Category Archives: apps

French app: Memrise

Memrise is an app designed to help learn all sorts of things. Languages, art, math, even standardized tests.

I’ve been checking out the French section, and it’s not bad.

Memrise uses mnemonics (memory aids) to help you remember words and phrases.

“Je voudrais du café, s’il vous plaît.”

is one of the first sentences you’ll encounter. Very helpful for coffee drinkers like myself, and I love the politeness of “I would like, please” as opposed to “I want.” However, this is for purchasing a quantity of coffee. If I’d like a cuppa, I’d be better off saying “Je voudrais un café.”

The mnemonic is “voodoo ray” for voudrais. While it helped stick the word in my mind, it is not even close to an accurate pronunciation. So that’s a downside. Pronunciation is not my strong suit, so I don’t need any help when it comes to Americanizing the sounds.

I might check out Memrise’s other courses. 20th century Modern Art looks promising.

A question for French friends
Memrise translates “Je parle français” as “I can speak French.” Is it correct? Or is there a better way to say “I can” (I thought this would be translated simply as “I speak french”)?

Duolingo: French

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Duolingo is a cool website and app for learning several common foreign languages. Henri and I use it for French, but perhaps German, Italian and Portuguese are in our future!

Each lesson covers a few words. You translate from English to French, then French to English. You choose photos that correspond to words. You even get to speak into the microphone and have your pronunciation trashed assessed.

This is a great French app to start out with: easy to navigate, fun, and it gets you reading, writing, listening and speaking in equal measure.

Coach duolingoIt’s like playing a game. A little green owl coaches you. He sends emails or push notifications to remind you to stay on track. You collect gems called lingots as you progress through the lessons, which you can use to buy fun things. Formal attire for Coach? Mais oui. You can challenge friends to learn along with you and “compete” with each other. And there’s cool trumpet music to celebrate each time you complete a section.

My kids (ages 4 to 12) love it.

My favorite sentence so far is:
Je suis une femme, et tu est un garçon.
I am a woman, and you are a boy.

Note: There have been a couple of instances where the definitions given for a word are incorrect. La soupe in French is “the soup.” (Surprise!)

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