10 damn good reasons NOT to study French

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?”

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No, as you can see I did not make this up

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.

14 thoughts on “10 damn good reasons NOT to study French

  1. I appreciate that everyone has different viewpoints, but I have found studying French to be a highly rewarding experience – not least because it’s spoken in countries across the world, each of which have different cultures than the stereotypical one of mainland France. Just because many learners may not reach 100% accuracy in their pronunciation, it doesn’t mean it’s a waste of time trying to achieve that – and I have found that many French people will respect you for speaking their language, since contrary to popular belief they don’t all speak English.

  2. Good idea, Dimitris, I thought about it, but I don’t know if I am ready for the next avalanche of hatred I will receive 🙂

  3. Reason N°1 :
    /i/ has no Nasal counterpart, we just have 3 (4 in the south and in Bretagne, but not everywhere). Every language has it’s unpronounceable sounds, portuguese has many triphtongues, the ‘UK’ english /r/ is so difficult to master, chinese has tons, japanese has the flap /l/, swedish has so many central vowels…

    Reason 1 is as bull as “you should not learn another language because it’s difficult”.

    Reason N°2 :
    French people are different from south to north, east to west, you can’t juste categorize’em like “they don”t like when their language is butchered”. Some like it, some don’t, like in every country i think.

    Reason N°3 :
    Ché pas d’où tu tiens ça , mais tu dois sûrement être un.e homo refoulé.e pour percevoir que les étrangers parlent comment des tapettes. (et j’en suis, donc…)

    Reason N°4 :
    As shown in Mastrix 2, French can be all about swearing. There are to French language :
    – the one that is teached (regretably), a perfect french that sound too perfect – the one that foreigners speak.
    – the one that Frenchies speak, in other words : with lots and lots of slang in it. I find slang beautiful, not so many people do, but we all speak slang to one another. It’s direct, violent and pictury.

    So if you want to speak real french, after you reached a B1 level, find the “merde geneviève” book online, and study it carefully.

    Reason N°5 :
    What kind of reason is that ?

    Reason N°6 :
    Because the american way of life (leading you to become morbidly overweighted) is better ?

    Reason N°7 :
    I think I begin to grasp why you did this one on French, tu t’es fait plaqué, c’est ça ?
    French can be the best language to talk about sex, because of the “contrepétries”, barbaric word for such a beautiful game : you say a sentence, and by swapping 2 sounds, you obtain another sentence, mostly talking about sex. “camouflage à la française”.

    De plus, je comprends pa spourquoi on considère que les français sont plus “horny” que le reste du monde quand on voit les clips de madona ou justin timberlake…

    Reason N°8 :
    Wait a minute, I think you’ve got it reverse. You say that French (accent I presume) is ridiculous, and then you compare it to Frenchies speaking other languages. But… I’ve never seen or heard any foreigners talking antoehr language with the french accent because they’ve learned french before… And some Frenchies can speak other languages without that pity accent, resulting of the poor teaching methods and lack of knowledge by teachers about phonetics…

    Reason N°9 :
    Because everybody thinks English is beautiful and wants to study it – so why should you do the same? Better to explore some uncharted territory.

    Reason N°10 :
    I Agree, but look at some others, would you ? :
    England : Dieu et mon droit (Yes, it’s in French, meaning ‘God and my right’)
    USA : In God we trust. A bit presomptuous don’t you think ?
    Tunisia : حرية، نظام، عدالة (Freedom, Order, Justice) : hum…

    I find some are beautiful :
    Nepal : जननी जन्मभूमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी (Mother and motherland are greater than heaven)
    Scottland : Nemo Me Impune Lacessit (No-one provokes me with impunity)
    South Africa : !ke e: /xarra //ke (Unity in Diversity)

  4. Thank you for you comment. As for point 3, I don’t know, I don’t care, maybe I am a refoulé homosexual, God knows, maybe you are as well 🙂 Since apparently I cannot add a picture in the comments, I put it under point 3, take a look, it’s un francais, saying it! And I said that it is mostly foreigners who sound gay when they speak French.

  5. Well, since I´ve been learning French for quite a long time, let me put in my two cents:

    Reason n1: I would agree with you, if it was impossible to master a good pronounciation. It takes a couple of months to learn how to pronounce these nasal sounds. Still there’s a high chance of being considered “Quebecois” or “Suisse”, I admit 🙂
    Reason n2: Total bullshit. Maybe, you’ve faced some negative experience, but you may come across an intolerant bum just everywhere. I’ve spent some weeks in Nice and everyone was pleased to hear a foreigner speak French. Moreover, when I was just a beginner, my friends were really eager to help me and in fact, they corrected my mistakes patiently, without saying anything bad, even though I tended to butcher the language as if I were Jack the Ripper.
    Reason n3: That depends on the way you speak. But there was only a single guy in our group who sounded like a homosexual (actually, he was gay, small wonder).
    Reason n4: Here I would agree with a person who said that there are two different French languages. This one that is taught to the foreigners is quite witty and elaborate. Still, you’ll have the vibe of an eloquent and intelligent person, speaking like that. The spoken French is totally different and the ways of expressing your thoughts vary from simple to completely ingenious. And tbh, the number of simple things is overwhelming. Anyway, it doesn’t take much time to get used to everyday French.
    Reason n5: French is still one of the official languages of many international organisations. Nuff said.
    Reason n6: That also depends on people. This is not about the depression, but judgmental attitude. But yeah, the French people like to complain about their way of living.
    Reason n7: I’ve heard a lot of mom jokes, that’s true. But this point seems to be absolutely ludicrous.
    Reason n8: “Different” doesn’t mean “ridiculous”. This opinion is 100% personal and it can’t be considered absolute truth. I could find several arguments to prove that Polish, Romanian, Russian and Dutch sound crazy, but it wouldn’t be convincing enough for everyone.
    If you want to say that French people have a noticeable accent when speaking foreign languages, God, everyone in the world experiences some interference caused by the influence of this or that native language. The thing is that les vrais français ne veulent pas qu’on s’adresse à eux en anglais.
    Reason n9: Absurd. Why do you learn English, if a lot of people on the Earth do the same stuff? And concerning the uncharted territory… You know, it remains mysterious and incomprehensible for many of the native speakers(!!!). The French language is really complicated with hundereds of subtle differences and you have to master it for a long time to use all its finesse to the full.
    Reason n10: One more point that won’t survive any criticism. I apologise in advance for what I’m going to tell you, but considering the slogan a good reason not to study any language is the most stupid thing I’ve ever come across.

    In fact, you’ve got only 6 opinions that are more or less objective.

  6. My point exactly, One french (I’m another one, and I’m gay, said it in reason 3) says that he finds some gay tends to speak with some manners in their speech (so, this man is not gay, because this is one of the most idiot things people think about gay men), and add that some foreigners “tend” to imitate that speech (with unknown reasons). You’ve exagerated. I personaly find that most foreigners force themselves to speak in a strange manner, manybe due to marie-antoinette obsessed french teachers, who knows.

  7. Bienvenue parmi les francophones (welcome amongst the french speakers)

  8. Absolutely hilarious article, confirmed many of my suspicions. A refreshing read compared to the endless articles that cloyingly gush about how great all the languages are. Good job

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