The aim in studying this foreign language is to enable you to communicate and to engage in meaningful conversations with others in French. It also gives you an awareness of French culture and everyday life in French speaking countries. In effect, it broadens your horizons by encouraging an interest in a language and a culture other than your own and prepares you for the school trip to Paris in 1st year, should you wish to go along.
How will I learn French in school?
You will start by realising the similarity between the French and English languages and the thousands of words that are common to both languages. You will also identify all the French words that have slipped into everyday English that you use already without even knowing it. Through a series of activities, games, films, songs and interactive online resources you will build on this knowledge, all the while focusing on speaking the language and having fun with pronunciation. You may even do projects on your favourite French footballer, for example. In particular, you will learn by concentrating on the four key skills of reading, listening, speaking and writing.
What will I learn when studying French?
You will learn how to say things in French about yourself, your family and friends, your hobbies, your school, etc. This will help you to talk to people who speak the language. You will also learn to understand what people are saying though listening exercises. Finally you will discover lots of information about the countries where people speak French and their way of life.
What is the French Junior Certificate Exam like?
The Junior Certificate Exam is made up of three main sections covering all the skills that you learned in French class. In the first section, you will listen to and answer questions on conversations, news items, etc. The second section presents a series of texts such as advertisements, articles, recipes and celebrity profiles. The questions and answers are all in English. In the final section, you will write short notes, postcards or letters in French.
You can take the exam at Higher or at Ordinary level. When the time comes to decide, your teacher will help you choose the level that suits you best.
How will French be useful to me?
There are lots and lots of good reasons to study French:
• Four of the seven universities in Ireland insist that you have a modern language such as French in order to gain entry. By choosing French, you are keeping your options open for the future
• French is the most widely spoken foreign language in the world after English. It is used by over 220 million people in more than fifty countries around the world
• By speaking French you can have a much more enjoyable and authentic experience when you travel to one of the 32 countries in which French is an official language
• Having French enables you to be more competitive in the national and international job market in disciplines such as business, IT, aviation, tourism, catering, education, translation services and many more
• Having French can provide opportunities for travel whilst working within large multi-national corporations. Many of these are well established in Ireland and France and constantly seek bi-lingual graduates, including Microsoft, Accenture, Dow Chemical, Ford, and Coca Cola.