It is indeed fascinating to learn French. But with its numerous benefits, it is also one of the most complicated languages to learn especially if you don’t have a French background.
Difference of French and English
Are French and English that different? If you are learning either language, you probably have awkward moments trying to understand something.
Each language has its quirks and rules, but in many cases learning one makes it easier to pick up the other.
Fortunately, there are similarities between English and French that make them easier to learn than some other languages.
Although much of this is based on their shared Germanic roots, there are also some important differences between the two languages at a deeper level.
These can make them harder to master than you would think from the first look! Here we will take a quick look at whether French is harder or easier than English—and why.
Understanding French Words
Learning French means learning a new set of words.
This is crucial, as every language has its own set of words for everything you might want to say.
Even if two languages have evolved from the same parent language, they have been used for such a different purpose that they have adopted new words. The best way to understand a new language’s complexities is to understand its words’ complexities.
You might find it useful to learn some French cognates – French words similar to English. This can make it easier to learn some basic vocabulary.
If you want to learn more about vocabulary and grammar, there are plenty of great online resources.
How Easy is French to Learn?
It is a common misconception that French is a much harder language to learn than English.
Is it true? And if so, why? Well, it is easy to see why people think this. The grammar in French is much more complicated than in English.
After all, the rule of “no sentence without a verb” does not apply in French. On the other hand, the lexicon of French is much simpler than that of English.
The basic vocabulary of French is borrowed directly from Latin and Gallo-Romance – a set of dialects spoken across Northern France and Southern Belgium.
Why is French more complicated than English?
The complexities of French grammar make it seem harder to learn than English.
This is especially true if you compare it to the simplicity of the grammar in Modern English.
Yet the lexicon of English can make it easier to learn than its Gallic counterpart.
Let us look at a few reasons why this might be the case:
The tense system in English is much simpler than that of French. While you have to learn different verb tenses in French, you only use one tense in English more often.
The spellings of French words are more complex than those of English ones.
There are two main reasons for this: the French writing system is much more phonetic than the English one, and French has far more words derived from its Latin roots than English.
The pronunciation of French words is generally more difficult than English words.
This is partly because most French sounds are produced with the tongue in a very different position to those in the English language.
French pronunciation vs. English pronunciation
The pronunciation of French and English is very different.
The main difference is that French vowels are shorter and more lightly pronounced than English equivalents.
For example, the vowel in French “boot” is pronounced for a longer time than the vowel in English “boot”. This difference in vowel length makes French pronunciation more difficult.
Another is that the consonants are heavily aspirated.
This means that a puff of air accompanies them. For example, the consonant in “bottle” is aspirated.
The consonants in French are also much more strongly pronounced than in English ones. This means that people who speak English as their first language can often mispronounce French words.
The French and English languages have many similarities and some important differences.
The main difference is that French is more heavily based on its Latin roots than English is.
As a result, it has a more complicated lexicon and more difficult pronunciation.
However, these complexities can also make French easier to learn than English – especially if you are a native speaker of English.
This article has explored these complexities, and hopefully, you now have a better idea of how they apply. If you want to start learning French, the first thing to do is to learn some basic vocabulary then you may start listening to French audio lessons as a start.
Good luck with your French journey! 😉