French and Spanish are two of the most popular languages for English speakers to learn. So much so that people often have a hard time deciding which one they want to learn. And when this happens one of the deciding factors is which language is easier, which leads people to ask “Is French easier than Spanish?”
Unfortunately we would probably say that no it isn’t. But don’t let this put you off! Because although we think Spanish is a tiny bit easier, French is relatively easy for a native speaker to learn and it may be easier in some other ways.
Why We Think Spanish Is Easier Than French
- Spanish letter pronunciation is consistent – once you’ve learnt the alphabet, Spanish words are incredibly easy to pronounce and there are irregulars on pronunciation. You just need to learn the pronunciation rules and you’ll be able to read out loud every Spanish word correctly
- French has more irregular verbs – although Spanish has irregular verbs, French definitely has more which can make it more difficult to learn
- Spanish numbers are easier to learn – the French number system is difficult, especially when hearing something like a phone number spoken out loud. Swiss French numbers are much easier than French French numbers)
Why French May Be Easier
- French has less difficult phonemes – the Spanish ‘r’ and ‘j’ can be very difficult sounds for a native English speaker to make. In comparison French doesn’t have as difficult phonemes to pronounce but you still might struggle with things like the French guttural r and the variation in the pronunciation of vowels.
- Spanish subjunctive is more difficult – once you get into advanced Spanish grammar, the Spanish subjunctive can be relatively tricky
Both Languages Can Be Confusing
- Both have tricky past tenses
- Both language have false friends – words that look like a word in English but turn out to have a different meaning
- Both have some issues with pronunciation
- Both languages use masculine and feminine articles which can be difficult for a native English speaker to get used to
Both Language Have Positive Points
- Both share lots of similar words with English so you’ll know many more words than you think you do
- Learning one language can help you learn another one
- Both are beautiful, rich languages to amazing countries
We hope this has helped answer the questions is French easier than Spanish? And although for us the answer was no, that doesn’t mean that French isn’t an easy language or that you can’t learn it. If you’re interested in learning French, check out our recommendations of French textbooks and take a look at our handy article: “How do I start to learn French?”
Fun fact to remember! After each language you learn, the next one gets easier. So although French may be seen as trickier than Spanish if you’ve already learnt Spanish then you might find French easier when it comes to learning it.