If learning a new foreign language is among your New Year’s Resolutions, why not try French? This is not just the language of romance. It is also one of the most spoken languages globally – there are over 300 million French native speakers worldwide.
How can you benefit from learning French?
- it gives you access to a new job market
- you will feel more comfortable traveling to countries that speak French (France, Belgium, Canada, Luxembourg, Monaco, etc.)
- you will have one more opportunity to study abroad
With that being said, French isn’t the easiest language to learn. Starting from French pronunciation and ending with verb conjugations, you’ll encounter quite a few challenges before you can confidently speak this language.
To make your journey to mastering French less bumpy and difficult, we’ve prepared a list of educational games. These games can help you practice different skills and improve your overall language competency in general.
1. Max & Tom
We’ll start with the first challenge that French learners often struggle with – phonetics and pronunciation.
Why is French phonetics hard for the majority of learners?
The problem is that French and English (and many other languages) share the Latin alphabet. And while it may seem good, this factor actually confuses the learners and causes improper pronunciation. That’s why French phonetics is the first challenge that learners have to tackle from the beginning.
Online games can be a good additional activity to help you learn French sounds and pronunciation. Max & Tom has a variety of games that aims at helping you learn how to decipher and pronounce different diphthongs (combinations of sounds).
For instance, the game below teaches learners how to pronounce diphthongs –bi, ba, bou, and –bo:
Along with the French sounds, you also learn basic vocabulary. In other words, you kill two birds with one stone.
2. Digital Dialects
Here’s one more game option for those struggling with the French pronunciation. Here, the games are broken down into lexical categories. So, you don’t just learn how to say a word properly, but you also learn structured vocabulary.
For example, here’s a game that helps you learn fruits and vegetables along with the correct pronunciation of these words. The narrator tells you the word, and you need to pick the right answer:
The perk of learning French via Digital Dialects is that you also improve your listening. As a result, you can practice three language competencies with just one game – pronunciation, listening, and vocabulary.
3. Polly Lingual
Now, let’s take a look at how games can help you learn French vocabulary. But first, are French words hard to learn?
Yes and no. They are generally easier to learn for those who also speak other languages of the Roman group (Italian and Spanish). English speakers will also find that some French words have the same meaning as in their native language.
However, the biggest challenge you may encounter when learning French vocabulary is the gender of the words, which is a completely alien concept for those who speak English. Usually, when a person learns a French word, they also have to memorize its gender right away.
Polly Lingual has a variety of games that can help you memorize French words and their spelling better. For instance, the game below is called a word soup and teaches you the basic colors in French:
Besides vocabulary, this resource also provides you with grammar-learning games. In the example below, you can see a whack-a-word game that helps you learn definite articles:
There is also a variety of activities for those who want to learn specific vocabulary on the topics of healthcare and travel.
This is another resource where you can practice a variety of competencies, including orthography, conjugation, grammar, and vocabulary. Bescherelle is very convenient to use because all the activities are subdivided into categories according to different levels of French proficiency.
Those who are struggling with pronunciation will find useful educational games here, too. For instance, the one below resembles a memory game, where you need to find the words that have identical syllables:
Another fun game helps you practice the right punctuation. All you have to do is listen to a sentence narrated by the native speaker and put the right punctuation sign:
The biggest perk of this game is that you learn the right intonation for different types of sentences. Along with that, you also enrich your vocabulary and practice different grammatical rules.
5. Olé Mains
This game is perfect if you are learning French together with your friend or a family member. Olé Mains is a French version of charades and resembles the popular Heads Up game by Ellen DeGeneres.
Here’s how this game works. There are word categories both for adults and children. For instance, below, you can see a category with pop culture trivia:
You pick a category, show the phone or tablet screen to the person you’re playing with, and they have to act out the word they see. If they get it right, you slightly tilt the screen. However, the person who’s acting out the word only has one minute to do it.
How does this game help practice French?
First of all, it is a perfect opportunity to practice speaking. There is a variety of interesting topics that this game covers, which can even come up during the DELF exam. Besides, you also learn how to speak quickly since you have only one minute to act out a word. As a result, playing this game frequently can also help you become a more fluent and confident French speaker.
However, keep in mind that this game is more suitable for those who have a rather rich vocabulary to be able to express themselves easily. So, if you don’t feel that you’re there yet, it’s better to do some lower-level activities first.
If you’re looking for a resource with games that could help you improve your vocabulary topic-by-topic, this website has everything you need.
All vocabulary-learning games are subdivided according to different topics. Before you start a game, you get to revise the vocabulary, which gives you a better chance to win the game.
The topics are different, from the basic ones like family and sports to more advanced options. For instance, the game below helps you practice all the vocabulary on the topic of the family:
The biggest perk of this game is that all the tasks are narrated in English. So, if you are learning French from the beginning, this resource will be easier for you to navigate.
7. Hello World
One more French-learning website with games we are going to talk about today is Hello World. By far, this is the most comprehensive resource since it not only has the games for practicing pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar but also includes fun videos about French culture.
Besides, there are a lot of interesting games for beginners. For instance, you can do puzzles to learn the words about furniture found in a bedroom:
There are also games involving maps for those who want to learn country names in French. And, if you want to check your knowledge, there are tests in the form of flashcards.
We’re not going to sugar-coat it – French isn’t among the easiest languages. There are quite a few challenges you encounter right from the beginning, and you will have to learn how to tackle them.
But don’t let these challenges discourage you. Instead, make learning French more fun with educational games. They can help you improve your pronunciation, enrich vocabulary, and solidify your knowledge of grammar.