Reasons to Learn a Foreign Language
There are all kinds of reasons to learn a foreign language in general, and French in particular. Let's start with the general.
Why learn a foreign language?
An obvious reason to learn a new language is to be able to communicate with the people who speak
it. This includes both the people you meet when traveling as well as people in your own community. Your
trip to another country will be greatly enhanced in both ease of communication and friendliness if you
speak the language. Speaking another's language shows respect for that culture, and people in every
country prefer it when tourists make an effort to speak the local language, even if all you can say in it
is "hello" and "please." In addition, learning another language can also help you to
communicate with local immigrant populations at home.
Speaking a new language helps you to get to know another people and culture,
as language and culture go hand in hand. Because language simultaneously
defines and is defined by the world around us, learning another language opens
one's mind to new ideas and new ways of looking at the world.
For example, the fact that many languages have more than one translation of
"you" indicates that these languages (and the cultures that speak
them) place a greater emphasis on distinguishing between audiences than does
distinguishes between tu (familiar) and vous (formal/plural),
while Spanish has five words that indicate one of four categories:
familiar/singular (tú or vos, depending on the country), familiar/plural
(vosotros), formal/singular (Ud.), and formal/plural (Uds.).
Meanwhile, Arabic distinguishes between nta (masculine singular), nti
(feminine singular), and ntuma (plural). In contrast, English uses
"you" for masculine, feminine, familiar, formal, singular, and plural.
The fact that these languages have such different ways of looking at
"you" indicates cultural differences between the people who speak
them: French and Spanish focus on familiarity vs formality, while Arabic emphasizes
gender. This is just one example of many of the linguistic and cultural
differences between languages.
In addition, when you speak another language, you can enjoy literature, film,
and music in the original language. It is extremely difficult for a translation
to be a perfect replica of the original; the best way to understand what the
author really meant is to read what the author actually wrote.
Business and careers
Speaking more than one language is a skill which will increase
your marketability. Schools and employers tend to prefer candidates who speak
one or more foreign languages. Even though English is widely spoken in much of
the world, the fact is that the global economy depends on communication. When
dealing with France, for example, someone who speaks French will have an obvious
over someone who doesn't. Learn more - Jobs using French (or other languages)
Learning another language can help you to understand your own. Many languages
have contributed to the development of English, so learning those will teach you
where words and even grammatical structures are from, and augment your
vocabulary to boot. Also, in learning how another language differs from
your own, you will increase your understanding of your own language. For many
people, language is innate - we know how to say something, but we don't
necessarily know why we say it that way. Learning another language can change
Each subsequent language you study will be, in some respects, a little
easier, because you've already learned how to learn another language. Plus, if
the languages are related, such as French and Spanish, German and Dutch, or
Arabic and Hebrew, some of what you've already learned will apply to the new
language as well, making the new language that much easier.
years of foreign language study increase, math and verbal SAT scores
increase. (1) Children who study a foreign language often have higher
standardized test scores in math, reading, and language arts.
Foreign language study can help to increase problem-solving skills, memory,
French is a great foreign language to learn
There are all kinds of reasons to learn a foreign language in general, and French in particular.
Why learn French?
If you are a native English
speaker, one of the best reasons to learn French is to help you
understand your own language. Although English is a Germanic language,
French has had an enormous impact on it - learn more
In fact, French is the largest donor of foreign words in English.
Unless your English vocabulary is much higher than average, learning
French will greatly increase the number of English words you know.
French is spoken as a native language in more than two dozen countries on five continents - learn more
Depending on your sources, French is either the 11th (2) or the 13th
(3) most common native language in the world, with 72-79 million native
speakers and another 190 million secondary speakers (3). French is the second most commonly taught second language in the world
(after English), making it a real possibility that speaking French will
come in handy practically anywhere you travel. French in business
2003, the United States was France's leading investor, accounting for
25% of the new jobs created in France from foreign investment. There
are 2,400 US companies in France generating 240,000 jobs. (4) American
companies with offices in France include IBM, Microsoft, Mattel, Dow
Chemical, SaraLee, Ford, Coca-Cola, AT&T, Motorola,
Johnson & Johnson, Ford, and Hewlett Packard.
is the second leading investor in the United States: more than 3,000
French companies have subsidiaries in the US and generate some 700,000
jobs, including Mack Trucks, Zenith, RCA-Thomson, Bic, and Dannon. French in the United States
is the 3rd most frequently spoken non-English language in US homes (5)
and the second most commonly taught foreign language in the United
States (after Spanish). (6) French in the world
is an official working language in dozens of international
organizations, including the United Nations, International Olympic
Committee, and International Red Cross.
French is the lingua
franca of culture, including art, cuisine, dance, and fashion. France
has won more Nobel Prizes for literature than any other country in the
world and is one of the top producers of international films.
French is the second most frequently used language on the internet.
French is ranked the 2nd most influential language in the world. (3)
Oh, and one other thing - Spanish is not easier than French