Learn French - Why Bother, Everybody Speaks English These Days

By: Sean M.

It seems nothing could be further from the truth, the desire to learn a foreign language is as strong as ever. I think there is an instant attraction to being able to speak another language from both a romantic and pragmatic perspective.

Firstly, it opens up a new world and gives the speaker a richer life experience. I think this is more apparent when an English speaker is learning French because English has derived so much from the French language. Apart from understanding more about French culture, you will also understand the meanings of words in English and how they have evolved. For example, mutton (Sheep meat) has derived from the French word mouton, which means sheep. It is said to have been adopted into the English language during the times when the Normans invaded England. The Normans set themselves up as the rulers of the country after defeating the English in the battle of Hastings. The Normans became the upper class in English society. They made French the administrative language of the country and had a higher standard of living. So while the Norman ruling class might eat agneau (lamb), the higher priced meat, the English would eat the cheaper mouton. As time has passed this word has become mutton in the English language.

Learning French to a fluent level can give a person a great sense of achievement. It is not easy to learn a new language to a fluent level and if you achieve this level you will derive confidence in your abilities to learn new skills. This confidence can be taken into other challenges that you take on and can help you to be more successful in these ventures.

Speaking French can be good if you decide to go on vacation to a French speaking country. You can book into hotels, shop and negotiate with the locals. It can give you a chance to showcase your language skills and get more practice.

Finally, given the increasing globalisation of commerce and trade, attaining a second language skill can open up further opportunities in a persons career too. So learning a language like French can open up job or business opportunities in France, Canada, Belgium and many countries in Africa and Asia.

So If you decide you want to learn French what should you do about it ?

There are a few options, depending on how motivated and committed you are. The first option would be the most expensive and probably the most effective. That is French immersion. Ideally, you would go to France or a French speaking country. You would do a course for up to 3 months and soak up the language and culture as you lived there. The second method would be to do a course. This could be as intensive as you liked but doing a class once a week probably won't bring rapid improvement. The other option would be to use a self study course. This is a cheaper option and means the student has to take responsibility for getting into a studying routine. A self study course is more flexible but the student has to be self motivating.

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