Anglophones the world over, in Ontario to Sydney, are sympathetic to the struggle of learning world languages. Many, including you, have chosen to make the transition from English to French, learning about everything involved in this vulgar Latin-inspired language.
Whether you're looking for free French courses, French online resources, or where to fin the best French classes London and abroad - this guide will walk you through the process of finding the best language courses for the average English speaker. It's time to practice your french, take advantage of the language services at your disposal, and advance through intermediate French levels towards a deeper understanding of the French culture and language!
How Long Will It Take to Master Your Knowledge of French?
Everyone, regardless of if you're learning Mandarin Chinese or one of the many European languages, have asked themselves this question. While it is always impossible to say the exact time it will take for English speakers to grasp and speak French perfectly - some studies have established that French as a foreign language is actually one of the easiest in the world to learn.
A study by the Foreign Service Institute categorized language study into four different groups. The report analyses language programs and rated them based on the amount of time it would take to learn each. Based on these groupings, modern French was categorized into the first group.
What this means for people who want to master French is that the amount of time it will take you to reach a more advanced level of knowledge is, on average, about 24 to 30 weeks.
If you are looking to explore your options and take a French lesson through listening to a coffee break French podcast - it is entirely possible to progress rapidly in a short amount of time.
If you're looking to reach an intermediate level, however, you will need between 600 to 750 hours of practice - which is a hard feat to accomplish by yourself. While free lessons are amazing, it can also help to have a regular schedule of paid lessons. Here are some of the common characteristics you should watch out for when picking out the French class that's right for you:
- Methodology: What kind of French verb and grammar rules they will teach
- Framework: The goal of your classes
- Practice: will the class incentivize you to practice French vocabulary?
French Learning Price Comparison
Many of the official languages in the Romance language cannon are very popular to learn, especially in the UK. Because of this, you will be able to find both many French learners and French teachers at community-based or standard French-language schools.
As any polyglot will tell you, however, is that it's important to understand the costs involved with becoming fluent in a global language. If your goal is to become fluent in French and either want to start taking courses in French for beginners up to advanced levels, here are some of the best options for you.
Learning in the UK
The Alliance Francaise is a typical example of the French language school you are most likely to encounter on your journey. Known simply as the AF, the company can be found in 13 major cities across the UK.
The price of the courses, as well as the duration, will vary from city to city. In Manchester, for example, a five-week course with 1 to 3 hour days starts at 129 pounds. This intermediate level refresher course will be perfect for those wanting to master their skills in French verbs, culture and at listening to French audio.
French Classes Through Superprof
With over 9,400 tutors available throughout the UK, finding a French tutor will be easy - defining your goals, however, will take more time. Because of the wide array of tutors - from the French teacher certified from the state to native French speakers living in the UK - you will have to decide what methodology you will prefer.
If your goal is to casually learn more about romance languages, a conversational French tutor will help you improve to a basic level of French. If you'd like to go into more in-depth study, a certified French teacher will be able to guide you towards an advanced grasp of the knowledge.
Learning French at University
Fortunately, the many units throughout the UK that specialize in languages also have great language centres. For those looking to learn about the language in-depth, this will provide you with the opportunity to learn from experienced teachers through an intensive program. Some of the best universities for French language study are:
- King's College London
- University of St. Andrews
- University of Strathclyde
Moving to France to Learn French
According to mainstream psychology, humans go through two pruning processes during their child and adolescent years. Synaptic pruning, as it's known, basically boils down to your brain getting rid of information it has not used before.
Because of this, many people in beginner French courses get discouraged - it is definitely harder to reach a level of bilingualism as adults. However, as French people will tell you, many of the foreigners they see that come live in France can ditch their phrasebook in as little as six months of being their.
The reason can be found in the fact that people are much more likely to acquire a new language when they are constantly surrounded by it. For this reason, French immersion programs are highly popular and are worth looking into if you're serious about becoming fluent in another language.
One way in which you can go to France to learn French is to participate in a language exchange. This can happen either by finding a host family willing to house you on their property in France or through a work-exchange program.
This is an ideal position for people who are looking to stay in France while on a budget or are willing to work in exchange for lodging.
Another way to move to France is by looking for professional and internship opportunities. Many French companies look towards hiring English-speakers that have international experience.
If you've mastered way more than the French alphabet and French verbs and are, in other words, already pretty advanced in the language, you can also think about moving to France as a student.
What Type of Visa to Get
If you're interested in moving to France in order to learn the language, chances are you will most likely need a visa to be able to stay and live in the country. If you are part of the European Economic Area, you won't have to get any special work permits in order to move and work in France.
Mostly all other countries, however, will require a French visa unless you are only in France for a short stay. A short stay is defined as 90 days, where anything longer than that will be classified as a long stay visa. There are two main types of visas you will be able to qualify for:
- Long stay visa, or "titre de sejour" (VLS-TS)
- Work and travel visa
Keep in mind that only 15 countries qualify for the work and travel visa.
Perfecting the French Accent
While a French course may be able to teach you things like French vocabulary or French pronunciation - there is almost no better teacher for perfecting the French accent than having actual, French conversation.
While you're language course, whether it be at a language school or through online French class, will be able to teach you the basic French pronunciation. The good thing is that, as a foreigner, there is no real need to get rid of your accent and should, under no circumstances, feel pressured to do so.
However, as anyone who has taken French courses knows, many people still strive to attain their idea of a French accent. While there is no standard French accent, as it varies from region to region, it can be generalized into three main components:
- Pronunciation of phonemes
- Special French characters
There are also three major sounds you will have to learn in the French language that are typically hardest for English speakers.
The letter "e" is the first, whose sound will vary based on which letter it's in. The second sound, "r," is different from the English "r" sound because it is made with the same muscles you use when pronouncing the letter k.
The third sound you will have to master is actually not a sound at all. Silent letters are frequent in French and can be found either in the middle or at the end of many words. Get started on your accent today by practising these sounds!