France to debate introduction of more English-speaking courses

Didn't realise English was banned in French universities in the first place.

Latest from The Telegraph:

Plans to ease a ban on the use of English in French universities will be debated on Wednesday with unions threatening to strike in protest at a measure some claim will turn French into a “dead language”.

Under a 1994 “Toubon” law defending the French language, French must be used in classrooms from right through

nursery to university, barring lessons in a foreign language and visits from foreign guest teachers.

The law also obliges public bodies to find French alternatives to Anglicisms, such as “mercatique” for “marketing”.

Geneviève Fioraso, the Minister for Higher Education, wants to ramp up courses in English, warning that otherwise universities will eventually end up with “five people sitting around a table discussing Proust”. The measure, she said, is aimed at increasing the number of foreign students at French universities from the current level of 12 percent of the total to 15 percent by 2020.

But it has ignited a storm of protest from language purists, including the influential Academie Francaise, set up in 1635 and the official guardian of the language. Courriel, a French language defence association, even branded it “linguistic assassination”.

Now several leading unions in the education sector have threatened to strike on Wednesday, when a parliamentary debate over the proposal opens, with even some members of the ruling Socialist party opposing the plan.

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Why learn French

French is the second most popular language at Euroasia, after Spanish. Here are some reasons why you should consider learning French:

  • Together with English and Spanish, French is one of the most international of European languages, spoken in all the continents of the world.
  • French was for centuries the international language of diplomacy and culture; it’s still important in those fields.
  • The French-speaking world has contributed an enormous number of great artists, writers, philosophers and scientists.
  • France has a large economy with a huge international presence.
  • Young Kiwis can go and work in France, Belgium or Canada for one year under a working holiday scheme.  A knowledge of French would obviously make a huge difference to anyone’s job prospects.
  • France itself has an incredible variety of scenery, from the rugged Atlantic coast, to the beautiful central valleys, to the Alps, to the Mediterranean landscapes of the south.  It offers great opportunities for outdoor activities.
  • French cities are active, busy places, where there is always a lot going on.  They have

    a unique café culture, and there are great opportunities for cinema, theatre, eating out and clubbing.

  • French cuisine is world-renowned, and French is still the international language of cooking, so at least a smattering of the French language is useful for chefs and food enthusiasts.
  • If France seems a long way off, New Caledonia and French Polynesia are more accessible holiday destinations.  And they are very French!  Even a limited knowledge of the French language can enrich and enliven your tropical holiday.
  • Much like speakers of English, French speakers tend not to be very enthusiastic about speaking other languages, so in France, for example, there is no guarantee you will find someone prepared to speak to you in English!

Find out more about learning French with Euroasia.  Or to enrol for a French course, check out the French timetable!

Courses start week of 13 October.

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