There are all kinds of language learning apps, from the simple, focused ones to the more broad and comprehensive programs. If you’re looking for a quality app to help introduce a few basic French phrases and decent amount of vocabulary for a trip, this is one to try.
TripSpeak French has great recordings of native speakers along with written content, so you can hear the correct pronunciation and read along. Designed by JPN, the application aims to help users “learn the French language intuitively and naturally using the proven image association method.”
Having begun my study of Portuguese years ago with a similar method, I can vouch for its effectiveness. Years later, I still picture images from the program I used when I hear certain words. And images are far more interesting to look at then a list of words and phrases to memorize.
The images are very good – high quality photographs of the word or phrase. For each phrase, you are given four pictures. Tap on one to see if it’s right or wrong. You are never given the English translation of the word, which is the point of image association. If you aren’t sure what the phrase is, you figure it out from the picture, which increases the chances of retaining the knowledge.
The Reference section is divided into sections – travel, hotel, restaurant, shopping, and time/weather – with a list of commonly used phrases, including audio clips. Lesson Plans has a total of 24 topics, each with 20 phrases and multiple choice picture selection, and the Progress section keeps track of your scores and improvement with a colored bar graph.
One thing I really appreciate is that the audio clips are the only audio on the app – no annoying sounds when you choose a wrong picture, etc – so there’s no shame in pulling your iPhone out in a cafe or in front of your concierge to find a phrase and ask a question.
I even tested this app out on an eight year old who is currently studying French. TripSpeak really held her attention, and she particularly enjoyed the pictures – her scores were pretty good, too! The bottom line: it’s a worthy app for travelers looking for a quick language guide.
TripSpeak French is compatible with iPhone and iPod touch and requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later.