What do you find hard about learning French?

Bonjour !

I know learning French is everything but a piece of cake :cake:. And to be honest, if you ask French speaking people if they find their mother tongue easy, they’ll probably say ‘no’. :no_good_woman:

Just take the subjunctive, irregular verbs, conjugation, preposition, pronunciation, listening… All of those are obstacles to a smooth learning.

I’m curious to know, what do you personally find hard about learning French?


To be honest, I think one of the hardest parts of learning French is the spelling. It’s just as ridiculous as English :smiley: I really struggle with the silent letters (how is an x silent?!) and remembering to add an s for plurals. Then there’s all the contractions like qu’, t’, c’, and weird hyphenated things like est-ce and puis-je… and then there’s usually no difference in pronunciation. wtf.
Why can’t we spell everything the way it’s said? :weary:


For me, the hardest part is listening! It’s like there’s no connection between what’s written and what people say. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


For me it’s when I tell people I’m learning French and they are like “Oh, you speak Spanish, so that should be easy for you”. :roll_eyes::unamused:


I second that, @antomorr :scream:


Not sure if you are actually asking the reason, but I found this question interesting and this is what I found:

English and French have this in common: both languages emerged early as literary standards and the “old” orthography was early on preferred because of habit. In English, the pronunciation changes mostly influenced the vowels (“the Great Vowel Shift”) and that’s why mostly vowels are now somehow unpredictable. In French, people started shortening words by not pronouncing the final consonants. The Académie Française made reforms in the 18th century and some of them silent consonants were deleted. But in a lot of cases, these endings still play some type of (morphological/syntactical) role:
like for example in “liaison”, the gender agreement in feminine adjectives (“froid” vs. “froide”) or derivation (the adding of suffixes makes these final consonant pronounceable again). Ex “respect” [rεs’pε] but “respectable” = [rεspεk’tabl].


For me it’s when trying to to connect sentences using the correct, ’ du, de, la, de la, des, un, une, or the complication of to have or to do. Etre, and avoir.

It’s a minefield.


I hate the fact that speaking the language some words (or conjugations appear to suggest the infinitive, but they are spelled completely different and there are too many exceptions to the rule). If I speak French, a lot of terms sound correctly, but if I have to spell them, most tests rate me with a d. It sucks. Also it is confusing to use the same word to expreess the absence of something that was accessible before (il n’y a plus ) and use the same word for the comparative (elle est plus grand que sa mère ).
Also the numerical system is pretty complicated why couldn’t the language generate a word 80 or 90?
The subjonctif is so complicated (especially in terms of spelling) that I barely heard any French person using it.
French is also complicated because it doesn’t allow a lot of word creations ( although German language is definitely over-exaggerating that topic). If you want to express a word or a term that contains more than one single content or an object that does something/serves a purpose you have to rely on prepositions like à or du/ de la or explain this machine for instance is for that. Expressing banal information often requires a lot of time in French…
The orthography is VERY difficult and unpredictable.
Also given the nasal sounds and the huge amount of umlauts, most foreigners who speak French sound ridiculous (especially US-Americans). While you sound cute speaking our languages, we sound like idiots speaking yours!:wink:


Je trouve ce difficile comprendre francais quand la langue est (spoken).


I agree Carol, spoken French is really hard to understand. That’s because people write and pronounce French differently unfortunately. I also don’t understand much in German when people speak to me haha
Spoken French = français parlé :wink:


Haha, I think you’re entirely right Lidija! I realised a few years back how I would hate learning French if I wasn’t a native speaker.

If that can help, in Belgium and Switzerland the numerical system is a little bit easier to learn. 70 = septante, 80 = huitante, 90 = nonante. Feel free to use them instead of the more difficult French ones.

I disagree on one thing though: I think foreigners who speak French sound really cute and sexy too :wink:

Good luck with your learning :four_leaf_clover:


I think the passe compose was the hardest for me.


when i think about it, i realize it’s completly true …
i speak french fluently because french is an official langage in my country


I’m a native speaker and I remember struggling with silent letters when writing when I was younger. The best way to learn is to re-read your texts, “relire” as we call it in french. Do it with attention and care, asking yourself questions.

For example you reread this sentence: Il a perdu ses crayons. (He lost his pens.)

Then you ask yourself:
-Qui a perdu ses crayons? Il=masculin= pas de ‘e’ à la fin du verbe. (Who lost their pens? He= masculine= no ‘e’ at the end of verb.)
-Combiens de crayons? Ses crayons= ses est un indicatif au pluriel= crayon avec un ‘s’ à la fin. (How many pens? His pens = french his is the plurial form= ‘s’ at the end of pens.)

It seems super complicated to always do this in the beginning but it will get easier! Plus you can always go back to asking those types of questions if you’re uncertain. I wish you all the best and hope we might cross paths one day!