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Learning French as a Foreign Language

In terms of phonology, speakers of German language should find learning French relatively easy. Indeed, the sound systems for French and German – which includes a lot of deep guttural sounds like ‘r’ and ‘gr’ – are quite similar. Yet in terms of lexicology, English speakers should not find the learning of French as a foreign language quite easy as well. Both English and French belong to the Anglo-Frisian group within the western branch of Germanic languages, which is a sub-family of the Indo-European languages. English relates closely to the Frisian languages, and to a lesser extent to Netherlandic (Flemish), both being parent languages of Modern French. In effect, it is estimated that more than half of the words in English either come from the French language or have a French cognate.

A Widely Spoken Language

French language is spoken in many parts of the world, and in many varieties. Canadian French is obviously different from the French spoken in France, and several pidgins of the language are spoken in the form of African and Caribbean Creoles. Wide exposure to the language hence facilitates learning of the language. French language is quite affluent over the Internet as well; perhaps it is the second language that dominates the World Wide Web the most after English. There can be found thousands of articles, books, web pages and other sources of information on how to learn French, and on the various aspects of the language. A very useful link for learning French as a foreign language is http://www.frenchtutorial.com. Moreover, the Alliance Française, an established institution which supports French language and culture, actively endorses its aims in many parts of the world. The Alliance Française provides French learning courses at different levels, often freely or at very affordable rates.

Language in Context

Since every language must be viewed from its own perspective and from its own cultural point-of-view, the Alliance Française regularly hosts cultural events and activities such as film viewing, music concerts and artistic exhibitions so as to expose learners to the language in cultural contexts. The French cinema being quite popular as well, it can be a major French language learning aid as well. French literature being greatly influenced by the elite class, it is desired that learners become familiar with the history of France before they delve into reading the classics, which can indeed be a valuable experience to learners of the language. Other academic and cultural organizations equally promote the learning of French in several parts of the world. One such institution is La Jolie Ronde, which provides a well-set framework for native French speakers living in the UK to dispense French language classes.

It deems necessary to mention that grammatical rules in the French language are undoubtedly the most difficult obstacles in the learning. Indeed, French language has the most complex grammar of all major world languages, especially regarding verb agreement and conjugation. Nevertheless, investing time and effort into learning French is undoubtedly an advisable endeavour since the language has very high market value.