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5 Reasons Your Child Should Study French

5 Reasons Your Child Should Study French

Young children learn new languages more quickly than adults. However, many parents aren’t sure which other languages their children should learn. Learning the French language is an excellent choice for many reasons.

  • The number of people worldwide speaking the French language is increasing, largely due to growth across African nations.
  • Opportunities for French speakers are on the rise, but supply is not keeping up with the demand.
  • You’ll find French influences in cultures all over the globe in the fields of business, art, and travel.

When you hear people talk about the value of speaking a foreign language, you usually listen as they mention languages such as Spanish, Japanese, or Mandarin Chinese. Rarely does anyone mention the benefits of learning French. However, it’s more valuable than other languages in some ways. Whether you're a child or an adult, here are five good reasons to learn French as a second language.

French Is Everywhere

French is the sixth most widely spoken language worldwide, but that may not tell the whole story about its significance as a foreign language. French is an active, vibrant, and growing language around the globe, and it shows no sign of slowing down.

  • French is the official language of 29 countries on five continents. It’s not limited to European countries or those in North America.
  • More than 270 million people worldwide speak French, either as their native language or a second.
  • French is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.
  • Experts believe that, by 2025, the number of French speakers will overtake the number of German speakers to make French the most spoken language in all of the European Union.
  • A recent Forbes article suggested that the French language could become even more prominent than English worldwide, based on current population trends. It is one of the world’s fastest-growing languages.
  • The International Organization of French Speaking Countries includes 84 nations.

French Facilitates Travel

When your children acquire French language skills at an early age, the opportunities available to them worldwide are almost endless. Whether they travel for employment or just for fun, people fluent in French can communicate and enjoy themselves in fabulous places such as Paris, Quebec, and Switzerland, to name just a few. French also serves as an excellent common ground when traveling. For example, suppose you meet someone on a trip who speaks primarily Spanish and French as a second language. You speak English with French as a second language. Though you don’t share a primary language, you can still communicate, even in countries where French is not the official language. 

While the French language is commonly associated with countries in the European Union, it is proliferating in other countries. Particularly on the African continent, French is the predominant language of business in some regions. The number of people speaking French is exploding across Africa, which now has some of the fastest-growing populations fluent in the French language.

French Opens Up New Learning Opportunities

Through its contributions to history, art, music, and more, France has influenced the rest of the world greatly. People who speak the French language can more easily recognize and connect to that influence. For example, a multilingual person who speaks French can read and understand the news media from French-speaking countries, online publications, or television broadcasts. The perspective of learning about current events in French-speaking countries from their local media sources is much different than learning about them translated into an English vocabulary.

If your child is interested in the arts, learning French as a second language is incredibly beneficial. Besides the many great French writers, the French culture devours foreign literature far more than English-speaking countries. The BBC reports that roughly nine times more foreign literature is available in France than in English-speaking countries. In the world of the visual arts, the Cannes Film Festival, perhaps the most famous annual event of its kind, draws in films from around the world. France is also home to world-famous museums such as the Louvre. Visiting these iconic locations is more enjoyable when you speak the official language and don’t need to rely on translations.

French Is In Demand

As the fifth-largest economy globally, France continues to create job and cultural opportunities around the world. American companies need people who are fluent in French to do business with French companies through international communication. Though Spanish is the most common second language taught in the United States educational system, the number of fluent French students is limited. While there may be more opportunities for people who speak Spanish, many more people are available to fill those roles. While opportunities for fluent French-speaking people are growing, the number of candidates is not, which creates a shortage that drives up the skill's value.

French Is Not So Difficult for English Speakers to Learn

French is one of the romance languages. French and English share many words in their respective vocabularies, making learning French easier for English-speaking students. Once you’ve learned French, other languages may come easier since they too draw heavily from French. Since children can learn French reasonably quickly and easily, it’s a great way to boost young learners' confidence.

Where Can I Learn More?

At International School of Denver, we strive to provide your children a multilingual education that prepares them for opportunities as members of the world community. Children who experience foreign language study as part of a multilingual education demonstrate improved performance on standardized testing, improved cognitive and critical thinking skills, and greater confidence in social situations. At ISD, we offer instruction in four languages, English, Spanish, Chinese, and French. Even when school is on break, we provide multiple enrichment opportunities for your children to keep their skills sharp.

The French Ministry of National Education accredits our French language classes, and our French program is taught exclusively by native French speakers. Our highly qualified instructors know how to make learning French enjoyable for their students. We follow the same three-cycle learning plan as the French educational system:

  • In "maternelle," which is the K1 through K3 cycle, students focus on listening, the spoken language, reading, and writing in French while integrating the language into other subjects.
  • In grades one through three, language skills grow more robust through literature and day-to-day communications. Students continue learning French vocabulary as it applies to other subjects as well.
  • In grades four and five, we focus on helping students master the French language in the written and spoken word.

Contact the International School of Denver today to learn more about how we can help you prepare your children for the future. Applications are due by January 31 of each year for the following school year. Space is extremely limited in some programs, so it’s best to apply as early as possible. Our friendly professional admissions team is ready to help you book a tour, address any concerns, and answer any questions. You can also reach out by calling (303) 340-3647 for more info.

Featured Image: ESB Professional/Shutterstock

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