French for Beginners: Definition

French for beginners is a program that teaches the basics of the French language and assumes that you have little or no prior knowledge of the French language.

French lessons for beginners at ILI Massachusetts

Our French courses at beginner level start at the very beginning, walking you carefully through the building blocks of vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar and handy phrases you’ll need to begin communicating effectively at this level. 

Who are French beginner lessons for?

Well that might sound like an obvious question, so let’s look at who they are not for!

Please don’t join a beginners French class if

  • you used to live in a French speaking country,
  • you studied French for many years back in college, or
  • if you describe yourself as a beginner because you feel your intermediate French is a bit rusty, and you’ve “practically forgotten it all”. 

In fact, if your level has been higher than ‘French beginner’ in the past, then don’t sign up for French beginners classes in Northampton. You’ll be better in a higher level. 

If you truly have forgotten EVERYTHING, then you’re a “false beginner”. You’ll be surprised once you’re in class with our amazing French teachers, just how quickly your language skills come flooding back. 

French for beginners, then, is for those folks who are approaching French for the very first time, not those whose level has lapsed a bit. 

What if I know a few phrases in French. Am I still a beginner?

A stack of colorful French macarons with the words: bonjour, parlez-vous Francais.

When you think about it, we all probably know a few words and phrases in French. 

If you’ve ever met with your amies, for a café au lait and afterward saying au revoir to go to the boulangerie for a baguette, then you know what we’re talking about! 

If you’re a French beginner, we don’t expect you’ll know how to put French words into a sentence or understand any French when it’s spoken to you.

Why is it important to be with other French beginners when you start learning? 

There is a very good reason to be in the safety of a group of other French beginners. It’s about confidence. We think that learning to speak another language is probably 90% about your confidence. We all have our good days and not so good ones. With language learning, there’s something really comforting about being in the same boat, and discovering the language together. 

We know how it is, to process so much new information and simultaneously take those first steps to generating new language for ourselves. It’s exciting and we want you to enjoy that process.

Can I take any format of French course at ILI Northampton at beginner level?

Pretty much, yes. Very occasionally, we might not have a total beginner group available for our group French classes. If that’s the case, we’ll let you know and we’ll suggest you start with some one-on-one lessons. This will give you the basics you need and quietly build your skills and confidence, so you’re ready to join the next level up. 

You can browse our French course formats below, and you’ll see that also includes online classes, which are good if you have limited mobility, limited time or you live too far away from us, but you really want to be a part of our ILI learning community.

See you soon! À bientôt!

Beginner French Course Options

All of the following French course formats are available as an online option. You’ll be able to specify when you book!

Private French Lessons

Josh Owesly, ILI French teacher, helping a student.

Our Private French lessons online or in-person allow you to shape your learning around your busy life. You choose the times, days and topics, we’ll do the rest!

Study French Abroad

A field of lavender in front of the Senanque Abbey in Provence, France.

For the ultimate French language learning experience, head to a French-speaking country! We can assist in finding a program and location to fit your needs.

Our French Teachers

French teacher, Josh, working with French students using images to facilitate conversation.
Josh Owsley teaches a French class at the International Language Institute.

Our French teachers are professionals with Master’s Degrees many years teaching experience in creative and student-centered teaching.

ILI has been teaching languages and training teachers since 1984, bringing students the best learning experiences.

“I think really just the way the class is structured – the fact that everything is in French so we really have to try and follow a long. I also like when we are in pairs and have to try and converse.”

Caitlyn Lawrence

Check Your French Level

Unsure of the level you are at in the language you want to learn? Don’t worry, we are here to help.

Ask Samira for an assessment in the language you are interested in. She will arrange an appropriate instructor to assess you in a 5-minute conversation, and then when you register for a course, we can place you in the class that will be best for you.

If you are a zero-level beginner, you’ll start in our Level 1 class, so need for an assessment.

Or if you are unsure about anything…

Got a Question?

See if our frequently asked questions answer what’s on your mind…

Selected FAQs

There is no simple answer to this question. There are many factors that can both help and hinder a student’s learning. However, students will be able to start speaking immediately in the target language with appropriate grammar and vocabulary to match the level of class they are in. Read more

We assign optional homework as many of our students are working adults with very busy schedules. However, we encourage our students to practice outside of class as much as possible.

Some of our teachers are native speakers and others have native and near native fluency.

We do not allow this as we have found that it is disruptive to the class as they build a trusting community that enables students to take risks in learning. It’s also difficult for teachers to have students come and go.

It is possible that your company may qualify for the Workforce Training Fund. Click here for more information.

Yes! ILI is an approved provider of Professional Development Points for Massachusetts.

Yes, we are happy to help you to enroll in the class that’s best for your level. Assessment are painless and are done via phone and take about 10-15 minutes. Simply fill out the assessment request form and we will be in touch shortly.

Heather Hall smiling

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What to do next

  1. Explore our French program options and choose the one that suits you best
  2. Get a language level assessment if you need to
  3. Register for your chosen course!

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