Visit Language Programmes at UNHQ to view
the course schedule for French and all languages
We offer language and communication courses and training activities in several formats and durations to address our clients' needs. 

 

Course icon  Welcome to the French Language Programme!

 

Bienvenue dans le programme de français!  

 

French is one of the two working languages of the UN and one of the six official languages of the Organization. Many other international institutions have French as one of their official languages, including the European Union, the International Olympic Committee, the Red Cross, and Médecins sans Frontières. Many international courts also use French as an official language. 

There are around 220 million French speakers worldwide. 80 million of French speakers are native speakers. French is an official language in 29 countries, such as France, Belgium, Canada, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Congo, Mali, Senegal, and it is spoken on every continent. It is the European Union’s fourth most widely spoken mother tongue. The number of French speakers is expected to reach 700 million by 2050, mostly in Africa.  

UN French Language Day is observed annually on 20 March. The event was established by the UN Department of Public Information in 2010 "to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six official languages throughout the Organization." 

For the French language, 20 March was chosen as the date since it "coincides with the 40th anniversary of the International Organization of La Francophonie," a group whose members share a common tongue as well as the humanist values promoted by the French language. Other dates were selected for the celebration of the UN's five other official languages. 

At the Language and Communications Training Unit (LCTU) we offer French general language courses and specialized skills courses either face-to-face, online or in a blended format. Our courses are aligned with organizational goals and priorities and with the UN Language Framework, which is unique to the needs of our Organization but also in line with the most recent research and other recognized frameworks for language learning.  *Click here to see a progression of our courses in alignment with the UNLF.

 


  Methodology icon   Format & Method: 

Our courses follow an action-oriented methodology where language learners/users act as social agents who have tasks to accomplish in a given set of circumstances and in a specific environment. These tasks are often language-related but not exclusively so. Social agents collaborate, negotiate meaning, arrive at consensus, and communicate effectively both orally and through various text forms, thereby developing plurilingual and pluricultural competence, as well as developing communication strategies.

 

  General French Courses: 

Our general language acquisition courses aim to help participants develop their speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. These courses build on each other to help participants acquire a specific UN level (UN I, II, or III). They focus on enhancing the knowledge and skills needed to operate in personal, public and professional contexts using the French language. We offer them in different formats and modalities, but a typical 30 hour general course usually includes (1) a live component (synchronous) and (2) a self-paced learning component (asynchronous) hosted in a virtual environment. All of the general courses we currently offer are aligned with the UN Language Framework.  

 

 

  Specialized French Language Courses:  

Our specialized language acquisition courses aim to help participants develop particular language skills. Many are designed for advanced-level learners (students who have already completed UN II level or have tested out of this level through the placement test). We offer these courses in different formats, lengths and modalities. They can be synchronous or asynchronous, hosted in a virtual environment. All the general courses we currently offer are aligned with the UN Language Framework.  

 

  Assessment icon   Assessment:

The placement test is only required for NY-based courses and new students.  

The placement test in French is organized as follows:    

  1. The Pre-test: Once you are enrolled in Inspira, click on the "Start" button to access the pre-test. Fill out and submit the form. The pre-test consists of a brief series of questions regarding your familiarity in the language that should take only 5 minutes to complete. 

The assessment is an integral and mandatory part of our general courses. It is continuous and will be gradually done throughout each and every one of the sessions of the term based on learners’ performance. Formally, the final grades will be based on 2 end-of-unit projects (one oral, one written), that will provide your instructor with tangible data about the student's progress.   

 

Language Learning Resources for the Six UN Official Languages

Learners can find a variety of authentic language resources to develop, practice and reinforce their language skills. Enjoy Learning the Six UN Official Languages on Your Devices is a package of resources featuring mobile applications for language learning and UN applications as a source of authentic language. *The package has been compiled for informational purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement of any of the products described.

Customized Training Solutions

Request a tailor-made learning solution for the communication needs of your office or department. Contact the Customized Training Team via DOS-CDOTS-TRAINING@un.org 

Language Proficiency Exam

Prepare for the LPE (Language Proficiency Exam), an internal United Nations exam. See the registration instructions on the LPE page of the HR Portal. Prepare for the exam by taking one or more Language Programme courses.