French courses at UW Colleges
French language classes are offered at many local campuses and the language is not as hard as you think! Although pronunciation in French may take a bit longer to develop, it is as consistent as Spanish pronunciation (and both are much easier to decipher from the written word than English!). Grammar and sentence structure in French is often more similar to English than it is in Spanish. In short, each language has its easy and difficult points.
Why study French?
As for practicality, in addition to the general reasons for language learning, here are a number of reasons to study French in particular:
- Proficiency in French increases your job prospects. A U.S. State Department study of the international job market at the turn of the millennium indicates that over 50%of international jobs require or prefer candidates to speak French.
- French is the second most influential language in the world. Language Today, a publication for language professionals, ranked French second only to English at the turn of the millennium.
- Canada, whose official languages are French and English, is the primary trading partner of the United States. With NAFTA, more and more products will be marketed in Canada and companies will require French-speaking employees.
- France ranks 4th in the world in terms of Gross National Product. Plus, over 1,200 French companies have investments in the U.S., and these French companies employ over 400,000 Americans annually.
- France is the #1 tourist destination in the world. The number of people visiting France per year is greater than its entire population.
- In over 20 African countries, French is used for government and business. There is a strong French influence in North Africa, West Africa, and Central Africa.
- French is an official language of many international organizations. It is an official language at the United Nations, the Red Cross, the International Monetary Fund, the World Health Organization, UNESCO, and the International Olympic Committee.
- French is spoken on dozens of islands all over the globe. Including islands in the South Pacific, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, and the Mediterranean.
- All three branches of the European Union are headquartered in French-speaking countries. EU headquarters are located in Belgium, France, and Luxembourg.
- French is an official language in the United States. The State of Louisiana's official languages are French and English.
Information courtesy of the American Association of Teachers of French