Teaching french as a second foreign language


This article attempts to study a subject of teaching French as the second foreign language, the problem of its acquisition at the universities by students, who had experience of studying English as the first foreign language.

One of the important aspects of studying in this article is the research of the directions OfFrench language development in the modem world, studying of its relevance as language of cross-cultural communication, science and education.

Studying French as a second foreign language facilitates expansion and deepening of a student's language view of the world, favorably influences on formation of Iiis outlook.

The similarities between French and English languages on phonetic, lexical, grammatical and other levels of research which are directed to simplification of its acquisition are revealed. Methodology of French teaching as a second foreign language to the students who know English is described. These methods are directed to simplification of its learning as second foreign language, referring to acquisition of the first foreign language.

This article also contains some information concerning prospects of studying French in the modem world.


A language is considered foreign if it is learned largely in the classroom and is not spoken in the society where the teaching occurs. Study of another language allows the individual to communicate effectively and creatively and to participate in real-life situations through the language of the authentic culture itself. Learning another language provides access into a perspective other than one’s own, increases the ability to see connections across content areas, and promotes an interdisciplinary perspective while gaining intercultural understandings. Language is the vehicle required for effective human to-human interactions and yields a better understanding of one’s own language and culture.

Nowadays, learning foreign languages gains more importance because of the globalization and the era of information. Generally, learning English is important for individuals. But, in the 21st century, the citizens must learn two or more foreign languages for having a good position in the society and also a good job for his own future. For example, French is the most important language in European Union. It is spoken in some countries such as France, Canada, Belgium, Swiss

More than 220 million people speak French on the five continents. The OIF, an international organisation of French-speaking countries, comprises 88 member States and governments. French is the second most widely learned foreign language after English, and the sixth most widely spoken language in the world.

French shares with English the distinction of being taught as a foreign language in the education systems of most countries around the world. French is thus the second most widely learned foreign language in the world, with almost 120 million students and 500,000 teachers.

Speaking French opens up study opportunities at renowned French universities and business schools, ranked among the top higher education institutions in Europe and the world.

French is both a working language and an official language of the United Nations, the European Union, UNESCO, NATO, the International Olympic Committee, the International Red Cross and international courts. French is the language of the three cities where the EU institutions are headquartered: Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.

French is a good base for learning other languages, especially Romance languages (Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian) as well as English, since 50 percent of current English vocabulary is derived from French.

Undoubtedly, in the conditions of global challenges of the XXI century the development of multilingual education in the Republic of Kazakhstan is the key to economic, political and social progress of our country on the international scene.

In this regard the demand of experts with the of two or more leading foreign languages proficiency in the domestic and world labour market increases, if is a universal tendency , it creates a powerful motivation for students in self-formation of their multilingual personality.

Thus, the main goal of modern approaches implementation in teaching foreign languages of higher education institutions consists in formation of comprehensively developed, polylingual identity of the student, his theoretical thinking, language intuition and abilities allowing him to be the equal partner of a cross-cultural communication in any sphere of activity.

In this regard the demand of experts with knowledge of two and more foreign languages increases in the domestic and world market of work which is a universal trend and creates a powerful motivation for sudents in self-formation of a polycultural and polylingual personality. Thus, the main goal of modern approaches implementation in teaching foreign languages in higher education institutions consists in formation of comprehensively developed, polylingual student's personality, his theoretical thinking, language intuition and abilities allowing him to be the equal partner of cross-cultural communication in a foreign language in any sphere of activity.

In the recent years in higher educational institutions of the Republic of Kazakhstan French becomes more and more demanded as the second foreign language as it meets the professional aspirations of students and their desire to get a basic or additional education within the Bologna convention.

It is one of the working languages of many other international institutions: the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Council of Europe, the African Union (AU).

French is an Indo - European language and part of the Romance family, along with Spanish and Italian. The English language was strongly influenced by the introduction of French at the time of the Norman invasion of Britain in the Ilth century. As a result the two languages share many grammatical features and contain many cognates.

As far as similar languages go, English and French do share the same alphabet, they sometimes use similar grammatical structures, and have several words in common.

The French alphabet contains the same 26 letters as the English alphabet, plus the letters with diacritics: e (acute acent) e a u (grave accent), ? (cedilla), a e i 6 u (circumflex), ё Y ii (diaeresis). French students, who have experienced study of English, may have interference problems in class when the teacher spells out words. For example, beginners commonly write or when the teacher says or g.

There are some differences in the sound systems of the two languages that can cause French learners problems of comprehension and speech production. Spelling errors may result from the frequent lack of correspondence between the pronunciation of English words and their spelling.

French and English verb grammar have considerable areas of overlap. Both languages, for example, have auxiliaries, participles, active/passive voice, past/present/future tenses. However, there are some differences that can cause interference in the production of English.

Besides similarity in lexical structure, it is possible to track examples of similarity in morphology.

In English and French languages the article is used for defining a noun. But in French the system of articles is much more difficult, than in English, the similarity is observed only in cases of the use of indefinite and definite articles and also in case of their omission.

She has a sister/Elle a line soeur.

She is a good actress/ Elle est line bonne actrice; Close the door/ Fermez la porte.

English possessive pronouns and French possesive adjectives are used in the same person and number with the owner of a subject:

It’s my house C ’est ma maison.

It's their flat C ’est Ieur appartement.

Although English and French share the same basic Subject-Verb-Object syntax, there are numerous variations in the word order of sentences.

In fact, it is calculated that English and French share up to 27% of their words or lexical similarity (similarity in both form and meaning). Different sources estimate that 45% of words in English are of French origin even though the similarity isn’t as obvious.

A large number of words in the two languages have the same Latin roots and are mutually comprehensible, although this applies more to academic/technical words than to everyday vocabulary. The concomitant problem, however, is the significant number of false friends. Here are just a few examples.

The French word is listed first, followed by the correct English equivalent: cave /cellar; isolation / insulation; demander ask; sensible sensitive; ignorer ' not know; Iibrairie / bookshop.

If we take a quick look we can see the French origin of a lot of words in English. For example, the names of kings and queens in England, family names, pairs of synonyms (begin/commence, freedom/liberty), and even cuisine (pig = pork (pore in French), sheep = mutton (mouton in French), and cow = beef (boeuf in French)!

Dictionary similarities can be divided into two groups: sound and graphic ones which, in turn, can be complete and incomplete. It is possible to attribute to complete graphic compliances:

French English

une question a question

une table a table

une page a page.

Incomplete graphic compliances create interference while writing:

French English

un texte a text

une Iampe a lamp

un exercice an exercise

un exemple an example.

Methods of research

Methodologists recommend to begin with full compliances, and in process of development of recognition skill to pass to work with incomplete similarities, using problem and search technology of conceptualization. It is important for students to know wordformation mechanisms of French when forming lexical skills. Work on training the ways of word formation needs to be carried out on lexical material of the textbook which is used by the teacher and to date for studying subject included in the program.

The greatest difficulties wait for the students who learn French after studying English at the phonetic level. It is about the difficulties caused by an interference of the first foreign language into the second. The phonetic interference is shown because of:

  1. different extent of phonemic features' specialization ;
  2. features of distribution of articulation's tension;
  3. different variability and the quantity of the articulation movements peculiar to the previous studied languages.

There are also many words that have you wouldn’t necessarily think of being of French origin because they’ve become so ‘anglicized’, like camouflage, sauce, cache, debacle, depot, impasse and restaurant!

If you have a good English vocabulary and learn the basics of French, you will find it's simpler to read and comprehend French academic or scholarly language, and perhaps prosaic journalistic language more than literature, or other forms of writing. That is because words which are used for concepts and technical terms are usually quite similar in both languages.

Results of research

The prospects of French studying in the Republic of Kazakhstan definitely exist, the only thing that needs to be done for its promoting in our country - is to motivate students competently to its studying.

French is not only beautiful and melodious, but also is a language of diplomacy and the richest culture, its proficiency opens an extensive range of knowledge opportunities, cultural enrichment and communication. For development of an effective French teaching methodology as a second foreign language in the conditions of Higher Education Institutions we need to understand and to discuss: a number of hours we want to spend on teaching in order to achieve proficiency in French studying as a second foreign language; to choose techniques of French teaching. The good level of proficiency in the first foreign language and sufficient linguistic experience is necessary for second foreign language studying. It increases motivation, forces students activate their creative potential and also develops discourse abilities. Comparative approach is used in the modem techniques of the second foreign language studying, for example, if we learn French as the second foreign language, it is necessary to carry out comparison of two countries not only in the language plan, but also in sociocultural (traditions, customs, influence of cultures at each other). It is also necessary to reveal features of grammar, word formation, phonetics of two languages, all these factors will contribute to the interest development and motivation of students.


In the conclusion I want to emphasize that integration of the Republic of Kazakhstan into the world educational space is possible by means of French as the second foreign language, the multilingualism is a guide into the global world and it forms the new economy based on innovations and knowledge, it's also an important component of foreign and domestic policy of our country.

The fact that education plays a great role in Kazakh-French relationships can be a motivation to force our students study French as a second foreign language. Both countries are interested in strengthening of mutual scientific and cultural presence, in expansion of teaching French at schools and higher education institutions of the Republic OfKazakhstan in increasing the number of exchange students.



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Year: 2019
Category: Biology