Why It's Hard For A French Person To Learn English

La struggle est réelle.
Why It's Hard For A French Person To Learn English

Montreal's language debate is in the news pretty much every week.

And no matter what the issue is, the same comments get repeated over and over:

"You should learn French, you live in Quebec after all."


"You should learn English, it's the universal language of business"

Well it turns out that one side has it much easier than other.

Learning French might be difficult, but according to those who have studied English as a second language, learning in English is fuckin' impossible.

This was pointed out by an Australian Journalist named Gavin Fernando.

Most languages have the same basic structure, but English is borderline sadistic when it comes to rules and exceptions.

Like the way the words "cough", "rough" and "though" don’t rhyme.

That's just evil.

To prove his point, Gavin Fernando mentions a few sentences to show just how confusing English can be:

  • “The bandage was wound around the wound.”
  • “Seeing the tear in the painting made me shed a tear.”
  • “When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.”

And those are just the rules we know about.

There are many obscure, nearly forgotten rules that apply to English you won't believe exist.

A BBC reporter tweeted a picture of a book called The Elements of Eloquence where there is mention of a rule called adjective order.

Things native English speakers know, but don't know we know: pic.twitter.com/Ex0Ui9oBSL

— Matthew Anderson (@MattAndersonBBC) September 3, 2016

When you describe something, there is actually a very specific order to follow. It goes:

"opinion-size-age-shape-color-origin-material-purpose noun."

I'm pretty sure not a single person has followed this rule on purpose in the last 50 years.

We just follow it without realizing because it sounds right.

It works with pretty much any sentence:

"A charming little old round black wooden dinner table."

If you switch a single word, the sentence just sounds wrong:

"A little old round black charming wooden table."

To a native speaker it makes sense, but try explaining this to someone who is learning English as a second language without ripping your hair out.

So basically we should feel bad for anyone trying to learn English as an adult, it really isn't as easy as we think.

Add mtlblog on Snapchat.

Ah, the OQLF, the Quebec agency charged with promoting the French language and enforcing laws that protect it.

In addition to providing resources for French learners and launching campaigns to encourage its use, the office also investigates possible violations of the Charter of the French Language, or Bill 101. Commonly referred to as the collection of the province's "language laws," Bill 101 establishes rules for the use of French in commercial activity.

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The OQLF is working to keep French as the language of business. The office announced that on October 21, a Quebec court fined a Montreal-based real estate broker $1,500 for violating the language law on ads and publications.

Qiang Zhong Inc., a real estate broker, was accused of "not having written in French the commercial publications posted on its Facebook page," according to a press release. The accusation followed a complaint.

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A US Politician Said Canada's French-English Divide Makes It Less 'Successful'

The congressman had a hot take on "why nations fail."

If you're big into the French-English language debate or the Canada vs. U.S. debate, you might want to click out of this article and go listen to some Jean Leloup or something because it could rile you up. Republican U.S. Congressman Glenn Grothman went off on Canada at a House session on November 16 and brought into question the country's success compared to the States.

Grothman used part of his half-hour speech to discuss "why nations fail," saying, "I never felt Canada was quite as successful as America [...] because to a degree their elections pitted the French speakers against the English speakers."

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Let's take a mot-clic #égoportrait. In November 2021, the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) conducted a campaign to get young Quebecers to use French on social media.

Partage ton français Office québécois de la langue française | YouTube

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