Learning a new language is never easy and many people fear learning French for fear that they will not succeed in mastering it or they will take too long to master it. So, how difficult is it to learn French?
French is certainly not as difficult to master as such exotic writing systems as Russian, Arabic, or Mandarin, but it is made difficult by the fact that it is tricky to master. One reason for difficulty learning French is that in French society and culture, masterly of the language is important. This makes learners feel that they should not speak French at all if they are not going to speak well. The way you speak and write French, as is the same with other languages, says a lot about you. French is not as forgiving as English when it comes to this. French is a beautiful language that is rich in nuances and subtleties, but mastering it is not easy.
French language is difficult to master because there are complications that learners face that the natives do not. One of these complications is pronunciation. You will need to master a fair amount of vocabulary to effectively communicate in French. You need knowledge of not less than 10,000 words to hold a decent conversation with a native French speaker. This is not a big problem since French, like English, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese is Latin-based and a big percentage of words are spelt the same. The problem comes in when it comes to pronunciations. Most French learners try to pronounce French words as if they were English (and in other languages such as Spanish). To prevent this problem, ensure that you are tutored by a native French teacher.
A major area of difficulty is grammatical gender agreement. This is a particularly big problem with English speakers who are learning French. In French, there are masculine and feminine nouns as in le verre (the glass) and la table (the table). You have to master which nouns are masculine and which are feminine to prevent a problem of gender disagreement with participles, adjectives, prepositions, and pronouns (such as nouvelle/nouveau, à la/au, and cette/ce). English does not have this complication, but if you do not pay attention, you will end up making mistakes that native speakers find very irritating. There is also a risk of words taking completely different meaning, especially when spoken.
Another major area of difficulty when learning French is verb conjugation. The most common French verbs are irregular. As an example, for the verb aller (to go), you have je vais, tu vas, il/elle va, nous allons, vous allez and ils/ells vont for I go, you go, he/she goes, we go, you go, and they go. With English, you only have ‘go’ and ‘goes’. In French, you have two forms of ‘you’ (tu and vous). Learning where to use tu and where to use vous and learning conjugation of verbs in general is difficult for most French learners. You need patience and a lot of practice to be successful.
You will find French difficult to learn if you only dedicate the time you have in class (such as two hours every day) to learning the language. Once you decide to study French, you will have to dedicate a substantial part of each day to learning the language. Do such activities as reading French magazines and watching French movies outside class. Movies are particularly important in that they help you master pronunciation. Buy an English-French dictionary and go through it every day to increase your vocabulary. Be focused, committed, and patient and set clear, achievable goals.
: – This is Jessica, write blogs on behalf of french-resources.org. You can learn lots of french activities
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