Jump to content
Linguaholic

Is French similar to English?


Recommended Posts

I am getting ready to learn French.  Did you find any similarities between the two languages?  I did a little research and was a bit overwhelmed at how many differences there are compared to similarities.  I am wondering, if all these differences are going to throw me off, or is there some familiar ground between English and French?

Link to post
Share on other sites

French is considered a Class I language in America.  Basically, it's really easy to learn if English is your native language.  In my experience, I was reading [read: wading through thick mud] a full-length French novel within five months, and that was even with a ton of other languages on my plate.  If French is the only language or one of a few languages, with dedicated studying, I don't see why you couldn't have the same results (but I'm not you; you know your abilities better than I).

As far as similarities, English borrows [read: forcibly removes at knifepoint] a lot of words from Latin, which is the root of French, Italian, Spanish, etc.  Starting out, you will see a lot of familiar-looking words which is good for building an initial vocabulary fairly quickly.  But, as with most languages foreign to English, there are the unique agreements between nouns and adjectives, subjects and verbs, masculine and feminine, that English just doesn't have.  It's a fact of life and the sooner you accept it as just part of the language (and most non-English languages), the better it will be.

As with any language, you only get out what you put in.  Basically, how bad do you want it?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

It depends on where you go. Canadian French still uses some English words (Likely with the exception of Quebec). However, Paris and non-English speaking francophone countries are unlikely to use the English sounding words; as these were developed usually as ways for a settler to become more communicative in more primarily English speaking places like the US. At least, that's the theory. Either way, if you went to somewhere like Paris, France or somewhere like New Orleans, Louisiana then you'd get two very different versions of the same language.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 months later...

Well I'll tell you what I think, English & French have some similar words, actually a lot of words, but there is a big difference between them actually, the most hard thing in French is "la Conjugaison", which is about time tenses like present and future, there is a lot of time tenses in French language, and the hardest thing is where to use it, English is much easier.

But you can learn it if you want :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...
Scribendi: World-Class Editing and Proofreading

Learning French is definitely easier if you have prior knowledge of English. However I've found that Latin, which is a language we have to learn in middle school, has also helped. A simple example would be sum, es, est - suis, es, est. Of course there are a lot of other similarities.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

English and French is not similar, because English is a more "apart" language than French is from Spanish, Portuguese, or Italian. If I recall correctly, all the four languages features a difference because of the gender, but English does not really. English is also simpler than French or even West European languages in general. But they share the latin roots, generally.

French is considered a Class I language in America.  Basically, it's really easy to learn if English is your native language.  In my experience, I was reading [read: wading through thick mud] a full-length French novel within five months, and that was even with a ton of other languages on my plate.  If French is the only language or one of a few languages, with dedicated studying, I don't see why you couldn't have the same results (but I'm not you; you know your abilities better than I).

As far as similarities, English borrows [read: forcibly removes at knifepoint] a lot of words from Latin, which is the root of French, Italian, Spanish, etc.  Starting out, you will see a lot of familiar-looking words which is good for building an initial vocabulary fairly quickly.  But, as with most languages foreign to English, there are the unique agreements between nouns and adjectives, subjects and verbs, masculine and feminine, that English just doesn't have.  It's a fact of life and the sooner you accept it as just part of the language (and most non-English languages), the better it will be.

As with any language, you only get out what you put in.  Basically, how bad do you want it?

You get the metric wrong about the time needed. You said you succeeded on five months with other languages on your plate, but studies clearly states that the more language you learn, the more you get used and approach better the hassle of language learning, and the less time you will need. So even if having multiple languages means divide your time for each language, it will also speed you up.

It depends on where you go. Canadian French still uses some English words (Likely with the exception of Quebec). However, Paris and non-English speaking francophone countries are unlikely to use the English sounding words; as these were developed usually as ways for a settler to become more communicative in more primarily English speaking places like the US. At least, that's the theory. Either way, if you went to somewhere like Paris, France or somewhere like New Orleans, Louisiana then you'd get two very different versions of the same language.

Depends what you qualify as "English sounding". You may hear few English words here and there every day. That's about the frequency of English words you can hear, and they are mainly linked to technology, because French equivalent looks absurd, and often, in innovation, you borrow the word from the innovating country and for Internet, the innovating country is United States, with its English - US language.

Link to post
Share on other sites

How could they be similar?  English is a Germanic language and french is a romance one, they belong to two very different language families, so the only similarities one could ever find is similar words with similar spellings to English, but that's it.  To me the closest language to french is Spanish and Portuguese.  My only advice for you is to be careful with the false friends you will surely encounter, if you do that you will be fine, always check a word when in doubt!

Link to post
Share on other sites

How could they be similar?  English is a Germanic language and french is a romance one, they belong to two very different language families, so the only similarities one could ever find is similar words with similar spellings to English, but that's it.  To me the closest language to french is Spanish and Portuguese.  My only advice for you is to be careful with the false friends you will surely encounter, if you do that you will be fine, always check a word when in doubt!

Well, they can be similar despite of that, because they still share some words, even if French & English is not "similar", they are not fully apart as you say, despite its german origins. Sure, for some words, you see some link between German words and English words, but you can see also few French or Latin words inside the English language. So I know it is the official classification right now, but when you compare to language like Arabic, Chinese or Japanese, English feels rather similar to French and other languages. Just it is not the closest, really.

I mean, try to compare German with French, you will find English more close to French than German is.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

I wouldn't have said English and French are similar, at least not in my experience. Like Trellum, I feel that with English being more Germanic (please note, this is not to say it's more similar to German than French, this is merely in reference to its roots as a language) and French a Romatic one, is just one aspect that points to their differences. Maybe knowing English makes it easier to learn French, IDK for sure. This is probably the case because English does tend to borrow a lot from the French language. I'd say that's where the similarities end. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 6 months later...
  • 1 month later...

There are some similarities between the two languages. However, one must first note that the two language belong to different sub-groups of Indo-European languages, that is Lower Germanic (English) and Romance (French). Also, English was influenced a lot by French because at one time, French was the dominant official language in England. Roman invasion in an earlier time also meant that English was also influenced by the language of the Romans which was Latin.

The main influence was then arguably words which originated from Romance languages and Greek, and this is the area where you will find most similarities. However, the meaning or usage of some words in two different languages might be a little different or sometimes even radically different as will be their pronunciation. As far as spelling is concerned, the similar words tend to have similar spellings except French might have accents where English does not.

If you have a good English vocabulary and learn the basics of French, you will find it's simpler to read and comprehend French academic or scholarly language and journalistic language more than literature or other forms of writing. That is because words which are used for concepts and technical terms are usually quite similar in both languages.

Apart from these, I cannot think of any other obvious similarities because other elements like pronunciation is very different. Grammar is of course comparable, and that can be said for an Indo-European language. But French grammar is very precise while for English the exception is the rule in many cases.

Now, just to demonstrate similarities in words, I will translate the answer and bold words which are similar.

Il ya quelques similitudes entre les deux langues. Cependant, il faut d'abord noter que les deux langues appartiennent à différents sous-groupes de langues indo-européennes, qui est inférieur germanique (anglais) et Romance (français). En outre, l'anglais a été beaucoup influencé par le français parce que le français était la langue officielle dominante en Angleterre. Invasion romaine dans un temps plus tôt a entraîné que l'anglais a également été influencée par la langue des Romains qui était le latin.

La principale influence était on peut alors soutenir mots qui provenaient langues romanes et grec, ce qui est l'endroit où vous trouverez la plupart des similitudes. Cependant, la signification ou l'utilisation de certains mots dans deux langues différentes pourraient être un peu différente ou parfois même radicalement différent que sera leur prononciation. En ce qui concerne l'orthographe, les mots semblables ont tendance à avoir orthographes similaires à l'exception française pourrait avoir des accents où l'anglais ne fait pas.

Si vous avez un bon vocabulaire anglais et apprendre les rudiments de français, vous trouverez qu'il est plus simple à lire et à comprendre le langage académique ou scientifique française et de la langue journalistique plus que la littérature ou d'autres formes d'écriture. Voilà parce que les mots qui sont utilisés pour les concepts et les termes techniques sont généralement assez similaire dans les deux langues.

A part cela, je ne peux pas penser à d'autres similitudes évidentes parce que d'autres éléments tels que la prononciation est très différente. La grammaire est évidemment comparable, et qui peut être dit pour une langue indo-européenne. Mais la grammaire française est très précise alors que pour les Anglais l'exception est la règle dans de nombreux cas.

Maintenant, juste pour démontrer les similitudes dans les mots, je vais traduire la réponse et surligner les mots qui sont similaires.
http://www.iecuniversity.com/
Hope i have offered some help

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

No, I don't think French is similar to English. I am new learner and I am loving this language. Grammatically, both the languages have different structure. Few days back I was exploring it on goggle, then I pointed out the French grammar structure and English grammar structure is totally different.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

Before starting to learn French my thinking was same. I started learning French a month ago only. I realized French and English are different. Not even the pronunciation is same. The first thing My French language trainer asked me to do was to make a collection of 100 French names with their meanings and pronunciation and I needed it too. I got more than 100 difficult French names from http://www.babynology.com/french_babynames.html , their meaning and pronunciation. Then I stepped further with small words, places name and small sentences.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

I once listened to a very interesting conversation between a group of friends and a French language fanatic we all know. Something he said that I thought was pretty neat was that a lot of English and French words are actually quite similar. I think he said maybe 60% were at least from the same roots. I started thinking about it and was quite amazed to see all the similarities. The only problem is it's hard to see some of them if you don't know French yet. I think you would notice the similarities sooner in writing because English and French sound very different. Some of the ways you can relate words are pretty abstract though. For instance je cours means I run. Cours is similar to course which is where you run a race. Some are very much the same though even down to the spelling. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...