The official language of 29 countries, French is spoken natively by nearly 75 million people worldwide. One of the Romance languages, along with Spanish and Italian, French also has a shared linguistic history with English. The Norman invasion of Britain resulted in English being strongly influenced by French. As a result, the two languages share many grammatical features. The French alphabet contains the same twenty-six letters as the English alphabet, plus letters with diacritics (various accent marks). French and English also share many common words, and many French words have been adopted into English. This can simplify learning vocabulary, but French learners must be watchful for false cognates that, while appearing similar at first glance, actually have very different meanings.
Like other Romance languages, French is a gendered language. All nouns possess a gender, either masculine or feminine. Using an incorrectly gendered form of a word can lead to confusion at best, or a total misunderstanding at worst, as some words have an entirely different meaning when their gender is swapped. French prepositions are similar to those in English, but they are not completely analogous. The French verb system is much more complicated than its English counterpart. Many more verb forms have to be memorized, and the context in which they are employed is more specific. Most French verbs are regular, which simplifies learning their conjugations. However, there are enough irregular verbs, including commonly-used verbs, to make this aspect of the language particularly challenging for native English speakers. French also has many sounds that simply do not exist in English. These are difficult to learn and even more difficult to master.
The Language Island offers comprehensive, one-on-one instruction for students at every point on their journey to learning French. Tutors work with a student to develop an individualized lesson plan tailored to his or her needs. Our tutors are passionate, caring and highly fluent in the languages they teach. They pride themselves on connecting with their students and being able to carry on fluent, natural sounding conversations entirely in the language being taught. Entry-level classes are taught in both French and English, with an increasing amount of French being used as a student becomes more comfortable with the new language. Intermediate and advanced-level students can take advantage of full immersion classes, where the course is taught entirely in French. Our tutors use only the best materials available. They have sorted through the fads and gimmicks to find the most effective techniques that have truly stood the test of time.