Which language should I learn — French or Spanish? Which is better, easier, and more useful?
This guide will help you choose between two popular European languages.
- 5 Criteria to help you Choose Spanish or French
- Final thought (French or Spanish?)
5 Criteria to help you Choose Spanish or French
I have come across this question many times as someone who is overly interested in languages.
Learning any language is not like bread and butter.
It is an endeavor that takes time and resources to accomplish. When you choose which foreign language to learn, the decision can be like climbing up Mount Everest.
Fortunately for us, I have narrowed down the search to just two languages: French or Spanish.
Now, before you decide on which one to pick, there is something you must understand.
Choosing what language to learn depends on several parameters and personal objectives.
Talking about personal intended goals, we mean inward reflections such as asking yourself;
- What are my interests in the language I want to learn?
- What am I drawn to?
- To begin with, Why am I learning a new language?
The parameters that will help you decide how to choose a language between two, depending on, but not limited to, the followings:
1. Nativity — Relatedness of Languages
One of the primary forces that spur people to select and learn a language is easier to understand and speak.
It is a result of being linguistically similar to your native language.
Looking at French and Spanish, we see that they are part of the Romance Language, which directly links Latin and shares a common vocabulary.
So if you’re a native English speaker, including those who reside in India, both languages are ideal as a second language.
However, note that while both languages share the same family root and vocabulary, they are miles apart in pronunciation.
French and English do not share a similar phonetic base.
French demands that you be specific in pronunciation, whereas Spanish is more comfortable with spelling and pronunciation for an average English speaker.
Again, suppose if you speak Portuguese or Italian. In that case, Spanish will appear more familiar to you, the same way it shares a joint phonetic base with Indian languages.
Many sounds in French are not present in English and other tongues. Thus, how close your mother tongue is to either language will determine how quickly you can understand it.
2. Where is it spoken? & Places You’d Like to Visit, Study & Work
While the speakers’ numbers may not be much of an incentive, it is crucial to know how diversified the language is. French and Spanish are highly diversified and widely spoken tongues.
Each has a specific region where it dominates. It is left for you to decide whether you have an inclination or a bias towards a particular area.
For example, a workplace, a dream destination, cultural aspect, jobs for language learners, etc.
With 20 Spanish-speaking nations, it is the official language of Spain and most countries in Central and South America. This includes the USA, Peru, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia, etc.
There are over 500 million Hispanic populations globally.
On the other hand, there are over 270 million French speakers worldwide.
It is widely spoken in over 25 countries such as France, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Africa nations.
For instance, in Western Europe, some countries like Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, etc., speaks French as an official language, whereas Spanish is only helpful in Spain.
If, as an Indian, you want to travel to any of the American continents, Spanish dominates, with more than half a billion speakers, roughly 40 to 50 million lives in the US.
On the other hand, French is spoken in Canada, France, and other parts of Europe and dominates the West and North African Francophone regions.
If you wish to immigrate to Canada, speaking French can add extra points in the Canada and Quebec PR Point System.
Depending on your plans, the spread of either can inform your decision on what to choose.
Now, we’re moving over to the next crucial decision-base consideration: Appeal Factor and Personal Interest.
3. Appeal Factor and Personal Interest
Let’s be honest; you don’t wake up in the morning and shout to the ceiling. “Hey, I’m learning Spanish today!”
People learn a language because it appeals to them, and the same holds for you.
After all, learning a language you love is the best way to remain motivated and achieve a higher language competency level.
Compared to Spanish in general terms, French has a higher appeal, known as the language of love and class.
There are many books in history, architecture, and arts that are written only in French.
Nothing beats the art, cuisine, and fashion, as portrayed by the French culture.
French, without any doubt, very influential on the international scene.
But again, these are just limited perspectives, considering that what constitutes an appealing factor to you may not be the same to someone else.
It brings us back to the issue of personal goals and interests.
4. Career opportunities after learning Spanish or French
Do you want more jobs that require Foreign languages?
Although both French and Spanish are top foreign languages to learn from the job scope perspective.
The choice depends on your career objectives and long-term goals.
For example, suppose you are interested or qualified in aeronautics, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, and energy production. In that case, French as a career should appeal to you the most.
Again, if you want to contribute to the universal initiatives or want to work in any international organization to help develop impoverished areas like some places in Africa.
French holds the key since there are more career choices in French.
On the other hand, if you plan to move to the US or set up investments or deal with Latin American clients. You will need to learn Spanish to get easy access to markets or be at a good advantage for a career job.
The career scope in Spanish is on the rise in India.
It can be an asset in any business activities or jobs in BPO and KPO sectors since most companies in these sectors come from the United States with Spanish backgrounds.
Spanish job opportunities are infinite!
Africa and South America are two big untapped markets for Indian companies and MNCs.
Therefore, there are ever-growing jobs in the export-import sector for French and Spanish specialists.
After learning one of these languages, you can find foreign embassies or work as foreign language teachers.
Perhaps, you can enhance career prospects in tourism or apply for a high-paying job as a translator or interpreter.
So, whichever way you look at it, it all winds down to what you love about that particular language.
5. Difficulty level — Which is Easier to Learn?
Spanish is not a very difficult language to master.
Spanish is a phonetic language, meaning that orthography concepts are very close to the rules of pronunciation.
While there are some complicated letters like silent H, J, G, similar B, and V, but all in all, Spanish pronunciation and spelling are pretty straightforward.
Once you’ve memorized the Spanish rules of pronunciation, you can pronounce most of the new words with almost no hesitation.
Additionally, there are thousands of cognates like English – words that have the same meanings. Even though the grammar is quite lengthy and challenging, you can have meaningful communication after only a few weeks.
Of course, several Spanish dialects worldwide feature significant differences in vocabulary, pronunciation, and minor grammatical differences.
Overall, Spanish is easier to study than French.
How long does it take to learn Spanish?
On the contrary, French probably got its reputation as a “difficult” language among Romance languages because it is undoubtedly not phonetic.
French pronunciation and spelling are pretty tricky. We don’t pronounce the words the way we spell them.
Mastering the French pronunciation and accents due to invariable rules and French dialects and accents might take a few years.
Elementary-level grammar is simple enough that you can have a meaningful conversation within a few months.
Like Spanish, French and English share thousands of cognates – some identical and others very closely related.
Grammatically speaking, French is more or less has the same difficulty level as Spanish and other romance languages.
It is not a universal myth that French is more complicated than Spanish. Like any other language,
One needs to devote lots of time to practice listening, reading, and of course, speaking.
If you intend to study both European languages, it may be more desirable to start with French.
Because it is comparatively easier to learn Spanish from French than the other way precisely because the former is more complicated.
Final thought (French or Spanish?)
Should I learn French or Spanish?
Both are two widely spoken and popular languages you can learn as an English speaker or Indian.
You can decide based on future planning, career objectivity, interests, and what motivates you. It should be the basis of your selection if you choose to pick one.
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