Learning French is never easy. It will challenge you mentally and even emotionally.
5 most difficult aspects of learning French
Even native English speakers struggle with foreign languages, especially when understanding grammar and syntax.
But even if you are not a natural linguist, you can still learn French if you put in the effort. The most important thing is to enjoy the learning process and keep going even when things get challenging.
If you are starting with learning French or are afraid that it will be too difficult for you, here are the five most difficult aspects of learning French:
Learning French pronunciation is one of the toughest aspects of the language to master. First, there is the matter of the many letters with different pronunciations than you might expect.
The letter “s,” for example, is pronounced like the “zz” sound in “sizzle” in French, not like the “s” sound in “so” in English.
The “g” is also pronounced differently; in French, it is a soft “j” sound.
The letter “c” is a “ts” sound, and the letter “r” is a soft “r” sound. The letters “u” and “e” are both pronounced with a soft “uh” sound, “ai” and “ei” are both “ay,” and “ou” is a long “oo” sound.
The conjugation of irregular verbs
The French language is famous for its wide assortment of irregular verbs, many of which do not even have equivalents in English.
So, for example, the verb “venir” is conjugated in the present tense as “je viens” (I come), “tu viens” (you come), “il/elle vient” (he/she comes), “nous venons” (we come), “vous venez” (you come), and “ils/elles viennent” (they come).
The verb “faire” (to do/to make) is also irregular, as it is conjugated as “je fais” (I do/I make), “tu fais” (you do/you make), “il/elle fait” (he/she does/he makes), “nous faisons” (we do/we make), “vous faites” (you do/you make), and “ils/elles font” (they do/they make).
While there are some irregular verbs you can memorize, most of them come with no pattern and no easy way around them.
The genders of French words
French is a gendered language, so every noun is masculine or feminine.
While many Romance languages have gendered nouns, there are additional rules for French that make it even more confusing for learners.
For example, nouns ending in “e” are usually feminine, while nouns ending in “er” are usually masculine. And “le” and “la” indicate that something is masculine or feminine, respectively.
This may sound easy in theory, but it can get confusing when applying it in real life.
If you are trying to learn French, it can help to pick one or two gendered nouns and memorize how they are conjugated in each tense.
The meaning of words you will never hear in class
Many French words have a different meaning than their English equivalents.
This can make it difficult to find the right word to use in a sentence and cause confusion when trying to understand what someone is saying.
For example, the French word “réussir” does not mean “to succeed” as the English word does; it means “to pass.”
This can lead to confusion if you are not careful, and it may make you sound silly if you use the wrong word in a sentence. To avoid this, try to learn French vocabulary not covered in class.
You can do this by reading authentic French articles, watching French movies and television shows, and talking to other French speakers.
Speaking with native speakers
If you learn French with a tutor or in a classroom, you may never have the chance to speak French with a native speaker. UNLESS your tutor is a native speaker.
This can make it difficult to practice your skills and build your confidence.
Suppose you do not have the opportunity to speak French. In that case, regularly, it is easy to feel discouraged and give up on the language.
To avoid this, you can find other French speakers interested in practicing their skills with you.
You can also try joining a local French club or finding a language exchange partner online who can help you stay motivated and practice speaking with a native French speaker.
Learning French is a challenging but rewarding process.
While French speakers may find your attempts at their language endearing and cute, you will also be able to communicate with people worldwide in a new and exciting way.
If you are interested in learning French, it is important to find a method that works for you.