About French Language.
French is not only an official language of France, but also of other 29 countries. In addition to that it is official language of international organizations such as NATO, United Nations, the European Community and etc. There are more than 200 million people who speak it as a first or second language in addition to 75 million native speakers. Most of them live in France, Switzerland, Belgium, Canada, Francophone Africa and Monaco. As a result of it’s popularity its the second most thought language in the world after English.
Even though there are variety of dialects of this language throughout France two main are usually distinguished. These are standard and Quebec French. The first one is based on the dialect of Paris and has been the official language of France for many years. The second one is the form of French used in Canada by almost 7 million people. The main difference between these forms can be seen in punctuation, spelling and even vocabulary; however they have almost identical grammar rules. The other dialects within France have more or less the same written form with distinctions in pronunciation.
One should be aware that French people are very protective about their language. There are even laws that banns non-French words from media. Some of the languages adopt a lot of vocabulary from English in the area of new technology; however French agencies try to introduce their own vocabulary.
French has some similarities in grammatical structure and vocabulary with languages like Spanish, Portuguese and Italian, therefore if you know any of them it would be easier for you to learn French or vice versa.
How difficult it is to learn?
The alphabet of French uses 26 letters together with some additions to show specific sounds. This written form is similar to other European languages.
Due to the fact that English was largely influenced by French, you will find a lot of vocabulary familiar. Some linguists even estimate that it could have influenced even up third of English vocabulary.
One difference that you will notice is that all nouns have gender (famine or masculine). While learning vocabulary you will need to learn words with definite and indefinite articles, so that you would know the gender of each word with the word itself. Due to the fact that some words have different meanings depending on the gender, not knowing genders of words might lead to confusion while understanding what you are saying.The difficult part of this language is of course pronunciation, since there are vowel sounds and some letters are silent. These silent letters are often found at the end of the words and makes pronunciation differ a lot from its spelling. French also uses accents. There are a total of five accents: four for vowels and one for a consonant. They are not so difficult to learn and it is important to know them, since a missing or incorrect accent is considered a spelling mistake. You might also find it difficult to learn tenses, since there are 17.
Some interesting facts about French Language.
- French has about 1 million words and 20,000 of new ones are created every year.
- It is approximately calculated that in order to reach an advanced level in French speaking an English learner needs 720 hours of studying. To compare these numbers one should know that to reach only low level of speaking in Chinese, Japanese and Korean a learner needs to spend about 1000 hours. So it could be said that its easier to learn how to speak in comparison to the languages mentioned above.
- The number of people who speak in this language has almost increased by three times since 1945. This is mostly due to the fact that former colonies of Belgium and France kept it after decolonization.
- It is the second most thought language in the USA after Spanish and in Britain it’s even the first place.
- Quite a lot of words that end in -ly (in English), usually finish in -ement (in French), for example: exactly (EN), exactament (FR).
- It’s among five languages used in websites on the internet.
- The longest word is anticonstitutionnellement, which means “in a very unconstitutional way”, however it’s rarely used.
- The letter “W” is only contained in foreign words.
- Besides English it’s the only language that is spoken on five different continents of the world.