French Vs Spanish – Which European Language to Learn?

Which language should I learn — French or Spanish? Which is better and more useful? Easier to study? This guide will help you choose between two popular European languages.
French Vs Spanish

Which language should I learn — French or Spanish? Which is better and more useful? Easier to study? This guide will help you choose between two popular European languages.

Choosing Between Spanish and 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, and when it comes to choosing which foreign language to learn, the decision can be like climbing up Mount Everest.

Fortunately for us, we have narrowed down the search to just two languages: French or Spanish. Now, before you decide on which of these languages to learn, there is something you must understand.

Choosing what language to learn depends on several parameters and personal intended goals.

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 on what language should you learn, depending on, but not limited to the followings:

French or Spanish

1. Nativity

One of the primary forces that spur people to select and learn a language is because it is easier to understand and speak. It is as 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 has a direct link from Latin and shares a common vocabulary. So if you’re a native English speaker (especially one that resides in India), both languages are ideal as a second language.

However, take note that while the two 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 must be specific in pronunciation, whereas, Spanish is more comfortable both in spelling and pronunciation for an average English speaker.

Again, if you speak Portuguese or Italian, Spanish will appear more familiar to you, the same way it shares a joint phonetic base with Indian languages. There are many sounds in French that are not present in Indian languages. Therefore, how close your native language is to either language will determine how quickly you can understand it.

2. Location — Where is it spoken? And Places You’d Like to Visit or Study or Work

Spanish or French

While the numbers of speakers may not be much of an incentive, it is crucial to know how diversified is the language. 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, such as a place of work, a dream destination, cultural aspect, job opportunities for language learners, etc.

With 20 Spanish-speaking nations in the world, It is the official language of Spain and most countries in Central and South America including USA, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia, to name a few. There are over 500 million Hispanic populations in the world whereas, with over 270 million French-speakers worldwide, there are 29 Francophone countries such as France, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, to name a few.

For instance, in Western Europe, some countries like Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, etc., speaks French as an official language, whereas Spanish is only useful 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, of which, 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 in the West and North African regions. If you wish to immigrate to Canada, the ability to speak French can add extra points in the Canada and Quebec PR Point System. Depending on the requirements, you have to appear one of the TCF or TEF exam in India. Besides, France is an excellent study abroad destination; thus, learning French in India makes sense!

So depending on what your plans are, The spread of either language can inform your decision on which 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 the language that you love is the best way to remain motivated and achieve higher language competency level.

French and Spanish

Compared to Spanish in general terms, French has a higher appeal, and it’s known as the language of love and class. There are many books in history, architecture, and arts that are written only in French. Nothing beat 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 and Job opportunities after learning Spanish or French

Do you want more job opportunities in Foreign languages? Although both French and Spanish are top foreign languages to learn as far as language job scope is concerned. The choice depends on your career objectives and long-term goals.

For example, if you are interested or qualified in areas like aeronautics, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, and energy production, then 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.

On the other hand, if you have plans to move to the US or set up investments or deal with clients in Latin America. 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 the majority of the companies that operate 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 export-import sector for French and Spanish specialist. After learning one of these languages, you can find a position in foreign embassies, or work as foreign language teachers, or enhance career prospect in travel and 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.


Read — (i) Reasons to Learn Spanish (ii) Why study Spanish? (iii) Benefits of Learning German (iv) Advantages of Learning Japanese (v) Scope of Chinese Language (vi) Career after Learning Korean (vii) French Language in India (viii) French or Spanish or German? (ix) Korean Vs. Japanese Vs. Mandarin? (x) Benefits of learning a Foreign Language (xi) Why Study Italian?

5. Difficulty level

Best European Languages

Spanish is not a very difficult language to master. Spanish is a phonetic language, meaning that the concepts of orthography 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. There are of course number of Spanish dialects around the world which feature significant differences in vocabulary, pronunciation, and some minor grammatical differences. Overall, Spanish is easier to study than French.

How long does it take to learn Spanish? With the right methods for language learning, proper guidance, regular practice, one can clear Spanish proficiency test, i.e., B2 of DELE test or SIELE exam in 2-3 years.

On the contrary, French probably got its reputation as a “difficult” language among Romance languages because it is undoubtedly not a phonetic language. French pronunciation and spelling are quite tricky. We don’t pronounce the words, the way we spell.

While 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 also 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 language learning 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. According to FSI studies and Depending on ones’ intellectual level. If you study 15 hours per week, you can pass a French language proficiency test, i.e., DELF B2 or DALF C1 exam in 3 years!

If you intend to study both European languages, then it may be more desirable to start with French. Why? 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? Well, French and Spanish are two widely spoken and trendy language you can learn as an English speaker or Indian. You can make the decision based on future planning, career objectivity, your interests, and what motivates you. It should be the basis of your selection if you decide to pick one.

LanguageNext – The foreign language institute in Noida offers a variety of French language and Spanish language courses in Noida. All our courses are designed as per the international language proficiency test. We can help you if you have any questions. Just leave a comment. Thanks.

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Vikash Gupta

Vikash Gupta

I take a great interest in the languages of the world and that is why I choose this career. By profession, I'm a College lecturer and Foreign language faculty and by passion, I am still a language learner. I write at languagenext.com/blog and studyfrenchspanish.com

30 thoughts on “French Vs Spanish – Which European Language to Learn?”

  1. Hello! Vikash sir,

    I am currently working in Gurugram. As further for the high growth in my career, I want to learn a foreign Language but getting confused that which language to learn which is having the maximum job opportunities in India. Also from the other perspective that which one will be useful for me if I will go to Europe for either job or further studies in the future.

    Waiting for your reply.
    Thank you

    1. Unfortunately, there is no best language for jobs in India. It is an individual perspective and depends on how you look at it. In Europe, French is more widely spoken and useful than Spanish.

  2. Hello sir, I literally love your articles. Sir, I need your help in deciding which center is best for Spanish learning Dronaa in Noida sector 18 or oracle language institute in cp? Please help me. I am very confused about it.

    1. I use to teach Spanish at Dronaa for a long time. Then the entire foreign language vertical was shifted to LanguageNext at the same location. I’m still taking the Spanish classes :). You can join LanguageNext for the Spanish course. Avoid Oracle. In Delhi, Instituto Hispania is a good option.

  3. I want to be a flight attendant and if we know any foreign language it would be an advantage. So the chances of getting selected increases. I’m confused between French and Spanish. Could you please suggest me? Which language should I learn? And from where I can learn in Mumbai?

  4. I want to restart my career after the break of 8 years. I want to learn a language and want to pursue as a teacher. Please suggest which language should I learn French or Spanish?

  5. Does French have more impact over Spanish? And nowadays the French language is offered in many schools. So, as a fresher which language should, I go for, As I am new to foreign language learning. Does French language job opportunities is higher than the Spanish language in Delhi? Please care to clear my confusion.

    1. Hundred’s of CBSE and International school are offering French for the past few decades. From a career perspective, both languages offer more or less similar kind of job opportunities in Delhi/NCR. In the end, what it all boils down to are interest and personal and professional objectives. Since I like and know both languages. Thus, it is difficult for me to pick one. 🙂

  6. Sir, currently I’m doing 2nd year English honors. I want to learn French. What step should I take next or should I start it by giving up this graduation and get admission in french honors. in any university or private institute.

    1. Too late to apply for 2019-2020 session. You can continue with your major in English. In addition, start learning French by joining any reputed French learning centre in your city.

  7. I want to know if IGNOU provides weekend classes for foreign language courses or it is totally self-study based. I want to learn French and doing a full-time job. So full time or regular learning not possible for me.

  8. Hello Sir,
    I am graduating this year in B.E Electronics and Telecommunication Engg and I plan to learn a new language for enhancing my skills and job opportunities in future. Which foreign language do you think i should go for?

  9. Siddhartha Malik

    Dear Mr Vikash,
    I am a father of daughter class 10th, She has selected Humanities as Stream for class 11th. She is studying french in her school from class 4th , and has developed keen interest, in fact she has started teaching french for junior classes. Kindly guide the road map,like where to invest time next two years class 11th and class 12th, which graduation option should be taken,and finally what should be the best target to aim for. She is kind of fascinated to France and foreign countries. As a personality she has very good communication skills and loves to interact with different kind of people. Suggest something which is Highly paid and earns lot of respect.

    Regards
    Siddhartha Malik

    1. Since there is no French in 11th and 12th. Thus, she can continue with the language with the help of any private tutor or any nearby private institutes. After 12th, she can choose a bachelor program that can provide an academic boost for French learners. Some options are marketing like bba, fashion, designing, bachelor in journalism, finance, tourism, and more. In the meanwhile, she can continue with French at any learning centre (part-time) with an aim to complete French proficiency Test DALF C1/C2 by the time she completes her graduation. Then at the end, MBA is one good option. Professionals In-demand degrees and proficient in French will open a whole world of opportunities for her. I wish her all the best in her future endeavors. Read — Career After 12th for Language Learners and Highly Paid Language Jobs.

    2. I am so much interested in learning the French language, so will it provide better career opportunities? I don’t think anything apart from this particular language. So could you suggest me better french classes in Delhi with better career options coz I have only this French language as a career option?

  10. Sir,
    I am student of 12th std of commerce, after giving my boards I am interested in learning a foreign language i.e French or Spanish. Kindly u suggest which language.
    Thanks!

    1. There’s no one absolute best language to learn. Both are equally good European Language to learn. You can choose what you like or as per your personal preferences and future goals.

  11. hello sir!
    I was planning to give A1 DELE examination this may. I would really be thankful if you could suggest me some books which i can refer to while studying for my examination.i would really appreciate your help. Thanks!

    1. While I don’t recommend any specific book for A1, you can try any standard DELE A1 book that covers Listening, Reading and Writing. A1 is a beginners level and quite easy and you can pass through self-study. After clearing A1, I’d suggest you join any learning centre for regular classes for A2 to C1. Read — DELE Exam in India

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