Proficiency in French opens up many doors in life, whether professionally, academically, or personally. As the sixth most widely-spoken language in the world, learning it can make traveling easier and much more enjoyable, and with so many companies around the world using it when doing business, it can considerably enhance your job prospects. As the language becomes even more widely spoken globally, its value will keep growing. However, it’s not just the undeniable importance of the language that matters—there are plenty of reasons to learn French.
Contrary to popular belief, French is not difficult to grasp, with the French and English languages sharing many similarities. This largely owes to the fact that medieval French was one of the main historical roots of modern English. In fact, there are numerous French terms we use in English, from common words like debris (débriser—“to break down”) and camouflage (camoufleur—“to disguise”), to terms like avant-garde (“advance guard”) and maître d’ (“master of”). So, while French certainly requires precision to speak, you’re already more grounded in the language than you might think.
As such, it doesn’t take long to get to grips with French, and you only need to learn about 20% of the language to get by in most situations. By prioritising the most frequently used French vocabulary and learning around 30 words and phrases a day, you should be able to converse comfortably in just three months.
Considering it's status as a romance language, French is also a strong basis for picking up other languages, particularly Italian, Spanish, and Romanian. Interestingly, learning French can even help you speak better English. Research has shown that learning another language makes speakers more linguistically aware, and thus more conscious of rules surrounding grammar and syntax. Specifically, the historical links between French and English will provide insight into the roots of many common used in English, from “chic” to “croissant”, giving you a wider vocabulary and more precise use of grammar.
Considering its expansive reach, it’s unsurprising that French has become a pivotal language in areas like business and international relations. With the world’s sixth largest economy, France is a hugely influential global power, so its language has become lingua franca for many business and trade deals. Meanwhile, the economies of French-speaking countries like Canada and Switzerland are also booming, and around half of the world’s fastest-growing economies are in Africa, where French is widely spoken.
The importance of French can be further illustrated by its use as the procedural language of intergovernmental bodies like the European Union, the United Nations, and NATO. Prominent international organizations like the International Olympic Committee, Interpol, and the International Red Cross also use it as an official working language.
A French lesson is also a journey into the country’s unique artistic culture. Learning the language gives you access to the works of legendary French writers like Marcel Proust and Victor Hugo, or the country’s great romantic poets such as Charles Baudelaire and Arthur Rimbaud. You’ll also be able to understand classic French cinema from À bout de souffle to Amélie and sing along with legendary musicians like Édith Piaf and or Christine And The Queens.