of the most popular language immersion tools in the world, boasting use in thousands of schools, businesses and government organizations. The program works by using interactive software packed with images and sounds—giving you an experience which imitates the way in which a child learns their mother-tongue.
This method means that there are no instructions or translations, just pure immersion.
The learning process is broken down into units and levels. Within each level there are numerous topics.
Each core lesson lasts up to 30 minutes, with booster lessons in between lasting anywhere from 5-15 minutes. This gives a great variety of options to those with busy schedules, allowing you to study French in as few as 5 minutes daily!
The software alone is great, particularly for beginners. But the French immersion doesn’t stop there.
Rosetta Stone is also host to an online world of language learning experiences which uses innovative methods to increase immersion. In the online branch of the program there’s a variety of games, tools and resources. You’ll have the ability to speak with other learners around the world. The online world also allows you to schedule 20 minute lessons with an online expert!
Is Rosetta Stone for You?
If you’re a beginner and wanting to build a foundation in the language, Rosetta Stone is definitely for you. I recommend signing up for online access, as this will offer you a multitude of unparalleled immersion techniques to pique your interest and encourage you farther along the path to fluency. For intermediate and advanced learners, Rosetta Stone has recently released a new program specifically for you, aiming to push you to a C1 level proficiency.
If you’re a busy person, the best thing about Rosetta Stone is that it offers various activities all under 30 minutes so there’s no reason not to find time! No more excuses.
Keep in mind that Rosetta Stone is a little on the pricier side, but it’s definitely worth the investment. Plus, if you keep an eye out they usually have all sorts of amazing offers and deals throughout the year! If you’re a student, then there's always a solid discount available for you.
Assimil is a language course that was founded in 1929 by Alphonse Chérel.
The course includes both audio and an accompanying book for a complete learning experience. The book follows on from the audio lessons with activities to further reinforce the language learning. Each track is only a few minutes long, so the course will easily fit into your daily routine with no hassle.
The Assimil audio lessons are 100% in the target language so this is a huge bonus as it creates a total immersion experience. The book includes translations from French to English, so don’t worry about not understanding anything!
The method places great emphasis on learning sentences, which facilitates the development of the French learner’s ability to approach grammar and vocabulary in the way it’ll come across in everyday situations. This mimics the way in which we all learn our native languages—listening, repeating and then using prior knowledge to make educated guesses as to what the new vocabulary means.
Is Assimil for You?
The best thing about Assimil is that it comes in various series.
There are specific sets designed for children and others for those needing to learn Business French. The New French With Ease series is perfect for beginners and aims to give you a great foundation level of French by teaching grammar rules and up to 3,000 new words. For advanced users who want to perfect their French, Assimil also offers Using French, a series designed to help learners further develop their French by covering the grounds of complex grammar skills and idioms.
If you like a mix of audio and textbook activities, then Assimil is definitely worth checking out.
You can test out your knowledge by completing the activities and follow your progress as you continue with the course. The use of audio and textbook means that all areas of your French skills, including reading and writing, are developed efficiently. Let’s not forget that the audio being completely in French is a huge benefit of Assimil which really helps simulate a total French immersion experience.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
FluentU is all about immersing yourself in language through authentic video content, you know—videos that native French speakers actually watch on the regular. This gives you the perfect opportunity to learn real French—the way it’s spoken in modern life.
You’ll find cool, intriguing content like World Cup highlights, “The Hunger Games” trailers, grammar walkthroughs, Stromae music videos, science documentaries and YouTube sketches. All these videos are categorized across 6 French skill levels, ensuring that you’re choosing the perfect videos to further your learning progress.
One quick look will give you an idea of the diverse content found on FluentU:
There are a few different ways you can go about studying French with FluentU, too.
After choosing an individual video based on your skill level and personal interests, you’ll be prompted to choose between “watch” and “learn” modes. If you opt for “watch,” you’ll watch your videos as normal with interactive subtitles in French and English. Click on any word to see an in-context definition, relevant image, audio pronunciation and usage examples from other videos on the site.
Tap on any word to see a definition, in-context usage examples, audio pronunciation, helpful images and more. For example, if you tap on the word “suit,” then this is what appears on your screen:
If you click on “learn,” then you’ll go straight to the personalized flashcard content using key vocabulary from the video, giving you a chance to practice either before or after watching the clip. This “learn mode” actually integrates pictures, video clips and example sentences into the flashcards, making for truly memorable in-context learning experiences.
As you continue advancing in your French studies, FluentU keeps track of all the grammar and vocabulary that you’ve been learning. It uses your viewed videos and mastered language lessons to recommend more useful videos and give you a 100% personalized experience.
Is FluentU for You?
FluentU is primarily based on audio and video materials, but there are plenty of text-based tools for active learning, so this should complement many distinct learning styles. If you need to be really interested in the content of your learning materials, this is perfect for you: the diversity of content ensures you’ll find something you love to learn with.
The clips are relatively short, between 1-10 minutes in length, so this is perfect for sneaking French practice into your daily schedule. There are also longer mini-series and movies broken into installments. Due to the fun, casual nature of the learning experience, FluentU is a particularly engaging way to practice French.
You can also make learning more structured and rigorous by focusing on studying French with the vocabulary lists and multimedia flashcards, all of which you can personalize to sync with your language learning.
Pimsleur is a very popular language method based on the methods of Paul Pimsleur, a linguist and a professor of French. The Pimsleur approach focuses on teaching the core vocabulary of the language through context, conversation and spaced repetition.
The use of spaced repetition is a serious pro factor about this course. The vocabulary you learn is repeated throughout the duration of your Pimsleur experience. No word is ever forgotten!
All the words you learn will reappear at specific intervals to help your brain retain the new vocabulary in your long-term memory.
The course is audio-based and you’re presented with native speakers pronouncing a sentence or having a discussion. Then an English translation follows. As with the Assimil method, this facilitates the learning of language through sentences and situations, making it a much more rounded experience.
The software does come with a booklet for a few sessions that use reading, however the emphasis is on learning through the audio provided.
Is Pimsleur for You?
Learners who thrive with interactive audio learning methods are sure to benefit from the methods of Pimsleur.
With each lesson being up to 30 minutes long, it’s easy to slot into your daily schedule. Since it focuses on core vocabulary, you’ll be assured that you’re learning efficiently. Of course, learning takes time and effort, but with the science of spaced repetition and the focus on most-used French vocabulary, completing your language goals will be only a matter of time!
Michel Thomas was a celebrated polyglot linguist who used his talents in language learning to develop what’s now known as the Michel Thomas Method.
The Michel Thomas Method is based on listening rather than using books and memorization techniques. Thomas believed that by creating a relaxing working environment and combining it with exciting and enjoyable classes, any language student could retain more information naturally.
The course is entirely audio-based, in both French and English, so auditory learners rejoice!
The course follows Thomas and two students as he teaches them sentence structure, verbs and vocabulary. Like the other audio-based immersion software, grammar is presented in conversation practice rather than through long-winded explanations. This creates a perfect method for picking up those tricky verb forms.
The method allows the listener to feel as if they’re a part of his classroom and encourages the student to repeat the words and recall certain things touched upon before. It’s all about listening and repetition, repetition, repetition.
No need to force yourself to memorize anything, and surprisingly it works!
Is Michel Thomas for You?
If you’re one of those people that can remember the tune of a song after hearing it once, then Michel Thomas is definitely for you.
Even if you’re not, it’s worth a shot. If you’re a beginner and are feeling weighed down with the vast amount of things you need to learn, then Michel Thomas may provide you with the helping hand you need as these lessons have you speaking from track 1.
The course come in various levels: (1) Start French, which is a basic course with 50 essential French words, (2) Total French, which is the ideal beginner course providing 12 hours of audio, (3) Perfect French, which is for elementary/intermediate learners and (4) Masterclass French which provides 2 hours of one-on-one French lessons with Michel Thomas.
This is great for learners who don’t have much time to set aside for language learning, and each lesson is under 10 minutes long so there’s no reason you can’t pop the CD into your car on the way to work or transfer the files onto your iPod and learn French while you go for your daily run!
Have fun learning!
That’s all for now—get out there and enjoy learning French!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn French with real-world videos.