7 Reasons why you should learn French
Have you always wanted to visit France, but never took the plunge? Well, there’s no time like the present! While French is not the only language spoken in France, it definitely can help make your experience a lot smoother if you know some basics before traveling. Here are seven reasons why you should learn French before going to France. Bon voyage!
- You’ll be able to navigate the country independently. With French skills, you’ll be able to read street signs, understand directions from locals, and figure out public transportation schedules on your own.
- You’ll be able to order food with confidence. French menus can be daunting, but if you know some key French phrases related to food, you’ll be able to order with confidence (and avoid any unwelcome surprises).
- You’ll be able to bargain like a pro at French markets. If you’re planning on doing any shopping at French markets, it helps to know how to haggle in French. With some basic French language skills, you’ll be able to get the best prices on souvenirs and gifts.
- You’ll make new friends more easily. French people are notorious for being rude to tourists who don’t speak their language, but if you make an effort to learn even a few basic French phrases, you’re likely to find that locals are much friendlier and more receptive.
- You’ll have a richer travel experience overall. Learning French will allow you to truly immerse yourself in the culture, and understand the history and context of what you’re seeing on a deeper level. From art galleries to cathedrals, there’s so much to see and do in France – and learning French will help you make the most of your trip.
- It can be helpful in emergency situations.
- Learning French is just plain fun! So bon voyage and bonne chance!
15 interesting facts about the French language
Did you know that French is the second most widely taught language in the world and that there are over 130 million French speakers around the globe? Below are 15 fascinating facts about the French language to pique your interest!
- As mentioned above, French is the second most widely taught language in the world, after English.
- It is an official language in 29 countries.
- France is not the only country where French is spoken! It is also spoken in parts of Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, and several former French colonies.
- The French language has international recognition and is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.
- French is the third most spoken Romance language and the second most spoken language in Europe after German.
- The French Academy (Académie Française) was founded in 1635 and is responsible for guarding the purity of the French language.
- There are over 130 million native French speakers and another 120 million people who speak it as a second language.
- The longest word in the French dictionary has 198 letters! It describes a procedural method used in pharmaceutical chemistry.
- Unlike English, French has strict pronunciation rules.
- France, including its overseas territories has more time zones than any other country in the world!
- French was once considered the language of love…but did you know that studies have shown that people actually find Italian more romantic?
- The earliest known text containing French is the Strasbourg Oaths, which can be dated to 842. This work documents the oaths sworn in French and in German by two of Charlemagne’s grandsons
- Many popular English words come from French, such as art, competition, courageous, delicate, developer, fortune, important, insurance, literature, management, morphine, navy, newspaper, police, publicity, routine, reflection, relevant, semester, vocabulary and zero… just to list a few!
- “Je ne sais quoi” (pronounced “zheu nuh say kwah”) is a popular expression in both French and English that means “a certain something” or “je ne sais quel” meaning “I don’t know what” – but beware! While this may sound like a compliment when someone says it about you in English…it actually isn’t considered one in French! In fact, it’s more along the lines of “I can’t put my finger on it…but there’s something off about you/that person/that thing…” Ouch! But at least now you know…so you can avoid making this mistake yourself!
- Last but not least…the Eiffel Tower wasn’t originally meant to be permanent! In fact, it was only supposed to be up for 20 years before being dismantled – but lucky for us (and everyone who visits Paris), that didn’t happen! And there you have it – 15 fun facts about la langue française!
French culture, values and traditions
French culture is renowned for its beauty, art, fashion, food, and wine. But there’s more to French culture than just that! The French people have a rich history and heritage, which is reflected in their values and traditions. French culture is all about family, friends, and community. The French place a high importance on personal relationships and social interactions. They’re also known for their love of good food and wine. The French enjoy simple pleasures in life and believe in savouring the moment.
French family values
One of the most important aspects of the French culture is family. The family is the foundation of French society, and French people are very close to their relatives. Family gatherings are common, and it’s not unusual for several generations to live together.
Many young adults will complete their education while still living with the parents, but then it’s becoming more and more common to live independently when they achieve a financial stability. However, they still maintain connections with their family and weekend visits to their parents and grandparents are a must.
Furthermore, the family in France plays a crucial role in passing on cultural values and provides the individual with emotional and often financial support.
Almost all French women are in paid labour and the dual-career family is becoming the standard. However, men are still often considered the primary bread winners and many women are expected to take on more traditional stereotypical roles such as cleaning, looking after the children, cooking, ironing and so on. Nonetheless, they are also expected to pursuit higher education and enter the workforce.
A stereotypical view of “feminine” for what concerns dress, physique and behaviour puts extra pressure on French women. For instance, they are expected not to show vulgar behaviour.
Dating and marriage
It is common among French people to start dating around the age of 15-16 and usually it’s the man who initiates the relationship which tends to be exclusive. Many will keep their dating relationships private without involving their families or friends until they consider the relationship to become serious.
Many couples also choose to live together first before getting married and are inclined to marry those with the same religious affiliations. It is common to find children born to unmarried couples.
Other aspects of the French culture
Another important aspect of French culture is the importance of manners. The French take great pride in their politeness and etiquette, and visitors to France are expected to adhere to these standards. Finally, the French are known for their love of art and beauty. Whether it’s paintings, sculptures, or architecture, the French have a deep appreciation for art in all its forms.
French National Holidays
French national holidays are special days that are celebrated throughout the year by French people all over the world. Many French learners use these holidays as an opportunity to improve their French language skills and learn more about French culture. There are a variety of French national holidays, each with its own unique traditions. For example, Bastille Day is celebrated on July 14th and is a national holiday in France that commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution.On this day, French people participate in a variety of activities, including parades, concerts, and firework displays.
Later on in summer there is another very important national holiday the Assumption, follows the All Saint’s Day and the Armistice Day in autumn. Of course there is Christmas in December which represents a great opportunity for families to gather together and enjoy quality time.
In May we have another popular French national holiday is La Fête du Travail, which is celebrated on May 1st and commemorates the achievements of workers. In total French have 11 days of National holidays, not bad at all!
These are just a few of the many values and traditions that make up French culture. Whether you’re interested in learning French yourself or simply want to impress your Francophile friends with your vast knowledge of all things related to la langue et la culture française, we hope you enjoyed this post about one of the world’s most popular languages and cultures!
If you’re interested in learning more about the French way of life and language please get in touch for a free consultation at email@example.com and read this post on how to learn French quickly.