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Why is the French so hard to learn?

Why is the French so hard to learn?
why is french hard to learn
(Last Updated On: January 4, 2021)


The French Language

French is a Romance language that descended from Vulgar Latin. It has nearly 80 million native speakers. It is recognized as an official language in 29 countries. There are also multiple French-based creoles that are spoken in different parts of the world. Nearly 200 million people speak French as their second language. It is the colonial past of France that made the language popular in different countries. As a result, you can find speakers of French on multiple continents today. However, Europe continues to be home to the highest number of French speakers. 35% of French speakers live in sub-Saharan Africa. The rest can be found in North Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas. A small percentage of French speakers also live in Asia.

A significant percentage of Canada’s population speaks Canadian French. In the Canadian province of Quebec, you cannot get a government job if you don’t know French. This is one of the reasons why 120 million people are currently learning French. Learning French can not only increase job opportunities for you but also introduce you to a whole new culture. You can start working as a French to English Translator.

Why should you learn a Second Language:

A life lived in ignorance is futile. Although we cannot acquire all the knowledge in the world, we can learn some things about the people we share this planet with. In a world where more than seven thousand languages are spoken, it is important that we learn at least one foreign language. It will help us connect with those who speak a different language than us. It will also make us more understanding of others.

In today’s world, it is very important for a person to know one other language besides their native language. People cannot achieve success in the corporate world without being bilingual. If they can speak and understand multiple languages, it will make their job easier. They will be able to communicate with clients from different parts of the world. Even knowing the basic sentences of another language can be very useful.

Nowadays, the learning process has become easier for people. A language learner can get online lessons and study according to their schedule. Thanks to the internet, they can also connect with native speakers of a language and learn directly from them. A lot of apps have effective lesson plans these days that make it easier for students to develop a thorough understanding of a language.


Why is French so Hard to Learn?

The Indo=European language family has multiple groups. All dialects of English, including British English, belong to the Germanic language group. French and Spanish belong to the Romance language group. Due to the popularity of the English language around the world, it ended up affecting Spanish and French vocabulary. But that does not make the languages related.

So, if the French language shares similarities with Spanish and English, it should be easy, right? Well, no. Learning French can be quite difficult. As to why is French so hard to learn, the answer lies in the way the language is structured.

English Speaker

One of the most confusing things about French is its silent letters. Every English speaker is familiar with silent letters as they also exist in their tongue. But in French, the silent letters are many and they may not always make sense to non-natives.

French Pronunciation

The rules of French pronunciation are very confusing. Final consonants are often silent, but there are also exceptions to this rule.
French has as many as 12 oral vowels and 4 nasal vowels. The nasal sound, in particular, is very difficult for an English speaker to master. This makes French pronunciation trickier.

French Gender Rules

The most confusing thing for English speakers is the gender rules of French. It has gendered nouns, which is quite uncommon for English speakers.
All the inanimate objects have a grammatical gender in French. Although there are exceptions to the gender rules, they don’t make things easier for the students of the language.


Spelling is another factor that makes French a difficult language. French spelling is particularly confusing because the letters of the alphabet have unique sounds. So, if a person is not familiar with all the sounds, they won’t be able to spell French words correctly.

Irregular Verbs

There are plenty of irregular verbs in English, but the number is even higher in French. The irregular verbs make verb conjugation pretty difficult. It can slow down the language learning process and might put off people for good.

False Friends

Another scary thing about French is the high number of false friends. False friends are words that are identical but have different meanings.
There are plenty of false friends in English too. But for those that are not familiar with the concept of false friends, learning French can be very difficult.

False Cognates

Like false friends, French also has false cognates. These are words that look similar to English words but have different meanings.
False cognates can be quite confusing for native speakers of English when they are trying to learn French.

Collective Nouns

There are no clear rules in French about collective nouns. Depending on the context, they can be either plural or singular.
This is different from American English where collective nouns are almost always singular and British English where they are often plural.


How to Learn French?

The internet has made it easier for us to do things from the comfort of our homes. You can shop online and get clothes and shoes delivered directly to your home. You can also watch entertaining content at home thanks to streaming services. But people often forget that the internet also has the power to educate us. You can find lessons online on any subject. The internet is not going to disappoint you when it comes to languages. There are dozens of apps and online courses available for those who want to learn a foreign language. But using an app is not enough if you want to learn French. You will have to follow a specific routine to achieve fluency.

Here are some tips that can help you to learn French:

  • Learn from the natives. If you hire a native French tutor, you will be able to learn the basic grammar rules from them and also pick on important pronunciation rules. If you can’t hire a tutor, you can watch YouTube videos made by natives to learn French.
  • Try language apps. It is true that not all of them are effective. But some of them have very effective lessons. If you are willing to spend money on an app then you should go for Memrise. Not only will you learn from natives, but you will also be able to review your progress regularly.
  • Consume media in the French language. Although you cannot learn a language this way, it can improve your pronunciation and hearing skills. Your vocabulary will also improve by watching news channels. Once you have developed reading skills, you can also check out French newspapers. Reading the news can introduce you to new words.
  • Use French dictionary. Dictionaries are very helpful for all of us, but they are particularly useful for learning learners. You can look up a French word and brush up your vocabulary. Instead of carrying a physical book with you, you can download a French dictionary on your phone. This way, you can look up the meaning of a word at any time.

Learning a language is only possible if you don’t give up halfway through. Even if a language is difficult to learn, you will be able to achieve fluency in it with hard work. So, use all the right methods for learning French and you will be able to become fluent in it in no time.

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