Is French useful?


<p>Well I am considering to take a second language as a Junior (I am already taking Spanish) and I was thinking of taking French. French is on my list of like 8 languages I would like to learn before I die but I was wondering how useful it would be. I am interested in majoring in something like International Relations/Government and Politics/History. Another language I would love to learn is Chinese and Arabic which are at the top of my list though are not offered at my school.</p>

<p>I was wondering whether I should just take French I class, probably do well in it, or self study Chinese or Arabic, or maybe try doing both? So maybe by the end of high school I will know/learning 3 languages plus English.</p>

<p>What do you guys think? Is French as useful to international politics as Chinese or Arabic would be?</p>

<p>"What do you guys think? Is French as useful to international politics as Chinese or Arabic would be?"</p>

<p>Extremely for declarations of cease-fire, surrender, and armistice. The French have countless examples. :)</p>

<p>Even a little bit of French is useful in making yourself agreeable to Francophone speakers in Canada, Haiti, Africa not to mention France, Belgium and Switzerland. Just think how the Germans went crazy when JFK said only one sentence in German in Berlin-- French could be politically helpful in many contexts. One high school year would not be wasted and more effective than self-study of Chinese or Arabic. You could explore those languages when you get to college. </p>

<p>And French is a Romance language. It could help you to be romantic!</p>

<p>As an undergraduate Romance Language (French) minor, besides the pure beauty of the spoken language and the ability to directly connect with native speakers, I have always found reading the original text of major French literary pieces to be a wonderful experience. French is truly a remarkable language. And, even though my undergraduate focus was split between electrical engineering and journalism (certainly an odd couple), I always felt that I was more well-rounded because I studied language.</p>

<p>Instead of thinking about your second language strictly in terms of career relevance, I'd urge you to think about it in terms of, I guess I'll call it, life satisfaction. In my opinion, French and Italian are the two languages I'd want to learn if I could do it over again, simply because we travel to France and Italy, would like to retire in Italy, and I love being in both countries.</p>

<p>French used to be THE language of international diplomacy and remains important today. For a Spanish-speaker, it is easier to learn than Arabic or Chinese. Both Chinese and Arabic are of enormous importance in a variety of fields and will remain so. I doubt very much that one can learn either language through self-study.</p>

<p>I learned to speak French fluently and it has never been particularly useful except as a tourist and to be able to enjoy great movies. But it all depends on what you do with your life. If you spend anytime in Francophone Africa, teach film theory or work in Haiti of course it's useful. It's also extremely easy to learn after you know Spanish. German on the surface much less "useful" served me very well when my husband ended up spending five years working in Munich. Who knew! I was lucky I had studied it. I agree with Marite that Chinese at least would be very difficult to self-study. I found it too difficult for me. No cognates, tones were hard for me to say and harder to hear, and while I loved learning characters I never knew more than a couple hundred of them.</p>

<p>Since you have Spanish covered (the most popular second language, and chosen for all the wrong reasons), French would be a good option. It is the language of international diplomacy. We have many expressions which derive from French. (see the inquiry on the origin of "savvy" on another thread)</p>

<p>If you are academically inclined in some field of study, you might look at the requirements for admissions to graduate programs. It used to be that for physics or math PhD candidates, either German or Russian was required. French or Italian was sometimes required for other fields.</p>

<p>Latin might be an useful one if you don't care about speaking to anyone.</p>

<p>My D chose french in HS because she wants to work in fashion, journaiism, publishing, and she wisely told me that many fashion magazines are in least she had a reason...I was pushing for latin...</p>

Since you have Spanish covered (the most popular second language, and chosen for all the wrong reasons), French would be a good option. It is the language of international diplomacy. We have many expressions which derive from French. (see the inquiry on the origin of "savvy" on another thread)


<p>Chosen for all the wrong reasons??? May I ask politely what those reasons might be? Por favor?</p>

<p>My oldest took Spanish...not the best choice for her, I was pushin, yes, latin, but everyone else was SPANISH!!! She made a mistake, for her, taking Spanish, her love of words would have been better served doing a classic language...</p>

<p>Choose the language that you love the most. if you fluently learn one language, it's not that hard to learn another, even if the language is unrelated. Apparently learning a foreign language adapts the brain to learning others.</p>

<p>I am an intermediate speaker of French. Personally, I find it very useful because I unexpectedly have spent several recent summers living in Paris, and I have a lot of friends who speak French. When Iwas young, I never would have guessed that French would be a big part of my life.</p>

<p>Jeepers! What's wrong with Spanish? It's the second language of the United States, one of the most popular first languages in the world, and one of a very limited number of truly international languages (English, Mandarin, Arabic, and Spanish, and maybe Russian, Portugese, and French, too). It has a great literature, especially in the 13th-17th Centuries and 20th Century. It has the same structure as French and Italian, and has plenty of Latin roots; if it were taught like Latin, it would provide most of the benefits that Latin provides in terms of learning vocabulary and grammar (no noun cases, though). Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Penelope Cruz, Jimmy Smits, Martin Sheen, Ricky Martin, and Shakira all speak it. Plus, it's relatively easy to pronounce, and it's fairly standard around the world. What's not to love?</p>

<p>Believe me, if you love words, Spanish has plenty of them. More than Latin, even.</p>

<p>(This deserves a separate thread, which I will start some day: I HATE the way my children were taught Spanish and French -- it just killed their interest dead. I have loved languages all my life, but I think partially that's because I never had to take Anything 3, and because in my day there was no difference between the Language AP and the Literature AP.)</p>

<p>I doubt that you could post the similar question for any subject on CC and find many people stating that there's no value in it. There is generally some value in learning almost anything. </p>

<p>If your intent is to study the language for only one or two years, it's unlikely you'll gain a huge benefit other than a feel for it since you already have taken other languages. If however, you plan to study it more in-depth or live in a country speaking that language, it'll be more useful. </p>

<p>My sister studied French for a couple of years and never used it since. I studied German for a couple of years and actually did use it a few times since I've traveled to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland a number of times although I could have gotten along fine without it. I should have studied it for at least 4 years to have a reasonable starting point.</p>

<p>In retrospect, the language I wish I'd have learned fluently is Spanish. I live in an area filled with people who only speak Spanish including all of the illegals knocking on my door looking for work (I've learned the phrase "No Trabajo"). I've also made a few trips to South America where it might have been handy. I agree with the other poster that Spanish is the most prominent second language in the US due to the huge influx of people from Spanish-speaking countries. From what I've been told, understanding Spanish also makes it much simpler to learn French and Italian.</p>

<p>ucsd-ucla dad makes the point that I was dancing around to in my post, which I think is why so many young people choose spanish these days. </p>

<p>I put it in the "wrong reasons" category, although in anticipation of Xiggi's forthcoming reaction, I might have worded my post to say for "not-well-thought out reasons".</p>

<p>JHS hits a nerve. I think if I were to go back to HS where we were able to start in the 8th grade, I would take 2-3 years of one language, and then one year each of two or three other languages. To me, it would make more sense than what currently happens. I also would suggest that universities remove their requirement of four years of language study resricted to one language.</p>

<p>¿Por qué no le gusta español? Para mí, es una lengua muy bonita, y me divierto aprender palabras nuevas. Hay mucha historia sobre la lengua de español. También, hay muchas personas que hablan la lengua, y una persona bilingüe puede ayudar ellos aquí en los Estados Unidos.</p>

<p>hehe... I couldn't resist. :)</p>

<p>My D is going into law, she loves learning the origins of words, the history and she was one of those kids that didn't take well to learning a foriegn language, even though she tried, so for her latin would have been more fun, more helpful, more interesting, and better for what she wants to do </p>

<p>As I said, for my D, Spanish, not a good choice for her...for my other D, she LOVES French...and my oldest will take a classic language in college</p>

<p>reeses414: "Why don't you like spanish? I think it's a great language, and I enjoy learning new words. The Spanish language has a lot of history. Also, many people speak the language, and a bilingual person could help them here in the US." Does that look about right? ;)</p>

<p>The last time I studied Spanish was in eighth grade, at a very elementary level. I've been meaning to start again, though. Would it be possible (or easy) to self-study? I'm already fluent in French and Swedish, if that helps. Also, what language aside from those I mentioned would be most useful at an international organization, like the World Bank?</p>

<p>lol. Yeah, that's really close. Except bonita means beautiful and not great... You'd be able to self-study, but it's much easier if you do it with someone else for the speaking and listening components of learning another language and for someone else to help you with problems that may arise. There are four main areas on which you'll need to focus: reading, listening, writing, and speaking.</p>

<p>It's not that hard to self study with tapes and similar things. However, it's faster and much more fun to take a class, to join or start a French conversation group, or to join something like Alliance Francais, where you can meet lots of francophiles.</p>

<p>Of course, the best and most fun way to learn is to take French in France or Canada. Trust me, I've done just about all of these things during the last few years, and that was the most marvelous. :)</p>