11 good reasons to learn French - By a linguist
Why Learn French? - By A Linguist 🇫🇷📖
It is a prized career asset ↗
The world is multilingual; a level of French proficiency is an extremely valuable skill to have when building an international business relationship. It is one of the official languages of the UN, the EU, UNESCO, NATO, the International Olympic Committee, the International Red Cross and Interpol, and is also recognized as an official language in 29 countries.
It is truly an international language
French is spoken on all five continents (more than 220 million speakers) and is the second most widely learnt language after English. It is also the third most used language on the internet, after English and German. This means that there is a mountain of resources and communities at a French-learner’s disposal.
It makes foreign news and culture much more accessible
French will open up its doors to a higher understanding of fashion, food and music, and literature by famous authors such as Jules Verne, Voltaire, Victor Hugo and more. It will also diversify your perspective on world events and politics if you’re able to understand French media from places like Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, Seychelles, Monaco, multiple countries in Africa and of course, France.
It will greatly enhance your travel experiences
France is the most visited country on Earth, and for good reason: it is a hotspot for culture and history. Statistics show that the country with the most visitors to France outside of Europe is the United States, and by a huge margin. And yet, most American tourists will have an elementary understanding of French at best. The greater the knowledge you have of the French language, the easier it will be to understand the country and its occupants on a deeper level. This goes for French-speaking countries outside of France too.
It is not as difficult to learn as you might think
For one thing, if you’re an English speaker, you already have a fantastic head start in French vocabulary. French and English share
an astonishingly large portion of their vocabulary (thanks to William the Conqueror), and lexically, English has more in common with
French than any other Romance language. And get this: French pronunciation is much easier to learn than English, which is
notoriously difficult-if you need evidence of this, look no further than the famous poem The Chaos by Dutch writer Gerard Nolst
Trenité. On the other hand, French pronunciation is much more consistent and comprehensible to language learners. You’ll already
have subconsciously learnt that there are silent letters and guttural Rs...now you just need to apply that knowledge! If it’s
gendered words you’re intimidated by, not to worry. Gendered language is important in French, but there are general rules to guide
you and you’ll pick it up quicker than you thought. See where French places in difficulty for English speakers here.
It is a good foundation for learning other languages
Once you pick up French, you may find yourself better able to understand and even communicate in other languages, particularly the Romance languages (Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian) and languages with Latin influences. It may even improve your English vocabulary!
It gives you access to numerous rewarding exchange opportunities
French proficiency affords you the opportunity to study in French and francophone universities that rank among the best in the world (the Sorbonne, Pierre-and-Marie-Curie University, École Polytechnique etc). Additionally, if you attain a good enough level of French proficiency, you may be eligible for a grant from the French government that allows you to study for an internationally recognized postgraduate degree of your choice in France.
It preserves and promotes linguistic diversity
English has become the business language of choice all over the world, however language diversity is still crucial in sustaining communication with other countries. It better serves your interests to be able to communicate with someone in their own native language. Linguistic diversity also has the benefit of making communication more fun.
It is not as common for American high school students to choose over Spanish, which makes it valuable when looking for employment
There has been a considerable push in the United States for students to learn Spanish, because there are many Spanish native speakers here. Spanish is beautiful, but because of its commonality as a second language, if you’re not fluent or native, it does not hold the same weight to an employer as knowledge of French. What’s more, French and English are the only two languages taught in every country on Earth, thanks in part to the collection of Alliance Francaise chapters around the world. Learning French only enhances your ability to speak Spanish and vice versa, so why not diversify and learn both! In fact, if you have any knowledge of Spanish, Italian or Portuguese, you will find it much easier to become proficient in French.
It is considered the most romantic language in the world
According to a survey by Babbel. French beats outs its Romance rivals Italian, Spanish and Portuguese to become the official language of love. Its soft, melodious tones are broadly appealing to non-speakers. It is also a very analytical language; it develops critical thinking and structures thought, supporting reason.
It fosters a broader understanding of the historical relationship between the US and France
As an example, the concepts behind the French Revolution were inspired by the American Revolutionary War, which in turn bolstered political ideas in the US. Understanding our relationship is crucial to progressing and upholding the future of the Franco-American alliance.
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