Why learn French?
The top 5 languages to learn
Are you struggling to decide which foreign language to learn? Do you want to learn to speak French but are not sure if it is the right language to go with? With hundreds of modern languages in the world to choose from, it can be a difficult decision to make.
Ultimately, it depends on one’s motives for learning a language, such as a desire to travel abroad or to maximize business opportunities. There are many reasons to learn French online, as well as any of the languages listed below:
- Spanish, the official language of over 20 countries.
- Mandarin Chinese, the language spoken by the largest amount of people on the planet which is very important for business.
- French, which not only is considered the language of culture but is becoming increasingly vital for business given African francophones’ countries’ rapid growth.
- German, the most spoken language in Europe, and that of the largest economy on the continent.
- Arabic, the language of the Muslim civilization spoken in 25 countries.
Reasons to learn French
Some great reasons to learn French include the following:
- French is spoken by more than 300 million people globally, greatly widening one’s communication horizons.
- The ability to speak French is a serious advantage in the international job market, as France is a key economic partner.
- French is the language of culture and, as such, offers access to important works of literature, film, music, and other arts.
- French is considered the language of diplomacy and International Relations, as it is the official language of the United Nations, the European Union, and NATO.
- Learning French is particularly useful as a foundation for learning other Romance languages, such as Spanish and Italian. While many people are Googling “is French hard to learn?”, you should rest assured that it is a straight-forward language once the basics have been grasped.
Learning French online
Many people are wondering how to learn French fast and if it is possible to learn it online. The answer is that not only is it possible, it is also one of the most popular choices and the best way to learn French these days.
There are many websites and platforms, such as DuoLingo, Eurekly, italki, and others, which people can sign up to in order to either learn French by themselves or with a private online tutor. Online French classes can be tailored to students’ particular needs.
Advantages of online French lessons with a native
1. Francophone countries all over the world
The meaning of Francophone
Francophone means “French-speaking”, typically referring to people or countries whose primary language it is.
French in numbers
Number of French speakers globally: There are over 275 million people who speak French around the world. In addition to that, it is estimated that there are more than 120 million people currently studying French globally.
Number of French-speaking countries in the world: French is the official language of 29 countries. These are Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, the Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, France, Haiti, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Monaco, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Switzerland, Togo, and Vanuatu.
How learning French with a native increases your career opportunities all over the world
Learning with a native can increase your career opportunities all over the world, because it will enhance your understanding of French culture globally and will guarantee that you will understand French accents, dialects and culture better than most French learners through your exposure to a knowledgeable native. This is a valuable quality that will make your resume stand out and which employers looking for good communicators will appreciate.
2. French accents
An accent is a way one pronounces a language, which normally results from how and where they learned it.
Number of accents in France
There are 28 regional accents across France, among which the Parisian accent to the Normand, Breton, and Marseille ones.
The differences between French accents around the world
There are many French accents around the world, which differ from those in France. Here are a few examples:
- The Belgian French accent tends to be similar to the standard French one but is characterized as more nasal.
- Swiss French accents are also fairly close to those of mainland France but with some German influences.
- In North America, the Québécois accent is notably different French accents from France.
- The Algerian French accent is heavily influenced by Arabic.
- Congolese French accents are particularly rhythmic.
How learning with a native can help you understand different French accents better
It can be challenging to understand a French accent that you are not used to, but a native speaker can help you with that. Native speakers are more likely to have been exposed to a variety of French accents throughout their lives than non-native French teachers, which means they can help improve one’s ability to understand all sorts of different French accents.
3. French dialects
The term dialect indicates a version of a language that is characteristic of a particular group of the language’s speakers and is mostly associated with geographic areas.
French dialects in numbers
Number of dialects in France
There are 28 different dialects for the many regions of France, originating from areas such as Alsace, Lyon, and Normandie, among others.
Number of French dialects around the world
There are dozens of French dialects around the world, including Quebec and Franco-Ontarian French in Canada, Belgian and Swiss-French, Creole French in Haiti and Louisiana in the USA, as well as Indian French spoken by Indians in former colonies and African French dialects which include those of refers to the dialects in four broad categories (West and Central Africa, Northwest Africa, Djibouti in the Horn of Africa and Creoles in the Indian Ocean).
The importance of learning dialects in addition to the standard language
Learning dialects can be very useful for developing a well-rounded understanding of French and for fitting in in areas where regional idioms are the norm.
How learning with a native can help you understand different dialects better
A native speaker can help students immerse themselves in the language’s culture by teaching them pronunciation, idioms, and other features of various dialects of their homeland. Learning French with a native speaker is a sure-fire way to improve one’s understanding of spontaneous speech.
4. French people
The relationship between the French language and culture
Language and culture are intrinsically connected. Language, in fact, has developed as the result of a need to communicate culture and its ever-changing needs and the two go hand-in-hand, evolving in time together.
How learning with a native can help you better understand the behavior of French speakers
A native speaker will be able to explain French customs to you, which will allow you to fully comprehend the culture. From every day to business situations, some customs and behaviors that are typical of French culture include the following:
In everyday life
- La bise: The custom of kissing each one of another person’s cheeks when introduced to or greeting them.
- Déjeuner: Lunch tends to be a long affair of a meal for which many businesses close during afternoon hours.
- Mademoiselle: ‘Mademoiselle’ translates to ‘Miss’ and is not reserved for young women, used instead for all unwed females, regardless of their age.
- Directness: The French appreciate directness when conducting business, often asking probing questions.
- Formal written communication: Communication in business requires a high degree of formality in French.
- Dressing smart: The French are known to appreciate smart dressing, which is considered a mark of respect for oneself’ and others.
5. Live communication vs. recorded materials
The role of listening in the process of learning French
There are four aspects to learning French: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. While many learners choose to focus on speaking, which will undoubtedly come in handy during their travels, it is equally vital to spend time and effort on listening. Research shows that we spend 40-50% of our communication listening, and learning to listen effectively boosts one’s overall understanding of a language.
Teaching French listening
To develop strong listening comprehension, online French tutors most commonly speak to their students in the language, encourage them to ask questions about what they have just said, and give them audio and video materials in French to practice with.
The difficulty of understanding native speakers
An issue that frequently comes up with students of French is that they are having difficulty understanding native speakers, even after many years of practice.
This is usually because they have studied with a non-native speaker with an accent affected by their own language or because they have not worked on their listening skills enough, not immersing themselves in the culture by watching videos, movies, and listening to audios made by natives.
Live communication with a native vs. podcasts and videos for learning
Live communication with a native speaker is key to foreign language acquisition. While listening to podcasts and videos is helpful for practicing listening, it is the effects of live conversation practice that have been found by linguists to be essential for successful learning. This will help a student sound natural.
6. Difficulties when looking for a native offline
Where to find a native speaker of French to take offline lessons
If you would still prefer a modern traditional approach to an online French lesson and you are looking for a native speaker of French for offline lessons, there are places you can look – online and offline – to find one:
- A nearby college or university, which is likely to have a French Club.
- The Alliance Française, an organization with chapters all over the world, which commonly offers classes from native speakers.
- Meetup.com, a website where you can find all kinds of events, including meetups with French expats in your city.
The challenges of finding a native speaker offline for language practice
There are some problems, however, with finding a native teacher offline. Firstly, it is not usually an option for people who do not live in major cities and around colleges or universities. Secondly, there will only be a limited number of natives near you who are able to teach you French offline and they will not necessarily possess the skills and qualifications you are looking for.
Eurekly: Offering 24/7 access to French native speakers online
Eurekly is a platform where students can learn with native speakers of French 24/7, conveniently arranging lessons offered at excellent rates for the time that suits them best.
Who can you learn French with on Eurekly? Meet our native teachers!
- Elisabeth Francois: Originating from Brussels, Elisabeth has over 15 years’ experience teaching French at different levels and can introduce you not only to the culture and peculiarities of France but those of Belgium too.
- Leyla Caybasi: Leyla from Tours in France is a certified teacher, working with online students for the past 3 years. Her passion for languages shines through her lessons and you will not be able to find out she is a polyglot, speaking 5 languages in total.
- Xavier Fluet: Xavier from France has been French tutoring online for three years. He takes pride in tailoring all his courses to the special needs of each student, whether they are studying for a diploma or for fun.
- Karine Lohner: From the heart of France, Paris, Karine is a French tutor and qualified translator who used to live in New Zealand. As someone who understands what it is like to be an expat trying to master a foreign language, she can help new students effectively.
- Celine Robertson: Half English and half French, Celine, who resides in the UK, comes from a family of teachers. A joyful person, she aims to teach French in a fun way, accommodating all her students’ special learning requests.
7. No need to look for a classroom
Offline classes locations and their challenges
There are several options students have when it comes to arranging French classes offline. For example, students can meet teachers:
- at their own or their teachers’ home;
- in libraries;
- in coffee shops;
- in conference rooms or classrooms available for hire by the hour;
- in co-working spaces.
The problem with meeting for lessons offline is that it is difficult to control the environment, which can be noisy or otherwise not conducive to learning and that there are usually extra costs involved, such as for transport or hiring a location.
The advantages of a virtual classroom
A virtual classroom comes with many benefits. In addition to offering a controlled environment, it comes with no extra costs and is relatively inexpensive to set up. The virtual classroom allows long-distance learning at a student’s own time, making it especially convenient.
Eurekly – the best way to learn French online!
Find a native speaker of French from any part of the world on Eurekly
Eurekly is an international online learning platform where you can find a native speaker of French from any part of the world easily, with the click of a button! Eurekly should be language learners’ first choice for finding a highly-qualified native online French teacher that suits their learning styles and personalities.
The advantages of Eurekly’s Language Exchange project
Eurekly’s unique Language Exchange project offers students the opportunity to connect with native speakers and other learners in order to have language exchange sessions during which they can converse and practice their skills.
Eurekly’s Language Exchange program helps individuals reach their learning goals through effective mentorship and peer support that is guaranteed to strengthen their networking and social skills, as well as their cultural intelligence.