Reasons to Learn French
Learning French isn’t just about speaking another language; it’s also about discovering a rich and diverse culture. According to Language Today, there are roughly 75 million native French speakers and another 190 million people who speak French as a second language, which makes French the fifth most popular language in the world.
When you learn French, you’ll have access not only to the cultural legacy of France, but also to that of many other countries with large French-speaking populations including Haiti, Madagascar, Canada, and Switzerland. Additionally, French is an important language both for international business relations and for international diplomacy, and French fluency can provide you with a distinct advantage in an increasingly competitive job market.
Experience French Culture Here and Abroad
While Paris boasts an impressive collection of museums, world-famous restaurants, and stunning monuments, you don’t have to hop a plane to experience French culture and utilize your new-found language skills. From reading the menu in a French restaurant to watching a foreign film without the distractions of subtitles, French language skills will grant you access to a vast array of new and exciting cultural experiences in your own state or city. French cinema includes some of the most highly regarded foreign films ever produced, and French language films remain a vital part of the international film scene. Additionally, works of classic French literature in their original language are readily available from US-based online booksellers, and an increasingly large amount of classic French literature is available in popular eBook formats.
Of course, knowing French also gives you the opportunity to intimately experience a foreign culture when you do travel abroad. As a French speaker, you’ll be able to go off the beaten path on your next trip, experiencing France and other French-speaking countries in ways unavailable to tourists who have to work through an interpreter.
The Language of International Business and Diplomacy
French is one of the most common languages utilized in diplomacy and in European business settings. It is one of the six official languages of the United Nations and, along with English, is one of the two working languages at the UN Secretariat. French is also one of the official languages of the European Union.
While French language knowledge is advantageous in any profession that involves international business relations, it also opens up several unique careers. French language translators do invaluable work in publishing, public relations, government, tourism, and a host of other fields, and many speakers of French as a second language find work teaching English in French-speaking countries. Whether you are looking to grow your skill set in your current career or are trying to prepare yourself for a new one, French language knowledge will increase your appeal to employers.
People learn French for a variety of reasons: they want to broaden their cultural horizons, they want to gain a competitive advantage in their field, they want to be able to communicate with relatives or friends in their native language, or they simply want to experience the self-enrichment that comes alongside learning a new language. Whatever your motivation, I’m confident that you’ll find French language study to be a rewarding experience; chances are you’ll find benefits to your language knowledge that you’d never even expected.