You might have heard that French is one of the most difficult languages to learn. But really, is French hard to learn? Why is French considered like a complicated language to learn? Here are some reasons why French might seem like a risky choice. But fear not, if you know what to expect, your learning path will seem smoother…
Is French hard to learn? It’s difficult to say which languages are the most difficult to learn, mostly because it depends on what your native language is. For example, French people find it easier to learn Spanish rather than German. But fear not, if you speak English, French might not seem so difficult to learn. In fact, many English words come from French! You just have to keep in mind what makes French a little bit more challenging.
Have you seen the funny videos about someone who asks Google Translate to pronounce “vers”, “ver”, “vert” and “verre”? Well, spoiler alert, it all feels the same. That’s why French can seem tricky for language beginners. You will have to learn all these words (with the right spelling) and understand them in conversation using context. The best way to overcome this obstacle is to read a lot and take French classes with a teacher. Once you read or hear these homonymes in some context, it will be easier to recognize them.
Why are there so many letters in French words, if you don’t even pronounce them? That seems like a waste of letters, right? Is French hard to learn because of these trick letters? We have to admit that for foreign students, some French words might seem difficult to pronounce, like “beaucoup”, “poulet”, “sept”… At least, it allows English speakers to take a weird accent that French people might find adorable. But what if you want a perfect accent, or at least want French people to understand you?
To nail the pronunciation of all these words containing silent letters, be sure to listen to songs, films, TV shows, Youtube videos… First, put the French subtitles in order to notice how certain words are pronounced. Then, put the movie with only the French dialogues and enjoy! You can also take private French classes in order to have someone correct your pronunciation.
English has it so easy! Nouns haven’t got any gender and you only have to put “a” or “the” in front of them. But in French, there are feminine nouns and masculine nouns : you say “une table” but “un tabouret”. You can often recognize beginner students by the way they use “le” ou “la” with the wrong noun.
You always ask yourself whether a noun is masculine or feminine? The best way to avoid any struggle is to learn the gender of the nouns from the beginning. It’s especially important since in French, the adjective changes to agree with the noun it defines. When you write (and study) your vocabulary lists, be sure to write down if the noun in masculine or feminine. Additionally, you can try to remember some of the gender rules, even though the French language is well known for its many exceptions.
Is French hard to learn because of the conjugation? To be honest, there are also many verb tenses in English (the simple, past, perfect, continuous forms, etc). But the forms are easier to remember and conjugate. But in French, you have to master “le présent” (the present), “le passé composé” (the simple past), “l’imparfait” (the imperfect), “le plus-que-parfait” (the past perfect), “le futur proche” (the near future), “le futur simple” (the future simple), “le futur antérieur” (the future perfect), “le passé simple” (the past historic) and “le passé antérieur” (the anterior past). And they have all different conjugations depending on the type of verbs…
Luckily, in daily conversations, you won’t have to use complicated tenses. Still, be sure to learn these tenses early on in order to be fluent. They will become useful, in particular if you want to read French books.
Sure, French is a difficult language to learn. Just like every foreign language you’ve never tried to learn before. But if you know what to look out for and the difficult parts you should learn at the very beginning of your learning path, you’ll be fine. To be sure to learn French the right way, take some French classes online. This way, you’ll have someone to guide you through it and point out your mistakes.