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Why Learn French

A widely spoken language

Spoken in 43 countries spread over five continents, it is the native language of 200 million people, the second language of millions more, and it is taught all over the world. French is also one of the three most widely-used languages on the Internet.

Historical links between the English-speaking world and France

At different times over the past two millennia, the English and the French have alternately ruled over, courted, fought and supported each other, traded ideas, styles, inventions, designs and philosophies. Their explorers circumnavigated the globe and added to the sum of human knowledge. All of these activities have permeated both the English and French languages: you will learn as much about Western civilisation (including the history of European expansion overseas) from a study of French as you will from a study of English-speaking cultures.

It will help you understand your own language better

Learning any foreign language helps you to have a better understanding of the structures and the subtleties of your own. Moreover, French is by far the largest contributor of foreign words to English vocabulary: learning French will greatly increase the number of English words you know.

A language of art and culture

French is the language of influential, religious, and intellectual movements. Jean Calvin helped define Protestantism; Enlightenment writers like Voltaire and Rousseau championed human rights; Simone de Beauvoir was a prominent feminist, and Michel Foucault was a founder of postmodernism. France also has the world's greatest number of Nobel Prize winners in literature.

A language of tourism and cuisine

With the variety of its regions and its rich history, France is the most visited destination in the world. French cuisine is revered worldwide and travellers through France can sample many regional variaties of some of the world's best-known wines.

A language of science, technology and medicine

Dr. Luc Montagnier discovered the human immune-deficiency virus. French doctors pioneered many surgical procedures, are at the forefront of cancer and genetic research, and have created the world's foremost medical emergency organisation, Médecins sans Frontières. The Millau viaduct, the TGV high speed trains, Airbus planes, satellites, telecommunications, Ariane rockets, oceanic research, nanotechnologies, biotechnologies and fusion power are just a few examples of recent French technological advances.

A language of business

French is a key language in the European Union, the world's largest economic entity. With a population of 450 million and a gross national product larger than that of the United States, the European Union is an economic super-power. Many French companies are present in New Zealand (L'Oréal, Axa, BNP-Paribas, Accor, Danone, Pernod-Ricard, Alsthom and the car-makers Renault, Peugeot and Citroën to name but a few). And with New Caledonia and French Polynesia at our doorstep, French is the other language of business in the Pacific.

An international language

French is one of the official languages of many international organisations such as the United Nations, NATO, the European Union, UNESCO, and also the International Olympic Committee, the International Red Cross and international courts.

A language for learning other languages

As part of the Romance branch of Indo-European languages, French is a good basis for learning other languages. French shares a strong basis with Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian.

The language of love and reason

Last but not least and you might already know that, French is considered the language of love. Learning it is the pleasure of learning a beautiful, rich, melodious language. French is also an analytical language that structures thoughts and develops critical thinking, which is a valuable skill for discussions and negotiations.