I took a French course just about every year of my education, from second grade to my senior year at Sarah Lawrence College. I’d like to imagine that I’ve been exposed to a lot of strategies of teaching French, many of which are less exciting than others. I was recently sent two apps that aim to help students learn aspects of the French language from Erasmos: French Gender and French Numbers. I would have benefited greatly from these tools.
Even as an advanced speaker of French-as-a-second language, I know that gender is something I still struggle with using correctly. During the year I spend studying in Paris, I used my dictionary to look up the gender of words constantly. The French Gender app for iPhone comes with an impressive reference section that includes 66 word-ending possibilities, color-coded by gender. Click into each ending to find a list of examples and a list of exceptions, each accompanied by its English translation. You can also click each word to hear it pronounced. There’s a section to practice your ability to apply these rules. For those who want to give the app a test-run before purchasing, you can try the free version which only includes six word-endings.
French numbers are another aspect of the French language with which even intermediate students continue to struggle. When my high school French teacher was once asked why the French word for “80” might be translated as “four twenty,” she replied “To confuse the enemy.” Consider the number of battles the French fought against England, we can only assume this means English speakers.
Erasmos’ French Numbers app features three components to help students master numbers in French: “Speak,” “Listen” and “Read.” The “Speak” component allows the user to type in a numeral, to hear and see it translated into French. The “Read” component prompts the user to type the numeric version of a written French number. The “Listen” component plays a spoken number and the user types in the corresponding numeral. The later two components keep track of how many questions in a row the user gets correct (I got 90 correct in a row in the “Listen” component, has anyone beat me?). There also is a free version of this app that only goes to 42, while the other version goes as high as 1,000,000.
Overall, both these apps are informative, easy to use and well executed. Erasmos also offers apps for students learning Russian, Italian, Spanish and German. They are compatible with iPhones, iPod touch and the iPad.
Get Erasmos’s French Numbers iPhone App and French Gender iPhone App here!