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The importance of French language and why should it be adopted as a universal language?

French People

French People

Being the second most taught language internationally after English, and having a readership and following which are commiserate with the number of its students, French is definitely the language to know these days. With English, French is the only other “international” language, being spoken in 5 continents. The international body supervising the following of French as a language is known as the International Organization of Francophonie, which has 51 countries as its member states and out of these 51 states, 28 countries have French as their official language.

The widespread use of French as a language can also be inferred from the fact that French, with English is the official language of many towering organizations of the world, such as the UN, NATO, UNESCO, the International Red Cross Association and IOC (The International Olympic Committee), to name a few. From a recent survey, it has been noted that almost 70% of jobs in the US require or prefer the aspirants who know French, other than English, which is a testimony to the importance of French.

The importance of French has demographic and economic consequences for major economies in the world, even the US. For example, French is the official global language of Canada, which caries out major trade deals with the US. The knowledge of French for traders to such countries becomes all the more important when you realize that Canada, for example, has provinces like Quebec, which trades more than 70 billion Dollars annually with the US, and the major international language being followed there is French.

Apart from the economic influence of French and France, there is a high degree of intellectual importance associated with French as a language and the French thought for modernism and secularism. French doctors and scientists have been the fore-runners of technology in the modern era. France has the largest R&D center on nuclear physics in the world and also boasts as being the site of the world’s first nuclear fusion reactor. The French doctors were the first to isolate the HIV virus from the body of an infected human being- a ground breaking attempt to find a cure for AIDS. In order to decipher all their findings and discoveries, to understand their intellect and to admire it, it has become inevitable for the intelligentsia and researchers of today to adopt French as a global language.

71 Comments so far

  1. Svoboda   December 7, 2008 4:02 am

    Of course the Americans have to learn the French language as an international language. That’s because they already know the English, which is the universal language. Otherwise, it is better to know English. But the best is to know both English and French language.

  2. Barry   December 8, 2008 7:59 am

    You are right, Svoboda, the Americans should learn the French language. But as far as they are concerned, they are not interested in learning the French. language. We can say that they are somehow ignorant.

  3. John   December 9, 2008 8:11 am

    You are right Barry, American people are kind of ignorant. This may be a reason why they don’t learn the french language. However, it will take some time for the french to become the global language.

  4. Benjamin   December 9, 2008 11:29 am

    hey, why do you call us ignorant? just because we don’t like and learn the french language doesn’t mean that we are ignorants. at the moment, the english language is an international language and that’s why many of us don’t want to learn the french language. but this is not really ignorance.

  5. PASTOR OLUBISI OLADELE KAYODE   December 12, 2008 12:09 pm

    I strongly agree that french should be adopted as a universal language

  6. M. O.K. Olubisi   December 12, 2008 12:49 pm

    J’ai bien d’accord que le francais doit-etre adopte comme un langage universel

  7. Diego Lopez   December 26, 2008 8:49 pm

    Hola amigos. El inglés seguirá siendo por algún tiempo más. la lengua más importante económicamente (mientras se posesiona el chino). El francés es una lengua muy bella propia de intelectuales, que nos acerca mas a la cultura del mundo. Cada una en su lugar . pas de conflicto por eso. Viva COLOMBIA

  8. Anna Tus   January 6, 2009 4:18 pm

    jezu, kto to pisal? czy to tlumaczenie jakiegos slownika online,bo ten “polski” jest straszny

  9. Luck   January 12, 2009 2:37 pm

    Hai ragione ti appoggio pienamente il francese è la lingua più importante sia nel campo commerciale che in quello politico.
    Per non parlare poi della grande “Chanson française”.
    Io adoro il francese

  10. Luck   January 12, 2009 2:49 pm

    Je suis italien et je fais français par quatre ans comme langue.
    Je crois que le français est la prémiere langue pour travailler et pour chanter. Parce-que la chanson française,à mon avis, est la plus bélle musique du mond entier.

  11. french language   January 17, 2009 5:53 am

    french language should be the 2nd universal language. lots of people know it, which is a good reason for being an international language. moreover, kids learn it in most of the schools.

  12. Victor   January 18, 2009 5:20 am

    French language should not be the global language. But I agree to it being a second international language. English should remain the global language.

  13. Dokotala   February 6, 2009 4:01 am

    I feel French should be adopted as a universal language because it is nice and interesting to learn, and because of the fact that it is the official language of such big organisations in the world that deal much with people’s day-to-day welfare. J’aime le francais beaucoup.

  14. yo   February 17, 2009 6:43 pm

    yo necxesito un conflicto que tuvo su lengua o su pais relacionado con el pais o la lengua

  15. Marek   March 26, 2009 3:19 am

    Is it a joke?
    Who speaks French these days? Where is it important except France?
    In Canada even in Montreal you can work in a bank without speaking French.
    In Belgium people from Flemish speaking region prefer English or even German than French.
    In “French” Africa less than 10 % of people speak French even though it is official language. In Vietnam it is easier to communicate in Russian than in French. So where is French a language of communication except France?

  16. Clarissa   May 5, 2009 11:19 am

    Le francais est une langue tres interessant. A mon avis, je voudrais qu’il soit une langue universelle.

  17. Aeron   July 11, 2009 6:26 am

    I like French, the language itself, how it spells and sounds… Very chic.

  18. Chris   December 10, 2009 2:17 am

    The reason why Americans are so “ignorant” is because we are so accustomed to everyone being able to communicate with us. This being said those of us who are from America do not suspect that we will ever need to speak any other language. Since English is a UNIVERSAL language it is so much easier for us to communicate with a majority of the world. However; we are not all so ignorant so one must recognize this fact and not judge those of whom we do not know. I say this because most Americans now have started to become self aware of the rest of the world. And by becoming more aware of the world we have realized that we must learn to adapt as every other country has. While the American education system is quite flawed as compared to leading countries such as China we are trying to involve other cultures in our learning. We are required now to take a foreign language. We are even encouraged to take two. As I have done some students are taking both French and Spanish. The reason is quite simple we need to know them. So do not call America ignorant ‘John’, for you yourself know not of what you speak of but, I will admit that ‘Benjamin’ did in fact help you to prove your point. Unfortunately he is only one man, not the country as a whole. America is quite diverse and so are the people that live here. Calling America ignorant is like calling the French stuck ups, it’s just a stupid rumor.

    p.s. I’m just 19, a freshman in college, imagine if I were older and fully educated.

  19. Rabin Raj Giri   December 15, 2009 7:46 pm

    J’aime beaucoup la langue francaise parce que j’aime la pronociation et apres englais, c’est la langue tres parle entier dans le monde. J’accept que l’englais est la langue universelle mais si on apprend francais que les autres. On aura beaucoup de chance dans la domaine differente pour avoir bon travailler ou bien gagner le concour de bon travaille. A mon avis, si on n’apprend pas le francais, on a tord.
    Donc, allez, parlez francais et trouvez-vous toujours avant que les autres.

  20. Ayanbanjo Anuoluwapo   February 3, 2010 10:53 am

    french is like other language,although it is tough,just learn it

  21. MOZ   February 8, 2010 7:30 pm

    Apparently the French language is not important enough to be a universal language. Stop dreaming.

  22. Pierre-Olivier   February 9, 2010 8:59 am

    I’m a french canadian not living in québec.
    French is the second most important language after english and is the only langauge with en glish spoken on all 5 continents. It is true that not all african people speak french enven though it is their official language but africa is in expansions and will soon be in few years a big economy. And they chose french as their international language!
    The french speaking african countries only speak a bit of english so sorry english! You’ll soon have to let the iternational language to french!
    And anyway USA is sinking, no health plan, very conservative, very pretencious of not speaking another language because they think they are invincable but a power country has an end one day and compared to USA (1 country) their are many french african countrys that has a financial potencial.
    I’m not telling that all usa pp are all conservative but they are really not helping

  23. Ben   February 17, 2010 6:05 pm

    I agree, that French is indeed an interesting language. I think that the next universal language ought to be Mandarin. Let’s put things in perspective. Francias might be an important language of the UN & other Org’s. However, roughly 250 million people speak it compared to 1.3 BILLION who use a form of Chinese as their native tongue. Now it might not be spoken on 5 continents, but it’s spoken as a first language by 1/5 of humanity. I think that makes it more “important” (whatever that means) than French.

  24. David Goan   February 23, 2010 9:48 am

    French is being imposed on everyone why. English is and will forever be the WORLD LANGUAGE.

  25. Jeny   March 2, 2010 1:54 am

    With out french,can someone work in us.

  26. Vlad Ukrainian   March 3, 2010 3:25 am

    French people continue to think of themself as a great nation and want this to be forever. Hey, wake up! french language is a loser.If some third-world african country speaks french thats means nothing.french people should sink on earth,put themself down as losers, and to start learn english.

  27. alex   May 11, 2010 2:01 pm

    By 2050, 800M people will speak french.
    English is the first language that everybody learns because of the usa, a powerful country and all that shit. But when usa will sink, nobody will want to learn english anymore, only the language of the most powerful country. It won’t be long before China passes usa or usa get behind china… Bye bye usa, you unilingual ignorant pp.

  28. Cody   May 27, 2010 2:29 pm

    Why not just learn Esperanto…it’s easy, efficient, and takes no sides!

  29. Kian-Harald   June 13, 2010 9:55 am

    French was, is and will be an international language, wide spread in the five continents, spoken by hundred and fifty million people. Unfortunately many English speakers are convinced that they once will be the master of our voices, that we will give up speaking our mother tongues by using exclusively British or Globish. English may be an important tool for international communication. But I dare say that it will never be the only language of international understanding. We badly need a language that it not too powerful susceptible to ignore the many little languages and cultures in the world, but so respected that it could build a bridge between the international idioms and the latter ones. We need a respected language which could establish a real understanding and tolerance between different peoples. And French is that language which can help us to transcend the possibilites of communication to build up a real understanding between peoples and cultures. Accepting the difference between cultures needs accents, I really miss in English. Vive la différence!

  30. Tom   June 23, 2010 12:01 am

    No one really mentioned the fact that the US exclusively puts most of it’s funding and energy toward learning Spanish as our second language. In fact, the state of New Mexico acknowledges it as a second official language and other major cities like Miami do too. 10.7% of US residents are native Spanish speakers. About 3/4 of those people are immigrants though.

    You must take into account that 8.7% of US citizens who are native born here speak a second language fluently (I received that stat from a 2005 Boston Globe article).

    Take into account much of this are the following groups: Military personnel that lived internationally, priests, the Amish (who speak Pennsylvania German natively), Hasidic/Orthodox Jews (who speak Yiddish natively), Hawaiians (some of whom speak Polynesian languages natively and is officially recognized), Alaskans (who speak their languages native, although it isn’t officially recognized) and various Native American reservations that speak their own (and Navajo proved to be very valuable against the Japanese in WWII), Cajuns (who 5-25% speak Cajun French as their native language in the Acadiana region of Louisiana), 70,000 Louisiana Creole speakers in eastern Cajun country and Acadians in Maine (75-80% speak French dual natively or as a second language on the New Brunswick, Canada border) and of course recent immigrant descendants (the majority of whom are native Hispanophones). And of course the first generation born in the US who were raised with those parents.

    How many typical Americans (most white and black Americans) who’ve had ancestors in this country longer than they can trace can say they speak a second language though? And those who do are probably most likely to live on the Mexican, New Brunswick or Quebec borders.

    The reason the US focuses most on Spanish rather than French are 3 reasons: One, we don’t have enough French teachers around. The only Francophones we have here are Cajuns in Louisiana, Acadians in northern Maine and even the parts of Quebec on the Upstate New York border are sparsely populated. You want native speakers to teach your language. Why do you think the French, Italians and Spanish have a hard time with English? Because they don’t have enough native speakers. The only other Francophones we have available are Haitian immigrants (but many of them are not fluent and are Haitian Creole speakers which isn’t 100% the same). There are native Spanish speaking teachers in all schools throughout the country. Even in towns that don’t have that high of Latino populations.

    Two, Spanish is the second most common spoken language (English being third) and Spanish is third when counting second language speakers (English being second). Many people are suprised to know that Portuguese is actually ahead of French (Portuguese-speaking Latin America: ~190 million, Spanish-speaking Latin America: 340 million, not as far off as people think). And since Brazil has a rapidly growing economy and is wealthier than most of Spanish speaking Latin American countries, it means it is a valuable language. Unfortunately though, only 6.8% of immigrants in the US are from South America and most of them are from poorer South American countries like Peru or Colombia, so there are not many Portuguese teachers available.

    Three, if you’ve even been to much of the US and been in any major store like Home Depot or Lowes, there are signs in both English and Spanish everywhere and there are big picture boards showing who can speak what language (mostly Spanish, but others too). 10.7% of US residents (not citizens), or probably higher when counting illegal immigrants or an updated 2010 Census, are Spanish speaking meaning they are a big consumer market. Most Latin Americans who come to the US are from Mexico and poor central American countries and it is their poorest who tend to come most. They don’t know much English before arriving (although many learn).

    So it is not a matter of not liking the French language. It is a matter of our state governments choosing Spanish for us and relating to our economic needs. French is our second most taught language, although a distant second (only 1.1 million students take French in high school as opposed to 16 million in Spanish).

  31. Tom   June 23, 2010 12:11 am

    Also, as opposed to Europe, most of our Muslim immigrants are not from North Africa, but rather the Mid East and Asia. So there is even less of a French speaking population available there.

    The problem even with Spanish is the requirements to learn Spanish don’t really begin until High School. A lot of Americans don’t like sounding stupid practicing Spanish with native speakers (similar to French with English).

    Also, someone mentioned the Flemish above. Virtually all Flemish speak French. Maybe 50-60% speak English. About 40-50% of Quebecois speak English. Maybe more speak bits and pieces broken. There is also French-speaking Switzerland with an important international city of Geneva. I do not know how soon African economies will grow. I suspect South Africa has the most potential because of their abundance of natural resources. Other countries like Ghana or Mali have much better health with lower rates of AIDS though.

    It is clear China is the emerging economic power of the world. Although it is a difficult task, we all will eventually have to learn Mandarin Chinese. 92% of China is apart of the same ethnicity, which speak the same language (although so many dialects), which constitutes for a little less than 20% of the world. China could virtually cripple the US economy if they really wanted to at this point too with them holding onto so much of our net worth and investments. In 2025, it’ll be much different. Ironically though, as English becomes more popular around the world, including China, it becomes less popular in the US and we are constantly told in the US that Spanish will eventually become our official language within decades (due to immigration and their high birth rates). Unfortunately for Hispanophones though, the Chinese will probably have eclipsed us at that point and the Spanish language won’t be spread the way how English was in our prime.

  32. handri   June 26, 2010 8:08 pm

    well, nice discussions up above.
    it ain’t about what’s the best lang.in the world, then, i think. i personally believe, i must know all of language that exist ion Earth. ^_^ well, i prefer English, French, Arabic, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, German, uh, 8 are too difficult to be learnt…

  33. lalla   July 1, 2010 10:55 am

    I’m Southeast Asian I can speak english a little bit .I know that english is a world langauge but there are other. Do you know in my country most of childhood and teen people study english but they can not use it in daily life . Because of English is very hard to read to spell to pronounce to hear and have lot of exception. I’am one that don’t like english and support it. Because of USA. I must learn it.
    English is not the language that i choose .
    I like Latin langauge And i like so French Italy Spanish and Portuguese.

    someone tell “wake from this french dream” because French is not important but for me French is very important because it is my language that i choose and i love it. im forced to learn English and i don’t like it.

    You can tell that french is not important because you can speak englisg or it is your mother tongue but for me it’s very very hard hard langauge.
    I support French Spanish Portuguese and italy.

  34. Tom   August 1, 2010 9:21 pm

    French is a very important language. Anyone who says ”Wake up from a dream” is probably an arrogant monolingual Anglophone (and probably American). I’m American and monolingual (although studying French and Spanish) telling you that.

    The easiest way to measure the importance of a language is how many people speak it, how widespread it is, how much science and scholarly information is written in it. French checks out for all of the following. What holds French back from topping English though is the limited number of speakers (especially native speakers). There are more Portuguese speakers (a language that is less but moderately widespread).

    In Europe, German holds close weight to English and French is third. The only thing that misleads people is that German speakers have better knowledge of English then visa versa. That doesn’t mean people are not going to operate in their own preferred language though. There are still a decent amount of non-German European speaking countries that have better proficiency in German (partly due to historical ethnic German populations, but widespread empires too). A lot of people in a country like the Czech Republic will have good knowledge of both. Maybe even better writing and reading in English. But because they hear German more being a close neighbor of Germany and Austria, they tend to speak it better.

    Anglophones who think that English is the only important language in the world or that is supersedes others by such a great measure are really living in their own world. There are still mayn places in this world where you can’t get by on only English. Definitely not for work. And traveling only if you’re willing to spend good money. There are always ways of surviving. But a native English speaker would know what this means: There is a difference between surviving and surviving.

  35. Paul   December 21, 2010 1:24 pm

    Please do not refer to Americans as being ignorant. I resent this very much. I do not know any French but am not ignorant because of it. Maybe you are ignorant for saying this!

  36. Tysen   December 23, 2010 9:26 am

    I do know some French. Enough to get me by. But I do not think that it needs to be the universal language.
    And yes, Paul I agree with you. You are not ignorant for not knowing any French. I do not consider people who do not know English to be ignorant.

  37. DAve   December 23, 2010 1:58 pm

    Well, let us face it, French is difficult to learn and it is not the universal language. I’ve traveled all over the world and everywhere I’ve been there is the local language (whatever it is) and English. I live in France now and have a decent grasp of the French, but it was not easy to learn and especially to pronounce.

  38. Tammi   January 1, 2011 1:08 pm

    I fail to see why French should be the international language. I know a little bit of French, not even enough to get me by. But I am not stupid because of this. I think that people who know more than one language are great. But I can not see why French would be the top pick. Sorry.

  39. Maria   January 21, 2011 11:45 am

    I find anyone saying Americans are ignorant are ignorant themselves. I do not understand why everyone thinks that French is so important. I live in the states and speak English very well but am originally from Greece. Who is to say that people from Germany will not want everyone to learn German or Mexicans to learn Spanish? I guess I just do not see the point in making French the universal language.

  40. Petar   February 2, 2011 12:03 pm

    I do know some French and think it would be great if it were a universal language. Many people already know French. And as the author stated above, look at all the French have done for us. It is pretty amazing, so I think we can at least give the French the satisfaction of having French be a universal language!

  41. Drew   February 17, 2011 12:43 pm

    I know quite a bit of French myself but fail to see why anyone would think that if should be the universal language. Many people may know it, but it is ignorant to say that Americans are ignorant as well. I feel that there will never be one language that everyone knows so why bother having just one? And to me, it just does not make sense to have it be French.

  42. Dr Remi Aworemi   February 18, 2011 10:46 pm

    The importance of Languages cannot be over emphasized notably for season travellers and tourists. Thus, it would have been appropriate for all to have a quantum knowledge of some languages such as French, Chinese and German so as to facilitate easy transaction and reduce the cost of living.

  43. Pedro   February 19, 2011 11:02 am

    I fail to see why you want French to be the language universally. How about Spanish? I think that since I am Mexican it should be Spanish. I think that everyone feels that their language should be adopted as the universal language. But sorry to tell you that we all can not have our language be universal.

  44. Mike   April 8, 2011 10:37 pm

    French is nice, but English is the most important international language, and guess what? If or when China takes over, English will STILL be the most important international language. Wanna know why? Because China is producing English speakers in their country faster than the rest of the world can produce Mandarin speakers.

  45. Peter C   June 9, 2011 8:34 am

    I fail to see why French should be the international language. The writer has totally lost me. Would I want to know how to speak French? Sure. But I do not think that many people would see that French should be the number one language.

  46. Sampson Jedidiah   June 11, 2011 9:01 am

    I KNOW SOME FRENCH LANGUAGE AND I BELIEVE IT IS IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE IN OUR MODERN DAY WORLD TO KNOW BECAUSE IT CAN BE USEFUL TO THEM IN THE FUTURE.

  47. mustafa   July 7, 2011 3:00 am

    french is really very good but it is too hard to come with correct prnounciation so i prefer english

  48. Tim   July 12, 2011 10:05 am

    I agree that just because a person doesn’t know a second language, it doesn’t mean they are ignorant. Ignorance is not contingent upon knowledge of other languages–and I speak three. This, I believe, goes without saying.

    Nevertheless, indeed, French is a beautiful language and its importance to the world of business, politics and science needs no defence.

    I think it should be pointed out though that the integrity of any language is not measured purely by the number of speakers. Like someone already mentioned above, one of the most determining factors is the amount of scientific literature published in it. French still plays a leading role in this regard.

    While English may still be the most widely spoken second language, people who move in international settings know that you cannot come off as somone truly “polished” if you have no knowledge of French. Sooner or later you’ll be thrown into a situation where no matter how diverse the backgrounds and nationalities are of the people you are with, people will speak French even if they all know English.

    That said, statistically speaking, it is true that Spanish is actually the language most widely spoken after Chinese in terms of the number of speakers. Spanish is also much more sophisticated of a language than most non-Spanish speakers (and even some Spanish speakers) actually give it credit. My recommendation for Americans is that they study both Spanish and French, at least, and that they throw in a third language such as Portuguese or German if they can.

  49. Armenian   July 15, 2011 1:10 am

    Dear friends, French should be the second international language. I’m Lebanese-Armenian and i speak fluently 5 languages: Armenian, Arabic, French, English and Turkish. We all know the importance of the english, but I REFURE completley the LINGUISTICAL IMPERIALISM in the world of today. We have our National language, we must save it. I’m anot an Anti-American person, but i’m against the globalization with its different aspects…It’s not enough at all speaking one language. That’s why we call Americans ignorant.Frenc stays the language of Culture, of diplomacy, of politics and more…

  50. Ann Lusike   August 2, 2011 5:08 am

    I am Kenyan and I speak both English and French.The growing readership and following of french language in the world simply necessitates its nomination as the second interntional Language in the World.I am infact enrolled for a masters degree in French so that i can deepen my knowledge of french and increase my opportunities in life, professionally, socially and even spiritually.

  51. Ali   August 16, 2011 8:43 pm

    hey guys im working in an IT sector and im a commerce graduate. The thing is when i was having a general conversation with my friend he suggested me to learn french, so that i could explore the opportunities for myself globally. So can anyone suggest me would it help me to grow professionally n also get the chance to see different countries all the time.

  52. philippe   March 31, 2012 3:15 am

    The English language is half French. You all don’t even realise it. As for me, I do. So, what is the true global language ?

  53. philippe   March 31, 2012 3:19 am

    Just like that ‘Hundred Year’wars’. The English people stills think it was a war between English and French as, actually, they were all French (or Franks).
    In fact, for nearly 400 years or so.
    Even the war of roses was a one between two Frank (French) branches.

  54. philippe   March 31, 2012 3:24 am

    My English isn’t perfect, that’s for sure and I admit it. But, honestly, I don’t even have to learn your language. I understand it easily.
    ‘Dieu est mon right’ droite..right..?
    It sounds like a weird French to me and I’m definitively French. Except from weekend, corner or few other words, French isn’t saturated with English.
    So, just remember you all speak French.
    1066 !!

  55. philippe   March 31, 2012 3:29 am

    Germany and France were, in the year 800 or so, one and the same country. This is the proof : We can’t call their country Germany as it means cosin or brother land for us in a way and that’s why we call them ‘Allemagne’ which refer to this region including Switzerland. As the Germans, they call France Frankreich, reich of Franks or kingdom of Franks.

  56. philippe   March 31, 2012 3:32 am

    The English language (mixed with French) is considered as global for a little more than a century especially thanks to the hegemony of the United States. French was for centuries and centuries and it still is. Spoken on the five continents etc etc

  57. philippe   March 31, 2012 3:38 am

    As you all often boast about your past empire, I just wanted to say. France never claimed all Russia including Siberia when the army of Napoleon stood and first defeated the russians as you all claimed those no man lands in Canada. We don’t rule penguins, as for us. All Europe was part of the French empire as well.

  58. 21century   May 7, 2012 1:39 am

    I don’t see why we have to learn French. English is the most spoken language, why bother learning French ? (unless one has interest in it) and I might not be American, I don’t think they are ignorant people. You can enforce a language on people, that isn’t quite a fair thing to do. However, it ‘would’ be nice to learn French, but it shouldn’t be forced.

  59. Guy Le Fawkes   June 2, 2012 8:34 am

    French language is straight forward. It is very accurate when used as a language to sign treaties because the nature of the French Language which is one word will only have one meaning. English is also very good but because words and vocabs in English sometime has multiple meaning. Very good for bussiness people where they can cheat and swindle easily. LOL!

  60. Daniel   July 15, 2012 12:39 pm

    @lalla In Canada we must learn french we don’t choose it.

  61. Denise   July 18, 2012 9:23 am

    I would LOVE to learn French, but I have no one to practice with. My ancestry is in France and Canada, so it would be very helpful in my genealogical research. When I was in school students were not required to learn a foreign language, but French and Spanish classes were available. I wish I had taken an interest then. Anyway, I know this post is quite dated, but I wanted to point out that in the first sentence the word “commiserate” should be “commensurate.” One day I want to be that fluent in French!

  62. Texas Ranger   October 13, 2012 2:53 am

    i dont need to learn English because i speak american and im never going to no england. so yal french frogs can go to hell and the horse you road in on!

  63. Miles   January 10, 2013 8:04 pm

    lol, Texas: perpetuating stereotypes about America since 1945. :>
    I’m from Florida, btw ~ the state that’s too southern to be southern. Especially in south Florida, most everyone is rather New York like, and from either Cuba/Colombia/etc, the east coast, or the midwest.
    # Skip to the bottom if personal stories about stuff don’t interest you (though it is interesting, I promise!)

    Off-topic, but interestingly to me, I can’t tell the difference at first glance between a “hispanic” person and a “caucasian” person. In fact, it always surprises me when somebody makes the distinction. I didn’t see many “black” people growing up, though, so until I moved to Tallahassee (FSU, ftw), I couldn’t tell one “black” person from another. I’m one of the only ueber-blonde people in SW Florida, and I’ve been told by Asians who live here that all blonde people look the same to them. I just find this interesting.
    Anyhoo, I am a linguistics student. Like, I seriously am, like, in love with this field. And having studied 5 languages in American schools in all sorts of different scenarios, I can state with some authority that at least in the SW Florida schools I attended, the language programs sucked. English class made me worse at English. I still lol at how my scores on writing assignments, time and time again, would decrease as the school year went on only to increase when I got out of school for break and rid my mind of the garbage the English “teachers” had tried to fill it with. Spanish classes were dreadful. My middle school Spanish classes were taught by this random native speaker who would scream at the autistic kid in our class. My first highschool Spanish teacher couldn’t control the class (it’s difficult to control a class when half of it has been permanently kicked out of ISS (“In-School-Suspension”, which is essentially detention at a time other than lunch) and there are daily drug deals in the back of the class), so that class ended up being a year of worksheets and not being allowed to talk. My second Spanish teacher didn’t speak Spanish; they made her teach it because she already taught French, since her already teaching a foreign language obviously makes here fluent in everything that isn’t English. My first third-year Spanish teacher was very uptight and not a very good teacher (also, unrelenting on my dysgraphia (a handwriting disability (kind of funny that I’d have it because I love writing-systems :D))). I switched out. I gave Spanish 3 a second try the year after, but the teacher was verbally abusive, hit on the girls in the class (“hit on” is [American only?] English for, ehm, well, not sure how else to describe it but “hit on”, but rest assured it doesn’t mean he was physically hitting them, but more that he wanted to get in their pants), racist, and disliked “white” people who could speak Spanish better than he (que es comico, por que no hablo la idioma muy bien, jeje). Most of my Spanish classes had me hating the language within a couple weeks of the class starting, which is sad because I honestly really like Spanish (well, most languages, but Spanish is sort of special because mom taught me a little when I was in preschool and throughtout elementary school). My first year of French was actually decent, and my teacher was quite nice (the same teacher as my second highschool Spanish teacher). Slow-paced, though. I took Latin online, and that was one of my favourite pre-university language classes simply because they gave me the grammar up-front instead of only teaching us the present tense for a year like they did in Spanish. I was disappointed by the de-emphasis on actually speaking it, though. My latest language class, German, is by far my favourite. Not necessarily because I love the language (though I do like it quite a bit! (I originally would have preferred to learn Norwegian, though), but just because the class is actually decent and not slow-paced (and the teacher is quite pleasant!). I do wish that they would just give us the grammar right off the bat, but it’s all online for me, so whatev’. I do think having teachers know more about historical linguistics would be a nice thing, though. Compare “Woher” meaning “Where-from” to “Woher” meaning “Whence”, or “du” & “ihr” meaning “you(s)” & “you(pl)” to meaning “thou” & “ye”. Yeah. So far, all of my language classes (except German) have had little to no focus on pronunciation. I have a real soft spot for phonetics, phonology, etc., so I always had great pronunciation (I read/write English, Runes (I’ve actually been able to read/write runes for nearly half my life, starting with Anglo-Saxon, moving to Elder, and ending up at my own custom pseudo-Elder mixture), Cyrillic, Greek (extremely easy if you know Latin and Cyrillic), IPA, and little bits of other scripts; and I can read a crapload of different orthographies, including Old English). This often confuses people into thinking I’m native when I speak, say, French, Latin, Russian, Icelandic, Norweigian, Arabic, or any of the other languages I’ve learned a word or two in. :D

    So at least in Naples, Florida (where there is a heavy Spanish speaking population), there is minimal pressure for anyone (even natives) to learn Spanish and the classes for it generally suck (stating this not just from my own experience, but from how others describe their Spanish classes). Other languages are practically unpresent here, and most classes are generally boring, watered down, unenlightening, and pointless. It destroys intellectual curiosity and cripples those wishing to learn a language (or really anything). Thank $DEITY for the internet, else we’d be far more uneducated! As a side-note, even after taking Human Geography (at university) and American History (in high school), I was never taught American political geography, or really much of any proper geography. I do know European geography fairly well, though… for the year ~1300AD (thank $DEITY for Medieval II: Total War). :D Though, my concept of Europe is fairly modernized now. My concept of the American West is a bit fuzzy, though.
    …On a more general scale, the average American is not ignorant for not knowing any languages other than English because there is minimal incentive to learn one, and there are few opportunities to do so offline (a lot of people don’t realize how educational the internet is).
    Lastly, as a conlanger, I support a well-designed IAL for the prestigious title of “Ultimate World Lingua Franca”. Esperanto is not as optimized as I would have liked for it to be, but it is still a decent IAL for us Westerners, and I would definitely prefer it to a complicated natlang.

    tl;dr: Texas = lol ; people=!ignorant if $HaveL2 = 0 ; conlanging = awesome

    *stops rambling*

  64. Miles   January 10, 2013 8:18 pm

    Erm, in my last comment, there’s a typo in the first line. I seem to have missed the “8″ key and not realized it. Here it is again, fixed:

    lol, Texas: perpetuating stereotypes about America since 1845. :>

    There were some places where rewording could have helped understanding. I don’t feel like re-reading the above to find them again. Sorry (or as the dragons in Skyrim say, “Krosis” (silly Bethesda, relexiconizing English like that (Anyone else bothered that dragons and Argonians can articulate labials? Or that dragons can articulate proper dental fricatives with their carnivorous teeth? (for those who did not understand what I just wrote, dragons can’t actually say “Fus Ro Dah”, so what they would likely instead say is “*Hi’s *Re’ Dah” (with and being back vowels))))
    There were other errors in the post, but none that I thought would significantly impede comprehension.

  65. Miles   January 10, 2013 8:21 pm

    Ah. Odd. It omitted part of the end of that by thinking I’d meant to format it with those. I guess does italics. Silly linguistics, using conventions confusable with html. :P

  66. bettina ndiwago   January 23, 2013 2:11 am

    french is very romantic especially its pronounciation so USA make an effort to learn and love it

  67. Georgi   January 31, 2013 9:23 am

    I’m sorry but French nowadays is completely useless. French is spoken only in a few countries around the world and is hard to learn. THE Universal language today is English and the reason is because many people around the world speak it and is easy to learn. The point of having a universal language is that it’s only one, and everybody around the world speaks it, otherwise the word will be “biversal”.

  68. Jean-Luc   July 15, 2013 2:18 am

    I’m a French and Italian citizen. I was educated in the French system. I speak 5 languages fluently. I want to say this : yes, English is the international language for international trade exhanges. There is no way French can compete with it. However, all languages have a different grammatical ausical structure : French is a di

  69. Jean-Luc   July 15, 2013 2:23 am

    I am a French and Italian citizen. I was educated in the French system in France. I speak 5 languages fluently. I want to say this : yes, English is the international language for business. There is no way French or any other langue (including Mandarin) can and should compete with it. However, as any other language, French has a different grammatical and musical structure which shape the way of thinking. If one learns French, which is mainly a latin languauge spoken in the five continents, it will understand the way latin people think and will be better equipped to access and understand Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian culture but also to better negotiate and do business with any person speaking one these languages as their native language.

  70. Charlotte Beaulieu   August 21, 2013 5:05 pm

    FRENCH USELESS ?
    Pour votre peine , les gens vous me faites rire , ce n’est pas parce qu’une langue est difficile qu’elle n’est pas pour autant belle , utile , parlée aux quatre coins du monde , et là je parle de toutes les langues , si vous ne choississez que la facilité vous n’arriverez à rien , vous allez être obligés de toucher à quelquechose d’un tantinet plus compliqué et n’est-ce pas ce qui fait la beauté du français , je vous le demande ?
    Vous pouvez cracher dans la soupe car soit vous ne connaissez pas l’Histoire ou vous n’avez pas de leçon de français disponible ou bien vous avez eu des cours de français mais vous n’avez pas un bon niveau ou vous ne pratiquez pas assez ou plus du tout mais tout ceci n’enlève pas le fait que dans un paquet de langues , retirer le scotch et vous trouvez des mots français même si vous les utilisez moins comme en anglais mais étudiez la litérature anglaise et là surprise le français est à gauche à droite en haut en bas .
    I will not translate :p but anyway , all this to ‘say’ the French People do not care what other people think of us so we do not mind if other europeans love to belittle the french language or do not see why would they learn it or such things as ‘they dream’ we do not dream of our fate and we are the only who do not understand why people forget their languages , you yes you who pushes for the only alone english ‘i just know english and my native language’ , maybe think twice , french language is not going to be the first language to disappear you should think to your language , i am glad to see people who are not french understand like this language and are honest , in fact , as i have written french people care for others languages , and maybe it is us who will help your national language to remain alive i mean we will keep COMPLAIN why do they not speak in their language you can count on us =) complain complain
    And never forget french is spoken in all continents and i speak from a France pointview because like it or not i am french ; do not forget it is the language of million people and you can criticaze this language because you see France but we do not even hear them and you touch others so learn the language or at least History maps , where are from words in your language , for example Norman people went to England and so on , just watch the norman language it is simply a french one from an area it gave a lot to the english one , BON VENT

  71. Louis   August 30, 2013 6:01 pm

    I am a French Canadian, born and raised in Montreal, I also speak Hungarian, my father and grand parents came to Canada in the 60s… I live in a province that tries to protect the French language, politically, we have a separatist government (on the provincial level). I agree that we should protect our laguage, our heritage but I totally disagree whit the separatist movement, all they want is cut out Quebec from Canada, I think that having French as a first language is clear advantage for someone who also speaks English, that being said, I am who I am and I got where I am because I speak English, not French…. I am currently learning Spanish, I plan on learning Portuguese and I already speak a bit of Japanees, but that’s another story…
    That beeing said: French as a universal language?… You can’t be serious!

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