In this video I’m going to talk to you about whether French is a difficult language to learn. It’s French a difficult language to learn ?
1 – 1/3 of English words derived from French
The first thing to bear in mind is that linguists actually estimate that around 1/3 of english words derived from French, so there are a lot of similarities between the two languages. And because you’re watching this video in English I assume that you already speak English, if that’s the case it’s going to be much easier for you to learn French. A lot of French vocabulary is actually very similar. It might be pronounced slightly differently but often it’s actually spelled in the same way. Take for example the words information in French : its anthem ASEAN so the pronunciation is different but the spelling is exactly the same. And you will find that in French a lot of vocabulary is actually like that, so you will be familiar with the words already which will make the memorization process much easier.
2 – A lot of similarities
The second thing that’s easy about French is that it actually has a lot of similarities in terms of grammar with the English language. So, first of all their sentence structure is very similar in English, it follows the exact same order subject-verb-object, so for example, in English you would say « I learn French » whereas in French you would say j’apprends le français. J’apprends subject verb, le français is the object. And in English is the same I (subject) learn (verb) and (French) object.
The same goes for questions and negatives.
In French there is a question particle that you use to create questions which is est-ce que. For example, Est-ce que tu parles français ? which means « Do you speak French ? » and est-ce que is a bit similar to the particle « do » in English or « does ». « Do you speak French ? » That’s the question particle. And in French it’s very similar. So, you will find that you get to understand the concept very quickly as you begin to learn French.
It’s the same with negatives. If you want to make a negative sentence in French you just use the particle ne pas. For example, je ne parle pas français – « I don’t speak French ». So, it’s quite similar to the English particle « not », « I do not speak French ». So, there are a lot of similarities there.
When it comes to tenses they are also very very similar. To the past tenses, the present tenses, and the future. They are all almost equivalent. Obviously, there are some differences but generally they’re very very similar, and if you understand the grammar of the English language then you will find it very easy to understand the grammar of the French language. There are a couple of different things in French which can be a little bit challenging but that’s not to say that is difficult. Actually, when I was trying to plan this video I was really thinking hard about things that I found difficult when learning French and I couldn’t really think of that many things. So, that in itself shows you how easy French can be to learn as an English speaker.
3 – Subjunctive
So, the difficult thing about French in my opinion is the subjunctive which is basically a grammar structure that exists in French and it doesn’t really have a kind of direct equivalent. In English are certain patterns that are used with the subjunctive and you have to sort of memorize the different situations in which you would use the subjunctive, but as you learn, as you become more experienced it will become much more natural to you and you will know exactly when to use this objective. So, because I said it’s challenging it’s not impossible, by any means it just takes time as you will get there.
4 – Pronunciation
Finally, you could also argue that pronunciation and French can be a bit of a challenge sometimes, although I think French actually follows a lot of patterns and once you learn the patterns you can then pronounce any word that you see. So, you don’t actually have to know the words, you will know how to pronounce it because pronunciation is very regular in French unlike in English. Think about the word « tough » in English, for example, how would you know how to spell it if you didn’t know how it’s spelled ? So, in French when you learn these pronunciation patterns it becomes very easy to read and speak French. The two challenging things that English speakers could be the nasal sounds in French so, for example, in the word Bonjour we’ve got the on at the start of the word which is a nazal sound, and these sounds don’t really exist in English. So, it can be a bit of a challenge but they are possible to learn, so you just need a little bit of practice and you’ll be fine. The other sound is that are sound so Bonjour you’ve got the r at the end which is again something that takes a little bit of practice and it’s not impossible to learn. So, that definitely shouldn’t put you off.
5 – Gender
And then we’ve got the gender.s so in English there isn’t really that distinction between masculine feminine because we don’t have gendered article in English. Say for example, in English you say « a car » and « a » is the article which doesn’t change based on the gender of the noun, whereas in French you say une voiture – or la voiture, voiture is feminine and it goes with a feminine article une or la, as opposed to the masculine article which is un or le. So, you just need to memorize which nouns are masculine and which ones are feminine and you will be able to do that very easily because again there are some patterns that these words follow and it will be easier for you once you know these patterns. So, French is not that difficult at all especially if you’re an English speaker already if you compare it to other languages such as German of Japanese it is the easiest language on the spectrum including these languages for English speakers