Welcome to the Self-Access Centre materials database

The SAC is here to pro­vide you with op­por­tu­ni­ties to study French out­side class time. If you need ad­vice and guid­ance on what to study, you should talk to your class tu­tor, who will help you iden­tify your strengths and weak­nesses and make rec­om­men­da­tions on what to study.

A bit about the language

French (français) is a Ro­mance lan­guage glob­ally spo­ken as a mother tongue by about 110 mil­lion peo­ple. Around 190 mil­lion peo­ple speak French as a sec­ond lan­guage, and an ad­di­tional 200 mil­lion speak it as an ac­quired for­eign lan­guage. French speak­ing com­mu­ni­ties are pre­sent in 57 coun­tries and ter­ri­to­ries. Most na­tive speak­ers of the lan­guage live in France. The rest live es­sen­tially in Canada (par­tic­u­larly Que­bec, but with speak­ers and di­alects across Canada, es­pe­cially in On­tario and New Brunswick), Bel­gium, (par­tic­u­larly Wal­lo­nia and Brus­sels), Switzer­land (Geneva, Vaud, Neuchâ­tel, Jura and also Fri­bourg, Valais, Bern), French-speak­ing Africa (31 coun­tries, in­clud­ing Cameroon, Gabon, Côte d'Ivoire), Lux­em­bourg, Monaco, and cer­tain parts of the U.S. states of Louisiana, Maine, New Hamp­shire and Ver­mont. Most sec­ond-lan­guage speak­ers of French live in Fran­coph­one Africa, ar­guably ex­ceed­ing the num­ber of na­tive speak­ers. The De­mo­c­ra­tic Re­pub­lic of the Congo is the Fran­coph­one coun­try with the largest pop­u­la­tion.

It is an of­fi­cial lan­guage in 28 coun­tries, most of which form what is called, in French, La Francophonie, the com­mu­nity of French-speak­ing na­tions. It is an of­fi­cial lan­guage of all United Na­tions agen­cies and a large num­ber of in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions. Ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey of the Eu­ro­pean Com­mis­sion, French is the fourth-most widely spo­ken mother tongue in the Eu­ro­pean Union. It is also the third-most widely un­der­stood lan­guage in the EU In ad­di­tion, prior to the mid 20th cen­tury, French served as the pre-em­i­nent lan­guage of diplo­macy among Eu­ro­pean and colo­nial pow­ers as well as a lin­gua franca among the ed­u­cated classes of Eu­rope. As a re­sult of France's ex­ten­sive colo­nial am­bi­tions be­tween the 17th and 20th cen­turies, French was in­tro­duced to Amer­ica, Africa, Poly­ne­sia, and the Caribbean.