Which Is More Difficult French Or English: French and English are two of the most widely spoken languages in the world as it is spoken in two third of countries in the world today. While English language is officially spoken in America, Kenya, United Kingdom, South Africa, Canada, Jamaica, Pakistan, Uganda, Australia, Barbados, New Zealand, Ireland, India, Guyana, Nigeria and 46 other countries, French is officially spoken in Belgium, Gabon, Switzerland, Seychelles, Senegal, France, Congo, Ivory Coast, but to mention a few countries. Additionally, in each country of the world you must see speakers of both languages resident therein.
Thus, the universality of the languages is a wide appeal to learning it and learning either of French or English language is equally important because it is required in working with most International organizations, increases your travel opportunities to most countries, gives you a wider access to international job opportunities, and it enables you to network better with people around the world as 1.35 billion people out of a population of approximately 7.8 billion across the globe speak English and 300 million people across the globe speak French.
From the foregoing, we can all agree that having knowledge of both English and French is very important. However, overtime there have been a longstanding debate amongst speakers of both languages and people are seeking to learn both languages on which of the two languages is easier to learn for beginners and vice versa which is more difficult to learn? This Article seeks to contribute to the body of literature on this debate and lay this debate to rest by analyzing the most difficult language between English and French.
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Table of Content
Most Difficult Language To Learn Between English And French
English and French are relatively easy to learn, but it takes a while. At least within 6 months you can fluently learn either of the two languages. French is considered easy to learn as the spelling and pronunciation of words are quite simple in comparison to some other languages, French words are easier to spot, French verbs are simple, and its syntax are understandable.
On the hand, English Language is considered relatively easy to learn as there are numerous available resources to learn it from, English has simpler grammar rules, it is often short and devoid of gender placement, complicated adjectives, formal tenses, and word agreement.
Furthermore, it is usually even easier for an English speaker to learn French as 45% of English words have a French origin and as such French is generally considered similar to English. The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) scale agrees with this stating that “French is one of the easiest languages to learn for a native English Speaker” and generally if you are fluent in English, you will be familiar with the spelling, pronunciation and meaning of some French words.
Nonetheless, while fortune may on the part of English speakers in learning French and it be therefore be considered easy to learn, French is generally considered difficult to learn especially for non-English and on the balance of scale, it is said to even be harder than English to learn for a couple of reasons which will considered subsequently.
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Reasons Why French Is Harder Than English
French seems harder to learn than English language for the following reasons:
1. French has gendered words: Notably, French makes use of gendered word which makes it even more difficult for one to learn the language faster. In this context, the use of gendered word in French language; simply means that French permits differentiation of genders and there exists a clear difference of the gender usuage of language as Gender influences pronouns, endings of adjectives and verbs, and the article placed before the noun in French.
For instance: In French there are three different articles that translate the English article ‘the’ to French. These are: Le (masculine singular nouns), La (Feminine singular nouns), and Les (for all plural nouns). Same goes for other French words.
Furthermore, French does not only end at having gendered words, there are a few rules for learning which gender to use fit which noun, and this contributes to making it more difficult to learn than English.
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2. More complicated conjugations: Conjugations are variations of the form of a verb in prescribed order and it used to express tense, person, mood, gender, aspect, or number. For instance I break (present simple), I am breaking (present progressive), I have broken (Present perfect).
In general, English uses conjugated verbs such as I, You, He, She, We, You, and They. While French uses conjugated verbs such as Tu manges, il mange, nous mangeons, vous mangez, and so on which seems more complicated to learn than in English Language.
3. Difficulty in pronunciation: Thirdly, French appears harder to learn than English as a result of the difficulty in the pronunciation of their words. Pronouncing French words appear more difficult than English words, as French words are pronounced with syllabic rhythm, the words often ends with a vowel, emphasis are on the last words, there are voiceless consonants at the beginning of most French words, and most of the sounds are similar and often differentiated while speaking.
So therefore, making the pronunciation tricky and difficult, especially for a Learner.
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4. Oral Comprehension: The difficulty in the pronunciation of French words makes oral comprehension another difficult task. It is instructive to note that one element in the pronunciation of French words which makes oral comprehension difficult is liaisons.
Liaisons are a distinctive feature of French words which involves pronouncing the final consonants of words and alternating between vowel and consonant sounds.
5. French uses formal words: While in English language, informal words are often used while interacting with a person, in French both informal and formal words are used in a speech. For instance in French, when addressing a friend you may use the word ‘Tu’ which means you, but when addressing an elder or your boss, you may use ‘vous’ which equally means you.
The use of formal words in French makes it more difficult than English.
6. Complex syntax: Syntax generally refers to the arrangement of words to form a sentence. The syntax of French words are often complex as a result of the verb agreement of words which adds ‘s’ at the end of a word to make it plural and the accord of French words.
These contributes to making the syntax of French words more complex, and apparently more difficult than English.
7. Complicated use of adjectives: The use of adjectives in French appears more complicated than its use in English Language as in the later, Adjectives do not have plural forms and gender differentiation, while in the former it does have it and adjectives change according to the noun they come with.
The complicated use of adjectives in French apparently contributes to making it more difficult to learn than English Language.
8. Difficult Spelling of words: The Spelling of French words appears more difficult than that of English words as a result of the numerous rules of Grammar, syntax, accord, and entirety languages in French. This therefore makes it harder to learn French.
9. Higher Societal expectations: Finally, the influence of the society also contributes to making French more difficult than English.
In a typical French society, you need to have a high level of proficiency in French to be respected as a French speaker. However, these high standards are absent in a typical French society. Thus, the high standards of attaining perfection makes learning French more difficult than English.
In conclusion, it is important to reemphasize that French and English are very good languages to have mastery of, and it is also easy to learn within a short period of time. However, on the balance of scale French appears more difficult to learn than English language.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka ACMC, is a Law Student and a Certified Mediator/Conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a Developer with knowledge in HTML, CSS, JS, PHP and React Native. Samuel is bent on changing the legal profession by building Web and Mobile Apps that will make legal research a lot easier.