People have many different reasons for learning a language. They’ve fallen in love with someone who speaks a different native language and want to impress. They have clients or business partners that speak another language. Or they are hoping to up and leave Britain for a different life elsewhere.
Whatever the reason, we want to encourage you that, by learning a new language, you are embarking on something wonderful. Language studies is one of the most rewarding things you can participate in, and the results just make you feel great. Imagine taking a conversation past that sheepish ‘bonjour!’ when you are speaking with a French person.
Too many people don’t do it – and there are plenty of reasons for that too. They feel like they don’t have the time to commit to it. They are put off by the initial moments of language learning in which you can hardly string a sentence together. Or they believe, and this one is slightly annoying honestly, they are ‘not naturally good at it’. This, honestly, just isn’t true.
But we’ll insist again: do it! And we’re here to help give you some advice on how exactly to do it in Leeds. If you are based in a different city, don’t fret. Just check out our articles on French language courses in London or on French teachers in Edinburgh!
Why Learning a Language is Great in Every Way
Beyond that initial feeling of ‘crikey! I just had a conversation in French!’, the benefits of learning a foreign language are just so many that it is silly that we don’t all do it.
Firstly, it’s just great for your brain: it helps prevent dementia, helps your ability to concentrate, problem-solve, and be creative, and, simply, it just makes you smarter. This is science. But it’s a huge shame that only about a third of Brits are bilingual – because it makes you wonder whether everyone else is actually cleverer than us.
Then there are the more experiential benefits. You open doors to new cultures. You’re able to read and watch films, books, all sorts of things in a different language. You’re able to speak to new people – and to understand a whole different way of life. The more we write, the more we’re convinced that we should all go out and learn a new language!
And Why French is a Particularly Good Foreign Language to Learn.
And then there is French, particularly – a language that is spoken by more people than any other, apart from Spanish, Mandarin, Hindi, and English.
Like English, it is a language that people of lots of different countries use to communicate. Thirty countries have it as their official language, but so many more people speak it than that, because it is a world language of diplomacy, politics, and business. By learning French, you are tapping into a huge pool of people with whom you can now communicate.
But, beyond that, think croissants, baguettes, and cheese. Think about the Notre-Dame or the Louvre. Think about Chanel, Lacoste, and Dior. France has given so much to the world – it has influenced our own culture hugely.
The bread and perfume aside however, the French language influenced our language too, to the extent that learning about French sheds light on English.
What to Expect Before Your First French Lesson
Often, people don’t really know what they are in for when they sign up to language lessons. In a way, we expect everything to be instant these days – and we are endlessly tempted by these ads that promise us that we can learn to speak a language in three months, six months, or even ten days.
All this stuff should be put well away, honestly. Because learning isn’t instantaneous, and nor, really, should it be.
You should expect that your learning will take a little while. But, enjoy the process and don’t think that learning happens just in the classroom. The more you study in your own time, the faster you will improve and the more you will get out of the lessons.
Expect in your first class to have to sit a little test to see where your French is – so that the teachers can best allocate you to a class.
Leeds’s Assets for Learning French
Find French Classes at Alliance Francaise Leeds.
Imagine the British Council – that part of the British government that teaches English courses all over the world – but French. That’s what the Alliance Francaise is and, consequently – and given its role as the official promoter of French language and culture globally – it is a very well-respected place to study French.
Throughout the year, the Alliance holds French language lessons for a huge range of different people. There are the casual lessons for those learning French for a hobby – either French for beginners or for those of a more advanced level. There are classes to support people taking qualifications in French at school. And there are specific business language classes in French and online lessons too. All are taught by native speakers.
It’s a nice place to be. And, if you want a break from a formal lesson but want to continue learning – go to one of the Alliance’s cultural events.
Try French at Cactus Language Courses Leeds.
Cactus Languages are an incredibly professional language education company that runs across the UK. They operate in ten UK cities and, in Leeds, they are based in the centre of town in Park Place.
As the name suggests, they don’t just do French courses, but offer classes in other languages: Italian courses, Spanish courses, and German courses.
Their main product is the ten-week course, which runs across evenings starting at different times throughout the year. Here you’ll learn all the things you’d expect from a French course: French vocabulary, opportunities for conversational practice, writing skills, and all the stuff like tenses and adjectives that make up the nitty gritty of a language.
Get Yourself a Private French Tutor with Superprof.
Group language classes can be wonderful things. They can be incredibly fun, social, and motivating.
Yet, on the flip side, they can also be difficult environments in which to learn, if you are taking it quite seriously. You can find that everything can go over your head in the context of the classroom, with other students progressing at a faster rate than yours. On the other hand, you can often feel like you are being held back slightly. Maybe beginner level is too easy for you, but intermediate level is too much.
Such is the way of language instruction in a group. Because people, and consequently French learners, are different, and not everyone is similarly proficient at the same thing. This, more often than people admit, can be a little frustrating.
However, there is a different way: private French tuition. Rather than strictly following a language program or coursebook, with private tuition, the lesson content is much more focused on you. On your strengths, your weaknesses, your pronunciation, your personal language skills.
And here at Superprof, we help to connect students to the best tutors in their area. Leeds has over seventy French tutors, offering classes at an average rate of nineteen quid an hour. This might be the difference between you one day and becoming fluent and not.
Pursue a Career in Foreign Languages at the University of Leeds
Are you so serious about learning a second language that you want the fluency of a native speaker? Are you about to leave school and want to pursue a foreign language at university and into a career?
This is what studying languages at degree level involves – and you’re lucky enough to live in a city with one of the best universities for languages in the country.
The difference between studying languages as a hobby and as a degree is that, in the latter, you’ll be aiming for a greater depth of knowledge and a much more advanced level of French. You’ll be studying linguistics much more, and you’ll be developing your grammatical knowledge much more.
You’ll also be studying French literature in the original, as well as writing and thinking about French culture, arts, and history.
And then there’s the great opportunity to study abroad. Part of all language courses at university have an immersion experience, in which you will go and live in France to develop your language skills in a context in which everyone speaks French!