If you are quite familiar with Nigerian history, you will agree that there was a time when Nigerians only spoke in their native dialects. There was no formal school system, and children learned everything necessary from their parents, including their mother-tongue.
But everything changed with the arrival of the colonial masters. They came with a formal school system, among other things. Children who were privileged to attend school had to learn English as a second language, for this was the language the colonial masters spoke.
Hence, English became a core subject in the formal education system. As the system evolved and became more advanced, more subjects and languages such as French were introduced.
In this article, we shall consider some of the reasons to learn French as a Nigerian.
Advantages of Learning Foreign Languages
Good foreign language skills are not only necessary when you go on vacation but might serve other purposes that could be beneficial to you, even though many Nigerians take these languages for granted. Learning a language has many advantages!
We are already confronted with the English language during primary school. But even after school, it makes perfect sense to improve your existing language skills or even learn an entirely new language. How so? Here are five good reasons why it makes sense to bring your language skills up to speed.
Learning Languages Promotes Your Intercultural Competence
Local customs, humour, language, and culture can often only be understood if you immerse yourself in a country’s language.
Often, native speakers of a particular language find it incredibly impressive when you speak their language, even when your fluency is low. You don’t have to be perfect! They will undoubtedly be happy to help you if you are missing a vocabulary or your grammar is not entirely correct.
Due to globalization, our world is growing closer and closer together, and with your understanding of another language, you contribute to the general knowledge of the nations.
Above all, the perspective that you could live in a country where others like to go on vacation should be motivation enough to polish up your linguistic skills.
Learning Languages Makes You Smarter, Even in Old Age
According to experts, when you speak more than one language, you are continually training your brain cells. By constantly switching between two languages, you increase your memory and your intelligence in general. It is recognized by psychologists, speech therapists, and teachers of foreign languages that the study of the French language helps develop spatial thinking, attention, and aesthetic feelings.
The French language helps to quickly master various logical chains and also deduce an exact sequence of actions. That is why teachers recommend starting learning French at an early age (up to 6-7 years).
The benefits of learning French are innumerable. Even in old age, another language positively influences your brain functions and can even delay dementia for years.
Learning Languages Opens New Doors For You in Your Professional Life
Today, many companies are looking for candidates who are fluent in several languages such as Mandarin, Portuguese, and French. Your language skills can open many doors for you in Nigeria and if you want to work in the USA or a more exotic continent such as Europe or Asia. Your job prospects in globally operating companies are innumerable.
Yes, your language skills can even have a positive effect on your salary.
Learning Languages is Fun and Connects You With Other People
As a Nigerian, if you have the opportunity to travel or study abroad, especially to a country where they speak other languages, you will likely be amazed at how quickly you can learn a language. For example, if you attend a language school where the language is spoken or where you take language courses. Often you attend classes with many people of different nationalities from all over the world, and you also have the option to live with a host family and apply what you have learned there directly.
This often leads to lifelong friendships, and you then have contacts from all over the world that you could visit in the future. And yes, many people also find accents incredibly attractive!
Learning Languages Makes You More Open And Tolerant
When you learn a new language, not only is it incredibly enriching, but it also makes you more open and broadens your horizons. Suppose you can make yourself be understood in another language. In that case, it automatically makes you more tolerant and self-confident, and you have fewer inhibitions about talking to other people, be it when travelling or at work. And isn’t it great if you can order your food in the local language, have an everyday chat in the supermarket or ask for directions?
As you can see, there are many good reasons to learn a new language. So, are you still asking why study French?
Why Should I Learn French as a Nigerian?
Are you looking for one of the best languages or a language course to learn this year? Excellent! Here are a few good reasons to learn French so that your motivation doesn’t deteriorate in the long term.
Connect With Many People
The great, sadly deceased, Nelson Mandela once said, "When you speak to a person in a language he understands, you reach his mind. But when you talk to him in your language, you reach his heart." Approximately 300 million people in the world speak French, so you can communicate with every 25th person on the planet if you learn this language. French is the first language in 29 countries worldwide and the second most widely learned European language after English.
Also, most of the countries surrounding Nigeria are French-speaking countries. So, if your question is, ‘Why should we learn French as Nigerians?’ This is reasoning enough for you to add French to your repertoire.
Be Diplomatic (And Understand World History Better)
French is the darling of the diplomatic sphere. It is the language of proceedings of the European Union, the only language used in the European Court of Justice Proceedings, and one of the United Nations' working languages.
The French’s historical significance is also immense, especially in Africa, where the colonial era - and French use among the colonial rulers, many of whom came from France and Belgium - brought different ethnic groups together under a common, French-speaking roof. And for this reason, if you can speak the language, you can communicate far beyond France’s borders. This should be of interest to anyone who wants to understand African history and culture better. So, if your question is, ‘Why should I learn French as a Nigerian?’ I guess you’ve found your answer. Go for that French course today!
Art, Literature, And Fashion
If you deal with world literature, whether in school or elsewhere, you can hardly ignore France’s literary heroes. These include Albert Camus and Alexandre Dumas, among others. Especially in the 19th century, French literature significantly influenced the subjects, the writing style, and the general immersion of literature in other countries.
When it comes to fashion, Paris is still the undisputed metropolis, and for a good reason. World-famous houses like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, or Dior are located here, which have always redefined what style is - and which still do it today with the same verve. Suppose you want to understand French art and literature or understand the ubiquitous ‘je ne sais quoi’ that defines the French culture and style. In that case, the advantages of learning French cannot be overemphasized.
The Romance Language
In medieval France in the 12th century, people did not marry for love. Marriage was an economic, social, and religious arrangement, while love was something one idealized and celebrated. Here, the troubadours’ tradition arose; they entertained the noble ladies and gentlemen at court and in their castles with love songs and poems, which inspired knights and mercenaries who returned from battle to woo the ladies with beautiful words. Learning French may help you become a better lover. Nursing doubts? A trial will convince you!
Are these not reasons to start learning French right now or choose this language for your child?
And if you still doubt the above arguments and have not yet decided for yourself whether it is difficult to learn French, then answer the following questions:
- Do you understand what Aya Nakamura is singing about?
- Have you ever read the best quotes from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery or Balzac or by Alexandre Dumas in the original?
- Do you want to link your career or business with French companies?
- Do you want to live in France or come there often?
- Why do you think Tatyana Larina wrote a letter to Onegin in French?
- Do you want to flaunt your knowledge of the language and dishes in front of an arrogant waiter in a French restaurant?
Answering these questions will help you understand the cultural and international importance of the French language. Good luck to you and your children in exploring new horizons!