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Before You Know It (BYKI): French is a popular software based system for quickly getting started learning the French language. It's approach is to try and teach you as many words and phrases as possible to help you quickly start communicating effectively in French. The software is great and the community surrounding the byki product provides lots of extra words and phrases on top of what comes in the package. If you are looking to throw yourself head first into learning French for your next holiday French Byki would be a great choice to make.
French Byki is available as a download version or boxed version. These are both the same product, but the boxed version is significantly more expensive. As far as we can see the best way to go is to order the download version and a backup disc for an extra few dollars if you feel you want a physical disc too. This works out much cheaper than buying the boxed version. If you want to try before you buy there is also a free express version available which gives you access to just a few of the full sets of word and phrase lists to see if you like it. Something that the web site doesn't point out is that there is also a mobile version of byki available for iPhone or Android, but you will have to go and search their respective app stores to find it!
On first starting up byki we hope you will be as impressed with the simple clean user interface as we were. The screen you will spend most of your time in consists of a kind of flashcard view that will display French words for you to type the English equivalent. There is a handy progress indicator on the screen at all times which shows you how well you are doing with the current list and how far you are through it. If you find yourself struggling with pronunciation at any time you can switch to a different screen which lets you record your voice and graphically compare it against the native speaker's. This is very handy for some of the more tricky words in the language!
French byki is mainly based around this flashcard approach to learning words and phrases so, aside from a few simple games, that's all there really is to it. The great thing though is that there is an active community around the byki products who regularly upload new lists of words and phrases that can be used with the software. This means there is a huge supply of new things to learn all the time and is especially useful if you want to learn some new vocabulary to deal with a new situation. Once you master French you can also upload your own lists too to give something back to the community.
French byki is a great product for learning a few words and phrases for your next holiday. Its easy to use interface with the flashcard based approach to learning makes it easy to remember the words you are shown and the progress tracker is great for keeping your motivation up. Our criticism would be that French byki is never going to let you truly master the language so if you want to understand things like grammar and style you will have to try something else. However, for a quick refresher or as an addition to a full French course French byki is a great value option.
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