How Hard Is Learning French
How hard is learning French or how hard is it to learn French is a question we get asked quite often on Lingo Press. French remains a popular language to learn even though it isn’t seen as being as useful as Spanish, Mandarin or Arabic. This could be in part because of people wanting to go to France, having the opportunity to work with French companies or our love of France and French culture. France remains a huge part of Europe in terms of culture, politics and economy and French remains popular along with it.
Due to this lots of people want to learn French either for work or fun and one of the first questions they ask is how hard is learning French? French and English are both Indo-European languages, meaning that they share a common language ancestor and they share many similarities. Compared to most languages French is an easy language to learn for a native English speaker. Languages like Spanish might be considered easier due to uniform pronunciation and pretty standard grammar rules but French is still up there with easy languages for native English speakers to learn.
French And English Share Many Similar Words
Even though they come from two separate language families, English has had lots of influence from the romantic languages meaning that there is a lot of overlap. For example words that end in ‘tion’ in English tend to be similar or the same in French (although the pronunciation is definitely different). For example ‘nation’ in English is spelt exactly the same in French but has French pronunciation, same for ‘instruction.’ ‘Suction’ in English becomes ‘succion’ in French, so although different, still similar enough to help you remember it. And this is true for lots of other French words as well.
There Are Patterns To Gendered Words
When you first come across European languages and realise that words are gendered it can really throw a lot of people. The good news is that there are good rules to know whether something is masculine or feminine based on the word’s ending and once you’ve learned these rules you’ll be able to guess the gender of new words based on their endings.
There Are Lots Of Resources To Help You Learn French
Due to French being a popular language there are an abundance of resources to help you learn. You have courses on Duolingo and Memrise, textbooks, graded readers, TV, film, youtube channels and so much more. These resources make it so much easier to learn than other languages where the materials haven’t been developed as well yet.
Things That Make Learning French Difficult
We’ve looked at things that make French easy to learn, now let’s look at some of the factors that make the language a bit more tricky.
One of the things that make Fench slightly more difficult is the amount of irregular verbs. If you’re learning a language like Spanish the rules are pretty straight forward but when it comes to French they like irregular verbs and exceptions to rules as much as the English language does. Irregular verbs are definitely something that people struggle with when it comes to learning French
Another factor that makes French fairly difficult is the pronunciation of certain phonemes. French has sounds that English doesn’t really have and that can be difficult for an English speaker to recreate. They have several similar sounds which can change the meaning of a word but an English speaker would just use the same sound for all of them. Getting used to French pronunciation is something you need to do early on when learning French if you want to be understood but is also something that many learners of the language find difficult.
Now these are things that most European languages have but it’s still important to mention them. False friends are words that trip you up by looking incredibly similar to the English word but having a different meaning For example ‘actuellement’ means ‘currently’ rather than ‘actually’. This is just one of many false friends that trip English speakers up and can leave them confused or find themselves in embarrassing situations when learning French.
So how hard is learning French? For an English speaker French is a fairly easy language to learn compared to other languages. There are some factors that make it more difficult like irregular verbs and strange pronunciation but on the whole it’s on of the easier languages for a native English speaker to learn.
Article: How Hard Is Learning French
Suggested Article: Best French Textbooks