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Get ready for beginners’ French
Get ready for beginners’ French

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7 Where will my French take me?

Becoming proficient in French is a fantastic challenge! It will take you on a fascinating journey as you learn many aspects of the language, and find out a lot more about cultures around the world. You will learn new things about your own language too, and have plenty of opportunities to reflect on your own culture(s) and to make comparisons.

There will be many other personal gains too. In Week 1, speaking a language was described as being like a ‘special power’, hidden from sight but valuable.

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Figure 5 Skills and benefits associated with language learning

Research has shown a huge range of benefits associated with learning French, and languages in general. Activity 6 will examine this a little more.

Activity 6 Where can French take you?

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Read a few short quotes from various reports below (you might be interested in investigating them further – links can be found in References ), and think about whether anything here links in with your aspirations.

French is one of the three languages the most in demand by UK employers.

(CBI, 2019)

French is one of the world languages that affords its learners one of the highest financial ‘language bonuses’.

(The Economist, 2014)

[Languages] are important for productivity, trade and business; literacy and skills; community and social cohesion; soft power; culture; diplomacy; defence and national security; public services; health and wellbeing; cognitive capacity; social mobility; and equality of opportunity.

(The British Academy, 2020)

Employers say that they value competence in specific languages, but also the analytical, linguistic, literacy and communication skills acquired through language learning, and the intercultural agility that enables people to work across different cultures and countries.

(The British Academy, 2020)

In many sectors […] including the tourism and hospitality sector, […] employees with language skills and/or with a mindset of cultural agility provide a better service; in the creative industries such people are more open, confident, and adventurous in collaborating across cultures on a creative project.

(The British Academy, 2019a)

Being bilingual (or multilingual) is generally agreed to improve an individual’s cognitive flexibility, mental switching and ability to multitask.

(The British Academy, 2019b)

There is a strong positive correlation between creative flexibility, fluency, originality and foreign language learning.

(The British Academy, 2019b)

Now look more closely at yourself. Think about these questions and make some notes.

  • Where do you see yourself in, say, five years’ time, with the ability to speak French?
  • Did you relate to any of the quotes you’ve just read?
  • Which of the skills mentioned would you value the most?
  • Is there a particular job or activity you would like to use your French language skills for?
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