A-level French or DELF B2 French, which one to choose?

One home educated parent contacted me and wanted my advice on whether to choose the A-Level French or the DELF B2 French for her daughter. She had just passed her IGCSE in French with a grade B and she wishes to study Linguistics at university either in the UK or in another country.

I provide some information and useful links in this article. Hopefully the information provided in this post will also help other home-educated parents who are in the same situation.

A-Level French or the DELF B2 French

From my understanding the DELF B2 is a French certification recognised in French parts of the world for anyone who is not French and who would like to either study in a French university (in France, Canada or elsewhere), to work in France or in a francophone country or island, or for anyone who would want to apply for the French nationality.

This was very clear in the French written websites that I visited but the following English websites have Information which can help.

As can also be seen here https://www.ila-france.com/french-language-courses-delf-dalf.html, this certification has different levels assessing different abilities. It reminds me of the Cambridge First Certificate in English and the Cambridge advanced Certificate in English that I had to take when I came to England. With them, you demonstrate your ability to live, work and study in a British country. The DELF French is the same but for a francophone place in the world.

This is far from studying linguistics at university and it is doubtful that it will be accepted to study in UK universities especially to study Linguistics.

What is linguistics?

Linguistics is ‘the scientific study of language and its structure, including the study of grammar, syntax, and phonetics. Henriette Hendricks, head of the linguistics department at the University of Cambridge simply sees linguistics as being ‘the study of language, how language works’

According to the University of California, ‘the part of linguistics that is concerned with the structure of language is divided into a number of subfields:

  • Phonetics – the study of speech sounds in their physical aspects
  • Phonology – the study of speech sounds in their cognitive aspects
  • Morphology – the study of the formation of words
  • Syntax – the study of the formation of sentences
  • Semantics – the study of meaning
  • Pragmatics – the study of language use’

When you study Linguistics, you study different facets of the language and this might include using literature (novels, poems, books, articles..etc), films, cinema, art, architecture…etc. The Cambridge advanced certificate in English, that I took and which was the highest of the certificates after the Proficiency Level, certainly did not prepare me for such an in-depth study and analysis of the language but merely taught me how to communicate efficiently in English.

If I were in your situation, I would go for the A-level in French which I think is more appropriate and which is accepted in the UK to study linguistics. This would probably be accepted to study in other universities too since UK qualifications are well valued abroad. This article will give more information on the content of the A-Level French.

I hope this post will help other parents to choose the right option for their children based on how they want to move next and where they want their French language to take them.

If you feel that you would need support by an experienced teacher and native speaker, we provide coaching for both the AS/A-Level French and the DELF B1/ B2.


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