“Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets.”
While the merit in da Vinci’s quote cannot be argued, I’m not sure its validity holds up historically. Amongst the countless studies performed on the factors that influence learning a second language and being able to speak it fluently, personality is actually critical. It has been shown that more anxious learners actually progress slower. At the same time, the fear of making language mistakes is one of the most common apprehensions among language learners taking a French course or trying to reach fluency.
This does not exactly make for an optimistic picture in the face of Britain’s language statistics: a study done by the European Commission rated the UK as one of five countries that are the least likely to be able to speak a foreign language. While language learning in schools has declined for several years now, many are interested in acquiring a new second language – particularly, the one spoken across the pond: French.
While there are many reasons to learn the French language in the UK – from learning about shared history to attaining job opportunities – there are many different ways to get started. Here are some of the options you’re likely to encounter.
You can find the best French classes London here.
Start Learning French in the UK
One way to start searching for classes for French for beginners is by checking out the website Grand Répertoire, known as “The French Language Schools Directory” in English. If you’re going to be studying French, you’ll encounter the acronym FLE many time on your journey. Français langue étrangère in French, it translates into French as a foreign language, and can be found on all the sites you will be browsing.
The good thing about starting with the French Language Schools Directory is that they house a wide variety of links for Language lessons for your selection: the Alliance Francaise (Lyon, Montpellier, Toulouse, Strasbourg, Paris, etc.), a cultural French program in Lyon, and many programs in Universities around France.
The only downside: most of these programs can only be found in France. However, some of the institutions on this website have locations all throughout the UK. While some French courses can get a bit pricey, here are some of the more popular choices for studying French at a language school in the UK.
Translating into French institute, this language school has not only been teaching since the 1910, but it also has locations all around UK. The first step in finding any sort of language course should be to decide what type of level you would like to prepare for.
Luckily, all of the language schools you are likely to encounter, including the Instut Francais, follow the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, or CEFR. The CEFR divides language acquisition into three levels, each with two sub-levels of their own, marking a distinction between those who are still more comfortable in their mother tongue, to those who have a full command of verb usage and grammatical skills.
On the other hand, you can also choose based on the type of setting you’re likely to find yourself in. For example: general French, professional French, preparation for French language exams, and more. This will allow you to learn new words associated to the scenarios you're likely to find yourself in - for example, at university, in an internship or with friends.
When deciding what lessons to take, you will also have to decide the kind of schedule you would like to take on. You will have the option of taking weekly courses, individual courses, group courses or joining an intensive program.
While the general subscription price for classes at the Institut Francais can start at 80 pounds, it can vary depending on the frequency and for how long you'd like to sign up for. Next, you will be able to choose from a couple of different schedules:
- Group courses
- Private tuition
- Online courses
Depending on who you are, these prices can seem expensive. For example, if you enroll in two, 30-hour long course schedules in the same day, you will will be offered a price of 575 pounds. While courses are only given in London, their online courses can be given to anyone around the country.
The Alliance Francaise
The Alliance Francaise, known for the most part as AF, is a private institution – which means that the prices of their courses tend to vary from city to city. They are located in 13 UK cities including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, York, Exeter-Totnes and more.
In Exeter-Totnes, for example, one-to-one beginners courses up to 10 hours, where you will learn more about French people, the French alphabet, and be exposed to French audio, will cost you 340 pounds. If you're interested in taking courses via Skype, the cost of the same course drops down to 290 pounds.
One of the nice things about the AF is that they also offer night courses for all levels (beginner level, intermediary levels B1 and B2, and advanced levels).
In contrast, taking courses in Manchester for ten weeks for beginners costs 209 pounds. Here, you can find a range of programs, from FLE courses to classes on French culture.
Intermediate level refresher courses, for those more skilled in French verbs and culture, can be found in Manchester at 129 pounds for the duration of 5 weeks. These courses vary from 1 to three hours a day.
At the AF, you will need about 24 weeks of courses to complete a level B2, or 480 total hours of classes, where you can expect a bill, at minimum, of over 400 pounds.
While this can get a bit pricey, this institution is well-known for preparing its students in the French language. They also have a lot of diversity in the courses they teach, be it for people wanting to go to school or work in France, for those who are simply curious about learning a new language, or for people wanting to master the French accent.
Prices List of FLE Courses on Superprof
Whether they be teachers, certified professors, graduates from colleges from the ministry of France’s National Education sector, or even just students and native speakers living in the UK - Superprof offers a wide selection of trusted tutors.
Learning French can sound like a broad learning category, which is why many of the tutors on the site choose to specialize in a certain level of teaching. While some professors will mimic language courses in that they will try to teach you the conversational and language skills necessary to pass standardized exams, others will aim at teaching you new French vocabulary or getting you to the level of a native speaker.
For private and group courses, there are over 9,400 tutors available throughout the UK, all with a diverse skill set and qualifications. If you'd like to learn French to become fluent, want to learn a language other than your native language, or simply want to pass your exams, this selection of tutors has got you covered.
Here are some of the biggest cities in the UK and the average price per hour for one lesson:
- London: 23 pounds
- Edinburgh: 17 pounds
- Belfast: 19 pounds
- Cardiff: 17 pounds
- Manchester: 19 pounds
- Birmingham: 20 pounds
- Leeds: 19 pounds
- Glasgow: 17 pounds
- Sheffield: 17 pounds
- Liverpool: 18 pounds
- Bristol: 16 pounds
The tutors on Superprof don't just give courses face-to-face but teach French online too.
Learning French in a French University
For those who are on a budget, there’s always options for those looking to learn French while saving some money!
There are many ways in which to learn on a budget, from websites geared towards French language exchanges, cheap language associations, and even work-language programs - many of which you can actually do in France.
These can be found through community-based, free French lessons, language and culture institutes, and online French help through official language channels or French conversation podcasts.
If you already have some experience in basic French, know how to say hello (Bonjour!), and generally have a good grasp on French pronunciation, words and phrases - taking French classes at a university in the UK might be a viable option.
Fortunately, many uni's with strong foreign language studies usually have language centres that also teach courses to people who don't want to enrol in the university itself.
If you're choosing to study a foreign language at a university, the good news is that French is often coupled with other languages of Latin origin - such as Spanish, Romanian or Portuguese. This is great for people wanting to learn other languages!
Here are some of the top universities in the UK teaching French studies:
- Durham University
- University of Cambridge
- University of Oxford
- University of Surrey
- King's College London
- University of St. Andrews
- University of Strathclyde
Many of these universities have language centres, such as Durham's Centre for Foreign Language Study, where courses for four hour days over the course of 9 days starts from 250 pounds.
If you're interested in learning more about how to get started, check out this guide.
What are you waiting for? Commencez-aujourd'hui!