This English to French 
Intercomprehensive course 
tends to : 

  •  Offer a long-lasting first exposure to French language (reading & pronunciation) as well as an opening to other Romance languages
  • Strengthen  knowledge of English   
  •  Increase European linguistic, historical and cultural awareness 
  •  Develop learning autonomy and  reasoning skills


Why take this course? 

Students come to me and say they need to learn how to communicate in French. I then ask them if they are planning to go to a French speaking country or work for a French company in the near future.

If the answer is YES, I encourage them to take a conversation class where they are going to learn how to interact with French speakers in a French environment.

If the answer is NO, which is the case most of the time, I try to convince them to attend a READING class instead. I must admit that I’m not always successful because to most students, conversation class sounds much more appealing, more in phase with what they think they need, and seems easier too  because dealing with daily life language. The word - reading – itself sounds already boring or even scary to many. If they are given the choice between a CONVERSATION and a READING course, they have little hesitation and very few will sign for the READING adventure. Learners tend to think about reading skill that they do not need to reach "that high level" of language; they just need to be able to hold a conversation in French!

Let's reconsider!

Compare to conversation, READING is:

- Much easier because 1) the focus is on one skill only, not on the complete set of skills (listening + reading + speaking + writing) - 2) there is no emotional stress due to face to face interaction and  no urge for "on the spot "answers, but on the contrary plenty of time to think and relax - 3) written French has a lot in common with English

- A more sustainable long-term investment. You do not completely depend on a course to keep on improving your French. If the opportunities are not at hands for you to attend more classes, you still can work on your reading skill by yourself anywhere. On top of that, Reading is a skill that will stay with you unlike Conversation skill that will disappear as soon as you stop practicing.

- Immediately usable outside the classroom (Internet - newspapers - emails - karaoke...) Instead, if you learn to converse, who are you going to practice and use it with?

- Also very useful in a daily life French environment to read signs, directions, menus, forms, brochures, labels, programs, schedules, maps, regulations, ads...

- Allows you to deal quickly with any topics of your choice and does not make you feel reduced to an infantile state, as a conversation class would.

If French Reading skill is relatively accessible to full beginners, it is due to the close relationship English and French have developed over the centuries. The deeper your knowledge of English is, the easier for you will be to learn how to read French.

First of all, be clear as to why you are starting this new language

If it is just to survive in a French-speaking environment, buy yourself a small phrasebook and learn how to use it. It is good enough. The urge to communicate once there will be such that it will change you into a fast learner anyway...

If you need more than just survival, you will have to commit to language classes for at least a year or two with great regularity and dedication.  Otherwise, as soon as you'll stop, you'll loose it instantly. This can be a very disheartening experience...

If you think that you MIGHT need French in the future or French MIGHT be useful to your career, then let me ask you, how sure are you about that? You may well never need it. You might end up working in Germany or start a family in Japan. Is it really worth the time and the hardship?

Why not INSTEAD invest in a skill both useful and at your reach NOW, a skill that stays with you in the long run, a skill you can nurture yourself anywhere at anytime, a skill usable both inside and outside a French speaking environment and is anyway a solid ground to build a good communication skill if needed?

French for reading in universities:

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