The Pros and Cons of Learning French
Why you SHOULDN'T learn French - The Cons
1. It will crush your soul.
Like a grape.
Imagine this: you have been studying like an obsessed person with a will of iron, pouring your heart into figuring out this intricate language. Now! You feel proud of yourself. You are finally getting somewhere with this. You feel equipped enough to tune into a French radio station, or watch a French movie for the first time.
What language is this? You double check the movie/radio station's intended language. It says French, but this jumble of words cannot be French. You proceed to burn every one of your French learning programs, walk slowly into your room, and cry on the bed.
French, in particular, is a difficult language to hear if you have never been exposed to it before. Emphasis on difficult. For a few minutes, you may even consider jumping into your homemade funeral pyre and wither away along with those traitorous books and dvds.
2. It's time consuming. You may never have a social life ever again. Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration, but after all, it does take an almost 600 hours of studying to become fluent. At first, you will sacrifice your brain for as many hours as possible to achieve this status. Afterwards, you will become a slave to this innocent-sounding tongue. Fluency takes a crap load of work!
3. People will be mean to you. (note: this goes for ANY language and people. Whether someone is new to German, Spanish, even English, ANYTHING. There will be at least one native jerkhole to mess up their day)
Once you get the courage to use your developing skill and speak to a francophone, you'll meet some interesting people. Oh, yes, some will be very decent to you, and might even throw you a compliment! But others will make you hide your head under a rock.
It's happened to me before. You walk up to a person - maybe to attempt a friendship, or merely to ask for directions - and begin a French conversation. You talk slowly, or mispronounce a word. Something changes in the person's eyes. You can practically hear them thinking: oh, another stupid American butchering my native tongue. They proceed to answer you in rapid French. Like, REALLY, rapid French. Seriously,even a Frenchman would find it hard to understand them at this point. Now, all you can do is nod your head and run to the woods for cover as soon as possible.
OK... so why learn French? - The Pros
1. French is a beautiful language that can turn out to be very useful. It is one that is spoken in multiple countries, some of which, might surprise you. Of course, the French speak it, but the language is also spoken in Switzerland, parts of Africa, some areas of Louisiana, and in the province of Quebec, Canada, as well as many other locations.
2. You can make new friends. (Or meet the love of your life. What if your significant other doesn't speak English? Get cracking.)
Not only can you make French-speaking friends, but you should definitely make French-speaking friends. In order to actually reach fluency, you have to drag your head out of the textbook - by the hair, if you have too. You will meet so many wonderful people that you would never have known! The first time using a new language is scary, but:
3. It is so very rewarding. Despite the fear you will feel letting your first French words out into the air, landing in the ear of a native, I can promise you, it will most definitely be worth it. Just getting a response from the person - knowing that you were understood - is the most incredible feeling. It will also drive you to study harder, with renewed energy!
4. Learning a new language is good for your brain. It's a fact. Your mind will get a workout that will enhance your reasoning and logic skills. Learning any skill, particularly language and music, will increase your brain's performance on several levels.
5. ...You really need no reason.
The usability of the French language is an upside. That being said, a language doesn't need a use in order to learn it. Knowing a language opens doors in your life as well as in your mind. It is a pathway to understanding a people, as well as widening your view of the world. If the language calls to you, answer it fearlessly! Do you want to learn French? (Here is when you scream 'fricken' yeah!') I thought so! The next time someone asks you why you are beating your brains out in order to learn French as a second language, you respond with: "I want to."
You don't owe anyone a better explanation.
So! If you are learning French, please feel free to share your joys and struggles with the language in the comments! Au revoir!