French is the international language of dance, architecture, the visual arts, theatre, fashion and haute cuisine. It’s spoken by over 200 million people, making it the ninth most spoken language in the world. Right now, approximately 750,000 people are learning it. If you can read it, you’ll be able to dip into the original works of such luminaries as Jean-Paul Sartre, Molière and Michel Foucault, and admire the words of Edith Piaf’s belting choruses. It’s a language of diplomacy and sophistication, and an official language of multiple institutions, from the United Nations to the European Union and the International Red Cross. If you’re looking to learn a language, French is a great choice. Here are 10 of the top reasons for learning French
1. A world language
More than 220 million people speak French on the five continents. The OIF, an international organisation of French-speaking countries, comprises 77 member States and governments. French is the second most widely learned foreign language after English, and the sixth most widely spoken language in the world.
French is also the only language, alongside English, that is taught in every country in the world. France operates the biggest international network of cultural institutes, which run French-language courses for close on a million learners.
2. A language for the job market
The ability to speak French and English is an advantage on the international job market. A knowledge of French opens the doors of French companies in France and other French-speaking parts of the world (Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, and the continent of Africa). As the world’s fifth biggest economy and third-ranking destination for foreign investment, France is a key economic partner.
3. The language of culture
French is the international language of cooking, fashion, theatre, the visual arts, dance and architecture. A knowledge of French offers access to great works of literature in the original French, as well as films and songs. French is the language of Victor Hugo, Molière, Léopold Sendar Senghor, Edith Piaf, Jean-Paul Sartre, Alain Delon and Zinedine Zidane.
4. A language for travel
France is the world’s top tourist destination and attracts more than 79,5 million visitors a year. The ability to speak even a little French makes it so much more enjoyable to visit Paris and all the regions of France (from the mild climes of the Cote d’Azur to the snow-capped peaks of the Alps via the rugged coastline of Brittany) and offers insights into French culture, mentality and way of life. French also comes in handy when travelling to Africa, Switzerland, Canada, Monaco, the Seychelles and other places.
5. Because it’s not that difficult
We anglophones don’t have the greatest reputation for speaking foreign languages, but French is the one language in which many of us can at least utter a few words. This is due not only to the aforementioned similarities, but also to the fact that it’s taught widely in schools, French-speaking countries continue to be popular tourist destinations, and French words tend to pop up sporadically in high brow texts that are trying to be a little more high brow. Admittedly there are a few finicky grammar rules to learn, but generally speaking, English grammar corresponds relatively closely to French grammar.
6. The other language of international relations
French is both a working language and an official language of the United Nations, the European Union, UNESCO, NATO, the International Olympic Committee, the International Red Cross and international courts. French is the language of the three cities where the EU institutions are headquartered: Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
7. A language that opens up the world
After English and German, French is the third most widely used language on the Internet, ahead of Spanish. An ability to understand French offers an alternative view of the world through communication with French speakers from all over the world and news from the leading French-language international media (TV5, France 24 and Radio France Internationale).
8. A language that is fun to learn
French is an easy language to learn. There are many methods on the market that make learning French enjoyable for children and adults alike. It does not take long to reach a level where you can communicate in French.
9. A language for learning other languages
French is a good base for learning other languages, especially Romance languages (Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian) as well as English, since fifty per cent of current English vocabulary is derived from French.
10. Parce que je t’aime
First and foremost, learning French is the pleasure of learning a beautiful, rich, melodious language, often called the language of love. French is also an analytical language that structures thought and develops critical thinking, which is a valuable skill for discussions and negotiations.
The accent is arguably the most difficult part of starting to learn French. Consonants toward the end of words have an unsettling tendency to disappear. Once you’ve tuned into the language, however, you can turn knees to jelly with the mere utterance of a simple sentence; is there anything more romantic than the soft, whispered sound of “Je t’aime”?
Ready to get started?
We offer evening French courses, duo lessons and private tuition to suit all levels. Whether you are a complete beginner interested in learning a new language, or an experienced speaker looking to brush up on your existing skills, we offer a range of French classes to suit you.
Our courses are designed in line with the world-renowned inlingua method and are led by native-speakers of the target language. Lessons are given in small groups to maximise speaking practice and there are no mixed-level groups. We have a long history of working with local businesses and are happy to hold lessons in your office or at our language centre in Edinburgh’s West End.
Now it’s THE TIME to book your place!
Check out our dedicated section here >> https://inlingua-edinburgh.co.uk/foreign-languages/french-courses/
If you want to make real progress in your target language, it’s important to practice it regularly. The best way to do this is by doing things you enjoy doing in your native language. If you are a busy person, it’s also great to be able to learn by doing something that doesn’t feel like work.
Here are some ideas for fun things that will help you improve:
1. Listen to a radio station in your target language
You can listen to radio stations from all over the world online, so it’s easy to find one you enjoy listening to. Plus, if you listen to stations from different regions, you can experience a range of accents and cultural variations.
Tip: the TuneIn app (www.tunein.com) lets you access international stations from your smartphone or tablet.
2. Watch videos on YouTube
You can find countless videos on virtually any topic on YouTube, so it should be easy to find something you like in your target language. By practising this way, you can also choose the level of difficulty based on the content you watch. For example, one person speaking for the whole video against a blank wall can be more difficult to understand that a more visual video where you can actually see the things they are talking about.
Tip: Make sure someone is speaking in the video (you won’t learn by watching funny videos of cats!)
3. Watch a soap or TV series
If your favourite shows are normally dubbed in your native language, you can watch the original versions in your target language or vice versa.
Watching soaps gives you an insight into the kind of dialogue used in everyday life and there are many great, addictive TV shows that will encourage you to keep watching and improving your language skills.
4. Read a book or watch a film in your target language
If you are under an Advanced level, it may be best to read or watch something you already know the story of as this makes it easier to understand the plot and guess vocabulary.
Reading a series like the Harry Potter books can be a great motivator as you will be able to see your improvement in the language with every book.
5. Change the language setting on your smartphone and social media
Surrounding yourself with your target language in your everyday life is one of the best ways to improve. Even if you are not in a country where the language is spoken, changing the settings on your smartphone and social media can help you to feel more immersed if you use them regularly.
Tip: try speaking with voice-activated applications like Siri to see how much they understand when you speak in your target language
6. Make friends online
Using chatrooms can be a good way to practice your target language if you don’t have the chance to do it in real life. The language is informal and close to real-life speech but it can contain a lot of spelling errors and abbreviations.
Tip: speak to people on Skype to practice your spoken language skills
7. Listen to music
By listening to songs in your target language, you can enjoy new music and practice your listening skills at the same time.
Tip: read the lyrics to the song so you can have a better understanding of the meaning and improve your reading skills
8. Do an exercise video
This way you can practice your target language and get fit at the same time! It’s also a great way to pick up some new vocabulary as you learn by listening, watching and copying.
9. Speak to yourself
Say or think what you are doing in your target language as you go about your day. Try to make up sentences such as, ‘I am washing the plates’ or ‘I will meet my friend for lunch later’. This will get you used to thinking in your target language and is a good way of identifying any vocabulary you need to learn.
10. Go on holiday
This is a great motivator to study your target language seriously in the weeks and months before your trip. Try to practice as you are booking the holiday, e.g. contact hotels, arrange transport, and organise guided tours in your target language.
Tip: avoid using travel agents or booking package tours that operate in your native language.
Speaking another language can open the door to a new world. We already know of famous actors who learned English to break into Hollywood, but many celebrities continue to surprise us with their impressive language skills. Here is a list of celebrities who can speak multiple languages:
Mark Zuckerberg can speak Chinese
Last year Mark Zuckerberg surprised and delighted audiences at a university in Shanghai by speaking and answering questions in Mandarin and, this year, he and his wife wished a Happy Lunar New Year in the language.
Gwyneth Paltrow is fluent Spanish
Gwyneth fell in love with the Spanish language and culture when she travelled to Spain as a teenager and has been speaking the language ever since.
Ben Affleck speaks Spanish
As a teenager, Ben Affleck spent a year living in Mexico with his brother, Casey. Since then, he has been able to put his language skills to good use, especially when filming in Spanish-speaking locations.
Shakira speaks Portuguese English and Italian
Aside from her native Spanish, Shakira can speak three languages. She learned Portuguese after touring Brazil at the beginning of her career and perfected her English skills while she had an American boyfriend. She learned Italian just for fun but likes to practice whenever she is able to visit Italy.
Bradley Cooper speaks almost fluent French
After being inspired by an actor speaking French in ‘Chariots of Fire’, Bradley Cooper was inspired to study French. He spent six months studying in France whilst living with a French family and has kept up his language skills ever since.
Colin Firth speaks Italian
When Colin Firth met his wife, Italian film producer Livia Giuggioli, he decided to learn Italian as a romantic gesture.
Diane Kruger is fluent in English and French
As well as her native German, Diane Kruger speaks fluent English and French. She learned English through studying in the UK via student exchange programmes and started speaking French when she moved to Paris at the age of 15.
Will Smith speaks Spanish
Will Smith has been giving Spanish-language interviews since 2000 and is received praise for his Spanish-speaking role in the movie, Seven Pounds.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt speaks French
The actor studied French poetry at Colombia University and still gives occasional interviews in French.
Tom Hiddleston speaks French, Spanish and Greek
The Avengers actor is a fan of learning languages and can often be heard giving interviews in Spanish, French and Greek.
Natalie Portman is fluent in Hebrew and also speaks Spanish, German, French and Japanese
The actress was born in Jerusalem and grew up speaking both Hebrew and English but she also speaks Spanish, French, Japanese, German and Spanish to different levels.
Valentine’s Day is known around the world as a celebration of love and romance where people show their affection for their loved ones, often by exchanging cards and gifts. Although the day is celebrated in many countries, the way people spend can be very different!
Here are some examples of how people celebrate Valentine’s Day in different countries around the world:
1.Valentine’s Day in Japan
Rear photo of Japanese young Couple with Kimono and Yukata enjoy fall colors at Nanzen-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan. Autumn season destination with copy space for text.
Unlike in most Western cultures, it is traditional in Japan for women to give men gifts (often chocolate) on 14th February. A month later, on 14th March, Japan celebrates White Day, where men traditionally present women with gifts such as jewellery, clothing and chocolates that are around two or three times more valuable than the gifts they received from their partners on Valentine’s Day
2.Valentine’s Day in South Korea
Valentine’s Day traditions in South Korea are similar to those of Japan and it is customary for women in South Korea to buy men gifts on 14th February. They also celebrate White Day one month later when the men reciprocate their feelings buy giving women gifts on 14th March.
However, after this day, South Koreans continue the tradition with Black Day where single people meet up to celebrate or mourn single life (depending on their viewpoint). Many will meet up at restaurants to eat jajangmyeon (자장면), which is made up of Korean noodles in black bean sauce and referred to as black noodles.
3.Valentine’s Day in Denmark & Norway
On Valentine’s Day, it is customary for Danish and Norwegian men to send women Gaekkebrev which are funny poems or love letters. They send these notes anonymously and leave a small clue at the bottom of the page (a series of dots where each dot represents one letter of their name). The woman must then guess who has sent her the card and, if she is right, she will receive an Easter egg later in the year. If she fails to guess the identity of her secret admirer, she must give him an Easter egg instead.
4.Valentine’s Day in Finland & Estonia
Friends Explore Nature Outdoors Concept
On 14th February in Finland and Estonia, friendship rather than romantic love is celebrated. The day is referred to as ‘Friends’ Day’ and people exchange cards and presents with their friends.
In Italy, Valentine’s Day was originally celebrated as the Spring Festival, where young couples would gather outside in gardens to enjoy poetry readings and music. It was also said that the first man a young, unmarried woman saw on Valentine’s Day would be the man she would marry.
Today, Italians celebrate Valentine’s Day by giving gifts to their partners and having candlelit dinners together. One of the most popular gifts to give are baci perugina, which are chocolate-covered hazelnuts wrapped in paper with romantic notes printed in four languages.
Brazilians celebrate their version of Valentine’s Day or Dia dos Namorados (Lovers’ Day) on 12th June. On this day, music festivals and events take place throughout the country and gifts and cards are exchanged with friends and family as well as romantic partners.
7. South Africa
As with many Western cultures, South Africans celebrate Valentine’s Day by going on a romantic date with their loved one and exchanging cards and gifts. It is also customary for young women and some men to take part in an old Roman tradition known as Lupercalia where they pin the name of their love interest on their sleeve.
Today, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in France in the same way as many Western countries by giving flowers, Valentine’s cards and gifts to romantic partners and love interests.
However, an old tradition which is now banned was une loterie d’amour or ‘a drawing for love’. This custom would take place in two houses situated opposite each other where single men in one house would face single women in the other and they would call out to each other through the windows until they eventually paired off. If the men were not fond of their match, they would leave her for another man to call. All of the women who were not matched by the end would gather around a bonfire in which they burned images and belongings of the men who rejected them.
Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the Philippines in a similar way to Western countries but it is also common for shared wedding ceremonies to take place on this day. The custom of mass wedding ceremonies has become popular in the recent years and many couples get married or renew their wedding vows together all year round.
Across the UK, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the same way as many other countries and it is customary for British people to exchange flowers, cards, chocolates and other gifts with their loved one. Historically, St Valentine’s Day was celebrated differently depending on the region:
10. Valentine’s Day in Scotland
An old Scottish tradition during Valentine’s parties is to play a game where an equal number of single men and women write their names on pieced of paper which is then folded and dropped into two hats (one for men and one for women). Each woman then draws the name of one man from the hat and vice versa. If a man and woman draw matching names from their respective hats, they have to stay together throughout the evening. If a man draws a name which does not match, he has to spend the evening with the woman who drew his name from the hat. Today, the tradition is not widely practised but it is still played in some households just for fun.
11. Valentine’s Day in Wales
The Welsh equivalent to Valentine’s Day is St Dwynwen’s Day which honours the patron saint of lovers and is celebrated on the 25th January each year. On this day, hand-carved wooden spoons were traditionally given by men to their love interests. They would carve intricate designs onto the spoons’ handles which had symbolic significance. For example, wheels would signify a man’s hard work and keys would represent his heart.
12. Valentine’s Day in England
Traditionally, unmarried women in England would pin bay leaves on each corner of their pillow in the belief that they would dream of their future husband. Young ladies would also write their love interests’ names on pieces of paper and put them inside clay balls that they would drop into the water. It was believed that the name on whichever paper came up first would represent their future husband. In Norfolk in the East of English, traditional folklore tells of a character called ‘Jack Valentine’ which is said to leave presents for children on Valentines’ eve. Although it is not known how this tradition started, it is still practised amongst some families.
We are delighted to announce our new term for our foreign language evening courses. This one will begin inJanuary 2019.
We are pleased to offer courses in 15 different languages: Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Dutch, Finnish, French, Gaelic, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish
Speak a new language in 12 weeks!
Our courses are designed in line with the world-renowned inlingua method and are led by native-speakers of the target language. Lessons are given in small groups to maximise speaking practice and there are no mixed-level groups. All courses take place at our language centre in Edinburgh’s West End.
From only £10.60 per week, you will learn how to use the target language in a variety of situations. Please feel free to check out our leaflet with the outcomes you should expect from your lessons: available here.
Maximum of 10 students per class (average 5)
Qualified, native-speaking teachers
A lot of speaking practice
All course material included
Classes suited to each ability (no mixed-level groups)
Certificate of Attendance, showing final level and study dates
Classes take place once per week from 18:30 to 20:00 for 90 minutes. The full cost is £190 per term. This price includes all course materials, tea, coffee and refreshments included and wifi.
Duration of the term
12 weeks with 5 to 10 students
10 weeks with 4 students
8 weeks with 3 students in the group
Booking is now open for all languages, so book early to secure your place and avoid disappointment!
Free Open Evening
Tuesday 15th January from 6pm to 8pm
You will be able to join a Free sample lesson (45min) in beginners’ French, Gaelic, German, Japanese, Spanish and more to be announced.
The event gives anyone the opportunity to come along to the school and find out more about our foreign language courses. You will have the chance to meet our teachers and staff, see the school and also discuss your level and the content of our courses!
Due to very high demand, we have decided to launch daytime language courses. The new term will start in September 2018. The lessons will take place once per week from 9:30 am to 11 am for beginners. You will be able to choose from:
How much is it?
The full cost is £180 per term.
£15 per lesson including all course materials (book and CD for beginners)
Why choose us?
Our language centre is centrally located in Edinburgh’s West End and has a relaxed yet professional atmosphere for an enjoyable learning experience. inlingua’s world-renowned teaching method was established in 1968 and has been proven to get results time and time again. We offer lessons in small groups (max. 10 per class). Our qualified teachers are all native speakers of the target language. We make sure you will have a lot of speaking practice. We offer classes for all abilities – no mixed-level groups