Of course, one can learn a language at any age, although it has been proven easier to do before the age of 13, due to the brain’s stages of development.
I went back to university as an adult to earn a B.A. in French – a “fait accompli” in three years time; the focus was mostly on learning to read and write French. Bien sûr, there were the required grammar classes and a lot of literature classes, but surprisingly not many French conversation classes. So, learning was how to speak textbook French, which is not always what’s truly spoken. Afterwards, when I lived and worked in Paris, this all became amusingly quite evident (read about it in “Solitary Desire – One Woman’s Journey to France” – available on Amazon)!
Spoken French is like spoken English, where words are slurred together, spoken quickly, and includes slang. I have a good friend who takes lessons via skype with French Today (click on the image icon on the left sidebar on my blog for direct access) to improve her speaking ability, and she highly recommends the company. They also have a variety of listening programs & lessons in communicating in modern day French.
What a great idea, as well, to give as a gift to a Francophile friend! Let’s speak French (Parlons français) and oui, let’s speak French Today!