The French language is one of the most widely spoken languages globally, which explains its popularity among international students learning it as a second language. Approximately 76 million people are native French speakers, while more than 274 million can speak it fluently. This beautiful language attracts learners with its inimitable flow and pronunciation. However, once people start to learn it, they realize that it has many tricky aspects that cause significant problems. If you consider studying French, read on to learn about the challenges you may encounter to be fully prepared. The take my online exam for me service writers will share their struggles and problems with learning French to help you make an informed choice.
The first thing most people notice when they hear French is pronunciation. This language has many prickly sounds, and it may take much time for students to master the correct pronunciation. Students are often confused by the differences in pronouncing French words and words in their native language. For example, English learners accustomed to a stress-timed language may find it hard to understand syllable-timed French words. Students need to listen to French songs, movies, news, and conversations regularly to tune their ears to the rhythm of this language and recognize the liaisons and enchaînement.
Silent letters also make learning French a challenge for many international students. The last letters in French words are usually omitted, making it difficult for students to read them and memorize their proper spelling. The French R and nasal vowels are also trouble, especially for students whose languages do not have similar sounds. Some students never learn to pronounce them correctly, which results in the loss of meaning and grave mistakes. Finally, learning French pronunciation may be difficult because of the liaisons and linking. The French connect the words in speech to create a flow and make their pronunciation more musical, but this rule may become a nightmare for students.
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Foreign students may also struggle to understand the notion of gender in French. Words in this language often have random genders, which are difficult to memorize. There is no logical explanation for why the word “chair” in French is feminine while “hair” is masculine. It takes much time for students to memorize the endings that are typically feminine and masculine.
Tenses and Verb Conjugations
The French language has more than 12 tenses, and each comes with specific rules and verb forms. French verbs may change considerably depending on the person, while irregular verbs create confusion and make it hard to memorize what endings to use. For example, the verb cacher can take the following forms: cache, caches, cache, cachons, cachez, and cachent in the Present tense, depending on the actor (je, tu, il, nous, vous, and ils, respectively). This aspect of learning French is particularly challenging in the beginning stages, so teachers may ask students to create mind maps, tables, and lists to memorize the rules better.
English-speaking students are particularly affected by the problem of false friends – words that sound similar in both languages but have a different meaning. The following list contains some examples, but it is not exhaustive:
- Ancient (former) – ancient
- Attendre (wait for) – attend
- Bras (arm) – bras
- Car (bus) – car
- College (school) – college
- Envie (wish) – envy
- Fortuné(e) (rich) – fortunate
- Joli (pretty) – jolly
- Location (rental) – location
- Raisin (grape) – raisin
- Finalement (eventually) – finally
There are more than 1,700 such words, so students’ confusion is understandable. Teachers may ask students to memorize the most common of them and then expand their knowledge gradually as they advance in their language acquisition.
This mood is commonly used in French, compared to English that treats it as very formal. The French use subjunctive to express their wishes, hopes, and fears toward an object, fact, or someone else’s behavior. Students must memorize which expressions precede the subjunctive and how to construct such phrases. It means that they should engage in tedious drilling and practice this rule regularly to use it freely. In addition, foreign students may struggle with differentiating between the subjunctive and the indicative.
Overcoming the Fears and Challenges
You probably feel discouraged to learn French after reading this article. Although there are indeed some complexities involved, studying this beautiful language is not as hard as it may seem. If you are motivated and love the sound of French, you will soon get enchanted with the logic and exquisiteness of this European language. We do not guarantee that it will be easy to learn French – but we can definitely say that the challenges are worth every minute spent drilling and practicing pronunciation.