As languages like Spanish are becoming more popular and China has an increasingly prominent place in the world, a lot of people learning a second language are opting for Chinese or Spanish, over languages like French and German which used to be incredibly popular.
However, we think French is great. It’s a beautiful language with lots of speakers and here are some reasons why you should definitely consider learning French as your second language.
Let’s have a look at the French language first
French comes from the romantic family of languages, and some people say it’s the most difficult romantic language to learn.
Why learn French
French is the 10th most spoken language in the world
Approximately 275 million people speak French, making French the 10th most spoken language in the world. That is a lot of people for you to practise your French with.
It depends what you’re learning for. If you love languages and you’re not looking to maximise your amount of possible language partners then this number might not seem that important to you. But if you want to learn for work, or travel then learning a language in the top ten spoken languages will always be useful.
Lots of countries speak French
Countries with French as an official language include:
Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Cote d’Ivoire, France, Haiti, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Switzerland
As French is a prominent language in most of Africa, this could be useful as the economy there grows and more industries start trading with African countries. More and more companies are going to need French speakers, both to work there and to trade with them.
Also French may only be spoken in a few European countries but they are some of the wealthiest and most influential countries in Europe. Also if you want to live anywhere in central or western Europe, speaking French will always come in useful at some point. Even in the Netherlands, most people can speak French to some degree and it’s not an official language there.
French is still an official language of lots of things:
French is an official language of the UN. There are six official languages of the UN that are English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Russian and Chinese. So if you wanted a job at the UN, French would be a useful language to learn and probably easier than Chinese or Russian.
French is an official language of the olympics. This is my favourite French fact. Whenever there is an olympics held, you will here the announcements in the official languages of that country, English for everyone else and French. Why? Because when the olympic games began, French said the only way they would be part of it would be if French was made into an official language and things have never changed.
French is an official language of the EU. This one may seem a bit more obvious than the first two, but French is one of the EU languages, and a pretty central one, given that France is one of the most prominent countries within the EU and that they also speak French in Switzerland or Belgium. So if you wanted to work for the EU, French would come in useful.
France has the seventh highest GDP
Again, if you’re learning a language to help with your job prospects, then learning a language from a country with a high GDP should be a consideration, as this normally means more job opportunities, both within the country and for companies wanting to trade with that country as well.
French films are really good
This might seem like a silly reason to learn a language, but if you enjoy learning languages for fun, rather than just for purpose you might want to consider this. When you’re learning a language, if the films, books, etc. are boring then you’re not going to get into it so much. Netflix is a game changer, but when you were relying solely on the film industry, some countries don’t produce good movies and it can be boring to work your way through them to get the exposure.
France do actually produce some amazing films, many that we would highly recommend watching regardless of you’re learning French or not. Have a look at our list of best French films here. If you don’t want to read our list right now, then one film you definitely can’t miss is the intouchables.
French is a really beautiful language
Maybe you disagree and maybe this isn’t important to you when choosing a language. But French just is a beautiful language, it’s the language of love, it’s romantic and it sounds really nice. If you’re struggling to decide then think about how you want to speak when you speak a foreign language. There are few languages that sound more beautiful than French.
Reasons not to learn French
We personally don’t think these reasons are good enough to not learn French, but because we’ve given you some reasons why French is great, we thought we should be honest and tell you why French can be a bit of a pain as well.
The irregular verbs are a nightmare. French grammar isn’t too difficult, but their amount of irregular verbs is too much. Every time you learn a rule that’s great but you’re going to have to learn a bunch of irregular verbs that go with that rule.
They don’t pronounce half of the letters. You see a French word written down and you can just assume you’re not going to have to pronounce the end of the word. Eventually you get used to that and you can hear the subtle differences between the words, but when you first start this can be incredibly confusing and can make learning more difficult.
French is a beautiful language and there are loads of great reasons to learn it but at the end of the day you need to find the language that fits your needs the best. If you don’t want to live in Europe ever, then French might not be the language for you, unless you know you’re trading with Africa or you want to move to French Canada.
If you could see yourself living in Europe, even if not in a French speaking country then I would highly recommend learning French because it’s a very interesting language, and it’s really lovely to speak.
Have you had any experience learning French? Or have you decided it’s not the language for you? Let us know in the comments below. We’re always interested to learn about your language learning experiences.