How I am learning French on my smartphone

This is my second coming learning French. My first time learning the language was back in junior secondary school. I really wanted to learn French. I think that I can say the same for many of my classmates. But we had this ravishing beautiful woman who was our French teacher. Mrs. O was beautiful quite alright. But she had an acidic tongue. When we made mistakes, she tore into us: “Animals! Nincompoops! Imbeciles!!” French class was a regular dosage of verbal abuse.

I still remember her name. If she walks into this room now, I am sure to recognise her instantly. She is unforgettable. You see, it was a love-hate relationship. When it was time to cross over to senior secondary school, many of us simply abandoned French. The fear of Mrs. O again was the beginning of wisdom. Anyway, I have pretty much been away from French since then.

However, I am back to learning the language and I have a new teacher. Say hello to Duolingo, a mobile app that makes language classes pleasant and effective. Duolingo offers a series of lessons in various languages, so it isn’t limited to just learning French. The app provides spelling, composition, listening and speaking exercises. It requires an internet connection to connect to servers for the speech feature to work.

For example, it presents a French phrase or sentence for you to translate. But it also reads it out so you can learn the pronunciation. It tells you whether or not you got the translation correct without a rant or a string of expletives. When you complete one lesson, you are moved on to the next, just like it happens in regular school.

Duolingo is actually a very nice teacher. Even my son, who has had a not so good run with French in school, now uses it to practice the language. Hopefully, he will get better at it too. And I am hoping that at least I can attain a passable level of proficiency in this language that I have always loved.

Duolingo is available for Windows Phone and Android (and by extension BlackBerry 10) devices.

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19 comments

  1. Lol. I, too, am interested in the language. Don’t like the internet thing, but hope the app is free at least?

    1. Yes, the app is free.

      I’ve used Duolingo to brush up on my Spanish (I abandoned French eons ago).

    1. Alas no. I don’t think there’s a Nigerian language major enough to warrant being added and the demand isn’t that high.

      I say this as someone who had to pay for classes to learn a language. My lecturer said there’s little investment from Africa for the language to be given the kind of status that Asian languages have.

  2. Mr. Mo. Just reminded me of some sad memories with this write up now. I have quite an handful of things I started but never finished in my life… Thank God I’ve told myself never again though it surely had caused me one or two opportunities. French… Registered for classes about 20 – 22 years ago but abandoned it after a few classes. I remember I even wrote a sentence in French in my BSc. project’s Acknowledgement page for my class/fellowship crush then! Maybe I’ll give it another shot with this app though I won’t expect too much so I won’t have to flog myself afterwards. 🙂

  3. “I remember I even wrote a sentence in French in my BSc. project’s Acknowledgement page for my class/fellowship crush then!” // This was in 2000 and not 20-22 years ago referenced in the comment above! I ain’t that old!

  4. Went in search of this app for bb10 what I got was “review for Duolingo” at $1.99. Just as the name suggests it’s an app for you to read the reviews of the original Duolingo. At almost 2bucks that’s daylight robbery.

    1. Deji,

      My bad. To use on BlackBerry 10, download from any of the Android app stores. I have modified the last line of the article to better express this.

    2. all these borrow pose people.. still wonder why android didn’t make move to stop this app stealing *spits*

    1. Sorry, just realized how this must sound. I don’t mean you, deji. I’m talking about whoever developed this app.
      Their intent was probably to trick people into mistaking it for the actual app and purchasing it.

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