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Suggestions for Language schools in France?

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Jun 19th, 2014, 02:26 PM
  #1
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Suggestions for Language schools in France?

A young work colleague of mine has the opportunity for a secondment to Geneva at the end of the year, but there is a requirement that she speak basic French. As far as I know, she has little or no knowledge of the language.

As I've done immersion courses in Italian in Italy, I have suggested to her that something similar in France might be the best way to go about it.

I've done a quick search, but has anybody any recent experiences?
willit is offline  
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Jun 19th, 2014, 03:13 PM
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I haven't done one lately, but have studied French in France, although no intensive course that was called that, but I did study at some universities where we had 15-20 hours a week of class.

I guess it depends what their definition of speaking basic French is, are they going to test her by one of the standard tests, such as DELF? I would imagine so, she will need a course of study that teaches writing and reading as well as speaking to pass that. Here are estimates of how long it takes to pass the various tests, I wonder if they would require her to pass A2 which is about 160-200 hours of instruction. That is certainly possible in 6 months if she studies or takes class 4 hours a day, 5 days a week.
http://www.ila-france.com/french-lan...delf-dalf.html

At that level, she could probably learn at home rather than going to France, if there was a good school that had intense language instruction, as she will be starting with the basics. Actually, that link I found is for such a school in Montpellier, France, which wouldn't be a bad place to study and they are preparing you for the DELF. I know nothing about it, though. Their intense course for DELF preparation is 30 lessons a week, whatever that means. It seems to be all morning and then two afternoons a week.

I did go to this school in Paris but at least 10 years ago.
http://www.france-langue.com/courses...al-french.html
I thought they were very good, I was there to brush up and so wasn't in an intensive class but they do say they have them. My class was mainly people who were already living in Paris and maybe working there or their spouse was French. They have info on the DELF so must be preparing for it, if you want.
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Jun 19th, 2014, 08:51 PM
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"At that level, she could probably learn at home rather than going to France". She would never learn "basic French" for a business position unless she studies in France. There are just too many differences.

We have a friend who was hired as an official translator for the UN in Geneva who had to do an intensive year-long language program in Geneva for French even though she is fluent in French, Spanish, Galego, Portuguese, Euskara and English.
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Jun 19th, 2014, 08:52 PM
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"At that level, she could probably learn at home rather than going to France". She would never learn "basic French" for a business position unless she studies in France. There are just too many differences.

We have a friend who was hired as an official translator for the UN in Geneva who had to do an intensive year-long language program in Geneva for French even though she is fluent in French, Spanish, Galego, Portuguese, Euskara and English.
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Jun 20th, 2014, 02:42 AM
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Also let her know about duolingo.com if she doesn't already use the site. It is free and it is a great way to get a "running" start on her language learning. All of my nieces and nephews are using it here in France to learn English and enjoying it immensely
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Jun 20th, 2014, 03:09 AM
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Agree with Christina, the first action is to find out what the expectation is for "basic French."

My company required its French and Swiss employees who worked at the international level to speak, write and read English. I had a working knowledge of French and could manage my own logistics, etc. Conversations were usually in English as their English was much better than my French.

Once I had their definition of basic, I would look for something local to see if I had any aptitude at all for the language. Only after that would I invest in immersion if I thought I could attain the required level.
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Jun 22nd, 2014, 05:19 AM
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I presumed "basic French" was just to get around the city on your own, ask for things, buy stuff in stores, rent an apt., etc. I would be surprised if anyone would hire someone for a position where they were expected to speak French while conducting business if they only had studied it a couple months, but of course, I know nothing about that company. I just can't imagine any company doing that given how many fluent French speakers would be around, or at least those who know the language very well already, even in the UK.
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Jun 22nd, 2014, 06:08 AM
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Total immersion is the best and do not speak English. I learned the basics in college 40+ years ago and started reading 19th century French literature about 30 years ago. Reading is the best way to acquire a vocabulary, and by reading the grammer rules repeat over and over. I have lived France for 10 years; my wife is French and speaks no English. We live in far Southwest near the Spanish border.
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Jun 22nd, 2014, 07:03 AM
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Total immersion is the best. I would recommend L'Institut de Francais in Villefranche sur Mer (just outside of Nice). It is expensive but very good. Many business people, politicians and those who need to learn French in a hurry have attended the program. The list of alumni is impressive. Did I say it was expensive? There are likely cheaper options too, but this program is excellent for serious students who need quick results.
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Jun 22nd, 2014, 07:51 AM
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I agree with jpie, have her start with Duolingo to understand the basics of reading and writing and then take an immersion class to improve speaking and listening. There are many students who took the Duo Spanish or French classes and tested out of a year of college work, so it's a good intro.

I completed the Spanish class before a trip to Spain and was roughly at the A2 level on the CERF scale, able to read almost everything (that wasn't in Basque or Catalan ) and speak basic phrases well enough to be understood. But you need a lot more work to understand native speakers or to speak well.

Just finishing up the French class for a trip to Provence. The phrase "Je parle français comme une vache espagnole" ('I speak French like a Spanish cow') is still very true but again I can read newspapers easily.

Here's the CERF scale I mentioned ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_..._for_Languages
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Jun 22nd, 2014, 08:23 AM
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I just read a venture capital report on the future of the internet that they do every year and apparently duolingo has had 23 million people sign up and has 12 million active users! Amazing.
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Jun 22nd, 2014, 09:26 AM
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Everyone I know who needed a language (starting from scratch) before 'living' within in it so to speak had needed a minimum of 1 year total immersion, and many weren't ready for it even after that.
To speak, read, comprehend and then function (even at a minimum) within a language takes time and I personally don't think that 6 months full immersion let alone a partial or semi-partial immersion could deliver competency. However perhaps your colleague has an aptitude for languages and could accomplish more than expected in a short time. Best wishes to them.
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