French Language Education

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It’s not just for a visa. If you’re serious about learning French grammar, pronunciation, and need the structure of a classroom, then signing up for serious French language classes can take your French to a whole new level (as well as keep you legally in France, yes). It can also certify your french speaking skills for future employers or educational institutions. We’ve seen what other expat websites do. They let French language schools pay to put up an ad and act as if they’re recommending them. Well, it’s not just through fancy-schmancy companies that French can be learned, though they do a good job, so here’s some information:

Helpful Sites

  • ADPF (Association for the promotion of French Languages)
  • SOUFFLE (Groupement professionnel des organismes d’enseignement du français langue étrangère)
  • FLE (Groupement des centres d’enseignement du français langue étrangère en France)

Diplomas

DILF/DELF/DALF – CIEP (CENTRE INTERNATIONAL D’ÉTUDES PÉDAGOGIQUES)

  • While au pairing in Normandy, Brenna signed up through her local university for the DALF. She didn’t know it then, but it helped her greatly while applying to a masters program in Paris. She came through France on this student visa, that is, before she conveniently got her Irish citizenship.
  • The Diploma of Advanced French Language Studies (known in French as the Diplôme approfondi de langue française, or DALF) is a certification of French-language abilities for non-native speakers of French administered by France’s International Centre of Pedagogical Studies (Centre international d’études pédagogiques, or CIEP) for the country’s Ministry of Education. It is composed of two independent diplomas corresponding to the top two levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The “basic” and “independent” divisions are certified by the DELF. It allows you to enter into the higher education system in France.

TCF (TEST DE CONNAISANCE DU FRANÇAIS) – CIEP (CENTRE INTERNATIONAL D’ÉTUDES PÉDAGOGIQUES)

  • Official test for French language ability in non-native speakers. It evaluates general language skills for professional or personal communication.

TEF (TEST D’EVALUATION DU FRANÇAIS)

  • An evaluation of general French language ability organized by Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Paris (CCIP).

FAP (FRANÇAIS DES AFFAIRES ET DES PROFESSIONS)

  • These certificates and diplomas focus on business or specific professions (such as secretarial work, tourism, hotel trade, science, technology and law) and are issued based on a series of examinations organized by Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Paris (CCIP). CFP (Certificat de Français Professionnel): Business French Certificate, DFA1 (Diplôme de Français des Affaires, 1er degré): First level diploma – business French, DFA2 (Diplôme de Français des Affaires, 2ème degré): Second level diploma – business French, DAFA (Diplôme Approfondi de Français des Affaires): Advanced diploma – business French, CFJ (Certificat de Français Juridique): Legal French, CFS (Certificat de Français du Secrétariat): French for secretarial work, CFTH (Certificat de Français du Tourisme et de l’Hôtellerie): French for the Tourism industry, CFST (Certificat de Français Scientifique et Technique): French for science and technology.

ALLIANCE FRANÇAISE – THE LARGEST FRENCH LANGUAGE TEACHING ORGANIZATION

  • Diplomas include : CEFP1 (Certificat d’Etudes de Français Pratique I), level 1, basic; CEFP2 (Certificat d’Etudes de Français Pratique II), level 2; DL (Diplôme de Langue Française), level 3, which gives also access to DELF2; DSLCF (Diplôme Supérieur de Langue et Culture Françaises), level 4.

Schools

FRENCH COURSES THROUGH LA SORBONNE

As if it wasn’t easy enough to google it, la Sorbonne’s French Language and Civilization course website has made it crystal clear how you can spend an intensive summer, or just 10 hours a week for a semester, improving your French. Their site lists the diplomas offered (including DELF/DALF), as well as several others.

PRIVATE LANGUAGE SCHOOLS

There are loads, and we’ll leave that to you in the forum to discuss recommendations, as neither Sam nor Brenna has gone through a private course. Yahoo’s directory lists a few.

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About Author

Brenna

I've lived in France since August 2006 with a stint back in Washington, DC for a year. Ten months of my time in France were spent in Rouen - the Normandy town known for, among other things, Joan of Arc's death and Monet's study of light. With the years that pass, Paris is constantly transformed by the interesting people I meet who open up new doors in this amazing city.

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