Available on the Mahikeng, Potchefstroom and Vanderbijlpark Campuses

In 2020, la langue française, the language of love, is an official language in 32 countries and is spoken in more than 43 countries and by about 300 million people around the world, on every continent. There are more than 50 million people learning French in the world.

French is one of the official languages of Belgium, Switzerland, and Canada, and it is considered a second language of many countries, such as Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. Fifty-nine per cent of French speakers live in Africa, including in countries like Senegal, the Congo, Cameroon and the Ivory Coast. In sub-Saharan Africa, millions of people use French as their principal international language, as do people in Indo-China and countries located along the southern and eastern rim of the Mediterranean that were once French colonies or territories.

In the English-speaking world, we see aspects of the French language every day, whether it is in the etymology of the vocabulary (such as affair and crayon), or when English speakers directly borrow a French phrase that the English language is lacking (like cliché and vis-à-vis).

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Why study French?

Here are some of the many reasons why you should learn French:

  • French is one of the five most spoken languages in the world, on five different continents, and it is therefore a world language.
  • It is one of the official languages of the United Nations, the World Health Organisation and the Olympics.
  • It is the official language of the majority of countries in Africa, the African Union and the SADC. Moreover, many government departments in South Africa, like those of Tourism, Home Affairs, Justice and International Relations, are always in need of people who can speak more than one international language.
  • It could be your admission to Europe and international relations.
  • Speaking French is a great career asset.
  • The language opens the door to history, culture and travel.
  • It expands your online world – French is one of the top four languages used the most on the internet.
  • French serves as an excellent foundation for learning other similar, Latin-based languages like Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian.
  • French is the top language on the culinary scene.
  • It is ranked the second most influential language in the world, and is seen as the language of love.

Course information

This course is aimed at beginners with no required preknowledge of the language and who are interested in learning French. French is offered on both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Undergraduate studies involve first- to third-year level work, whereas postgraduate work entails the completion of an honours degree. Attention is given to both literary and linguistic usage, and especially to usage relating to aspects of the French language. French is offered for three to five hours per week. These classes focus strongly on oral proficiency and the overall course is communication-oriented, based on an intercultural approach.

This course focuses on:

  • The development of oral and written skills and the acquisition of the correct French pronunciation.
  • A systematic overview of French grammar and syntax and the systematic acquisition of vocabulary.
  • The interpretation of a variety of French literary texts.
  • The geographic, political and socio-historical background of French and the Francophone culture.

Possible career opportunities

  • Teaching English as a second language
  • Foreign language practitioner
  • Translation work
  • Journalism
  • Academia & research (within the tertiary environment)
  • Foreign customer services
  • Language practitioner (government & private sector)
  • Whatever you study, French will always be useful, because it enables you to function in a working environment which has contact with French-speaking partners or clients.
  • Hospitality, recreation & tourism sector

Interesting links