Why learn French?

The word Bonjour with the Canada Flag in the background

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Thinking of learning another language? Why not try French?

According to Statistics Canada, around 10 million Canadians speak French, while more than 200 million people speak it all over the world. French is also the second most widely taught language after English. Aside from being one of Canada’s official languages, here are several other reasons that could convince you to learn French:

  1. It opens up more career opportunities

    Knowing French will increase your job opportunities and salary potential. Many government offices and private companies in Manitoba look for bilingual (English and French) staff. Jobs for French interpretation or translation also abound in this province precisely because it is one of its official languages. Documents, product labels, advisories, even websites, need a French version. In Canada, knowing French is a skill that gives you an edge in any kind of field.

  2. It is easy to learn

    If you already know English, it is easy to learn French compared to any other language. Linguists say that about a third (some even say 40-50%) of English words were derived from French. This is why you can sometimes guess what a sentence in French means because of the common words. Bourgeois, adieu, cache, café cliché, déjà vu….. without even knowing it, you are already using French words in your daily life.

    And if you know Spanish, then even better for you! You will be familiar with rules on conjugation, as well as the subjunctive mood, which are features that are also present in the French language.

  3. French opens up an incomparable cultural universe

    Imagine being able to appreciate great literary classics in their original form. Or fully understand the nuances of a French movie even without the subtitles. French is said to be the language of art, music, dance, cuisine and cinema. Knowing French is the key to a whole new level of cultural appreciation and intellectual stimulation.

  4. It has other practical uses

    • French opens access to the south eastern side of Canada and to the world. Since it is spoken and used in five continents, you can now have more options for meaningful connections and opportunity to understand various cultures when you travel
    • You can expand your network in Manitoba to include many Francophones
    • Learning French can improve your English. As the two languages share many common words, you will boost your English vocabulary while you hone your French proficiency
  5. It can make you smarter

    In a recent Time Magazine article (Speaking more than one language could sharpen your brain, Alexandra Sifferlin) , researchers believe that being bilingual provides constant brain exercise. Studies show that learning more languages challenges your brain, makes it sharper, and helps it develop critical and creative thinking skills.

Alors, êtes -vous prêt à apprendre le français ?

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Community Resources

Here’s another great reason to choose French: If you are a permanent resident in Manitoba, you can learn French for free. CIC-funded classes are held at the Université de Saint-Boniface or online (for those who score NCLC 3 or higher). To apply, you will need a referral from WELARC.

If you are a self-directed learner and are comfortable using apps, you can try Duolingo or Rosetta Stone. Read this article from Brainscape by Kaitlin Goodrich: The best apps for learning French to discover more great options.

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