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York U3A

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Current "Languages" Groups.                             Members: to find more details/dates/news or to contact a Group Leader, go to our Member's Page

                                                                                       Interest Groups are open to York U3A members only.

Language and Linguistics

French For Beginners

French Conversation

Parliamo Italiano 1

Discover France through Culture, Region and Language

Parliamo Italiano 2

Continuing Spanish

German Conversation

Latin for Beginners:

Year 1 of 2

The clue is in the title – no previous knowledge of Latin (or any other foreign language for that matter) is required or assumed; if you can read and understand English, you can manage this course.  However, you are advised to attend regularly as each session is dependent upon the previous ones.  If you did study Latin very grudgingly for a year or so at school and hated the whole experience, why not give it a second chance?


For the first session, please obtain a copy of Minimus – Starting out in Latin by Barbara Bell, published by CUP, ISBN 0-521-65960-4.  Waterstones will give you a 10% discount if you show your U3A membership card.  You are also advised to bring an A4 file or clipboard for storing (free) handouts.  



Venue: We meet at 1.30pm for ninety minutes or so in the Woolman Room on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month


Conversational French

(2 Groups)

This group aims to explore all aspects of language, including conversation, language learning, language change, dialects, children’s language, and the language of literature and particular groups. Members are invited to suggest topics that interest them, and we invite members and guest speakers to talk to us about areas in which they have expertise.


This is not a course covering a set syllabus over a given period, but an on-going meeting to explore language as long as members wish to do so.


For next year our topics include Language Origins and Change, Metre, Conversations, the History of Writing, Animal Language, and ‘A World Language’.



Venue:  Meetings are from 2.00 to 3.45 fortnightly on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays  in the Woolman  Room, with a coffee break at half-time

Conversation is based on a variety of materials - short stories, films, newspaper articles plus any interests/hobbies members wish to contribute. Flexible structure.


Not for beginners, a good standard of French is required.



Venue: This group will resume on 5th October 2017 at the Group Leader's house


Meetings will take place from 10am and 12pm on alternate Thursdays.

We are two informal groups of U3A members who are interested in improving our spoken French.


The general format that we follow is to warm up with some reading and translation of a text, followed by open conversation on topics of interest. A text and a topic are decided upon before the meeting so we can prepare.


Venue:The Woolman Room and Café Rouge on 1st and 3rd Monday of each month from 10.00am until noon.


These meetings will be useful to those who have an interest in France and would like to know more about the country and the culture.


The course will be in two parts.


Members will be encouraged to research and speak (either in French or English) about the topics agreed by the group.


We will look at a variety of French texts relevant to our studies which will include audio text by native speakers and will also include some grammar and vocabulary as necessary.  


Some knowledge of French will be required but this is not primarily a French conversation group. The aim is to further an interest in the country and culture whilst improving our spoken French.  



Venue:Fortnightly on Mondays at the leader’s home starting on the 16th October 2017.

This group is for absolute beginners. It will concentrate on laying a solid

foundation in basic French language and will be tutor led, progressing hopefully

to confidence and fluency in reading and speaking French.



Venue: The Woolman Room, on Friday mornings. 11am -12.30 weekly, starting

on 29th September 2017


This is an Italian conversation group which meets fortnightly on Mondays from 10.30am till approximately 11.45am.


The group is not designed to teach Italian so a good basic knowledge is necessary to facilitate active participation in discussion and general conversation.


We aim to choose a topic in advance of each meeting but it is always very informal and, we hope, enjoyable.


Venue:  La Piazza Restaurant in Goodramgate

This is a relatively new group to give people with some knowledge of Italian the opportunity to practise speaking.


It is not a ‘course’ in the sense that we teach Italian. At a typical session we might do an exercise or play a game to get us going then read and discuss an extract from an Italian book or newspaper. You don’t have to be a brilliant speaker to come along - most of us struggle - but you should have a reasonable grasp of Italian grammar.


Venue: Fell Room 10.00 a.m. – 12.00 on the first and third Wednesdays of the month. Starts 4th October 2017

There is room in a small group for 1or 2 more members who have studied Spanish for at least 2 years.


Why not come and give it a go? This is your chance to build on what you started all those years ago .


Venue:The Fell Room on 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th (where there is one) Friday mornings each month, 10.15 am to noon, starting 22nd September 2017


This group is intended for members who already have a good grasp of German grammar and who would like to continue to use their German at a higher level of communication in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.


There will be a variety of texts (such as articles from the internet, extracts from novels etc.) as “prepared” input and a basis for discussion, as well as the opportunity for “free” conversation on everyday matters, current affairs, members’ interests and general issues.



Venue: T he Woolman Room 2nd and 4th Thursdays 10 – 12 noon, starting on 12th October

Sign Language Stage 2:

Continuation Group

Sign language sessions for those with some experience already.  The sessions mostly use signs from British Sign Language (BSL) but also draw on signs from Makaton and other sources where needed.  


The group visits establishments where sign language is used, watches TV programmes and DVDs and also has guest speakers and signers to help us to extend our signing for general conversation and everyday use.


There is a limit of 8 people for this group.  


Venue: At the leader’s home on the third Wednesday afternoon of the month

from 1:30 to 3:30 for 10 months from Sept 2017


An Introduction to

Sign Language

This is a 10-week course between September and December 2017 to enable people to learn some basic signs that are useful for everyday use and also to practise signing to others. The course is suitable for anyone who is in contact with someone who has hearing problems or who is just interested in learning a few signs.


Signs used during the course will be mostly from British Sign Language (BSL) but also from Makaton and other signing systems that offer a wide range of signs to encourage general communication.


There is a limit of 8 people for this group.  


Venue: At the leader’s home on a Wednesday morning 10.15am to 12.15pm. Dates to be decided to suit the group members between September & December 2017.