French language and cultures

According to the International Organization of La Francophonie, 274 million people speak French around the world, notably in Europe, northern, western, and central parts of Africa, Quebec, and various Pacific and Atlantic islands. French is also one of the two official languages of the U.N.O. and one of three languages of the European and African Unions. Globally, France plays a significant role at cultural, economic, and political levels, spreading its influence through its numerous embassies, French Alliances, Chambers of Commerce, and international companies. Cultural aspects of “Francophonie” take various forms, depending on where they emerge on the globe. However diverse, Cajun, Acadian, Canadian, Caribbean, Polynesian, and/or French cultures share common values, beliefs, and customs due to the rich historical past they have in common. French civilization and language studies take into consideration the dialectal and cultural diversity of these multiple inheritances through references to anthropology, language, literature, history, and linguistics.

The Language Acquisition Resource Center at SDSU offers both classes and resources for French civilization and the study of French language:

  • The French for Proficiency course is designed to address the needs of government personal who target specific levels of linguistic and socio-cultural competencies, based on the ACTFL standards, as evaluated by both the OPI and DLPT rating protocols.
  • The interactive French civilization course for advanced learners (with adaptation to address the needs of English speakers) offers a complete panorama of the long process which led to the foundation of a French core culture, notably through history. It addresses the needs of both Francophone and non-francophone speakers.

For more information, please read below.

Delacroix, Eugène. La liberté guidant le peuple. 1830.



The French for Proficiency course addresses the needs of different types of students, from beginners to more advanced levels, depending on learning needs and professional or academic goals targeted. For this reason, it is a highly customizable course, although it follows the general guidelines of the communicative and functional approaches. It is designed to give students the ability to communicate and take action autonomously in a Francophone environment. Students learn in a progressive manner how to perform specific functional and socio-cultural tasks using the target language. They are taught to communicate with native speakers and to learn about specific French cultures and customs.

Main Features

  • This course is taught in French to simulate the conditions to which students may be exposed in Francophone contexts and to allow them to practice in a near-native environment;
  • Teachers are experienced instructors, well-versed in techniques helping students to understand and to develop self-directed learning strategies;
  • Learning resources are designed at LARC and are offered in different formats, generally accessible online. They are constructed from authentic resources to enhance listening and reading comprehension skills and to facilitate students’ cultural and linguistic awareness. Documents types vary: videos, newspaper articles, songs, news reports, movie samples, literature abstracts, radio and TV broadcasts, etc. The technological approaches used to process content include, but are not limited to: Smart Board®, Microsoft Office Suite®, YouTube videos, Adobe Acrobat, and Internet browsers;
  • The socio-cultural aspects are generally not separated from French language studies, but some topics are debriefed during special sessions;
  • Preparation for the OPI and the DLPT tests with mock examinations.