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Spanish is Easier than French... Not!

The truth behind the myth


There is a common myth among English speakers, at least in the United States, that Spanish is much easier to learn than French. In high school, more than 95% percent of my fellow students chose Spanish in order to meet the foreign language requirement. Since I was completely enamored of French, I couldn't understand why, so I asked them. Some said that Spanish is more useful in the US (an interesting discussion for another day), but most claimed that Spanish is much easier and thus they wouldn't have to work as hard. The same rumor abounded when I was in college, and I still hear it today. When asked for more information, perpetrators of this urban legend invariably mention how difficult French pronunciation and spelling are, in comparison to Spanish. And in this, at least, there is some truth.

I started studying Spanish after I'd already taken two years of French. I do remember Spanish seeming very easy at first, because it was so much like the French I'd already struggled through, but then Spanish suddenly became very difficult, which makes these claims about how easy Spanish is seem suspicious. So I sat down and analyzed the two languages to see what I could come up with - here are the results.

Keep reading:
  1. Introduction
  2. Spanish is easier...
  3. French is easier...
  4. Neither is easier...
  5. The bottom line
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