Passage Jouffroy
Marais Café

French Language

Learning any foreign language is a challenge. Naturally, the more we can hear and interact with a foreign language the more quickly we can pick up that language. It is important for students to understand that learning a foreign language requires a strong commitment and real discipline. Developing a mastery of a new language is a process and takes time. One of the biggest struggles is coming to understand just how hard it is to master a new language. At first we learn quickly. But as we learn more our progress seems to slow. This is when students have to guard against discouragement and keep fighting to learn new things as this is just when we get to the really high level of understanding and comprehension.

The Value of Learning a Foreign Language

Sometimes learning a foreign language can be particularly challenging for native English speakers. As the English language has become the de facto international language of communication between people of different languages, anglophones are less likely to develop foreign language skills Beyond this, we have seen less and less money spent in public school primary and secondary education systems for the study of foreign languages. This all leads to many Americans having a much lower skills in  foreign language than young people in many other developed world countries.

In spite of these difficulties, in today’s global world, it is clear that the value of understanding more than just one language will become increasingly more and more important for those looking to have the greatest employment opportunities.

Beyond the more practical reasons for wanting to learn foreign languages, there are many intangible qualities to be gained from knowing more than one language. Studies have shown that those who know two or more languages transform the structural aspect of their brains which leads to increased openness and creativity in all tasks.

French Language Online Resources

  • Radio France Internationale (Nice online site covering countless subjects in French along with helpful written transcripts)
  • BBC French (very complete site from BBC television with many tutorials on different subjects in French
  • NewsinSlowFrench.com (for those students who have a higher level of French, this is an interesting site which is what it suggests, a site talking about recent news events but in a more slowly spoken French!)
  • About.com (lots of links to online French lessons)
  • Le Nouvel Obs Verb Conjugation site. Not sure how to conjugate that French verb in the passé composé? Check out their site!

Other PICA pages which may interest you: