When I was thirteen years old, I finally graduated from the “kids’” table at my family outings. This was a huge deal to me. I was so excited for the privilege of sitting next to my cool, older cousins at dinner.
Things were going great, until one night when it came time to order dessert. There was a chocolate soufflé on the menu that looked divine. Gooey, chocolate cream inside a warm, chocolate cake. I had to have it.
When the waiter came around, I sat up straight and politely requested a “chocolate suf-ful.”
“Suf-ful?” the waiter questioned?
“Um…yeah, chocolate suf-ful,” I said as I pointed at the menu.
“Ah, soo- fley,” the waiter corrected me with a smirk, and he jotted down my order.
My cousin next to me burst out laughing. I was mortified. How was I supposed to know the correct pronunciation? I was simply reading it how it was written!
The next year at school, I signed myself up for French class. I assumed French would be a fun, easy, and important language to learn. And I was right.
See, learning a language can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be. French is a wonderful language for many worthwhile reasons. Let’s take a look at a few of the benefits of speaking French (some more lighthearted than others).
1. Because Chocolate Soufflé (and Other French Cuisine)
So that night at the dinner table had a big positive effect on my life. Did I mention that the chocolate soufflé was the tastiest dessert I’ve ever eaten?
French cuisine is filled with tasty treats: croissants, pastries, tarts, baguettes, cheese, wine, crepes, macarons – I could literally go on for hours about how delicious French food is. Learning French means you have an excuse to sample the goods! And, unlike me, you’ll be able to pronounce the dish correctly.
2. Stop Feeling Embarrassed at Restaurants
Learn from my mistakes and get your pronunciation right before you embarrass yourself.
For those of you unfamiliar with the French language, most words that end in “er” and “et” aren’t pronounced how they’re spelled.
By learning French, you can finally avoid that judgmental stare from your waiter for mispronouncing “soufflé” or “escargot”. Or, if you’re like me, you can finally stop avoiding these delicious dishes for fear of mispronunciation!
3. Woo Your Crush in the Language of Love
Looking for some romance in your life? There’s nothing more romantic than speaking French (except speaking French AND cooking chocolate soufflé for me!). After all, it is the language of love. Or should I say, *c’est la langue d’amour? *
You could tell somebody that their eyes are beautiful, but it’s much more romantic to say “T’as de beaux yeux, tu sais.”. It rolls off the tongue poetically, and many French speakers will recognize it from the classic French romance film Le Quai des Brumes.
Speaking French will help you capture the heart of that cutie you’ve had your eye on. Which brings us to our next point…
4. “Ooh La La!” Become an Expert French Kisser
Where do you think it got its name? Learning French will automatically make you a better kisser. It’s just common sense.
You will also become a better chef. You can add French fries, French toast, and French onion soup to your repertoire! And you can say, “Pardon my French,” and truly mean it!
5. Because French Comedy is Hilarious – and All Over YouTube
Jokes aside, there are more than a few French videos that will make you laugh so hard you’ll spit out French onion soup out of your nose (pardon my French).
One of my personal favorites is an animated film, Kirikou. The film is about a small boy (emphasis on “small”) who is born into a cursed village. He takes it upon himself to fight the evil Sorcerer and remove the curse.
This may sound like your average children’s cartoon, but when you see that Kirikou is a small, naked baby with a mohawk (yes, I’m serious), you’ll understand just how funny this French children’s film is. The theme song, which is so catchy you’ll be singing it for days, tells of how “Kirikou is not big, but he is brave.”
OK, you’ve got to watch it to get it. But trust me, the film is absolutely hilarious, and understanding French only makes it that much better.
Another video worth watching is Flight of the Concord’s Foux De Fa Fa, a satirical song about learning French. This video is funny for everyone, but when you speak French, you can truly understand the jokes in the song, and trust me, you’ll die of laughter. Plus, you can finally understand who Frère Jacques is and why there’s an entire song written about him.
And if you’re not into funny songs but you understand the benefits of learning to sing in your target language, you’ll love the selection of French songs out there.
6. French is for Special Stars…
Most Americans may not speak a second language, but if they do, it’s usually Spanish.
So, why study French instead of Spanish?
Whenever I whip out my French, people are impressed because they are surprised that an American has learned it. Don’t you want to impress people too?
7. … But Not Too Special
Impressing people is great, but let’s be honest, practicality is even better!
French is spoken on five different continents, and is the sixth most widely spoken language in the world. It’s also the third most widely used language on the Internet. That means French is in demand.
Speaking French will help you navigate on your travels and you’ll be able to understand the random French comments on your your Reddit account. If that’s not compelling than I don’t know what is.
8. French is Basically English (Well, Almost…)
Ever heard of cognates? A cognate is a word that shares the same root word in another language.
Basically, it’s a word that sounds the same in two different languages. And French has tons of these, which means learning French can be easy!
Curiosité, activité, adventure and extraordinaire – all words to describe your French journey and all words you already know! Most are formal words in English, but when you learn French, they mean that you won’t be starting from zero.
For a complete list, click here.
9. Once You’ve Sparked Your Inner Romantic, You’ll Never Stop
Along with a having a long list of English cognates that you already know, French is also a Romance language, meaning it is one of the six languages that stems from Latin.
This means French is quite similar to Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian and English. These languages have lots of cognates, similar grammar structure and many shared sounds. So if you learn French, it will be easier for you to pick up another romance language. Why stop at one?
10. Become a Citizen of the World
Learning French won’t help you only in France. It can help you travel around Belgium, West Africa, Canada, Haiti, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Rwanda, Switzerland, and many more places! Check out this map to see places all around the world that speak French. You’ll be surprised.
For those of you who are willing to give language immersion a try, you can do so in five continents! Pretty neat, right?!
When Will You Join the 300 Million?
Nearly 300 million people around the world speak French. That’s 300 million new friends just waiting to be made!
Learning French will expose you to a new world of delicious foods and incredible culture. It can help you woo the love of your life or simply communicate with the plethora of French speakers out there. And lucky for you, learning French is not as hard as you may think. So don’t waste another second! Get started today.
Image credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10
And finally... One of the best ways to learn a new language is with podcasts. Read more about how to use podcasts to learn a language.
Jeremy GinsburgSpeaks: English, Twi, French, Hebrew, VietnameseJeremy is a world traveller who's passionate about learning foreign languages and studying cultures. A self-proclaimed "Enterperformer", he plays three instruments and makes YouTube videos for fun.View all posts by Jeremy Ginsburg
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