We learn languages for lots of different reasons. For the love of someone whose native language is not English. For a hunger to travel the world. For business purposes, where you’re expanding into new markets. Or just to have a hobby, to enjoy a holiday more deeply, or because you like to develop your skills. All are great reasons to learn.
And we at Superprof recommend that, even if you have the teeniest tiniest desire to explore a new language, that you dive in straight away – because the rewards are endless!
However, the trouble with us Brits is that we don’t really like – or can’t really be bothered – to learn a second language. It sometimes feels like the whole world speaks English. And, when in a café in Paris, you say ‘bonjour!’, the response is ‘how can I help?’ in English! But this shouldn’t stop us.
Because, really, we have one of the lowest rates of ability of reading and writing in a foreign language in the whole of Europe. That’s actually being a bit over-generous: our ability is actually the lowest in Europe. And this is a real shame.
So, let’s get on with it! You’re here because you are interested in learning French. Either to brush up on your grammatical knowledge – the tenses or the notorious subjunctive – or to learn conversational French. Whatever your aim is, we’re here to help you find the perfect opportunity for you.
What’s more French than a croissant?
Learning another language is a great thing to do – for a variety of reasons. You’ll be staving off dementia, for example, which is not exactly something we expect from going to a language school. You’ll be improving your general intelligence. And you’ll be developing your knowledge of a different language and culture.
This, in a way, is the most important thing. Because being bilingual – or at least having basic knowledge of other languages – helps social cohesion, understanding of cultural difference, and helps the develop of links between communities. And, in a world that is ever more globalised, ever more interconnected, the knowledge of different languages is a real important asset.
So, crack on. When abroad, your use of that country’s language will help you earn and show respect. As it is not great to be that sort of Brit that, when not understood, just says the same English words louder and slower! Fluency is less important than the effort you make – so don’t worry about mistakes!
As we’re here to talk about French, it is worth pointing out some of the perks of studying this particular lingo. Because learning French is not like learning a language like Welsh – which only a handful of people speak (although there are many many benefits of speaking Welsh too!). Rather, French is a major world language that opens up communicative possibilities with over two hundred million people.
French is spoken as an official language in over thirty countries across the world, and it is spoken on all continents. Whilst people often learn English as a second language to communicate across borders, the same is true of French.
But an interesting thing about French is the way that it has informed so much of our own language. From the names of different foods to a range of cultural vocabulary, French – as one of the romance languages stemming from Latin – underpins a lot of the structure of English. And so, by engaging in a French language course, you are shining a light on your own language too!
The Mona Lisa isn’t even the best thing about France.
And so, you should really be convinced of the value of starting your French language class by now. But we understand that you might have a few worries about what to expect and about what you will gain from the course.
Firstly, with any language program, the important thing to bear in mind is that it’s not going to be a quick process. You are not going to have been to two lessons and have already mastered advanced French like a native speaker. So, take your time, be patient, and enjoy the process.
The other thing many people ask is whether you need any particular skills, knowledge, or understanding before you join. The answer is a simple ‘no!’. When learning anything, you need at some point to start from nothing. And if you know a few words or phrases, the teacher will do a placement test straight up anyway to ensure that the class you join is of the right level for you.
And now to Cardiff. Cardiff is a beautiful and diverse place that hosts speakers of over ninety different languages – and there is a lively French community flying the flag for its native land in Wales. In fact, Cardiff is increasingly diverse, with more and more people settling down in the city – due to the expansion of the university and an increasingly lively business scene.
All in all, it’s a great place to pursue language study. So, let’s see what options you have available to you.
Language Trainers is a language education company that has schools all over the world – from Brazil to Australia, from Spain to the USA. They also have a school in Cardiff, luckily enough, and their teaching is known for its effectiveness and professionalism.
You can choose between small group sessions and one-to-one tutorials, or, if you run a business, they can advise you on how to get your staff learning a language. Either way, they are a proper, reliable outfit that will have you speaking in no time.
For those who aren’t really compelled by the idea of a group language class, we understand.
These can be a little frustrating if you feel like the progress of the sessions is too swift, or if you feel like you are not improving fast enough. People also find that, in a group, they don’t get a lot of time to speak and work on their own learning – particularly if they are a little shy. All of these are very common reservations about learning languages in a group.
However, this is not your only option. At Superprof, we connect students to expert private tutors, so that you can enjoy the benefits of dedicated and personally tailored, one-to-one learning. With a private French tutor, you’ll be speaking all the time, and you’ll be working through the mistakes and confusions that are specific to you. You’ll see your progress speed up rapidly.
We have over seven million tutors across the world, teaching in over a thousand subjects. So, if you become fluent in French, move onto the next subject, either online or with another tutor in Cardiff!
The University of Cardiff is both a global institution and a pillar of the local community. And, as the latter, they offer an array of different part-time evening courses for adults in just about every subject you could imagine.
So, if you are a beginner at French, or you are hoping to gain a qualification in a second language, this might be the place to come. You’ll find that you’ll make some good mates in a nice social setting, supported by excellent, professional French teachers.
Really, it’s a great option for anyone serious about learning another language.
And if you are really serious about striving to be the best French speaker you can be, you can also do a degree in French (and many other modern languages!) at the University of Cardiff.
If conversational fluency isn’t enough for you, or if you are seeking a career in diplomacy, translation, or teaching, you’ll be able to explore the length and breadth of French language and culture through a three or four-year fulltime degree.
In language degrees, you’ll be studying French literature, the details of French linguistics, and you’ll have the opportunity to study abroad. It’s these years abroad that are the main draw, as the language immersion experience – and the opportunity to live in a different country – may well be one of the best experiences of your life.
Learn French, but leave their habits behind maybe.