Top 6 similarities between English and French
The English language is the primary language of several countries and the second language in a number of multilingual countries, including India. It’s learned around the world by children in school as a foreign language and often becomes a common denominator between people of different nationalities when they meet while travelling, doing business, or in other contexts. The influence of the English language has also spread globally through American pop culture, music, movies, advertising, and TV shows. A third of the world’s population speaks English as a first or secondary language, over 2 billion people.
French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the Latin spoken in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d’oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) largely supplanted.
French is an official language in 29 countries across multiple continents, most of which are members of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), the community of 84 countries that share the official use or teaching of French. French is also one of six official languages used in the United Nations.
Following the influence the two languages have had on each other, it noted that these two world most popular languages share common grammatical features. Besides, French and English contain many cognates. However, minor differences may be noticed between these world-leading languages.
- The relationship between French and English is further founded on the influence of the German language. These two languages are strongly related to German. It is known that French is common among Latinos with little influence of both German and English. On the other hand, English is believed to be the German language with strong French and Latin influence (Reich & Pornbacher, 1992). It is this correlation between these two languages that prompts further investigation. Thus, we cannot deny the existence of similarity between English and French.
- The most notable similarities are in alphabetical letters and true cognates. More importantly, however, research findings have established that the differences between these languages are more, major, and minor.
The languages are not 100% similar to each other; more like 30%-40%. Some of the similarities between French and English are as follows:
Alphabetically, these two languages have the same number of letters (twenty-six. However, in addition to the twenty-six alphabetical, the letters in the French language are having diacritics: é (acute accent), â ê î ô û (circumflex), è à ù (grave accent), ë ï ü (diaeresis), and ç (cedilla). This poses a lot of problems to new learners whenever the instructor spells out certain words. For instance, it is a common mistake for beginners to write j or I even when the teacher meant g or e. this is the major problem faced by learners especially the English speaking learner taking their lessons in French (Nikolov, 2009). On the other hand, French-speaking or born students encounter numerous challenges in learning the English language. These students have to meet a new language, which to them is very challenging and deemed harder than theirs.
In phonology, the differences in sound systems between the two languages cause a lot of effective speech development and comprehension problem to learners (especially French learners. The spelling errors are frequent among the French students taking their studies in the English language because of the frequent lack of a proper link between in pronunciation of English compared to how the English words are spelt. The typical problem with pronunciation is due to the inability of the learners to correctly articulate English vowel sounds with minimal pairs like sheep/ ship, leave /live, full / fool, among other vowels. This common because students (learners) of French native have their tongue tips to use to speak English.
Grammatically (tense and verb), both English and French considerably overlap. For example, the two languages have auxiliaries, active and passive voice, participles, present/past/future tenses. However, there are minor differences between these two languages that cause interference in English production. The typical problem with the French learners is the inaccurate choice of tense. Despite external similarities in verb and grammar, French learners occasionally use different tenses to convey a certain meaning that does English. For example, the French would use the following sentences in their communication:
- I have played soccer yesterday.
- I do my assignment. I cannot play now.
- I live in Munich since last year
Articles written in French may look similar to English articles but are never identical. In particular, French pronouns are associated with the noun under description; while possessive adjectives are consistent with the words (nouns) they qualify. In case of interference or alteration, such mistakes as, he is nurse, the French are harder than the English, do you love my bag. He was very expensive are unavoidable.
In vocabulary, it is believed that a good proportion of words in these two language have a common origin in Latin. Besides, these words are mutually comprehensible especially with respect to technical and academic words and not with the commonly used vocabularies. Of concern, however, is the concomitant issue that arises with falsehood. Finally, it is noted that false cognates are common when using English and French. For instance, similar words may not convey the same meaning. Other areas of concern are differences in punctuation and spacing, pronunciation, silent letters, and spelling non-equivalence.
French language and English learning involves you engaging in cognate studies. You can use academic vocabulary to teach these languages. A lot of examples of vocabulary are used to enhance learners’ understanding.
We can say that learning French can be a tad easier for an English speaker. Nonetheless, a language is not difficult to acquire as long you put in the time, effort, and commitment to keep speaking and using it with native speakers.