Français or Español?

I have a basic understanding of both courtesy of high school but would like to refresh my knowledge and increase my proficiency in these languages. I don’t currently work in an environment is necessary so this is more for personal growth than anything else. Brit here for anyone who doesn’t already know.

So should I focus more on French or Spanish?

Spanish Pros:

  • Fourth most spoken language in the world as of 2021 (English is first, Mandarin is second, Hindi is third)
  • Easier to learn
  • Fewer new letters
  • Most sounds are found in English

Spanish Cons:

  • Most of the speakers use Latin American Spanish rather than European Spanish. Since you are European, you would likely be learning European Spanish, which is a much smaller group than Latin American

French Pros:

  • Romantic
  • As a Brit, you are closer to French-speaking countries than Spanish-speaking ones
  • Seventh most spoken language in the world
  • From there, you can learn one of the most profane languages in the world (Quebecois French)

French Cons:

  • More difficult
  • …sixty-eight, sixty-nine, sixty-ten, sixty-eleven, sixty-twelve, sixty-thirteen…
  • Half the letters are silent

So generally, Spanish is easier than French. That being said, the easiest language to learn is one that you’re motivated to learn - even Norwegian or Swedish (both extremely easy to pick up for English speakers) would be a pain if you don’t want to learn them. French is more difficult, but may be more advantageous, since there are more French speakers in your general area and fewer English speakers who are learning it.


@KiannaMcDowell Thank you for the breakdown. I have to admit that I am split down the middle! Just to be awkward I live in a port city with a ferry to both France and Spain!

Does anyone on this forum speak either?


French is my mother tongue so I can’t tell you how it feel to learn it as a foreigner not fully immersed in it. Moreover, I’m biased since I’ve been reading and writing a lot since my childhood and, while acknowledging our grammar exceptions and various traps, everything feels easy to me.

KiannaMcDowell’s arguments seem accurate. I’d add Quebecois French can sometimes sound like a foreign language for an European French speaker but it’s so interesting to see how the same language evolved on both sides of the Atlantic Sea. There are also some differences in Belgium, Swiss and Luxembourg (and Africa too, although I don’t know them that well).

I fully agree with Kianna about the motivation being the key point. Are you interested in the culture of a French or Spanish speaking country? Do you want to fully understand a book or film in its original language? Do you plan to spend some time in one of these countries?

I am interested in the culture of both nations. Despite The Vote I see myself more as European than English. I am also interested in Japanese but learning kanji seems to be a full time job that I sadly do not have time for combined with family life. I also regret being pushed towards Mathematics for my A-level instead of taking a language besides the three sciences.

I know that a good way to help you learn is to immerse yourself in the language in your day to day life. I count random things in both languages, read news in both, etc. It is literally a question of what would be more useful for personal growth than anything else. @Jarvis If you’re willing to talk to me in French and correct me, then the balance is tilted heavily. Before asking this I didn’t know anybody who spoke either.

This is literally a question of personal growth. Once I have achieved a good proficiency in one I will most likely start on the other.

I feel you! I have the same problem with my own studies and the Cyrillic alphabet. While some close friends introduced me to the fascinating Japanese culture, I agree learning kanji out of school might demand lot of time.

I’d be happy to talk to you in French. If you focus on French first, feel free to send me a PM when you’re ready. :slight_smile:

1 Like

For me it’s a definite español. Had an awful French teacher in school and I haven’t been able to stand the language since then. Also, most French people (here at least) insists on speaking French, and it bugs me. Out of stubbornness I refuse to understand :sweat_smile:

Also: Spanish rocks!

My teacher was Portuguese but taught us both languages! French was compulsory up to A-level. You could then take Spanish or German. I chose Spanish, did equally well with both languages results wise. Pursuing in further life was literally down to the lack of conversation partners.

My German proficiency decreased a lot because of that too. I had some correspondents but we lost contact and I haven’t practiced for years. The last time I’ve been to Germany, asking for directions or making simple requests in shops was fine but really conversing proved to be extremely challenging.

I’m so sorry to read that but I totally understand your stubbornness. French people are often told to be rude and unwilling to learn foreign languages and it’s too bad you didn’t encounter better specimens.

1 Like

If you were in the United States I’d say Spanish because that’s something widely spoken here. However I’d suggest French. My brother and i both took a foreign language in high school. He took French and I took Spanish. To my knowledge he’s never used it outside of the classroom. Though my use is sparse I have used my Spanish.

When I had to choose a secondary school, I chose one that offered spanish (which they cut from the program by the time I was high enough to enroll in those classes, because not enough people wanted it). But for me it’s a personal choice with several Spanish family members.

You say you have a little bit of knowledge in both. Try to get some in your head, and try to feel what feels best.

I have decided to concentrate on French for now as Jarvis has very kindly offered to communicate in French with me, as well as correcting my errors as they appear. All my family members, to my knowledge, don’t speak any foreign languages.


Bonne chance!


Merci beaucoup!