Now more than ever with an increasingly global perspective, it's more and more appealing to learn a second language. Whether you wish to enjoy and learn about new cultures while traveling or envisage an international career, the opportunities are endless when you can speak another language.
French in particular is a language that can open new and rewarding opportunities to speak and write and gain a fuller understanding of the richness of the French language countries, including right here at home in Canada! As Canadians we are incredibly fortunate to have the chance to learn the language in school, as it is recognised as one of our national languages. Although French is mostly spoken in Quebec and New Brunswick, French as a second language is not only promoted in the rest of the English speaking provinces, it is a part of the core curriculum for each of the provinces.
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.”
So taking advantage of the opportunity to learn how to speak French at school is an amazing chance we are afforded as Canadians, with endless possibilities that can open your understanding of the world. With our incredible resources of French teachers, an environment optimised for learning and with plenty of classmates to practice your French speaking skills, don't miss the opportunity to take French language provided as part of the Canadian Curriculum right through to Secondary School graduation.
Learning a second language at school can potentially change a child’s life and open doors and opportunities only he or she can only dream of – so it is well worth all of the oral reviews and practices, grammar exercises, vocabulary lists and endless verb conjugations in French?
A guide to Superprof's learning French in school will tell you all you need to know about the beauty of the French language and why it is such a rewarding language to learn.
The history of the French language is truly fascinating and is revealed in its modern lexicon.
In Canada two main dialects of French are observed due to its French colonial history. Acadian French originated in Nova Scotia and spread to the Maritime provinces. Acadian French is also the basis of Cajun French which is spoken in the southern state of Louisiana. Laurentian French is spoken mainly in Quebec, and spread westward across Canada.
If you’re interested in being able to communicate with people of various nationalities, including right here in our province of Quebec, throughout Europe, and the rest of the french speaking colonies throughout the world, then learning French is a great language to learn.
The Advantage of Learning French at School
At the start of primary or elementary school, learning the French language is a compulsory part of the provincial curriculums. In Ontario French language instruction begins from grade 4 to grade 8. After primary school, every student has the opportunity to take further French language courses during their time at secondary school or high school – but how is the school environment the most conducive to learning the French language? Why wait as an adult to start learning French? Parents have the unique opportunity to guide their children in the right direction and the opportunity to become bilingual or fluent in French, is an advantage available to all Canadians.
Numerous studies have shown that children are best able to learn a second, or more languages before the age of 10 with full fluency and native skills attainable. Further studies have proven that children up until the age of 17 and 18 can more easily learn a second language as well. So time is of the essence and these school years provide a cognitive advantage for children to learn a second language with greater fluency and proficiency.
Languages are on the secondary school curriculum for many good reasons – But learning the French language while in school in particular?
Here are the top five reasons to choose to learn French at school:
1. Improve Your English
French and English languages have some common words and phrases: petite, bureau, menu, rendez-vous, déjà vu, R.S.V.P (Many English-speakers don’t realize this is an abbreviation of Répondez s’il vous plait) – this makes picking up new vocabulary far easier.
Learning a second language can improve your understanding of English?
“You will never understand one language until you can understand at least two”
Learning French grammar in particular can really help when it comes to understanding English grammar since the languages are closely related and structured. Understanding what nouns, direct objects and verbs are in the french language also helps to understand the english construction or grammar.
Similarly, if you ever read an unfamiliar word, sometimes being able to identify any of its French roots can help decode its meaning in English; like the english word ‘inevitable’ with it's French verb ‘éviter’, meaning ‘to avoid’. Therefore, with the negator ‘in’ this gives you the meaning of ‘inevitable’.
2. French Expressions and Vocabulary for Holidays
Whether you are in Paris sitting in a cafe wanting to ask your waiter for the bill with "l'addition si vous plait", or you are on the Cote d'Azur on a beach holiday wishing to make new friends, being able to communicate on any level in French makes the experience that much more rewarding. Traveling in a country where French is the language is so much less daunting when you have some understanding of the language, and make you less weary to discover other attractions off the beaten path.
And for ease, just being able to read that a shop closes for lunch, from the phrase ‘fermé entre 12h et 14h’ and reopens after the l’heure du déjeuner, or lunch hour could help you plan your day.
Check our great list of resources for learning French.
3. French Exchange Programme
An exciting part of language learning in school is also the organised language exchange programs between schools.
To improve their French or English skills, schools organise week long or month long student exchange programs. These programs enable our students to host French students of the same age to help them improve their English skills. In return they do an exchange in another french speaking country or province to help our native english students improve their french skills.
Taking part in a French exchange program with students of the same age. is an excellent and fun way to improve your French skills and understand more about its culture.
4. Making Francophone friends
French exchanges, and learning French gives you the skills to be able to communicate with the 220 million French speakers all over the world.
Meeting and having the chance to create lifelong friendships with native French speakers is also a fantastic way to keep your language skills with the unique opportunity to learn through practical life experiences.
5. Take Advantage of Your Youthful Brain
It is well known that language learning becomes more difficult with age.
Children and teenagers are like information sponges: they have an innate willingness to learn – with a greater ability to develop a level of fluency in a second language more easily and quicker than adults.
Children under 10 have a greater advantage in language acquisition cognitively, but also due to the highly conducive learning environment of school, allowing them to acquire languages with greater proficiency and ease.
Unfortunately adults with their competing work, family and other life responsibilities, can have other priorities that come before their language study. School students have the advantage of spending most of their days in an environment optimised for learning, making it easier to concentrate on taking in new information.
Secondary School French and Beyond
Choosing to study French at the Secondary School level and beyond into university, is a great idea if you’re interested in an international career or you simply want to enjoy Francophone culture on a deeper level.
Since Canada requires mandatory French classes in primary or elementary school, by the time you reach Secondary School you have the option for further intensive study of the French language allowing you to become more fluent and proficient. Education guidelines and curriculums are set under provincial jurisdictions in Canada. In Ontario, there are 3 possible streams to follow for French language learning beginning in primary; core french, extended french, and full immersion. French exams are usually divided into four disciplines: reading, writing, speaking and listening so a component of all of these are incorporated into the curriculums.
Check our top tips on how to ace your French exams.
A French language qualification on your resume can signify your versatility and adaptability, and part of a knowledge skill set in languages that's highly coveted in an ever competitive global environment.
Learning the French language and all about Francophone culture in-depth, will not only be beneficial for your career but gives you a greater appreciation of it's heritage. Knowledge and appreciation of the language, history and culture of the French speaking world is so enriching and imagine the ability to converse in this romantic language, it's priceless!