Most French language learners would agree that practicing with a mobile app taught by native French speakers is an easy way to get started.
The best apps to learn French are key additional tools in the learning process for any student.
On this page, we have listed French apps that help you find your French native soulmate, and practice French, for free.
Can You Improve Speaking French with an App?
Plenty of language learning apps appear on the market today. However, you may be thinking that language learning apps are only good for French grammar and vocabulary, but not for a real conversation.
Well, you are wrong!
There are a few apps on the market, where you can speak with natives and have your speaking skills improved. These kinds of apps are called “Language Exchange apps” where millions of people teach each other a language.
As a student, you can sign up to learn French, and offer to help others with the languages you speak fluently. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
If you are not lucky enough to have family or friends in France, and you want more than a French teacher to help you out, perhaps the exchange speaking app is your best choice.
Let’s see if it’s right for you?
Chat with French Speakers Online
Language Exchange Apps allow you to find a person who speaks French and who is learning one of the languages you are fluent in. It’s a very intuitive concept of exchanging services. Instead of paying some fee, you’ll be providing a teaching service and vice versa.
The conversation is entirely up to you and your partner. Fairtrade would be to have a half/half conversation, where for one half, you talk in French, and for the other, you speak the language your partner wants to learn.
You swap roles as student and teacher.
Top 5 Free French-speaking Apps
HelloTalk deserves to be the first on our list, thanks to its innovative tools and the largest number of users that surpassed the number of New York citizens.
The first time you sign up, you get to fill in a profile, so that the algorithm could understand your preferences and suggest the perfect speaking partner for you.
Chatting is very advanced, and you can send photos, sketches, and emojis. After you are both sure you’d like to hang out, you can send a voice message or have a free phone call.
Apart from your Profile, you get other relevant functions such as Talks, Moments, Search, and Learn.
The key feature is the search function, where you can look for a French-speaking partner, and have your perfect match by filtering a few criteria :
- Best match
- Nearby (people living in your country)
- Serious Learners (people who can seriously help you improve by correcting your mistakes and giving the proper help)
Learn function is a new feature, and it’s still in the beta phase, so it may cause some bugs. By now, French language lessons get until the Intermediate level, and we appreciate the pragmatical side of all lessons. Even though not yet fully developed, it’s great to see the direction in which the app evolves. We are definitely looking forward to seeing new updates in that direction.
If you wish to learn only 1 language, then the free option is all you need. For multilanguage learners, HelloTalk offers a paid plan.
If you love the convenience of learning French on your phone? Check out the article on Best Apps to Learn French.
Tandem is a very up-to-date app and is considered to be the most user-friendly. Make sure you have your profile filled in, as well as your profile picture uploaded because Tandem is one of those sites that does not allow faceless images. Your profile picture together with a description is what can attract potential partners.
The downside of the signup process is that once you’re done setting up your profile, you have to wait for Tandem’s approval, which can take up to 7 days.
As soon as your account is active, you’ll notice that you already received lots of messages. Because it’s quick to connect, sometimes you get too many conversations going on at the same time.
When you search for language partners, you can filter users by country, gender, or age. To filter people located in a specific place, you have to go pro. Also, you can select if you wish to speak only with members with references or with the new members too.
What makes this app unique on the market, is that each language learner has a place for “topic”, right next to his profile picture. This topic can be quite general, like practicing the language, or more tangled like talking about the movie industry, art, etc.
The chat feature lets you communicate by sending text, images, or even audio messages. In case you need it, it has a built-in translator. However, what we appreciate the most is a handy “correct this message”. It allows you to help your partner without interrupting the conversation, and have space to review your corrections after socializing.
3. Hi Native
Hi Native isn’t a language exchange app like the previous two, but more a QA (Question and Answer community). Whenever you have a doubt about French, you can go to Hi Native, and find native French speakers to help you use the language in the right context. Who better to answer your questions about the French language, than a native speaker.
The idea of asking questions is much improved with “question templates” that allow you to ask predefined questions, even if you don’t know the right formulation in French.
The downside is that it gets difficult to scroll through the long list of irrelevant greetings, to find the needed information. Lots of “hello”, “how are you”, or people seeking attention make the community a bit exhausting. At this point, it looks like the community isn’t made up of serious language learners.
However, the community is good if you seek to find an answer, but not for spending too much time.
They offer more useful features for pro subscriptions, such as bookmarking the questions/answers you’d like to have nearby.
Speaky claims to have 150 nationalities who speak more than 110 languages. Many of us will appreciate that the app is not only free but also ad-free.
Many things are similar to other language exchange apps. You have to create a profile, write a short description, include your native and target languages, as well as specify the exact language level. Communication is done via text and audio messages until you move to more personal ways of communicating.
Making and getting corrections for the written text, helps you and your partner improve the language.
Using Speaky, you can find potential language partners based on who is online at the moment. This allows you to have an immediate chat.
Cultural groups fall under the second category. The members of these Meetups tend to be native speakers of the language and individuals with a connection to it culturally, and their activities revolve around music, film, and food.
The first thing you notice when you enter “My language exchange site“, is the outdated, 2000s look. Don’t be pushed away by the unattractive look, because they still get new members daily and have a strong language learning network.
It’s a place you find people to talk with, but also a place you don’t stay too long because most people will quickly move to other forms of communication. People who bond, quickly move to a more personal communication style, like emails or Skype.
If you compare it to some newer learning apps, My Language Exchange is best suited for finding that one perfect French partner and making it a long-term connection.
“My Language Exchange” is much more than just an exchange platform. It offers 3 different profiles, for teachers, students, and self-study. Teachers are able to create a profile and find students, while students can look for appropriate French teachers. The self-study option allows you to get study material and improve your French on your own.
Tips for Best Language Exchange
- Before you call each other, bond first.
- Correct the other person when necessary. (You get what, you give)
- Try making long-term relationships.
- Frequently change the conversation topics.
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
- Have fun.