French has gained a reputation over the years as being a difficult language to learn. While there are many things that make it tricky from conjugating verbs, to learning the genders of each noun, to mastering the pronunciation, learning French is very much possible! With a bit of dedication, you’ll be speaking the language of love and croissants in no time! Check out these reasons why learning French is easier than you think.
The biggest reason that French is not that difficult to learn for English speakers is because of the shared vocabulary between the languages. English is a Germanic language, but thanks to the Norman Conquest in 1066 when England was invaded by William the Conqueror’s Norman army, Old French took over as the official language of England for a period of about 300 years. During this time, Old French’s Latin roots planted themselves deep into English’s spelling and grammar patterns, having a considerable impact on the English language as we know it today.
In fact, nearly 30% of modern English vocabulary is derived from French. From military vocabulary (soldier, guard, army, infantry and musketeer) to food (beef, mutton, croissant, soufflé and caramel), colours, arts and names, a vast number of English words get their origins from across the channel.
On a practical level, this makes learning French much easier, as you’ll recognise a large amount of vocabulary from English. Just watch out for the occasional false friend – where the words look the same or similar but have different meanings.
Fewer tenses to deal with
If you’ve struggled through learning Spanish tenses, you’ll be relieved to know that French is slightly easier than its fellow Romance languages. As the language has evolved over time, some tenses have fallen out of modern use. This means that out of French’s 15 tenses and moods, only 11 are commonly used in spoken French, making it much easier than Spanish, which still regularly uses 14 tenses and moods.
While there are some major differences in the way that English and French use the tenses, such as the lack of the auxiliary “do” in French, there is enough overlap to ease the headache of learning the tenses.
Motivation & Opportunity
One of the biggest hurdles of learning any language is a lack of motivation and opportunities to practise. Fortunately, French is a common world language. It is spoken on five continents in 29 different countries. Moreover, it is an official language of many organisations such as the United Nations, the European Union, and even the Olympics Committee. This provides for great motivation and makes it a worthwhile language to know for anyone who might work internationally and can help to further your career.
Its popularity also means it’s easy to find opportunities to practise your French. Whether you’re looking for a conversation exchange, or want to practise your listening and comprehension skills, you won’t come up short. French films, music, literature and radio are all easily accessible, allowing for many opportunities to work on your fluency. Plus, if you visit France or Quebec, you’ll find that the locals are reluctant to speak anything but French with you, forcing you to practise your French skills.
Armed with the knowledge that learning French will not be that difficult, it’s time to master le français! Contact us about French lessons in your area or online classes and we’ll help you get started on your journey to French fluency!