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5 Ways French is an Easier First Language to Learn for English Speakers

I’m guessing, if you’re reading this article, you’re already an English speaker, right? That’s great news! You’re going to find French easier to learn, and here’s why that is.

English and French Share the Same Alphabet

Starting with an obvious one here, you don’t need to learn a whole new alphabet!

Cursive Cyrillic
Cursive Cyrillic

Compared to Cyrillic or the Chinese alphabet, that’s an absolutely huge advantage. This shared alphabet helps you avoid the ton of time you’d need to spend learning to understand a new one, which can be extremely tricky! Take a look at images of cursive Cyrillic if you want to see something tricky!

Plenty of Similar or Identical Words

Both English and French borrow lots of different words from each other. While everyone knows plenty of words with French origin, such as cliché, there’s also plenty of commonplace French words of English origin, such as girafe or protocole. These similar and identical words make it easy for English speakers to remember the correct word.


Similar Grammar Structures

While the French grammar system might not be considered all that simple internationally speaking, the similarities to English grammar, which is also often considered tricky, make it easier for English speakers to get to grips with. For instance, many French sentences can translate word-for-word to English, with no need to understand adjectives or adverbs behaving differently from English.

French Conjugation is Easier Than it Appears

When you first look into French conjugation it can be confusing, there’s a lot of specific endings as well as many convoluted tenses, it’s a lot to get to grips with at first. However, once you’ve got to grips with the first few, you start realizing that the vast majority behave the same. Initially, there’s some irregular conjugations to get to grips with, but once you get beyond these, things get much easier.

French Couple
French Couple

Both French and English are Romance Languages

English is a Germanic language, and it’s heavily influenced by other Germanic languages, including Latin and French. This means there’s a lot of similarities and borrowing. Combined with the same alphabet and shared or identical words, French can be a much easier first language to learn for an English speaker.

Three Tricky Things About Learning French

So that’s some of the easy parts about learning French for an English speaker, what are the trickier bits?

False Friends

So, you know all those words with similar origins that look the same? Well, this often isn’t a good thing. False friends are words that look the same but mean completely different things. These can be tough to get your head around at first.

Tough Spellings

There’s a number of letters in French that we don’t use in English, such as ç, é, ê, and à. These can make learning to spell a little more arduous, but far from impossible!

Pronunciation Can Be Tricky

Getting to grips with pronunciation and the rules of pronunciation, including the notoriously tricky French ‘R’ sound, can be a bit of a slog sometimes, but is entirely manageable for an English speaker.


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