College of Arts and Sciences

French

tour eiffel

cafe de la paix

paris taxi

Why study French ?

While any language will be useful for some jobs or for some regions, French is the only foreign language that can be useful throughout the world as well as in the United States. French as a foreign language is the second most frequently taught language in the world after English.

L’Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (http://www.francophonie.org/) has 56 member states and governments, and 14 observer countries. Of these, 32 countries have French as an official or co-official language; other countries or territories such as Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco, New Caledonia or Algeria also have large Francophone populations. French is the only language other than English spoken on five continents. French and English are the only two global languages. The English language has been strongly influenced by French and many famous literary figures and critics are French.

When deciding on a foreign language for work or school, consider that French is the language that will give you the most choices later on in your studies or your career.

French, along with English, is the official working language of many international organizations such as the United Nations, NATO, UNESCO, the International Red Cross and the European Union. One example of the importance of French can be seen in a recent listing of international jobs (August 25, 2008) distributed by the US State Department: 78 required or preferred French, 27 a UN language (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, or Spanish), 17 Spanish, 10 Arabic, 5 Russian, 3 German, and 1 Chinese.

Of the various types of professional positions for which international organizations recruit, 5 required French, 2 Spanish, one Portuguese, and 1 Arabic, according to the fact sheet released by the UN Employment Information and Assistance Unit Bureau of International Organization Affairs U.S. Department of State, December 1, 2000.

The following facts are interesting:

  • French is the foreign language spoken by our largest trading partner (Canada)
  • In 2006, the United States exported and imported more to countries with French as a national language than to countries with any other foreign language. Exports to Canada alone in that year were greater than the combined exports to all countries south of the United States
  • French is one of the languages spoken in the US: 1.9 million Americans speak French in the home. (2000 US Census)
  • French is the most sought after language for Peace Corps Volunteers
  • Overall, the French export more per capita than the Japanese and more than twice as much as the Americans. France is the fourth largest exporter in the world
  • More tourists visit France than any other country in the world
  • France gives more foreign aid per capita to developing nations than does the US
  • France is the world's third military power (after the US and Russia)
  • France has one of the most advanced telecommunication systems in the world
  • The French are a world leader in medical research: the AIDS virus was first isolated by French doctors
  • The fastest trains in the world (TGV) are French

In other words, French is useful for anyone majoring in Business, English, Political Science, Tourism, Sciences, International Affairs, International Law, Fashion, History, and even Military science.

A Major in French requires 34 hours of courses, 24 in upper division classes. A Minor is 16 hours of courses, with six hours in upper division classes. One can also prepare for a degree in French Teacher Education.

The classes are a mixture of language acquisition, literature, and civilization courses, taught by professors who are active researchers and publishers in these fields. The curriculum ranges from beginning and intermediate studies of the language to advanced levels of literary surveys and courses focused on specific genres or authors. You can practice in our up-to-date computer lab with a variety of software, as well as Internet resources.

Our classes are small. You will not be a nameless face in the crowd; you and your professors will get to know each other. You can also get acquainted with other students who share similar interests in our language clubs. They present opportunities for informal activities such as movies, cooking, and participation in the university’s International Bazaar.

And we offer a generous credit for advanced placement, a flexible range of classes to take, and opportunities for immersion study experiences abroad.

So come meet our faculty, explore our facilities, see what we have to offer, and discover the world at Western Illinois University.

For more details on the value of studying French, connect to: http://www.fll.vt.edu/French/whyfrench.html

French Faculty: Dr. Catherine Moore

Language Advisor: Ms Caryn Morgan