Why study French?
Often, people do not see the value of a foreign language that is not immediately spoken in the community and is not used as frequently as other foreign languages. As someone who loves the French language, it is heartbreaking to see the closed-mindedness of society when it comes to studying something different, deeming it as “worthless”. Is any language truly worthless? I can assure you that French is an extremely useful language to know and can enrich student learning across the board. In fact, studying a foreign language in general helps to improve communication skills as well as critical thinking skills. It also broadens their general knowledge of a world outside of their own, so to speak. It helps to build an appreciation of diverse cultures and peoples.
Why study French when there are so few schools offering it?
Why not take the opportunity while it is still available? Since Spanish courses are so readily available, it may be best to hold off taking it in high school if given another option. Did you know that studying French can actually help if you eventually choose to study Spanish as well? The reason why Spanish is the first choice for high school foreign language curriculum is because the United States now has a very large population of Spanish-speaking people and we are very close to Central and South America, where the majority of people speak Spanish. Chinese is important purely because they are an economic rival to the U.S. and their population outnumbers ours greatly, so we are trying to stay competitive. We also have a large number of Chinese Americans and new immigrants from China. Did you know that more people speak English in China than in the United States? Is that what international studies is all about, though? What about studying different groups of people, if possible? 'The more, the merrier' is what I say! The French language is a primary or secondary national language spoken on all continents except Australia (and Antarctica, but let's not get TOO particular).
What does all this have to do with ME??
French also has some very deep internal connections with native English speakers. Did you know that a third of all English words are from French origin? In language study, we call these words "borrowed words" and "cognates," depending on whether or not they were changed to conform to English pronunciation and spelling rules. It is also one of the five official languages of the United Nations, for anyone interested in becoming a diplomat! In the European Union, French is tied with German in the number of people who know either one as a second language. By the way, French is also considered a romance language (a language of Latin origin), and is very similar to other languages spoken in Europe, especially Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.
We are becoming a global, technology-based society.
French is also one of the top 10 languages of Internet users. Previously, it was second only to English, but as Internet popularity rose, so did the numbers of other foreign language users. In France, they greatly value technology and have contributed much to the world of science, both historically speaking and in present day. If you've ever heard the names Marie Curie (discovered radioactivity and radiation therapy as well as two elements: polonium and radium), Louis Pasteur (invented vaccinations, microbial fermentation which makes things like yogurt, and the pasteurization process) or René Descartes (inventor of Cartesian mathematics, which is basically graphing on an x-y axis, and much more), then you have already heard of French people with very important contributions to our world as it is today!
France has produced some awesome writers...
You have probably heard of Victor Hugo if you are a fan of Les Misérables, but there is a plethora of other French authors who have made important contributions to the world of literature. Voltaire (Candide), Alexandre Dumas (The Three Musketeers), Jules Verne (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea), Racine (Phèdre), Molière (Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme), Antoine de St-Exupéry (Le Petit Prince), and many, MANY more...the list goes on and on! French writers have earned the most Nobel Prizes in literature in the WORLD!
It can lead to a fantastic vacation spot!
France has a little bit of something for everyone...beaches on the Cote d'Azur along the Mediterranean, skiing in the French Alps, visiting museums and monuments in Paris, see the beautiful but heartbreaking WWII monuments in Normandy, get a taste of Germany mixed with France in Alsace or Lorraine: wining, dining, horseback riding...you name it, they probably have it! ...Except camel riding, they may NOT have that...but Morocco and Algeria do, and they speak French as well. From the Caribbean to the Mediterranean (and beyond), there are many wonderful French-speaking places to visit.
Colleges love it.
Take as many French courses as your school offers (this applies to any foreign language, actually)! Not only is studying a language a requirement for most high schools, but most colleges have a foreign language requirement as well. Showing dedication to a particular path of study makes you look like a more dedicated student in general. Not to say that being well-rounded is a bad thing, either. It just seems a bit more impressive to get more in-depth with a language than to take just one year of all of them. It shows that you are up for an academic challenge. Seize it!
French is a language of love...as much as it is a business language.
Stereotypically, male students shy away from the French language, seeing it as more feminine than other language options. I cannot begin to tell you how far from the truth that is! French is a language for everyone. Not only do its unique accents impress people who hear them, but many jobs require knowledge of a second language. The U.S. is in good trading relations with France and Canada. Just go to Dollar Tree, for example, and you will see that many of their products are labeled in both English and French! If you think you may want to pursue a career in business, I highly recommend taking French. It has long been ranked one of the top languages used in business, since it was once known as an international common language…that is until English gained popularity.