French is a very popular language among high school and junior college students in India. They study the language during upper secondary- from Standard VIII to Standard X and again during First Year Junior College and Second Year Junior College.
Learning a foreign language in India is considered prestigious for reasons unknown.
If you are looking to improve communications skills or wish to learn French outside school or college, here are some excellent ways to learn French language.
French ranks as the sixth most widely used language in the world. Nearly 285 million people around the world use this European language.
French is the official language in 29 countries across the globe and is spoken in nearly 60 other nations, including local dialects.
How To Learn the French Language On Your Own
Here is how to learn the French language in India.
1. Alliance Française
Alliance Française is your best resource to learn French in India. It functions under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France and local partners.
Alliance Française offers courses at various locations in India in collaboration with local franchisees.
To study a French course through Alliance Française, you have to register as a member of this prestigious society.
Half yearly membership costs Rs.600 while the annual fee is Rs.1,200. Alliance Française makes it compulsory for French learners to be members of the society, before registering for any course.
You can apply for membership online or through any Alliance Française centre in India.
Alliance Française conducts two courses in two categories.
1. General Courses:
Under this category, there are two courses.
- French for Young Learners.
- French for Young Adults and Adults.
2. Professional/ Specific Courses
- Business French.
- French for Specific Purposes.
Upon successful completion of these courses, Alliance Française issues a certificate. This certificate entitles you to appear for the two exams.
- The DELF (Diplôme d’Études en Langue Française, for beginner and intermediate students)
- DALF (Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française, for advanced students).
The French Ministry of Education issues both these certificates. They certify your French language proficiency according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
Since the Government of France issues these certificates, they are accepted as proof of your proficiency in the French language worldwide. Additionally, they are lifelong qualifications and need no renewal or further tests.
Alliance Française conducts exams for these certificates. It is the only organisation in India mandated by the French Ministry of Education to perform these tests.
You should select Alliance Française as an institute of choice to study the French language. The organisation has an impressive history of facilitating people around the world to learn French.
It was founded in 1883 by globally acclaimed Frenchmen including author Jules Verne who wrote the epic ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea’ and many other novels, Louis Pasteur- the scientist that discovered Pasteurization or process of boiling milk to destroy bacteria, Ferdinand De Lesseps, developer of Suez Canal, eminent philosopher Ernest Renan and renowned French publishing house, Armand Colin.
Alliance Française provides study material for its French classes. Additionally, online resources are also available on the society’s website.
You can also request assistance from native French tutors when you learn French through Alliance Française.
2. Top Universities To Study French in India
Almost every reputed, government-owned university in India offers courses in French. For example, Mumbai University has a dedicated Department of French where you can enrol to learn this language.
To learn French, you have a wide choice of eight part-time courses and three fulltime courses at Mumbai University. It ranks as a leading university in India to learn French.
Department of French at the University of Madras also offers various courses to learn French. These include Certificate, Diploma and Post Graduate courses in French.
You can also learn French through Distance Education courses from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).
The School of Foreign Languages at IGNOU has a six-month Certificate in French Language course. It is affordably priced at Rs.5,500 per session and you can study at home. IGNOU also has a post-graduate degree in French.
3. Free Online Courses
There are two excellent resources to learn French for free. A fantastic feature of these courses are, they provide apps you can download on a smartphone to learn French while on the move or if you do not have a computer.
Duolingo has about 12.7 million registered users to learn French. This clearly indicates the popularity of the program. Duolingo’s online course is created by native French speakers and expert coaches in this language.
You can register at Duolingo to learn French or simply sign-in with a Facebook or Google account. Upon registering, you will be given an option to take classes in the following categories.
- Casual: Five minutes per day.
- Regular: 10 minutes per day.
- Severe: 15 minutes per day.
- Insane: 20 minutes per day.
The course offers full flexibility since you can take their online lessons anytime. These lessons consist of audio and video tutorials.
Duolingo will display images with words in English. You have to choose an appropriate answer in French. Should you provide the wrong answer, the correct one will be presented.
Further, Duolingo also teaches how to pronounce French words.
Learning spoken French can be a bit confusing for beginners since the last alphabets of most French words are silent or pronounced differently.
For audio and video lessons, you will need good quality earphones.
Duolingo teaches various levels of French. You can start as a beginner and move to higher levels once you are proficient in basic ones.
Babbel also offers online courses where you can learn French free of cost. However, this free course is best if you want to learn basic French, some grammar and pronunciation.
Babbel’s online courses include graphics and some audio-visuals.
The French language course available free on Babbel uses a quiz format. This means you have to answer various questions with appropriate French words from the options provided below. Should you give a wrong answer, the correct one will be displayed alongside.
Babbel is a useful online resource to learn French.
However, it is best used as a force multiplier of sorts when you are taking a French course from some reputed institute or university.
4. YouTube Channels
By any standards, Learn French with Alexa is the best YouTube channel to learn this language at home. Subscribe to this channel and get alerts whenever a new video is posted.
This channel has over half a million subscribers.
Video lessons are made by Alexa Polidoro, a French teacher who has several years of experience in teaching this language to adults and children.
Further, Alexa presents her lessons in a very easy to understand style, that makes possible for anyone to learn French.
You can find YouTube videos on this channel for lessons right from beginner level to intermediate and advanced.
5. Self-Study Books
There is no shortage of self-study books to learn French. You will find a wide selection of books that aim at teaching French to beginners.
A lot of these books come with visuals. Others also include a CD/ DVD to teach proper pronunciation.
Search online for books that teach you French and come with CD/DVDs. These audio-visual resources augment your French learning at home.
Remember to buy an excellent English-French dictionary along with. This will help you understand complex words and their usage in the language.
Buying books online to learn French is a better option. You will find multiple books that help beginners to learn basic language skills. They are priced reasonably.
However, these books are of limited use since you will also need to practice French skills you acquire by studying these at home.
6. Francophone Clubs
In major cities across India, you can learn French and practice the language by becoming a member of various Francophone clubs.
There are several such clubs where French speakers and learners meet. They speak in French. This facilitates you to practice skills acquired at classrooms, online courses or through books.
Members of the club can also guide you about various ways and means to learn French.
Since the majority of these club members will be non-native French speakers that have acquired excellent skills in the language, their advice and help can prove valuable.
7. Private Classes
Several private institutes teach the French language in India. However, it is advisable to do some research before enrolling for any course to learn French with these institutes.
Since French is a foreign language, instructors and tutors at these institutes may not have adequate skills.
Further, they might only be able to impart basic skills in French that would be of little use when you want to really learn this language.
Therefore, it is better to find the credentials of their French language teachers.
Since people that are fluent in foreign languages find highly paid jobs at large corporations, it would be unlikely that anyone that is well conversed in French would teach at a private institute. Hence, use discretion before zeroing on a private institute that teaches French.
8. School/ College
As I mention earlier, thousands of schools and colleges offer the French language in their curriculum. Indeed, educational boards of several Indian states and universities offer French as a second or third language for students.
If you are keen on learning French and studying at a school or college that offers French as subject, include the language in your choice of second or third language.
To Sum Up
French is an official language of the United Nations and its various organisations. Once you learn French, it is possible to apply for excellent jobs with the UN and its other bodies.
Large corporations and foreign governments also recruit employees that are fluent in French because of its significance in the world.
Hence, you can master French and open vistas for a lucrative career.