How much French could I learn in a year?
November 30, 2009 4:07 AM   Subscribe

I'm in London and pondering taking some part time French courses. I'd probably be receiving about 3-6 hours of teaching a week, with some obvious extra study at home. Specifically I'm pondering studying with the Institut Francais.

I have almost no knowledge of French beyond Bonjour. How far could I expect to get in a year or two?

For background, I've not been doing too well with some other study I've been doing, and am pondering switching to this a) for variety b) because I think contact time helps, and my previous course was pretty much all work-from-home.
posted by curious_yellow to Education (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
2 years at 6 hours a week would get you to a decent level. Under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages you could expect to be at B1 level (independent user) -

Can understand the main points of clear standard input on
familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school,
leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise
whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken.
Can produce simple connected text on topics which are
familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and
events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons
and explanations for opinions and plans.

You could read a newspaper and understand the thrust of the majority of the lead stories, hold a conversation which although basic, would be above the level of just ordering food, asking for directions etc. Spoken French on tv and radio would be a challenge, but you could expect to follow and gain some meaning from French spoken in an audiobook or with a native speaker making themselves clear. You could keep a daily diary and write letters describing your experiences, asking questions and discussing current affairs.
posted by fire&wings at 4:58 AM on November 30, 2009

As an efficient alternative, live in France for a month. Immerse yourself.
posted by devnull at 5:54 AM on November 30, 2009

Yes, it's possible to learn French in Paris - Alliance Francaise.
posted by fire&wings at 6:15 AM on November 30, 2009

devnull: Difficult to arrange, but I like the idea.
posted by curious_yellow at 6:49 AM on November 30, 2009

I did an intro to French course, 8 contact hours per week, with probably double that in homework, for a year. I was able to communicate when I went to France, but my level was pretty basic. I don't think a month's worth of immersion will do much better for you that that, but I am not familiar with your learning style. Can you meet French people who you could exchange chats in English with in addition to your studies? There are bound to be a ton in London.

I am a French teacher with a PhD in the subject, by way of credentials.
posted by Wolof at 4:36 AM on December 1, 2009

Wolof: There are several people where I work with either basic or native French, which is one reason why I think it'd be a good language to go for. Plus, as you say, I can probably find plenty around London, and it's very convenient to visit for the weekend.
posted by curious_yellow at 8:02 AM on December 1, 2009

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