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A case for French

Last updated: 21 September, 2011
Kevin Muller 16:44 IST

Education plays a pivotal role in peoples lives, and has been one of the key factors behind success.

The world today stands at the threshold of a global economy. Most companies have either expanded beyond their territorial borders or are willing to do so in the near future.

This approach of looking out for business opportunities not only expands the company’s horizons but also gives them access to potential markets in a foreign land, and enables them to provide their services to their client base.

In order to foray into foreign lands, a company must be linguistically well equipped. In that sense, French, being the second most spoken language after English enjoys a “popular choice” status. It is spoken in almost 82 countries, with 77 million first language speakers and another 51 million second language speakers.

French is also widely used in various international organisations like United Nations, World Trade Organization, Amnesty International, Interpol, International Olympic Committee, International Red Cross and Red Crescent, etc.

There are many other benefits of learning French, or any foreign language for that matter.
*Communication: A major reason behind learning a foreign language is to be able to communicate in that language. This might be with the people you encounter while travelling, or on business. Knowing the other person’s language shows that you respect his or her language and also puts the other at ease.

*Cultural understanding: Speaking a new language exposes the learner to the culture of the country of its origin. Be it proverbs, idioms, popular phrases or colloquial words, they all enrich the learner’s understanding and opens his mind to a new way of thinking and understanding. In addition, the learner gets to enjoy the other language’s literature, cinema, music, etc.

*Professional viability: To be able to speak French, increases your job opportunities and also makes your CV more attractive to recruiters. If recruited, you will be able to communicate the interests of your company to French clients, you could head international projects in France or those countries where French is used.

*Personal fulfillment: Learning French can help you break your monotonous schedule and introduce a new change into your daily life. Learning a new skill engages you mentally and emotionally and brings about a positive change. It also reduces stress levels so you get a break from your daily chores. Thus, it can positively affect your personality. A sense of accomplishment seeps in, and it will also bring you appreciation from peers.

*Improve test scores: Language learning increases your knowledge base. Learning a second language is always easier since you have already learnt one language and you are familiar with the various intricacies that one has to consider while learning a new language. Moreover, a lot of languages are very similar to each other in terms of vocabulary or grammar rules. You can improve your test scores of GMAT or SAT as 40% of words in English come from French.

*Other benefits: Some studies have revealed that people who study a foreign language have increased levels of understanding, are open to changes, have higher standardised scores in math, critical reasoning, verbal ability, etc, have increased patience levels and self-discipline.

Where to learn French
*Online: Click On French (www.clickonfrench.com). It is a project of the French Embassy. The course material has been developed by teachers of Alliance Franoise. The website supports over 3000+ sound files and 200+ exercises to practice French. You can sign up for the free trial and see if it works for you.
*Classroom learning: Alliance Franaise, the educational unit of the French embassy.

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