So why is French such a popular language? Is it simply because it is considered an ‘easier’ language to learn than certain others?
I believe it goes a bit deeper than this. Having knowledge of a second language is becoming more and more important in today’s age. Not only for business purposes, but for the sake of building connections in an ever expanding population and of course, just general life skills.
I chose to start learning French from about the age of 11 and I truly don’t regret a day of it. The journey wasn’t always easy but the sense of fulfillment after being able to speak French was absolutely priceless.
Here are my 5 top reasons why people should consider learning French as a second language:
1 – French is one of the most spoken languages in the world.
French is the 5th most spoken language in the world- with about 300 million speakers. It is also the official language of 29 countries worldwide. These are phenomenal numbers!
This means learning French can open so many doors for you.
Not only can you connect and make friends with new people much more easily, you are opening up your career opportunities: more and more jobs are requiring the knowledge of a second language.
You can also choose to move abroad and work in a French speaking country! I did for a while and it was such a wonderful experience!
Of course, speaking French makes traveling to French speaking countries so much easier. You no longer have to look up in your mini French phrasebook how to ask “where is the nearest bathroom please!”. It just rolls off your tongue naturally.
It may be easy to find English speaking people in the big cities, but it’s not so as soon as you step off the touristic path. For example, if you go to Paimpol, Camille’s town in Brittany, you’ll be glad you speak French since there are not many proficient English speakers there!
Not to mention there are so many French speaking countries worth visiting: Canada, Madagascar, Belgium, Switzerland, the Seychelles islands (and that is to just name a few). So, get your passports ready and get exploring!
2 – Learning French is good for your brain
A project funded by the British Academy reviews the academic evidence base for cognitive, academic and age-related benefits of learning a language to any level of fluency.
The research shows that learning a new language improves functions like attention and mental alertness.
Language learning may be a solution for building cognitive reserve, because language learning overlaps with the regions negatively affected by the aging process.
So learning French is not only fun and useful, but it’s likely to help you to age better. Isn’t that sweet?
3 – It sounds beautiful
This is probably one of the most popular reasons why people choose to learn French. The French language is often described as melodic, poetic, romantic and it seems to just flow. In French, there seems to be a lot of focus on the vowels, (maybe this is why it sounds so lovely).
I remember watching French movies as a young girl and thinking “I want to speak like that one day”. I mean, they even manage to sound good when they’re swearing!
4 – An opportunity to open yourself up to a new culture
Fashion, art, literature, the film Industry, and music. You name it – culture is massive in France.
And learning French will open you up to a culture with so much to offer. You will be able to read several French literary masterpieces in their original form (you can go and show off to your friends that you read the entire “Les Misérables” without any translations: ha!)
The French are also famous for their fantastic film industry so you can enjoy excellent French movies without the aid of translations. I used to go to the cinema a lot when I lived in Paris.
And then of course, there is the fashion industry. Think of all those top French designers (Dior, Givenchy, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent). You can get lost in the world of French fashion. Hello Paris Fashion Week!
5 – Learning a new language helps you to develop as a person
I believe this may be one of the most important reasons to learn French. It’s not just about “learning a new language”, it’s about developing as a person.
It has been shown that people who speak other languages often exhibit more empathy and a global mindset. Around 90% of studies looking at the effect learning a language has on achievement in other subjects of the school curriculum report a positive impact, across English language learning, literacy, maths and science.
Furthermore, learning French can help you develop your confidence, because… Well I’m being honest here, learning a new language really takes guts. You really have to put yourself out there. You will make mistakes when you speak, and possibly feel like a fool. This builds resilience.
I’m curious, what are your reasons for wanting to learn French? Feel free to drop your answers in the comments box below.