Most of us had the opportunity to learn a language during our time at school. Typically French, German, and Spanish were the options that were available. For me it was Spanish. Having spent some of my childhood years in Panama and El Paso and with my family being stationed in Madrid when I first began university, it made the most sense. I think military or diplomatic kids are a little different.
I think most other people didn’t really have the travel bug at quite a young age. Picking any language just for the grades or ease of learning is probably the farthest someone thinks about in early school years. And as the years go by, the flickers of the language become lost.
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Lost to the point that we are unable to order a glass of wine and cheese – anywhere outside of your own country! I had the chance when I was 19 to go on a family road trip in Europe that included several countries: Spain, Portugal, Itlay, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, and most especially France. We were there for the 200th anniversary of Bastille Day and I fell in love! I became a francophile on the trip despite not knowing the French language, but it was all I needed to want to learn!
Eventually, everyone wishes that they knew more than their native tongue. That they can have a conversation with the people that they meet – in a language that they share. One that will allow them to travel comfortably. And ask for the more complicated dishes on the menu.
I know what you are thinking. the beautiful thing about life is that you have years ahead of you to do it. But in fact, there is no time like the present otherwise before you know it, you will be choosing your senior community centre – so tackle a new language now!
But when it comes down to it, what language is for you?
French – of course.
Love And Mouthfeel
The French language is rounded, and certain words leave a full feeling in your mouth. The Rs simply roll off the tongue and anyone who has ever wished to have someone whisper French in their ear will tell you – it is the language of love. The French language almost sings as you talk, such are the syllables.
It is an excellent language for getting in-depth with. It is known as an analytical language, and its structure is ideal for critical thinking. Both of which lend themselves to having valuable negotiations and discussions. My French hubby loves nothing better than to dissect a topic, any topic, into a million dimensions, to play on words, to even take an opposing position for the thrill of debate – discussion is something the French truly love and it is a national sport!
Many schools offer the opportunity to learn French. And, by speaking French, you open yourself up to some of the best business and art schools in the world. Fluency will have an impact on your application.
Interestingly there are over 300 million French speakers, across five continents. French is the second most studied language after English and the fifth most spoken language in the world. And, considering there are thought to be 6,500 languages spoken in the world – that is no easy feat. An international organization of French-speaking countries (the OIF), comprises 88 member states and governments.
Fantastically French is the only other language that is offered in every country in the world – the other being English. And as such, France operates the most significant international network of cultural institutes. Those institutes offer French language courses to almost one million learners.
Part of the reason so many people want to go to France, and most often Paris, is because it has always been touted as one of the most cultural places on the globe. French is the international language of fashion (Paris fashion week), architecture, dance, visual arts, theater, and cooking.
If you learn French, you won’t have to rely on the translations – which can often be slightly wrong – for cookbooks, and great literary works. You will also get a deeper appreciation for French movies, songs, and – without those pesky subtitles, they are much better to watch.
When you speak the language, you are bound to have a better time when you visit museums and galleries. Not only can you have the standard tours, which are often in English, but you can attend the events that are in French too.
Speaking English will pretty much mean you can work anywhere, but if you are looking to secure more work, then those 5 continents are open to you too. Not only can you work in France, but many French companies have offices in other countries – all of which are now an option for you.
France has one of the largest and healthiest economies and is a leading destination for foreign investments. In fact, because France is a critical economic partner for many countries, there are many job opportunities.
Not only that but if you are in a company that has room for career growth, you can put your new language skills to good use when you are in discussions for a promotion. Learning French helped me garner a transfer to the Swiss headquarters of the company I was working for. I spent 3 years in Switzerland and France, I am not sure I would have gotten the transfer if I hadn't been learning French.
French, as a language, is the foundation for many other languages. Once you master specific sounds and mouth movements, you are much more likely to be able to go on and learn other languages too. They are commonly referred to as Romance languages, and are as follows:
And, you will likely find that you already know many different phrases and some words, because a large percentage of the English language is made up of French words and phrases.
French is typically an enjoyable language to learn. There are some delicious sounding words, and you will find French is an option and many mobile learning apps now too. Most of which are free for at least the basics.
It is also believed to be one of the most natural languages to learn from scratch. It is suitable for any age group, and you can pick where to start – as to what is going to help you out the most.
This can be said for all languages, but, if you speak French, you can start following and listening to French podcasts and TEDx videos. As well as the leading French media. Like France 24, Radio France Internationale, and TV5Monde. I watch a ton of French movies and TV series on these channels.
Many countries have their own experts in a range of fields. If leading experts reside in France for something you are interested in, it is more enjoyable to listen to something in the language it was written, rather than the translated versions.
As for the French language, it's probably one of the most beautiful in the world. – Charlene, Princess of Monaco
Would you believe that France manages to attract 87 million visitors each year? And, in fact, is the world’s top tourist destination. While Paris is the top spot for many visitors, the more French that you know, the more you can travel around the country. Small villages don’t always have as many English speakers, which means ordering a cold wine or a plate of tasty cheese can be quite an experience.
There are other countries that speak French too:
Canada, Cameroon, Chad
And these are just a few. So, when it comes to learning a language that can help you see more of the world, French is really going to be one that you want to tuck under your belt.
When you are traveling, it is always recommended that you learn some of the languages, after all, expecting people to know the language of your homeland isn’t always going to be in your favor.
No one will expect your French (or any other language) to be perfect, the effort is usually enough for them to be more accommodating. If you get really stuck, you can always use the Google Translate app. It comes with a lot of functions, from translating signs to being able to translate speech.
If you can say please and thank you as a minimum, and some basic sentences like:
Can I please have…
No, thank you
Sorry, I don’t understand much French (or another language)
Is going to pay dividends for you on your travels.
For all the reasons and probably a dozen more, French is a good language to learn!
How about you? Do you know French? Have you used it on your travels? Do share!
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