How Spanish Can Make Learning French Harder

So, you know Spanish, and now you want to learn French?

Other than Spanish food competing with the well renowned French cuisine, you may think that the two related languages should only support each other. : )

Are you fluent in Spanish, or are you just exposed to it from your environment?

And are you using it to help yourself learn French?

Logically speaking, having learned any romance language should help when we learn French. They have common sounds, quite an extensive similar vocabulary, and phrase structure.

Unexpectedly, the same romance languages may pose some problems and can make learning French difficult, if we don’t know the traps ahead of time.

Read the article below to see how Spanish can make learning French harder, and watch the video for some French worth learning.

How Spanish Can Make Learning French Harder

As you may know, I’m learning Spanish, Italian, and German now, so here are a few thoughts based on my own experience and what I find that happens with my clients.

The first thing I’m asking my students is what other languages they speak or tried to learn before.

The brain places the acquired languages in the same area, so any language that you are exposed to, tried to learn, or speak will affect your French.

If you speak or learned Spanish, here are three errors that you may already make, when trying to learn French:

1. Pronouncing final E as É

One of the most important rules of pronunciation in French is that the final E is silent, or pronounced Œ.

In Spanish, we pronounce the final E, and if this bleeds into your French, then not only will you not pronounce the words correctly, but you will say a different word than you want to say, this way affecting the clarity of your communication.

Que (pronounced Qué in Spanish)
Verbs: marche (silent E in French) would sound like marché if you are not careful, which would either mean “walked” or “market”

2. Pronouncing the U that comes after Q

In Spanish, we have both silent and non-silent U after Q. Go with the silent U, because in French this is a hard rule, and you’ll never go wrong.

3. Y instead of ET

In Spanish, the word “and” can be either “Y” or “E”.

Go with “E”, because in French we only have one option, and that is “et” pronounced like é.
These are the most frequent mistakes made by people who have been or are exposed to Spanish, and – without mentioning the people whose mother tongue is Spanish – in the United States most people are exposed to it more or less.

The most tricky part is learning the genders, knowing that the genders in the romance languages do not coincide, meaning that, we are left with the good old “rule” of memorization for genders – no help there…
Follow this guidelines and you’ll be safer when learning to speak French.

The caveat is that everybody’s memory is different, and the way the connections are made by the brain is not predictable. To get the results that you are looking for, you need a qualified language coach to guide you through the jungle of the words

I’m happy to have a chat with you about this, if you want to find your own way to a less frustrating French conversation, and make Spanish stop playing tricks on you.

Immerse yourself as you FINALLY reach your dream of becoming bilingual, learn to speak Parisian French, and BREAK your language barrier!

…and now, please SHARE this article with your friends. They’ll love you for it! : )

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Llyane S.
TutorOcean Tutor | + posts

Hi, I'm Llyane! I am a french tutor licensed by the Ministry of Education France who is also in the process of obtaining n the process of obtaining the International Certificate of Language Coaching. I offer personalized French language coaching for students of all ages and abilities.

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