My friend Ellie and her family have been learning French ‘on the hoof’ since they relocated to the French countryside three years ago. You might recall another story I told about them recently. She was lagging way behind her 7 year old son in the correct use of French accents in typing.

Her oral French has come along in leaps and bounds. Though she made me smile telling me how some of the curveballs of the language are blessings and curses for people learning French.

And lots of people are learning French. The French language is spoken by 300 million+ people all over the world, making it a key global language.

There are a lot of English words in French – le parking, le weekend, un sandwich for example -and vice versa, as you’d expect given that the two countries are neighbours.

So, in learning French – as she is – she can find it helpful to think of a similar word in English and say it in a French accent. Always hoping of course that she doesn’t sound too much like Arthur Bostrom who played the policeman in “ ’Allo, ‘Allo! ”

In particular, most words ending in –tion are French in origin, just pronounced differently e.g. con-ver-say-shun (in English) is con-ver-sa-shi-on (in French). So far, so good.

Enter cheeky curveballs. There are always exceptions to any rule: a holiday in French is ‘les vacances’ not ‘une vacation’ and a translation is, sadly, ‘une traduction’.

Throw in to the mix that ‘grand’ means big, librarie means bookshop, and a préservatif means a condom.

You couldn’t make it up, could you?

At La Academia, we have just the course for you for learning French for beginners, intermediate and advanced levels. French naturally features amongst our Modern Foreign languages GSCE and A-Level classes. And we also offer French tuition for business. Simply get in touch about learning French at any level of fluency. We’ll happily talk you through which course will be suit your needs.