Intensive French course for beginners

Oct 30th, 2015, 05:00 AM
  #1  
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Intensive French course for beginners

Hi
I'm trying to find a one week intensive/immersion French course in France that would most benefit an adult beginner. I'm 27 and moved to Paris 3 months ago for work (all my work is in English and my colleagues speak a good level of English). I'd like to find a course with small class sizes that will give me the foundation and basics that I need to then improve on. I fully understand that I won't come back fluent in French but I just want a basic understanding that will allow me to have enough to practice speaking to slowly improve. At the moment I know a few basic phrases.
Thanks for any help and advice you can offer!
Jade
JCoysh is offline  
Oct 30th, 2015, 05:17 AM
  #2  
 
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No real idea but I would recommend to ask at your work.
Probably people will have an idea and it would be a good idea to take lessons close to either work or 'home'.
pariswat is offline  
Oct 30th, 2015, 07:00 AM
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ONe week isn't really going to help you speak the language for someone who has never studied it at all. I think that could be of some use as a brush-up or to progress if you already have a good basis in the language. It takes time for the brain to synthesize learning like that, it can't be crammed into one week IMO. Babies learn to speak over many years, and while adults have more comprehension and other language references, it still takes time.

IN any case, that's my opinion and if you really want to learn French, I'd suggest you go to classes right where you are at night or something. Paris has many schools. In fact, I went to one that catered to expats, people needing it for work and lived there, etc. one summer as a brushup for me as I'd studied already for years. But they do have beginner classes and certainly it would be more convenient and you can do it on an ongoing basis. That makes more sense to me.

There are various schools in Paris but I went to l'Institut Parisien in the 7th arr. near La Motte Piquet metro stop. They are very good, I thought (I had gotten a recommendation from someone else before going). this was the company http://www.parisnet.com/directory/Detailed/10.html

Now I notice that page now gets you to France Langue, so I guess they sold out (and they don't even have the bd Grenelle location). Of course Alliance Francaise has classes, also, but I think they cater more towards young students than adult expats/workers. But you never know, you might enjoy their classes and meet some people there.

But as to your original question, even though I don't really believe in that method, that link to France Langue seems to say they have weekly intensive classes "at all levels", so I guess they have what you want. The most intensive is 30 hours. Their evening courses are only levels A2 and B2 which would be too high for a beginner.

Alliance Francaise has classes you can sign up for by the week but their most "intensive" week is only 20 hours.
Christina is offline  
Oct 30th, 2015, 07:24 AM
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I would recommending rethinking your strategy. I have done some intensive courses and they are effective for those who have studied beyond beginners. If the course does not match your style, you will be totally snowed. Additionally, these courses are expensive.

You have been there 3 months already and have not yet taken courses in Paris? If moving around is an issue, there are online one-to-on tutoring sites. While class room based classes usually require you to sign up for some kind of term, thus locking you in, online classes are usually a session at a time and you can try one lesson at a time with various tutors until you find the one you like that fits your budget and schedule.
greg is offline  
Oct 30th, 2015, 08:19 AM
  #5  
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Thanks all for the advice. I am taking lessons at the moment so I am already trying to learn the language. My thinking behind this was that a week intensive course for beginners would give me a foundation to work from. It is the basics which are taking time to sink in so this might help hammer them in.
After reading a few forums a few people said they'd attended CLE, Coeur de France and Institut de Francais who all offer beginner classes where everyone should be in the same boat. So has anyone attended a course for beginners or can anyone recommend one that takes things seriously and suits my needs?
JCoysh is offline  
Oct 30th, 2015, 08:41 AM
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I have not studied French in France, but I have attended an intensive, immersion-type institution you are looking for when I was trying to work on my Spanish.

Here is my perspective: The programs I attended were one-on-one, rather than group lessons. This is worth it since all of us have different existing levels of understanding (you say you are already working on your French) and different areas of interest as far as what your own goals for learning are. Are you more interested in conversational French or in having a good background in grammar? While the two do go hand-in-hand, different institutions have different approaches.

The programs I attended had four hours in the morning of intensive one-on-one instruction, both grammar and conversation. Afternoons were different activities intended to reinforce the morning's lessons in a different way. One place I went out one-on-one with my teacher to explore the area and practice in real-life situations. The other program, I attended various events with a group of students. Then, in the evening I did homework.

This was brain-boggling, and very tiring. IMO I would concentrate on the communication/conversation aspects rather than the grammar. There is only so much a brain can absorb at once, and I found that trying to move very quickly through the different grammar tenses soon because a muddled mess in my mind while the more direct communicative aspects stayed with me. My grammar and tenses may have been awful, but at least I was able to comprehend and communicate at a little beyond the basic lever.

Hope this helps.
julies is offline  
Oct 30th, 2015, 08:44 AM
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Hi julies, you're right it's conversational French that I want to concentrate as the grammar I can study in my on time on an ongoing basis - as you say they go hand in hand and I'm sure all courses will have at least an element of this. What course did you do and how did you find it? Thanks!
JCoysh is offline  
Oct 30th, 2015, 08:48 AM
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I think the intensive classes are for people who really NEED to amp up their skills quickly and are willing to put in a lot of hours to do so. (I think you would have to put in a lot of hours besides those in the classroom.)

If you are already taking classes and "the basics aren't sinking in" I don't think intensive courses are for you - unless you aren't putting in the work in the basic classes. It seems you would quickly be left behind and would find it very frustrating (these classes assume the student can gear up and focus to learn more quickly).

Rather than very expensive intensive classes I think I would supplement the basic course with additional recordings or whatever to help you catch up.
nytraveler is offline  
Oct 30th, 2015, 08:57 AM
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Ask around you.

I find it a good idea, as it will boost your motivation, but clearly basics do take time to sink in.

I have taken one-to-one basic lessons of Spain and I improved very fast. I forgot the name of the school though.
It was not super expensive (and my work paid for it).

At least it pushed you to study during the rest of the week. I stopped because it took away my only evening that I spent in Paris. But it was working.

Mvg.
pariswat is offline  
Oct 30th, 2015, 08:59 AM
  #10  
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nytraveler, I've only had 6 classes as I spent my first month settling into a new country and job. An intensive course would suit the way that I learn best which is why I've asked for recommendations of beginner courses.
JCoysh is offline  
Oct 30th, 2015, 09:05 AM
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Well that makes a lot more sense. It sounded as if you had been taking classes for a while and not getting it.
nytraveler is offline  
Oct 30th, 2015, 09:44 AM
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If you have taken some courses and not getting it, it is even more essential to understand the reason. You can end up an intensive more expensive version of the same thing!

In my experience, who teaches lesson matters even within the same school.

Some love to do immersion even at the beginning level leaving beginners totally snowed without understand what is happening.

Some just do cookie cutter lessons - can be a perfect match or totally incompatible with what you are looking for.

The most effective ones know your language and the way you think about how you express ideas, know usual difficulties spanning your language and your way of thinking to the French way, the cultural translation, as well as particular area you are having problems.
greg is offline  
Oct 30th, 2015, 12:00 PM
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The Spanish classes I took were in Central America and were run by independent schools. I spent a lot of time online doing research trying to find exactly the type of school and course I was looking for. I suspect you will need to do the same.

I had a friend who spoke highly of an immersion course she took in Provence; since her sojourn there she has unfortunately died of breast cancer so I can't ask her the name. When trying to do a quick search to see if anything would ring a bell, I came across this old thread.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ice-needed.cfm

Having done a couple week-long Spanish immersion camps in the US where there were 3 -6 people per level and having done the one-on-one courses, I am going to once again recommend trying to find a situation where your instruction will be one-on-one.
julies is offline  
Oct 30th, 2015, 01:14 PM
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I think it's admirable that you want to study. But no one can attain anywhere close to any kind of "fluency" in one week's time! That's just not a realistic goal.
suze is online now  
Oct 30th, 2015, 01:27 PM
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IME [albeit of language schools in Italy] they mainly only offer 2 week courses to beginners, mainly because you are really only getting into it at the end of the first week.

if you could do 2 weeks together I think that you would really feel the benefit.
annhig is offline  
Oct 30th, 2015, 01:28 PM
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Suze...I'm not sure if you read my initial question but I explicitly say that I don't expect to be fluent in 1 week! This purely to learn the basics.
If anyone knows of good schools that have taught them conversational French I would appreciate your input. Thanks again
JCoysh is offline  
Oct 30th, 2015, 01:48 PM
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Even if you were able to spend 24 hours a day with a gifted teacher for one week, you wouldn't learn more than a few words of vocabulary or a couple of phrases which you could use in certain circumstances. Frankly, you might make a little headway if you could immerse yourself 24 hours a day over a month's time, but still, you can't hope for a miracle.

Why is this so difficult? Because your teacher won't be able to give you anything more than bits and pieces - no class can prepare you for every eventuality. What will you do when faced with something you've never heard before? How will you respond? You might recognize a word or two, but other than that, you won't have any frame of reference and won't be able to continue the conversation.

Some people have an "ear" for language, some do not. People have different methods of learning, too. It would be best to concentrate on listening to as much French as possible - movies, TV, "scripted conversation" on CDs, as well as reading current newspapers and magazines. Look up unfamiliar words and phrases, because any living language (including French) changes quickly.

I wouldn't advise wasting money on a week's worth of classes, no matter how "intensive" the claims might be.
fuzzbucket is offline  
Oct 30th, 2015, 01:51 PM
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Of course I rear your post, that's why I replied.

And you can't learn even "the basics" in one week either.

Look I'm not discouraging your efforts, just being realistic about how long it takes to learn a language.

I've been studying Spanish for YEARS and am still a bumbling beginner.
suze is online now  
Oct 30th, 2015, 01:53 PM
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PS - if you can devote more time to learning French, I can highly recommend Alliance Francaise in Paris. You'll be tested to determine the most suitable level, and can change levels if you think you need to. Personal tutors are available, as are intensive courses. Not cheap, but this program works well if you can commit to the classes.

Some people like going to informal conversation groups, such as Franglish. You can check online to find other bi-lingual conversation groups.
fuzzbucket is offline  
Oct 31st, 2015, 06:45 AM
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I'm having trouble reconciling "beginner" with "intensive/immersion." Immersion is impossible if you can't already speak the language decently. Intensive, well, I don't know - how intensive can it be if you can't form sentences, don't know tenses, don't have a significant vocabulary? Maybe what you're looking for is an advanced beginner course, where your current skills will be stretched a bit?

I think Alliance Français is a good idea, as they will be able to assess what's best for you at this point.
StCirq is online now  

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