Lots of us have wished to learn a second language. Indeed, many of us are actually embarrassed by the UK’s reputation for poor language skills, and the Brits’ inability – or refusal (?) – to try to learn, let alone be fluent in, a foreign language. Yet, we still, the majority of us at least, forget any new language that we learn at school.
And so, it is very common for people to join a conversational class – or to join a proper, grammatical language course – to brush up on, or rebuild from scratch, the language knowledge they once had.
But there are many other reasons people seek language classes. These can be that many different languages simply aren’t taught in mainstream school. It could be that you need to learn a language for business. It could even be that you are pursuing language studies because you have fallen for someone who speaks a different language (and, as the Italian expression goes, you only really learn a language ‘in the cradle or in the bed’).
But whatever your reason for taking a language class, you should know that, in Edinburgh, the opportunities abound. It is a capital city after all, and an incredibly international one at that.
Scotland, supposedly, is a country in which one hundred and seventy different languages are spoken. Let the hugeness of that number sink in for a moment. And, for most of the languages there are, there is probably someone available to teach you it.
In Edinburgh, you can hardly walk around the town centre without seeing adverts for language programs, from Italian classes to those in Mandarin Chinese, from English courses to those in the German language.
Whichever one you were to pick, you would almost certainly be taught by a native speaker, who could cover everything from the basics of the language and culture to the phonology, the tenses, and all the communicative skills you would need to have a conversation with a degree of fluency.
Honestly, we told you Edinburgh is a great place to learn languages, and we’ll show you why.
With French language lessons, you can get to know French culture too.
Here, though, we are talking specifically about French classes. And Auld Reekie will not disappoint in this language either.
If you are living in a different UK city and are hoping to learn French, check out our article on learning French across the UK.
French is one of the world’s most important languages – up there with English, Mandarin, and Spanish. It will be taught all over the world, and countries on every continent pretty much speak it.
But whilst these three other languages are spoken by more people, French is increasingly a language of international politics – as it is used as one of the three ‘procedural languages’ of the EU.
It has been a hugely important language in the history of Europe, and it has had a massive impact on the language of the UK – with French culture having done the same. French will continue to play a huge role in the way that different countries speak to each other.
When thinking about learning a language, people often ask like what are the prerequisites? Do I need to have any basic knowledge of French to actually succeed?
The answer, as ever, is no – but of course it helps. And the chances are that you know some French already: ‘bonjour!’, ‘merci’, merely ‘baguette’ and ‘fromage’, or ‘voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?’. Nine times out of ten, beginner students know more at the start than they think they do.
So, go in there with some confidence, be prepared to keep reading and writing – and, in the classes, make sure that you speak (!) – and you will have cracked basic French in no time.
So, let’s see what is on offer in Edinburgh – as we’re sure that you’ll find something that suits you. You can find information on learning French in London and French classes in Glasgow in our other articles!
Do a French course abroad in Paris.
The French Institute of Scotland, or the Institut Francais Écosse, is the heart of French culture in Edinburgh – and in Scotland too. With a little French bistro, hundreds of cultural events, a strong inclusive community, and of course some French lessons, it is the probably the place to go if you are serious about learning the French language.
It’s right in the centre of town on the Royal Mile, and it’s a lovely space too. They do classes for kids and adults alike, running across evenings or intensively across a number of weeks.
The Edinburgh College is a great option for those looking for a formal qualification in French – or for those who might struggle logistically to get into the centre of town. There are campuses all over the shop across Edinburgh and more widely in Midlothian.
For the person looking for a formal French qualification, you can pick from National 5s, Highers and Advanced Highers, and a SWAP in Language and Business Access. All of these are, of course, recognised by the government and hold you in good stead looking forward to a career. These are a great testament to your skills in French too.
inLingua are a massively popular chain of language schools in thirty-five countries across the world. In the UK, there is an inLingua school in every major city pretty much, offering classes in Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, and every other language you can think of.
Class sizes are small, and the teaching is quite excellent, so you’ll be sure to learn a lot quickly, if you put your mind to it.
The inLingua centre in Edinburgh is on Shandwick Place – in a very convenient location for people coming from any part of the city.
Whilst there are many different language schools across the city, this may not be the right situation for you. Learning a language is difficult – and speaking confidently is a skill that people really need in order to make the most out of such classes.
Unfortunately, not everyone has this confidence – preferring instead to find one-to-one tutorials. These can be absolutely excellent for the learner, offering you more time to speak, providing bespoke training that is suited to your particular desires, strengths, and weaknesses, and building a space in which you are as confident as you can be.
We, at Superprof, are a platform that connects eager learners to committed, passionate, and talented tutors. We have over seven million tutors right now, teaching over a thousand languages across the world.
In Edinburgh, we have nearly eighty tutors of French offering classes from as little as £17 an hour. We’re sure that, among this lovely lot, you’ll have no trouble finding someone with whom you’ll click.
Unlock French culture by taking French classes.
Whilst there are so many options for language classes, there is nothing better than putting down the pencil for a moment, stopping staring at the verb tenses and vocabulary lists, and just having a chat.
This is what Yakety Yak does in its language cafes across Edinburgh. Rather than being ‘taught’, you learn for yourself through speaking, in a totally non-judgmental, relaxed, and completely and utterly French environment (no English allowed!).
So, with a coffee or a glass of wine, you can talk about your work, life, aspirations, and hobbies – like you would in your own language! It’s simply having a chat – but your French skills will improve by miles and miles.
For the more ambitious language students among you, there is the opportunity to pursue a French language course at university. The city’s best higher education institution is the famous University of Edinburgh, whose School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures will take you right through the complexities of advanced French.
A degree-level language program is one of the best ways to learn to speak like native speakers, as it ensures the most intensive and committed of styles of language training. You won’t just be dallying around in conversational French, but you’ll be exploring the breadth of French linguistics and studying literary texts written in this Romance language.
If you fancy being a diplomat, a translator, or an academic in international relations, doing a degree in French is crucial. Oh, and you have the wonderful opportunity to study abroad in a French speaking country. Such French immersion will be really fantastic for your knowledge of the subject.