Poster by one of my former students
All language teachers find themselves advocating for the study of languages, and specifically for their own language. Here are some of the reasons to learn French that I share with students, parents, and anyone else willing to listen! Some of these reasons are academic, some are personal, some are professional, many are specific to French, and a few of them are more general and apply to language learning in general. Happy advocating!
Reasons to learn any language:
1. Each year, an estimated 200,000 Americans lose out on jobs because they don't speak another language (Source). Learning French will bolster your résumé and give you skills that you just may find yourself using at work.
2. Learning a language is thought to slow the effects of Alzheimer's and dementia (Source). French will keep your brain sharper for longer!
3. Learning a language increases gray matter in your brain (Source). In other words, learning French will just plain make you smarter!
4. Studies show that students who learn another language do better on standardized tests (Source). French will improve your grades!
5. People who speak more than one language statistically earn more money that those who do not (Source). French will make you more money!
Reasons to learn French specifically:
6. French is considered the second most influential language in the world after English. (Source)
7. French may be the most spoken language in the world by 2050. (Source)
8. French is spoken on every continent (except Antarctica).
9. French is spoken in over 40 countries.
10. French is an official language in over 30 countries and territories.
11. Many international companies, such as Dannon, Lacoste, Nestlé, and, L'Oréal, are headquartered in a francophone country.
12. With over 40 francophone countries in the world, chances are you live near one!
13. With over 300 million speakers in the world, you open yourself up to countless potential personal and professional relationships by understanding their language or having this language in common with someone.
14. French is an official language of a number of international organizations including the International Olympic Committee, the United Nations, and the Red Cross.
15. Do you enjoy comic books? In French-speaking countries, comic books are a beloved part of the culture. Astérix and Tintin are two very famous comic book stars whose tales were originally written in French.
16. After English, French is the most popular second language. (Source)
17. Interested in fashion? Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, and Christian Louboutin are just a few of the French designers that dominate the fashion industry. With headquarters in Paris, and with Paris being one of the world's fashion hubs, chances are your work will take you there.
18. Millions (maybe even billions) of English words come from French. That's…a lot!… of words that you will have little to no trouble understanding right off the bat!
19. Pursuing a career in science? France, Canada and Switzerland (all francophone countries) all rank among the top ten countries with greatest scientific impact (Source).
20. French is a romance language, meaning it is derived from Latin. Once you learn French, you'll have a much easier time learning other romance languages, such as Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian.
21. Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. By learning French, you'll be able to experience Paris to the fullest extent.
22. Hollywood may reign supreme over the film industry today, but the French more or less invented it. The Lumière brothers are credited as the first to make moving pictures. The French film industry claims a number of acclaimed cinéastes, many of them pioneers of their trade. The list includes Auguste and Louis Lumière themselves, Georges Méliès, Jean-Luc Godard, Jean Renoir, Marcel Carné, Luc Besson, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Learn French and understand their films and thousands of others in a way that subtitles alone can't convey (yes, some of them made silent films, but through studying their culture you will gain an enhanced understanding of those films as well).
23. Croissants, baguettes, macarons, crêpes - all food association with the culture of this beautiful language. And since culture and language go hand in hand, chances are you'll encounter these foods as you learn the language.
24. Have francophone heritage? Learn the language of your ancestors!
25. Everything just sounds more beautiful in French!
These last five come from Twitter users. I sent out a Tweet asking for more reasons to add to this list, and here are some responses:
26. From @ChrisKyriacou31: Learning French gives access to another culture, thereby enriching one's life.
27. From @LauraErinParker: Communication with others - I love being able to talk to people in their language. It also makes me more comfortable traveling.
28. From @RogerOkeeffe: To live longer, [according] to research quoted by EU Lingua prog.
29. From @datzespanol2: [I] work with immigrants and want to go back to Africa.
30. From @mmecushmore: I wanted to live abroad. And I did!