French course outline

The Cactus Course Outlines provide a learning framework for the Cactus Foreign Language Evening Courses. They are designed to provide you with a good idea of what you might cover over a 10-week period, and include typical themes, grammar and vocabulary fields. They are flexible rather than prescriptive, in that our teachers may decide to adapt their learning plans to the specific level, aims and interests of their classes. Use the tabs below to view the relevant French course outline for your level.  If you want to cover the same course outline in a shorter period of time, we also offer One-Week Online Courses and 5-week Courses.

French Beginner 1

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Greetings
  • Alphabet + letters combination
  • Nationalities and countries
  • Jobs
  • Numbers
  • Giving personal details (address, telephone number, email, age)
  • Filling a form
  • Food and drinks
  • Holidays in France and abroad
  • Describing a city (jobs and places)
  • Using a dictionary

Grammar:

  • Nouns – feminine, masculine, singular, plural
  • The verbs ‘être’, ‘avoir’ in the present tense
  • Articles – definite and indefinite
  • Adjective agreement in gender and number
  • Verbs in ‘ER’
  • Etre and Avoir
  • Prepositions of place
  • Il y a + Il n’y a pas
  • Word order: sentence/question
  • Key prepositions – à, dans, en, au, etc.
  • Yes/no questions

Cultural Content:

  • Paris
  • Cities of France
  • French speaking countries
  • French names
  • Map of France

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking/active practice
  • Role-plays
  • Lots of listening
  • Pronunciation – key sounds

French Beginner 2

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Review and practice level 1 vocabulary/grammar
  • Talking about family, friends and celebrities
  • Talking about oneself – key personal information + likes/dislikes
  • Talking about hobbies
  • Daily life – routines, habits, free time
  • Days of the week
  • Animals
  • Telling the time
  • Consumer goods – clothes, accessories, food
  • Describing objects – shape, colour, size
  • Talking about the weather
  • Shopping

Grammar:

  • Possessive pronouns
  • Revision ‘ER’ verbs
  • The immediate past: ‘venir de’
  • Negative sentences
  • Key verbs: faire, aller, sortir, etc.
  • Demonstrative pronouns
  • Frequency adverbs
  • Reflexive verbs in ‘ER’
  • Question words (quel)

Cultural Content:

  • French speaking celebrities
  • French daily routine
  • French brands and products
  • Bruxelles

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking/active practice
  • Role-plays
  • Lots of listening
  • Pronunciation – key sounds

French Beginner 3

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Food and drinks
  • Talking about prices
  • Eating out – booking a table, ordering
  • Eating habits
  • Talking about future plans
  • Talking about abilities
  • Talking about life experience

Grammar:

  • Quantities
  • Partitive articles: du, de la, des
  • Near future : aller + infinitive
  • Direct Object Pronouns : le, la, les
  • Passé composé with être and avoir + past participles (regular/irregular)
  • Verbs pouvoir and savoir
  • Time words and phrases: depuis, pendant, il y a, etc.

Cultural Content:

  • French food and drinks
  • Eating etiquette
  • French eating habits
  • Famous French people
  • French NGOs
  • French cheeses

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking/active practice
  • Role-plays
  • Lots of listening
  • Pronunciation – key sounds

French Elementary 1

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Talking about learning a language
  • Talking about feelings and emotions
  • Talking about hobbies
  • Home – describing rooms, furniture and activities in each rooms
  • Accommodation – camping, hotels, etc.
  • Describing objects – shape, size, usage
  • Talking about health
  • Describing ailments and symptoms + body parts
  • Asking for and giving advice
  • Giving instructions
  • Giving your opinion – trouver/c’est + adjective
  • Writing a letter/an email

Grammar:

  • Review of Passé Composé
  • Indirect pronouns – lui/leur
  • Aims and causes (pour, parce que)
  • Prepositions of place
  • Comparison and superlative
  • Pronoun ‘y’
  • Imperative
  • Should/Shouldn’t (devoir in the conditional)

Cultural Content:

  • Talking about Europe
  • La pétanque
  • French countryside
  • French people and sport

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking/active practice
  • Role-plays
  • Lots of listening
  • Pronunciation – key sounds

French Elementary 2

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Describing the past
  • Comparing the past and the present
  • Describing someone’s life
  • Telling stories
  • Ask for information about someone
  • Imagining life in the future

Grammar:

  • Imperfect
  • Time phrases
  • Indefinite adjectives and pronouns – tous, la plupart, quelque, aucun
  • Using ‘on’
  • Present continous – être en train de + infinitive
  • Passé composé vs Imperfect
  • Relative pronouns – qui, que, où
  • The future tense – regular/irregular
  • Si + future
  • Word order: the adjective

Cultural content:

  • Historical figures
  • Strikes, demonstrations and struggles in France
  • French painters
  • Famous places in France
  • French regions
  • French proverbs and quotes

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking/active practice
  • Role-plays
  • Lots of listening
  • Pronunciation – key sounds

French Elementary 3

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Asking for a favour
  • Asking if you can do something
  • Refusing/Accepting
  • Explaining your reasons
  • Describing actions in the past
  • Telling anecdotes in the past
  • Expressing different levels of certainty
  • Talking about countries

Grammar:

  • Modal verbs – vouloir, pouvoir, devoir
  • Conditional tense
  • Use of different registers to express opinions
  • Question words – quand, comment, pourquoi, etc.
  • Country genders + prepostions (à, en, au, etc.)

Cultural Content:

  • Dos and don’t in France
  • Molière and performing arts in France
  • Famous French people
  • Francophonie
  • French-speaking Africa
  • French regions
  • La Réunion

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking/active practice
  • Role-plays
  • Lots of listening
  • Pronunciation – key sounds

French Intermediate 1

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Talking about past experiences and encounters
  • Expressing aims and causes – comme, puisque and parce que
  • Providing a detailed description
  • Describing personal motives
  • Justitying a choice
  • Talking about travels
  • Making suggestions
  • Giving your opinion
  • Hypothesising
  • Talking about countries and regions
  • Describing a fictional character
  • Describing feelings and emotions
  • Talking of hopes and aspirations
  • Expressing regrets

Grammar:

  • Review of the past and future tenses
  • Plus-que-parfait (Past perfect)
  • Agreement of the past participle with avoir (passé composé tense)
  • Direct pronouns (le, la, les)
  • Conditional tense
  • Hypothesis : si + imparfait
  • Prepositions with countries and regions
  • Past conditional
  • Adverbs in ‘-ment’

Cultural Content:

  • French regions
  • French people and their holidays
  • Popular French tourist sites
  • The French artistic scene

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking/active practice
  • Lots of listening
  • Lots of new vocabulary
  • Pronunciation

French Intermediate 2

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Expressing, promoting and justifying opinions
  • Debating: politics, recycling, the environment, new technologies, social issues, consumerism
  • Expressing feelings and emotions
  • Expressing obligation, possibilities and restrictions
  • Writing a variety of texts (text messages, emails, letters etc.)
  • Talking about movies (storyline and characters)

Grammar:

  • Linking words
  • Subjunctive
  • Verbs to express opinion – je crois que, je pense que etc.
  • Impersonal structures – il faut que etc.
  • Gerund : ‘-ant’
  • Direct vs indirect pronouns
  • Structures with verbs expressing feelings – je regretted que/ je regretted de etc.
  • Pronouns order
  • Relative pronouns – ce qui, ce que, ce don’t
  • Word order : the adjective
  • Style and register: formal/ informal

Cultural Content:

  • Political life in France
  • Environmental issues
  • New technologies
  • Social causes
  • French cinema (films, directors and actors)

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking/debating
  • Lots of listening
  • Producing various styles of written French

French Intermediate 3

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Summarising and reporting information
  • Presentations – structures and phrases
  • Talking about the professional world
  • Details of business etiquette
  • Inequalities at work
  • Expressing feelings and ideas
  • The media
  • Explaining the meaning of a word
  • Playing with words – poetry, proverbs, word-play, word creation, metaphors, stylised writing
  • Language register – colloquial idioms

Grammar:

  • Reported speech – structures and tense agreement
  • Collective nouns agreement – une majorité de, la plupart de etc
  • Suffixes
  • Passive tense
  • Pronoun ‘en’
  • Linking words
  • Nominalisation
  • Language register

Cultural Content:

  • Equality at work
  • The French Educational system
  • French people and the media
  • Songs in French
  • Francophonie
  • French poetry
  • Slam

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking/debating
  • Lots of listening
  • Producing various styles of written French

The following content will be covered over four course intakes. This means students should take two courses of Upper Intermediate Lower and two courses of Upper Intermediate Higher.

French Upper Intermediate Lower

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Cities
  • Transformation and changes
  • Degrees of beauty and ugliness
  • Building words with prefixes and suffixes (1)
  • Familiar expressions relating to cities and the countryside and body parts
  • Talk about agriculture, farming and organic food in the modern world
  • Beauty standards in the media
  • The human body and its limits
  • Technology
  • Transidentity in the arts
  • Athletes’ bodies/ sports
  • Marriage in francophonie
  • Love like in the movies
  • Friendship, bromance

Grammar:

  • Express cause and consequence
  • Avoid repetitions
  • Neutral pronouns
  • Opposition and concession
  • Impersonal structures
  • The passive form with être, pronominal verbs and “se faire” or “se laisser”
  • Le future antérieur
  • The different pasts
  • Double pronouns (COD, COI, en, y)
  • Reported speech in the past tense

Cultural Content:

  • French cities as seen by French artists in poetry, songs and literature
  • Francophonie: African cities
  • Francophonie: agriculture in North Africa
  • Magazines
  • Beauty and identity
  • Film: le grand bain
  • Measuring friendship

Skills Work:

  • Write a poem
  • Write an open letter
  • Express sensations and judgement
  • Discuss a point/ debate
  • Show indignation
  • Link texts
  • Express a paradox
  • Offer solutions to a problem
  • Create and present a project to vegetate cities
  • Write an introduction and a conclusion
  • Describe a person
  • Write an editorial for a magazine
  • Write a synopsis
  • Talk about love, life, and the arts

French Upper Intermediate Higher

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Le savoir-faire
  • Employment
  • Building words with prefixes and suffixes (2)
  • Working in the arts
  • Scandals and polemics
  • How to describe art
  • Learning French: an obstacle course
  • The beauty of the passé simple
  • Interculturality of gestures and mimics
  • Boredom versus games
  • French humour
  • Writing as we speak and speaking as we write
  • Boredom, apathy
  • Different levels of French
  • Humour and clichés
  • Familiar expression

Grammar:

  • The present participle and verbal adjectives
  • Express continuity, interruption and progression
  • Comparison
  • Le passé simple
  • Emphasis
  • Indefinite pronouns
  • Express a goal
  • Logical connectors
  • Express a condition

Cultural Content:

  • La parfumerie de Grasse à la Normandie
  • Pierre et Giles
  • Literature: from Madame Bovary to Chanson Douce
  • The Montreux festival
  • Satire in the press
  • Political humour
  • The rise of black dolls

Skills Work:

  • Present a traditional skill
  • Create a catalog for an exhibition
  • Create a revue about the world of work
  • Analyse an image
  • Prepare for a job interview
  • Write a cover letter
  • Prepare an essay
  • Write a summary report
  • Argumentation
  • Create a satirical journal and a book of jokes
  • Create a dictionary of expressions and colloquialisms
  • Create an educational resource
  • Present a game

French Advanced

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Making a presentation
  • Putting forward arguments
  • Cause/consequence
  • Expressing opinions and feelings
  • Hypothesising
  • Reporting a message
  • Expressing nuance
  • Talking about memories
  • Aesthetics
  • Current events
  • Social issues

Grammar:

  • Presentations: words and structures
  • Subjunctive: present, imperfect and past perfect
  • Nominalisation
  • Demonstrative pronouns
  • Past participle vs gerund
  • Si + tenses
  • Conditional : present and past
  • Past perfect
  • Adjectives
  • Structures for reported speech

Cultural Content:

  • The French education system
  • French fine arts
  • French music
  • French cinema
  • French literature
  • French history
  • Doing business in French

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking/debating
  • Lots of listening
  • Understanding different accents
  • Producing various styles of written and spoken French

French Proficiency

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Expressing thoughts and feelings
  • Subjectivity vs objectivity
  • Structuring your speech
  • Language registers
  • Political and social issues
  • Stereotypes
  • Regional differences
  • History
  • Current events

Grammar:

  • Subjunctive
  • ‘Ne’ explétif
  • Nominalisation
  • Linking words
  • Complex use of grammar to contribute in a debate

Cultural Content:

  • French institutions
  • French values and symbols
  • Francophonie
  • French philosophy
  • The media in France
  • French politics
  • French arts
  • French gastronomy
  • French body language

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking/debating
  • Lots of listening
  • Understanding different accents
  • Producing various styles of written and spoken French
 

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