Any Nigerian who speaks French is open to a whole contemporary culture and many beautiful acquaintances. There are a lot of reasons for learning this beautiful language. French is spoken by more than 220 million people around the world. It is the international language of cuisine, film (learning French with films), fashion, theatre, visual arts, and dance. It is worth learning French!
But there are always people who worry about the French language’s difficulty and struggle with the language’s hurdles. Some find pronouncing French words a daunting task.
What is Hard About the French Language?
When students stumble across the various articles in the French language again, they rightly ask themselves: how hard is it to learn French in Nigeria? And we can confirm that there are some differences between French and the English language and that the French language has some pitfalls and hurdles.
Accordingly, there are several reasons why French may be more complex to learn than other languages. But don't worry, we also have some tips on the best way to learn French and how you can overcome these hurdles and maybe even speak fluent French someday.
You can find the best French tutors in Nigeria at Superprof.
The French pronunciation is considered difficult
French is not considered to be one of the most melodic languages in the world for nothing. But that is precisely what makes the language so difficult for some people. Not everyone gets along with the French pronunciation and all of its exceptions. Also, in everyday French, words are pronounced remarkably quickly and therefore sound different. In English, there are five vowels. These five vowels are also pronounced in a certain way.
With French vowels, it looks very different, and so unstressed vowels sound very different from stressed ones. Also, there are accents in French that completely change the sound of a word. But only if the accents are above an e. The biggest problems for most native Nigerians who learn French are the vowels that are pronounced nasally. This happens when there is a vowel in the syllable before an n or m.
The following nasal vowels exist in French:
- to: dans, chant
- en: prendre, bien
- in: matin, main
- on: maison
- un: lundi
Most consonants are pronounced the same way in French as they are in English. When asked is it hard to learn French, you should also keep this fact in mind. Sometimes the consonants are pronounced differently. We have compiled the exceptions for you here:
- Pronunciation of the letter c: if the vowels a, o, or u follow a c, it is pronounced like the English [k], as in "culture.” Otherwise, there is a ç. If the vowels follow e or i, the c is pronounced like [s], as with “cent.”
- Pronunciation of the letter g: if the vowels a or o follow a g, it is pronounced like [g], as with gai. If the vowels follow e or i, the g is pronounced like [ʒ], like in giraffe.
- Pronunciation of the letter h: in French, there is the silent h, as in l'hôtel or the breathtaking h as in hasard.
There are some hurdles that French pronunciation presents to us Nigerians, but you can easily overcome them if you are aware of them. An app for learning French, for example, can help you with this.
The French conjugation has many exceptions
There are many different tenses in French, all of which are conjugated differently and with numerous exceptions. There are three groups of verbs in French, which are conjugated according to their affiliation, which you will find in every book about learning French and which unfortunately you cannot avoid:
- Verbs ending in -er (except all)
- Verbs ending in -ir
- All other verbs, often irregular
In addition to the regularly conjugated verbs, there are countless irregular verbs in French. This makes the conjugation of French verbs seem quite complicated.
The French family
Determining the correct gender in French is like Pandora's box, full of surprises that could not have been foreseen. All nouns in French have a gender: they are either masculine, feminine, or indefinite. If you are new to French, you should learn each word directly with the article because this is where the language’s biggest pitfalls lie.
So anyone who learns the word ' house' should know straight away that it means “la maison.” This is important not only to come out as a newbie but also because the adjectives refer to the gender of the noun they are describing in French. In French, unlike in English or German, every form, i.e., singular or plural, differentiates between gender. So you can't say “they” to a group of people, as in English, without thinking about whether they are women or men (Elles/Ils).
False friends present pitfalls
The treacherous false friends are words in a language similar to words in another language but have a completely different meaning. Is it hard to learn French? Maybe it is. Among other things, because of false friends. They ensure that English speakers such as Nigerians sometimes use completely wrong words to form a French sentence.
We have put together some examples for you:
|Subjunctive present||subjunctive imperfect||conditional present||imperative||present participle|
|Je||que je finisse||que je finisse||finirais||finissant|
|Tu||que tu finisses||que tu finisses||finirais||finis|
|Il/elle/on||qu'il finisse||qu'il finît||finirait|
|Nous||que nous finissions||que nous finissions||finirions||finissons|
|Vous||que vous finissiez||que vous finissiez||finiriez||finissez|
|Ils/elles||qu'ils finissent||qu'ils finissent||finiraient|
These little quirks make for funny moments for native speakers when non-native speakers use them in French.
The plural form can be a hurdle
The plural form is actually quite simple in French, similar to English: most nouns simply add an -s. “La voiture” becomes “les voitures” or “le chien” becomes “les chiens.” So far so good. But is it hard to learn French? Well, because of the exceptions. And there are also some of them when it comes to the plural form.
For nouns ending in -s, -x, or -z, the plural form is the same as the singular form :
- le prix remains les prix
- le fils remains les fils
There is another kind of exception, namely nouns ending in -au, -eau, -eu, -ou, al, or -il. The ending x forms the plural of these nouns. These exceptions should be internalized before asking yourself, is it hard to learn french?
Three Reasons Why Learning French is Not Hard
The above are some of the reasons some people would say French is hard. But how hard is it to learn French in Nigeria? We have put together some reasons why learning French is not that hard!
You never start from scratch
If you want to learn Chinese or the Japanese language, you usually start without any prior knowledge. This is not the case with the French language. Most people in Nigeria know a lot of French words and have perhaps even been to France. Some terms are similar in French and English, and anyone who learned a few Latin words in school will quickly notice the similarities.
French is not that hard to pronounce
As mentioned earlier, French pronunciation can seem difficult. But it is not. Numerous rules govern French pronunciation. This may seem complicated at first, but it only helps you with learning. Despite all the problems, it is known that many words end with silent letters, as in the case of comment ça va?. You know the rules and are often surrounded by the French language in everyday life, so it is easier to learn the pronunciation than it seems.
French, the Romance language
French is one of the Romance languages, so it originally comes from Latin. That is why the language is very similar to Spanish and Italian. So if you speak one of these languages, you have a significant advantage in learning French.
Sign up at Superprof today; let’s show you how to learn French easily!
Tips to learn French
French indeed has some pitfalls and hurdles for beginners. But we have put together some tips for you to make learning French easier. As with any language, one thing applies: Practice makes perfect! If you want to learn a new language, you must constantly surround yourself with it and immerse yourself entirely in the language pattern. So you should have enough motivation before you decide to learn French. So think about why exactly you want to learn French. There are many reasons to learn such a beautiful language.
You should also be specific and make a plan. If you want to learn a new language, you should proceed in a structured manner. Learning with a French tutor makes sense because they have a lot of experience and can respond to your individual learning goals and previous knowledge.
It is also important not to be afraid of making mistakes. No matter how insecure you feel, you should just talk about it. This is the only way to make rapid progress in a language like French. Therefore, the answer to the question, "is french hard to learn as a Nigerian"? - is a BIG NO! With the right motivation and ambition, you will quickly master the language of love.
You can find French Lessons in Nigeria at Superprof. Get started today!
Click here to know What Length of Time is Required to Learn French?