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Why French language is sometimes hard to learn and understand.


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The French language is a very beautiful language - very polite and very classy. Having to listen and read the language is like looking and appreciating an excellent work of art. However, like works of art, some are very hard to decipher and very hard to understand. The French language is no exception to this. Here are some of the reasons why I think French can be hard to understand.

1. French has a lot of ways of saying things.

I think most of us are no stranger to the many new French words we get to encounter every time we read an article or a book, only to find out that we know and understand its synonym. It's because the french has so many language registers. If I'm not mistaken, the French has 6 registers: 1) Soutenu (Refined); 2) Formelle (Formal); 3) Courant (Normal); 4) Familier (Informal); 5) Populaire (Familiar); and 6) Argotique/Vulgaire (Slang/Vulgar). This sometimes makes reading French so hard because of so many complex words.

2. The French pronounciation is complex.

The French liaison and elision takes time to fully master - there are so many exemptions to the rule. Usually the rule is applicable; sometimes it is not. Another is the silent and aspirated /h/. You absolutely have no way to determine if it is silent or aspirated EXCEPT to just MEMORIZE it.

3. Written French is sometimes different from Spoken French.

This causes an issue especially when reading French literature. There are certain rules and system that only applies to written French; likewise, to spoken French.

An example is:

Spoken: Est-ce qu'il y a des gens?

Written: Y-a-t-il des gens?

Sometimes these are subtle differences but can cause confusion.

Don't get me wrong: I love French so much. It is very rewarding to learn the language. It is just very challenging because you have to memorize a lot of rules and systems.

Vive la France!

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Very interesting information! I can not believe there are up to 6 different ways of saying something. That is a whole lot! So does the French dictionary consist of a lot more words? I would have to think so! How is one suppose to know what words to use especially regarding normal, informal, and familiar? Regarding French pronunciation, I'm not sure what liaison and elision means, but wouldn't it be no different than in English pronunciation? Sometimes letters are silent and sometimes not, or am I misunderstanding what you said? Also do you know why written and spoken French is sometimes different?

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You should MEMORIZE or at least have an idea of what the word implies to know what language register to use. That is exactly what makes it hard. Sometimes, I had no idea what the word means until I used the dictionary, only to be surprised it is just a more "refined" word or a "vulgar" one.

I think both French and English are hard this way. But in French, adding or subtracting even a mere accent or letter changes it completely; e.g. Apercevoir(to glimpse) - S'apercevoir(to realize).

Elision and liaison is easy in "theory" but when you hear native speakers speak fast; you'll almost never notice and you'll think you're hearing a different phrase or sentence overall.

But all of these can be overcome: We all need constant, correct practice. Good luck to all of us!

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