After the incredible popularity (for about 17 minutes everybody on the internet seemed to be talking just about this) that our recent piece “8 reasons NOT to study German” gave us, we decided to double down on it. It is true that we received a lot of hatred too (which seems to be another reason why you should not study German, after all, everybody knows that Germans have a lot of sense of humor, don’t they?), but attention feels so good, even if hatred does not. Only shallow personalities do not encounter the occasional avalanche of negative reactions, and that’s just ok, because you know what, just about anything is better than shallow.
Some commentators replied that our previous text was plain idiotic, because, you know, it is worth to learn any language, even it is spoken by two hundred or twenty people, learning any language would be “personal enrichment”, and the sole thought that some languages might be less worth learning than other ones would be an insult. How fantastic. In theory, I do not necessarily disagree with that. Only, after having tried to learn just about every single language in Europe, I think I have become a bit wiser and have realized that learning Cimru or Plattdeutsch or Neapolitan would not give me much in terms of personal enrichment other that some sort of narcissistic satisfaction and frankly I just don’t have time for this. So to all the advocates of learning a language for the pure pleasure of learning a language I would just reply that pleasure, even in the form of “personal enrichment” is not my motivation: in the end, if you want to prove me wrong, learn Albanian or Sicilian for that matter and write to me in one of those two languages in a couple of months. Until then, I will be of the persuasion that your idea that it is worth to study any language is just hypocritical politically correct bull.
So here comes the next hit piece:
Reason no. 1
You will never speak French like a French. It is not that the people don’t want to understand you when you try to speak to them, they really just can’t. All these “a”, “e”, “i”, “o” nasal sounds seem to be intentionally constructed by the citizens of la Grande Nation to quickly distinguish who is one of them and from those who clearly are not and will never be. Class is something you are born with, after all.
Reason no. 2
French is a language of high culture (and people know it). It is better to pretend that you do not speak any French at all than to butcher their language (very important factor indeed, every time you want to study a language, you ideally would have to ask yourself: how tolerant are the people whose language you want to study to language butchering?). People will respect you more if you discretely say you don’t speak the language but only understand some, they might even compliment you by saying that you speak French “a little bit”. Or to put another way: French is for smugs. Some can, some cannot.
Reason no. 3
French sounds gay. Ever noticed that you sound more gay as soon as you uttering your first word in French? Some French actually remarked this to me: “Why do all foreigners sound so homosexual when they try to speak French?”
Reason no. 4
French is too beautiful for you. Like Italian, French is a language which is spoken artistically. There is no place for straight talk and easy ways to say things are dismissed as simple or trivial. Problem is if you need to speak beautifully while using the language, you will get used to speak about everything in a beautiful and elaborated way; you will end up mystifying the brutal reality of our lives, which is often ugly and harsh and cannot be rendered by some witty turn of phrase.
Reason no. 5
French is so passé. It used to be the language of diplomacy until World War I. Now it is not anymore – there must be a good reason for this.
Reason no. 6
Because in spite of the myth about la joie de vivre, depression is an epidemic in France. French wine is a not an universal panacea, apparently.
Reason no. 7
Because talking about sex is indecent, but the French do not seem to be able to grasp it. If you are uncomfortable with constant jokes about your qualities as a lover, forget French.
Reason no. 8
Because it sounds ridiculous. And please, do not repeat the same old story that the French accent is sexy, it sounds just lame in fact (ever heard un vrai francais speaking a foreign language? You get the idea); you won’t get laid more if you study some French.
Reason no. 9
Because everybody thinks French is beautiful and wants to study it – so why should you do the same? Better to explore some uncharted territory.
Reason no. 10
Because liberté, égalité, fraternité is the most hypocritical slogan of all times.