Author Topic: Which is Easier to Learn to Speak: French or German?  (Read 633 times)

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Offline Rohzek

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Which is Easier to Learn to Speak: French or German?
« on: July 27, 2016, 09:50:18 PM »
While I can read well enough both French and German, at some point I am going to have to learn how to speak at least one of these languages. Ideally, I learn to speak both, but I rather take it one step at a time. Considering that this forum seems to be quite the international hub, at least moreso than most forums I lurk, I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions as to which language would be easier to speak?

In terms of background information, I am a native English speaker and I also happen to know Latin too if that means anything.
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Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Which is Easier to Learn to Speak: French or German?
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2016, 11:17:25 PM »
I'd put both at the same level of difficulty. Learn the one you'll use the most.
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Offline DeniseDenise

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Re: Which is Easier to Learn to Speak: French or German?
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2016, 11:21:52 PM »
The Latin will speed up French
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Offline William T

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Re: Which is Easier to Learn to Speak: French or German?
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2016, 11:26:45 PM »
I'll try not to be biased and push French on you.  Have you tried watching any German or French films?  Does one seem easier to you?  The Latin may help with the French.  Alos, if there is one language you'll be forced to use more, that would be "easier" in the long run.  My French has suffered considerably because I haven't used it in years.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2016, 11:28:16 PM by William T »
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Offline biro

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Re: Which is Easier to Learn to Speak: French or German?
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2016, 02:00:27 AM »
I would say French.

Offline juliogb

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Re: Which is Easier to Learn to Speak: French or German?
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2016, 07:43:22 AM »
As a portuguese/spanish native speaker I'd find french easier than german.

Offline Rohzek

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Re: Which is Easier to Learn to Speak: French or German?
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2016, 06:40:38 PM »
What about pronunciation? Many have told me that French pronunciation is incredibly difficult.
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Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Which is Easier to Learn to Speak: French or German?
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2016, 06:47:32 PM »
I find it easy, maybe you'll struggle a bit with nasal vowels but you won't have this difficulty forever. Just put a "-ng" in the end of the syllable like Spanish speakers who learn Portuguese do and you'll be fine. "Français" = "fhung-say"

What's a bit hard is to look at a word and tell its pronunciation on spot. But it's just overcomplicated (too many mute letters and digraphs), it's not very irregular (like English is). Once you've got used to it, you'll be fine.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 06:49:00 PM by RaphaCam »
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Offline Cyrillic

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Re: Which is Easier to Learn to Speak: French or German?
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2016, 07:08:03 PM »
German pronunciation and vocabulary are easier if you speak English. Both English and German are Germanic languages. French grammar is easier in my experience. French has less declensions.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 07:10:41 PM by Cyrillic »
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Offline Avdima

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Re: Which is Easier to Learn to Speak: French or German?
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2016, 08:47:15 PM »
English is a Germanic language which points to German being easier to learn but 20 to 30% of English words come from French.  :P

Offline Samn!

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Re: Which is Easier to Learn to Speak: French or German?
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2016, 11:25:42 PM »
The difficulty is pretty comparable. French grammar and vocab is much easier, especially the more formal or complicated the subject matter. But, because the German rhythm is timed to the syllable-stress on the word rather than the whole phrase, like French and most kinds of Spanish, it's quicker for a lot English-speakers to learn to understand spoken German and to get a more natural-sounding accent. But then, French is extremely standardized such that outside of parts of Canada, you'll rarely meet a French speaker you can't communicate easily with in French, while real-world spoken German has an enormous variety of dialects, some of which can get quite weird... especially in Switzerland, where people also tend to get annoyed if they have to speak the standard language.

Not being good with accents myself but having spent several years in French-speaking countries, I speak it confidently but with an immediately noticeable accent. Perversely, despite having spent almost no time in Germany, I find it relatively easy to have a convincing accent in German.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 11:26:22 PM by Samn! »

Offline scamandrius

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Re: Which is Easier to Learn to Speak: French or German?
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2016, 11:41:20 PM »
I can speak passable French and I read both French and German with pretty good proficiency despite the fact that being of German descent, the language baffles me at times.  I will tell you this, though.  If you try to speak French with a natural French speaker, they will chide and deride you for "screwing up their beautiful language" while Germans will go out of their way to help you when you make mistakes. 

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Re: Which is Easier to Learn to Speak: French or German?
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2016, 11:53:13 PM »
I can speak passable French and I read both French and German with pretty good proficiency despite the fact that being of German descent, the language baffles me at times.  I will tell you this, though.  If you try to speak French with a natural French speaker, they will chide and deride you for "screwing up their beautiful language" while Germans will go out of their way to help you when you make mistakes.

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Offline Rohzek

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Re: Which is Easier to Learn to Speak: French or German?
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2016, 09:25:34 PM »
My greatest fears about speaking French is that I will mispronounce something or use the wrong word and then I come off as sexually harassing someone. That and the fact that they are very sensitive about their culture and language. I suspect such sensitivity might have its origins with the Fashoda incident. As for German, my greatest fears are the excessive passive voice, splitting the verb, and the declensions. Why couldn't the Germans have taken the same steps as the Dutch and ditch declensions entirely?
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Offline William T

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Re: Which is Easier to Learn to Speak: French or German?
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2016, 09:35:14 PM »
My greatest fears about speaking French is that I will mispronounce something or use the wrong word and then I come off as sexually harassing someone. That and the fact that they are very sensitive about their culture and language. I suspect such sensitivity might have its origins with the Fashoda incident. As for German, my greatest fears are the excessive passive voice, splitting the verb, and the declensions. Why couldn't the Germans have taken the same steps as the Dutch and ditch declensions entirely?

I don't think this answer should be responded to out loud, as it could set off fireworks, but perhaps the best answer to your question is: "Who would you rather talk to and listen to?"  , and more down to earth "can I actually use this as a life skill"  (language is a "use it or lose it" kind of thing).

Dwelling on fears is probably counter productive.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2016, 09:39:32 PM by William T »
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Offline sestir

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Re: Which is Easier to Learn to Speak: French or German?
« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2016, 07:15:25 PM »
My greatest fears about speaking French is that I will mispronounce something or use the wrong word and then I come off as sexually harassing someone.

This reminds me of a class mate at lyceum/highschool. He took German; I took French. One summer, his family went on vacation to Spain or Italy or wherever it was and spent weeks driving through France. He didn't know any French and grew increasingly frustrated of not being able to communicate with people they met, so at last he spoke a sentence to a waitress. It was the refrain of a song that had been played a lot on radio but he didn't know what it meant. She reacted with anger and didn't return to their table but sent a (male) waiter instead. So my classmate asked me whatever it was that he had said. (Maybe he made up the story, but he really looked shocked when I told him.  ;D )

"Lyrics" in languages that less than 20 % of a country's population understand will often be sick, extreme, destructive and disgusting, as a means to troll the population into accepting a different moral framework from the traditional one. If <20 % understand the meaning of the text, there will be no scandal where radio producers get toppled, so the only possible resistance is to turn off the radio. Many children will come to know the text by heart before learning French. It is hard to suddenly start hating their favourite song because they begin to understand the text.

In any case, whatever mistake you will do, he already did a worse one.

Offline TheMathematician

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Re: Which is Easier to Learn to Speak: French or German?
« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2016, 11:15:33 PM »
Slightly old, but.

Learn what language you want to use the most. Useful things are difficult to learn, but pleasure is easy.

Offline Pravoslavbob

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Re: Which is Easier to Learn to Speak: French or German?
« Reply #17 on: Yesterday at 12:20:50 AM »
I would say that French is easier.  Don't be intimidated by all these people who say "it's soooo  difficult to pronounce things this or that way."  The people who say these things might have troubles with languages or be easily put off learning them for some reason.  If you are able to do so, I would recommend living in a French or German region for some months where you really have to make yourself speak the language in order to survive.  Believe me, this works wonders.   Watch French or German TV.   Listen to French or German radio.   Use as little English as possible. Your "brain will hurt" sometimes because of forcing yourself to do something that has not been natural for you (ie think in another language) but the results are worth it.  If you can do it.  It's not possible for everyone to just pick up and move somewhere else and study a language.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 12:27:55 AM by Pravoslavbob »
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