The Key Benefits of Learning French and Why Now is the Best Time to Give It a Try
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The Key Benefits of Learning French and Why Now is the Best Time to Give It a Try

Melanie Smith
Melanie Smith

There are many benefits of learning French, and doing so is easier than ever before! Below are the five key benefits of studying French, plus ways to get to grips with the language while having fun, too.

1. Level Up Your Resume

The first of our five benefits of taking French is that having a second language on your resume is only ever going to help you get your foot in the door or take another step or two up the career ladder. French is the official language of twenty-nine countries and is spoken fluently by approximately 274 million people. Having a second language on your resume will make your application stand out, and French, in particular, is likely to be appreciated by potential employers.

As well as being spoken in French Polynesia, Quebec, and Switzerland, the French-speaking populations of several African countries are growing rapidly, too. Recent research concluded that French is likely to overtake English as one of the top world languages within a few decades.

Photo of the Eifel Tower in Paris, France - traveling is one benefit of learning French
Photo by Chris Karidis on Unsplash

If you choose to learn French, you will have the opportunity to apply for overseas roles or pursue a career in an organization like NATO or the United Nations, both of which use French as an official language. You would also have the option to apply for jobs in the teaching, interpreting, and translating professions; your new fluency could see you being promoted in your current role or could open up new opportunities for you within the company you work for, too.

2. Enrich Your Travel Experiences

France is the world’s most visited country, with over eighty million tourists crossing its borders every year.

What are the benefits of learning French? If you’re planning on traveling to France, or a country where it is the official spoken language, then having a degree of fluency is going to transform your experience. Knowing the language means you will be able to order from restaurant menus easily, navigate your way around a rail system, and chat with the locals; there is the opportunity to immerse yourself more fully in the local culture, too.

You’re more likely to find your way to the sort of ‘off the beaten path’ treasures that make for a truly memorable experience; immerse yourself in vibrant local markets, discover hidden historic buildings and find hidden patisseries that make the treats that the city’s residents themselves enjoy. While English may be widely spoken in popular tourist areas, exploration away from these centers will be much easier - and more pleasant - if you’re able to converse with the folk, you come across on your journey.

A photo of a classic French town alley
Photo by Reuben Mcfeeters on Unsplash

Being able to speak French allows you to make more connections on your adventures: there’s the potential to make new friends - and maybe even find romance!

3. Ease of Learning

Many people regard French as the easiest language to learn. This is partly because it shares many characteristics with its fellow Romance languages: Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian. These five languages all share a common history: they were brought into their respective localities by invading Roman soldiers, who spoke a form of ‘vulgar’ Latin. Over time, these tongues developed into the distinct languages that each of the five countries speaks today. So, how hard is it to learn French? Well, if you have familiarity at all with any one of the Romance languages, you’ll likely find picking up another relatively easily.

English and French, of course, share a common alphabet and much vocabulary, too: many words, while not entirely identical, are close enough to be recognizable.

4. It’s a Gateway Language

Of all the advantages and benefits of French language learning, its credentials as a gateway language are compelling. As we mentioned above, learning any one of the main Romance languages makes learning the rest much easier. And due to the relative ease with which French can be picked up, then it makes a great choice for a first new language if you’re planning to go on to study others.

It’s widely accepted that every additional language you learn becomes easier and easier to pick up as your brain becomes adept at switching between languages and cognitive function and memory improves.

Photo a French artisan shop
Photo by Veronica Reverse on Unsplash

Similarly, because French is so popular to learn as a second language, it can serve as a ‘middle’ tongue to facilitate conversation between two people who have a different first language but share French as their second. For this reason, French is a fantastic choice to learn and can open up the potential for communication in many scenarios and circumstances.

5. Cultural Benefits

The ability to speak and understand French will open a wonderful world of enriching cultural experiences for you. From reading one of the classic French works of literature in its original form to enjoying French cinema and music in the way, it was meant to be appreciated, learning French for this reason alone is a wonderfully valid one. A level of fluency will allow you to listen to French politicians, thinkers, and leaders, view news and other French media channels, and more easily stay up to date with current national events.

In France, food, preparation, and eating form an essential element of the national culture, and understanding the language can help you fully appreciate this and enjoy it, too! La gastronomie is an art form in France, and learning French is vital to completely immerse yourself in this delicious national activity.

Why Should I Learn French Now?

So, is it worth it to learn French? For sure. But how should you go about getting to grips with it? Language learning has changed fundamentally from the days of conjugating verbs by rote and memorizing blocks of vocabulary.

Now, there are innovative new ways of learning a language that is both immersive and engaging; and staying engaged is key to maintaining motivation.

There has never been a better time to learn a new language when it comes to the resources available to do so today: from tailored subtitled tv shows to immersive learning opportunities, learning a new language can now be a dynamic, entertaining, invigorating experience. With this in mind, we tackle the next question: ‘what’s the best way to learn French?’ next.

Photo of a tasty French cuisine
Photo by Calvin Shelwell on Unsplash

Learn French By Watching TV!

One of the most effective and fun ways to learn French is by watching subtitled French tv shows and movies - enjoy the best of French tv and cinema while boosting your fluency levels. Viewing subtitled tv programs has been demonstrated to improve target language skills; staying motivated isn’t a problem either when you’re enjoying a binge-worthy series!

This method of learning also means that you’re more likely to pick up ‘real world’ language and phrases, as well as the odd bit of slang, for added authenticity. You can expect to see good stuff happening in terms of your pronunciation and range of vocabulary, too. Lingopie offers a vast range of subtitled French tv shows and films, all of which feature additional on-screen tools to help consolidate your learning.

Little and Often

You’ll probably find it much more effective, when it comes to book-based language learning, to study for a short time regularly - maybe even a few times each day - rather than in one big weekly three-hour session, for example. This technique makes you more likely to retain the information you’ve learned and helps to keep you engaged.

Giving your full attention to your studies for a short time every day is, ultimately, better than being able to only half focus for a much longer period.

Night photo of Pont Alexandre III bridge in Paris, France
Photo by Léonard Cotte on Unsplash

Immersive Learning Techniques

As with learning a language by watching tv, there are other immersive techniques that you can incorporate, too, into your daily life to speed up your learning. You could consider finding a language partner, for example, connect with someone that you study with or is on the same French language learning online forum, and arrange to have regular weekly phone calls or meet-ups in which you converse entirely in French.

Try keeping a diary in the new language or listening to music in French. Get hold of some French magazines to flip through. The idea behind immersive learning is to incorporate the target language into as many areas of your daily life as possible so that even when you’re not actively learning - you’re still learning.

Time to Give French a Try

If you’ve been debating learning a new language and are wondering about the benefits of learning French, then be assured that gaining proficiency in French will open up a world of new opportunities for you, whether that’s in terms of employment, travel, or in giving you a window on a whole new culture, and all that this offers.

As one of the easiest languages to learn, and with so many new, fun, and engaging ways to do so, taking up French could be one of the best decisions you make this year.