Is French a difficult language to learn ?
1 – A lot of English words are common with the French language
Some linguists say that around 1/3 of English words come from the French language, so there are a lot of similarities between those two languages, the English language and the French language. A lot of French language vocabulary is actually very similar to the English language vocabulary. Usually it is pronounced a bit in a different way but oftently it is spelled in the same way. Here is for example the word « information » in the French language : the way to pronounce it is not the same but the spelling is exactly the same. And you are going to find that in the French language a lot of words are like that one, so you are going to be familiar with those words already, so you are going to remember them well.
2 – There is a lot of similarities between the two languages : the English language and the French language
The French language is similar in terms of grammar with the English language. So, first of all the structure of the phrases is very similar. In the English language, it follows the exact same order which is subject-verb-object, so for example, in the English language you would say « I learn the French language » and in the French language you would say j’apprends le français. J’apprends subject + verb, le français is the object. And in the English language is the same : I (subject) – learn (verb) and (French) object.
This is the same for questions and negatives phrases.
In the French language, to build up a question we use est-ce que. For example, Est-ce que tu parles français ? which means « Do you speak the French language ? » and est-ce que is a bit similar to the particle « do » or « does » in the English language. « Do you speak French ? » (Est-ce que tu parles français ?). And in the French language it is pretty much the same. So, you are going to find that you are going to understand this element of the French language very fastly as you are beginning to learn it.
It is the same with the negatives sentences. If you want to make a negative sentence in the French language you just use these little words ne pas. For example, je ne parle pas français – « I do not speak the French language». So, it is pretty much the same as the little English word « not », « I do not speak the French language » (je ne parle pas français). So, it is quite similar. It is also the same for the tenses, they are also very similar. The past tenses, the present tenses, and the future tenses. They are all almost the same. There are some differences but in general they are pretty much the same, and if you understand the grammar of the English language it will be very easy for you to understand the grammar of the French language. The French language can be easy to print in your mind as an English speaker.
3 – The subjunctive tense in the French language
So, the difficult thing about the French language is the subjunctive tense, it is hard to transfer it in the English language. You need to memorize the different situations in which you are going to use this specific tense. You are going to have more practice, more experience, so it will become much more easier for you and you will know exactly when to use it. It is like a challenge but it is possible to do it, it needs time to handle it.
4 – How to pronounce some sounds, some letters ?
You could also say that the pronunciation in the French language can be a bit hard sometimes, but I think that the French language follows a lot of « template » and once you know them so you can pronounce almost any word. Obviously, you do not need to know all the words, you are going to know how to pronounce them because pronunciation is very regular in the French language, this is not all the time the same in the English language. For example, we can consider the word « tough » in the English language, how is it possible to know how to pronounce it if you do not know the spelling ? So, in the French language when you learn these pronunciation patterns it becomes easiers to read and speak in the French language. Which is a challenge is that English speakers cannot do the nasal sounds in the French language, so for example, in the word Bonjour there is the nasal sound on at the start of the word, and we do not find this sound in the English language. So, it could be hard but it is possible to learn, so you just need a little bit of practice and it is going to be nice. The other sound is : in the word Bonjour there is the letter r at the end which it takes a little bit of time, of practice to be able to say it in a proper way.
5 – The gender of the nouns and articles
How do you do with the gender ? So, in the English language there is no difference really between masculine and feminine because there are no articles for the gender. For example, in the English language you say « a car » and « a » is an article it does not change related to the gender of the noun. It is the opposite in the French language, for example you say une voiture – or la voiture, the word voiture is feminine and it comes with a feminine article une or la, the masculine articles are un and le. So, it is a bit hard because what you need to do is to remember which are the nouns that are masculine and which are the nouns that are feminine.