Learning a Second Language? Try these!

World map with countries where French is an of...
World map with countries where French is an official language marked. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

missjunebug has a love of all things French: croissants, Gigondas wine, the arrondissements of Paris (1-9 primarily!), crepes (a squeeze of lemon and sugar, s’il vous plait!), santons, Provence, and so much more. And she’s always had a soft spot in her heart for the mellifluous sounds of the French language, but she’s had a hard time learning it.

First, there was high school French. Blech. Despite advance placing out of three semesters of French for college credit, she had mastered little in terms of direct communication in the language when other human beings were involved instead of multiple choice answers.

Later she picked up a little traveler’s French and much later tried her hand at Rosetta Stone: High Cost & Epic Fail. Unless you want to learn a bunch of sentences in French about blue triangles being larger than red circles.

Not to be a bug who gives up easily, missjunebug is trying again with two programs she’s found online. Coffeebreak French is fun and loaded with free lessons online that provide a nice springboard in listening to the language and trying to get a grip on the tricky pronunciations. Oddly, the student learner who assists in the program has a serious Scottish accent as does the teacher directing the lesson, but it makes the experience that much more entertaining when she takes on French guided by her fellow congenial Scottish teacher. Of course, they offer many other languages, too!

The second program she’s just started is DuoLingo, a free app for missjunebug’s iPhone where a wise little owl encourages goal setting and completion of some pretty challenging French lessons. missjunebug found out about this app in her awesome Wall Street Journal Personal Journal section recently–her fave resource for nifty learning ideas, book recs, fashion finds, and so many other things (The WSJ rocks). But missjunebug digresses. If you want to learn a second language on the go, go to DuoLingo. The phone app is a great combination of fill-in the blank, choose the right word, say the sentence aloud–it will let you know if you approximate the correct pronunciation. You can even test out on the work you’ve mastered. All this and some nifty visuals to keep your interest, too. So much good stuff crammed into this cute little Owl-centric app! It is a wise piece of work for sure.

mjbTip: Don’t rest on your mastery of the English language: Try a second language on for size. It could be the perfect fit…eventually! Bon chance, mon ami!



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2 thoughts on “Learning a Second Language? Try these!

  1. I love that you’re learning French! Next time you visit NYC we should practice :)

    I’ve been taking a french class which has been successful so far, but sometimes it gets hard to commit to classes when work gets crazy. I practice with my fiance a bit too, but since my French is so limited at the moment I find it hard to manufacture small talk with someone I know so well.

    To bring it all together and keep my progress going I love using phone apps. They’re perfect on the go and I find it really helpful even when I only have 15 minutes on the subway. I used to use DuoLingo, but now use Mind Snacks, which you may want to try on for size as well. I ended up liking it a little better than DuoLingo because it’s a bit more flexible in that you have more choice in which vocabulary unit you want to study, and it feels more fun/game-ish. It also gives you all kinds of “quests” to complete while you’re learning, which somehow encourages me more.

    So there’s my unsolicited two cents on the matter. Bon courage!!

  2. How great to get your take on this, Lovely Leanne! missjunebug really appreciates your recommendations! The next time she makes it to the greatest city on earth, she will look you up! Merci et bon chance!

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