There are so many reasons to learn French that it’s amazing that not everyone is doing it.
Or, at least, it would be if we Brits weren’t so notoriously bad with our language skills, as if learning a new language was in fact a foreign thing to do. Honestly, this attitude to language studies is one of the most unfortunate parts of British culture. And it’s something that we should really change – because a first language alone is not really enough in today’s globalised world.
One way we could all do this is, quite obviously, to take ourselves out and learn other languages. We could, on an individual level, engage just a little with the language and culture of places we visit (the Brits are actually in the top five countries with most people travelling abroad each year). And we would probably do well to stop taking the mick out of people who aren’t native speakers of English.
Knowing a second language is so important. And the respect that you gain, and the respect that you show, by at least trying – and no one is asking you to be completely fluent – is something equally as important.
We’re here to talk about French. But the fundamental reasons why you should learn French are really the same as the reasons for learning any other language. It’s good for you, and it’s good for the world in which you are living – promoting cultural and political (as well as literal!) understanding.
Let’s take the latter one first. How does the world benefit by your signing up to a French language course, passing through basic French, through intermediate French, and to the fluency of advanced French? Because, in a world of increasing diversity, multiculturalism, and greater exposure to difference, bilingualism enables the building of bridges. It helps different people to understand each other linguistically, and therefore emotionally and culturally.
There’s that, but there is also the personal benefit of stepping into that language school. And this isn’t just that learning French vocabulary – or any other vocabulary – is good per se, or that the subjunctive, grammatical tenses, and phonetics have an inherent value in them. Rather, it’s that the process of learning a language makes your brain healthier, it makes you generally cleverer, and it helps you in your career.
Why not try French classes in London?
In terms of the benefits specific to French, that’s all down to what French is in the world nowadays. That’s not only that it is one of the ten most widely spoken languages in the world.
But rather that it is an international language of diplomacy, with over thirty countries across the world having French as an official language – but with people in many many more countries speaking it too as a lingua franca.
Importantly, French culture has also been massively important both historically and in the present day. There is a reason why we, in the UK, associate fancy foods with the French – and why Paris is known across the world as a symbol of style, wealth, and political, artistic, literary, and philosophical culture.
Signing up to some French courses – attending a French class, reading and writing in the Romance language, and talking to French people – would give you an access to all of this. And it’s a hugely rich domain of which to be part.
And, honestly, there is no better place to learn French – or any language for that matter – than in London. Not only are three hundred languages spoken throughout the schools of London, but, specifically in terms of French, London is known for being France’s sixth biggest city. Because there are so many French nationals living in the UK’s capital city.
In amongst all this, there are a huge amount of opportunities for you to learn French. With an almost unlimited number of French teachers, conversational classes, formal language lessons, and French literature and writing skills classes, you’ll find exactly what you want from your language training.
Here’s to your new French language skills!
But what do you need to know or do before you say ‘bonjour’ to French language classes? Are there any particular prerequisites?
It’s a common question among beginner language students, but the answer is a simple ‘no’! And that’s because, whichever French language school you attend, you will be assessed by a placement test before you even start.
So, even if you are a complete beginner who doesn’t know the very first word in French (we doubt it), or someone who learned the odd conjugation back at school, your new French teacher will be able to understand your ability immediately.
Absolutely don’t worry at all about it. Just go, have fun, and get speaking!
The Institut Francais, or the French Institute, is the home of French culture in the UK. With a cultural complex – including a cinema – and a lively community of French artists and immigrants, there is no better place to enjoy the richness of French culture and beauty.
Based in South Kensington, the Institute has a dedicated language centre too – with qualified, experienced, and lovely teachers offering classes to students of all different levels.
It’s a really wonderful place – with an incredible, friendly vibe. And if it’s authority that you are after, there’s not a better place to look.
Group language courses are not for everyone. It can be a little tough to get a word in anywhere if your class is of a certain size or you are not the most confident person in the world. And when you want to get value for money, or when you really need to learn a language, it can be frustrating if you are not making the progress you want.
That’s why private tuition can be a better option for some. Private tutors can tailor every class to your specific needs, strengths, and weaknesses. And you have their undivided attention, so you have time to speak, and opportunity to ask specific questions.
At Superprof, we host over seven million tutors in a thousand different subjects globally. In London, we have nearly seven hundred French tutors available to start lessons with you right now – at an average rate of £23 an hour.
So, if it’s one-to-one teaching you want, you’ve come to the right place
International House is a world-famous charitable institution that specialises in teaching English to learners from all over the world.
However, based in Covent Garden, it also offers a wide array of lessons in different languages, from Arabic to Russian. Of course, French is covered too!
The courses are consistently well-reviewed, and the institution’s stellar reputation should be enough to convince you that you are in the right place for what you want: proper language teaching with a proven track record.
An increasingly popular way to learn a foreign language is not through intense, focused classes – in which you do exercises and stare at grammatical instructions on a whiteboard – but rather through casual conversation.
You and learners of all sorts of different levels get together over a drink or a coffee to just chat away, about anything you like. And, in the process, you start to progress in your language.
The fundamental principle of these types of class is that language is first and foremost communication. And that’s how you learn.
Franglish is one such conversation class (in French and Spanish) in London.
London has some of the best universities in the world. Alongside UCL, there is King’s, LSE, and a host of others.
And there is no greater mark of your ability to speak a foreign language – and no greater asset for your career – than a degree declaring your skills. This is for the more determined language learners obviously, because this won’t be no beginner French or conversational French.
Rather, it will be an intensive French language program that prepares you to speak like a French native – and will prepare you for careers in diplomacy, translation, or to teach French yourself.
Whilst you’ll cover the depths and breadths of French linguistics and literature, whichever university to study at, you’ll have the opportunity to study abroad too – which is always nice. And the immersive experience does absolute wonders for your language skills.
The French language is as beautiful as the country itself.