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Poll: French vs Spanish - Is one of them easier?

By May 3, 2014

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Many people claim that Spanish is far easier to learn than French, but is it really? Read my article and vote in this highly unscientific poll.

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July 30, 2011 at 4:22 pm
(1) Sean says:

D’un côté, l’espagnol, grace au travail de l’Académie royale espagnole, ne retient plus des irrégularités de l’épellation, de la prononciation, de la conjugaison, etc. qui se trouvent encore dans le français…

D’autre côté, l’espagnol a bien retenu des conjugaisons qui a jadis disparues du français (le passé simple, le sobjonctif imparfait, etc.).

Bien que, dans l’ensemble, je ne dise que l’espagnol est la langue la plus facile des deux à cause de l’incompréhensibilité de l’accent français, on pourrait également plaider l’autre cas.

July 30, 2011 at 6:48 pm
(2) R says:

Having talked to someone who teaches French but also knows some Spanish, the latter is overall harder. In entry level classes, the opposite is true – it’s harder to begin learning French. I am nearly fluent in Spanish and can’t make heads or tails of French, so I can easily relate. But supposedly, as you advance to higher levels, Spanish becomes more difficult, and the difficulty level of French tapers off.

July 30, 2011 at 9:04 pm
(3) Sean says:

That probably has to do with the subjunctive.

August 2, 2011 at 10:47 am
(4) Randy says:

It’s mainly in the area of speaking that Spanish is so much easier, at least for me. The pronunciation of French is so difficult in the beginning, and I’m a rank beginner.

August 2, 2011 at 11:40 am
(5) Michele says:

I speak both fluently- I’m actually bi-lingual (French & English) having grown up with both. I’m also a teacher of French, Spanish and English as as second Language.

Ease or difficulty can go both ways.

What I will say is that your accent-believe it or not does affect which one you find to be easier. Here in the Caribbean- in Barbados where I teach, the accent(s) is (are) very heavy and Spanish is the preferred language since each syllable is sounded unlike French with its silent endings.

August 2, 2011 at 1:51 pm
(6) Leslie says:

I’m trilingual, although my Spanish is better than my French due to daily use (my husband’s Mexican). I read extensively in all 3 languages, teach elementary French (yes, that’s daily use too, but at a less advanced level than my Spanish) and also teach occasional private Spanish classes and I have taught ESL and edited a Grammar course for ESL teachers. I still find Spanish, even with the more complicated tenses at the more advanced level, by far the easiest of the three (and am so glad I was born into speaking English – you want complicated? try ESL). I believe the language you find easiest to learn may depend on what kind of a learner you are. I’m a Musical and Verbal-Linguistic learner, and I learn by listening, so I “hear” when my Spanish is right and just naturally use the correct tenses, without ever having studied it in school. French is harder for a M V-L learner, because of all the silent endings (I speak it well enough, but my writing is dismal compared to Spanish). So, while I see the logic in your arguments for the equally complicated nature of both French and Spanish, Laura, I’d have to say that for me, Spanish wins the easy contest hands-down!

August 2, 2011 at 2:08 pm
(7) DR says:

The question is not whether Spanish is easier than French (I’m a native speaker of Spanish with a Ph.D. in French) or whether one language is easier than another. The question is: who is learning and what is the language learner’s native language? The answer to that question will likely provide some useful clues.

August 2, 2011 at 3:40 pm
(8) MARIA MAYA says:

Hola, i think Spanish phonetically speaking is easier than French. You read Spanish as it sounds; whereas French has different sounds from the written letter. An accent in any language can be easily changed if you exercise your tongue. The tongue is what makes an accent; for example, in the “l” sound in lemon , you place your tongue on the palate; but in Spanish, you place your tongue almost dental close to the palate. When learning a language a teacher should shouw how to exercise the whole mouth for a good accent.
Maria Maya – hard the Mayan language.

August 2, 2011 at 6:15 pm
(9) Eldon says:

I Don’t know whether Spanish or French is easier. But Italian is definitely easier than French.

I am learning both. French is often not said as spelled. Italian is much more phonetic. For an English speaker it is more the syllable that has the emphasis.

One neat trick in Italian the Subject pronoun is not needed except for emphasis as the ending of the verb indicates the subject.

August 2, 2011 at 6:32 pm
(10) Mary says:

I think definitely Spanish is harder. If you can master the French pronunciation, French is a much easier language to learn. Spanish has too many different verb changes in the conjugations. Learners get confused and don’t know what tense they are talking about. I’m fluent in Spanish and learned French in college. I teach both French and Spanish in High School. I can tell you without a doubt that Spanish is much more difficult to master.

August 3, 2011 at 3:51 pm
(11) jorge potter says:

I can’t be objective about this, because I write and speak Spanish well and struggle with everything I do in French. However, I do feel that the distinctions Mrs. Lawless tries to teach us here between taking/ bringing things/people, etc. are more difficult to sort out than anything in Spanish or English.

Basically, the things one needs to know in any language, including one’s native one seem infinite and as any mathematician would tell you, make them equal.

Jorge Potter

August 3, 2011 at 3:53 pm
(12) Amy says:

The jury is still out on this one. I took Spanish in high school and college; spelling and pronunciation are pretty easy, but I’m far from fluent. I’m just starting on French. It was bewildering at first, but I’m beginning to understand the pronunciation better. Right now, French is harder, because I haven’t heard it a lot (unlike Spanish), and I’m learning it on my own!

August 28, 2011 at 8:17 pm
(13) Gustavo Domínguez says:

I speak Spanish natively (I’m Mexican) and I’m learning French at the Alliance Française and in just six-eight months, just two times a week I started thinking in French, I found it easier than Spanish, pronunciation was a bit difficult at first but once you train your ear to note the differences between the Ns (an, en, in, on, un and the same plus Ms,) the Us and the Es it became really easy. I still have to take a moment to break down what is said to me into words and identify liaisons.

Spanish, however, has way too many conjugations per verb, the subjuntivo imperfecto is as common as the regular subjuntivo and what they never talk about in forums and these mediums is that when you learn words with the sounds of g, j, s, c, and z you can mistake one for the other, at least in America in the case of s, c and z. Also, the words you have to put accents on where they usually shouldn’t be, and the rules of why to put them, like “esta” and “ésta.” Sometimes this isn’t all clear to everyone, even for native Spanish speakers.

I never had problems when learning the rules of accents in Spanish—written or not, but I know people that speak Spanish that have a really hard time with it, even those who speak it natively. I loved that about French, every word is what we in Spanish call “aguda,” meaning that stress is at the end of the word.

One last thing about Spanish, that makes it more difficult is that you can combine several words into one and make it a verb and it’s totally correct, like “dárselo” (give it to him/her,) my phone’s autocorrect won’t mark these words as spelling mistakes but will try very hard to change them for other words and usually translators won’t be able to work with these words and they are extremely common, so you have to make them on your own, and memorize all of this for each person ’cause remember that in Spanish we drop the personal pronoun MOST OF THE TIME.

French speakers have it all easy. :/

March 13, 2013 at 11:18 pm
(14) Luna says:

I guess I can’t truly answer this, at all, however as a Canadian girl who’s had to learn French her entire life, I’d say that French is definitely easier for me, though it may be biased because I enjoy it. I think my hardest part is that I can’t roll my R’s, and there’s more R rolling in Spanish than French. Other than that, it’s fairly similar in difficulty level. I mean, I can read “tu queiro nos de ayer” or “Baila, baila esta cumbia” just as easily as I can understand “je t’aime quand vous parlez espagnol” or “qu’est-ce que c’est” for example.

May 7, 2014 at 12:48 pm
(15) Ian says:

Having been a fluent English, Spanish and Portuguese speaker for over 25 years and now learning French, I can say that French is a bit more difficult to master. The orthography alone is MUCH more complicated, not to mention the many complicated rules of liaison, elision and multiple silent letters in words. Spanish is very straightforward in this regard; you say the word exactly as it is spelled and do not need to remember all kinds of arcane rules.

On the flip side, I like that French does not have the “personal ‘a’” that Spanish has and it’s nice that there is only one verb for “to be” (etre) rather than “ser” and “estar” in Spanish.

Overall, however, I feel Spanish is much more approachable than French, even though I love the French language and enjoy the challenge.

May 7, 2014 at 4:10 pm
(16) Sandy says:

I found Spanish easier, but that’s probably because it was the second foreign language I studied, after taking French for 4 years. Then I actually *used* Spanish, translating for law offices and a city government.

They’re both simpler than German! 30 years on, I’ve taken up studying German, and found that “cases” were something completely new!

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