Whether you are a world traveller, an international student, an entrepreneur who is looking for new leads and opportunities, or a retiree who is curious about other cultures and wants to explore the world, language is always an essential skill. French is a lingua franca in countless fields, namely in business and diplomacy.
With over 300 million speakers around the globe, French continues to display its popularity. If you are considering taking French lessons in Singapore here are some reasons why you should learn French, among all other languages.
Some key figures (according to La Francophonie):
321 million French speakers in the world
93 million students use French as their learning medium
51 million people learn French
5th world language
4th language on the internet
Rich in culture
France is extremely rich in culture, which has influenced people around the globe in many ways. From the world-renowned literature of Victor Hugo and Balzac to fashion powerhouses like Chanel and Dior; and from museums of great names such as Musée du Louvre and Musée d’Orsay to the gastronomic heaven with world-class restaurants run by great chefs like Alain Ducasse and Guy Savoy.
Learning French gives people access to a genuine experience of the abundant culture, as France will never cease to amaze you no matter where your interests lie!
The official language of world organizations, diplomacy, and business
French is one of the official languages of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, as well as the Olympics (anecdote: the founder of the International Olympics Committee, Pierre de Coubertin, embodied his French heritage and Romance languages in the IOC which remains). When it comes to diplomacy and international relations, the French language plays a crucial role. Not to mention that French is the official language of 29 countries.
Besides, French is a widely spoken language in the business world, it is undoubtedly one of the most sought-after skills employers are looking for. For businesses that aspire to grow in the European and/or African markets, French is a major asset.
In Europe, French is one of the three work languages used in the European Union and its importance is expected to grow continuously. And as the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, once described, “Africa is the continent of the future”. Besides, Francophone countries possess 16% of the world’s wealth. With the ability to speak French, plenty of business opportunities await.
Studying in France (low tuition fees and high quality & worldwide recognized higher education program
France is renowned for its quality higher education with some of the best-ranked public universities in the world, and its incredibly low tuition fees. To many people’s surprise, most public universities in France are free of charge, for both local and international students! Students only have to pay a one-off registration fee, about 500 EUR for bachelor’s degrees.
The public universities in France are not only affordable but also of high quality. Although universities in the UK and the USA lead the world rankings (according to Times), some French universities rank among the top, with scientific subjects standing out in particular, such as physical science and computer science. Other leading areas include law, health, and medicine, as well as business and economics.
The challenge is, however, most public university programs are taught in French. Most require students to have at least a B2 level of French to be considered for admission. When foreign students aim to apply to a university in France, it is recommended to start learning French at a younger age, to reach the level needed for university entrance and feel at ease with the program taught mainly in French.
You may say that your children are not pursuing an education in France but elsewhere, such as in the UK, but does it mean that learning French is irrelevant? Not really. Based on the British Council’s language trends report 2022, French continues to be the most taught foreign language in primary schools in England. No matter at what age your children plan to study abroad, it would always be an asset to equip them with the skills to speak French.
A beautiful language that helps you understand other Romance languages
Without trying to romanticize it, French is undeniably one of the most beautiful languages in the world, both factual and perceptual-wise. It is somewhat rather “emotional” than “rational”. The French language can indeed be logical, as seen in the way numbers are formed: quatre-vingt-dix-neuf (4 x 20 + 10 + 9) is how you say ninety-nine in French. However, French can be ambiguous at the same time, and this is the beauty of the language.
The English language has the power to convey an accurate message with only a few words. There is not much room for imagination or ambiguity. French, however, depends more on the context, the same word can mean different things in different sentences.
Besides, the way sentences are formed in French is also somewhat poetic. To say “I miss you” in French is “tu me manques”, which means “you are missing from me”. Beautiful, no?