French vs Germany difficulty

I don’t know maybe it’s just me, but understanding spoken French is much more difficult than understanding spoken German. Does anyone else feel this way? I don’t know what it is but French feels like it’s being spoken so much quicker, because of the way the words blend into each other.


i have always found french one of the most complex languages when it comes to pronounciation because of all the liasions and contractions and linking of words the more informal french people speak in the street in movies or tv shows the more mushier it sounds for and untrained ear it can be difficult to tell words apart


German speakers typically insert little glottal spots between many words, instead of connecting them to one another as French (and for that matter, English) speakers usually do.
That tends to help beginners because it makes it easy to identify individual words

What kind of media are you consuming in the two languages? If you listen to politics in either language, you will get people who speak slowly and calmly. Most of my german time was spent with more formal speech, but listening to a turkish-german teenager playing avideogame on twitch is definitely more challenging.


It is all in the mindset. Once you consciously “turn on” the button in your head that you are going to tackle this beast then your mind is going to be more focused on deciphering the language. I did not turn on this positive mindset while living in Germany for 2.5 year so I learned nothing apart from a few phrases as learning German language does not fit in with my career goals. As I would be relocated to the USA within a year or so. However, then I realize that by living in Germany I am missing out on a golden opportunity to learn a new language and missing out on enjoying the local literature. Once you finally attach a purpose to your language learning, your mind will find a way for it. In the last 3 weeks or so I learned a lot about German language by spending 10 hours daily and I am seeing a positive progress. It is the same with listening to French. For the 2.5 years I thought listening and understanding German language was nigh impossible and then you have Mark Twain’s famous quote on it. Well, just to quote Albert Einstein’s solution to this: Do not judge the ability of a bird on her walking style as she is meant to fly. Attach a purpose and meaning to your language learning, things will get much easier to master. My two cents.

  1. Reading comprehension (A lot of words look similar to the English version of the word)

  2. increasing vocabulary (Tons of common vocabulary)

  3. Listening comprehension (Words blend together because of the liaison)

  4. Pronunciation (A lot of difficult mouth shapes, and tough letters)

  5. Spelling (so many letters that aren’t pronounced, and tons of apostrophe’s)

  6. Listening Comprehension (Words don’t blend together like they do in French, Its easier to hear when one words ends and another begins) (Sentences have more of an accent to them, French everything is spoken in a very monotone type of way.)

  7. Pronunciation (Pronunciation seems so much closer to English than French. However there are words in German that I just can’t pronounce correctly no matter how hard I try. lol)

  8. Being able to create proper sentences (Because of cases) (Word order is more different)


I have no idea, for me it’s the opposite but at the beginning it was probably the same.

I trained myself on French and now I understand it very easily and can speak it without much accent, but I had to train a few letters and sounds quite a lot.

With German I’m at the beginning and I find it very hard to understand it but probably not so hard to speak it as there is more logic in it. If I’ll be able to train enough I’ll get probably the same results but I have different personal situations right now and I can’t go to Germany yet.

Research (as cited by Hugo Cotton on his podcast) shows French really is faster; than English at any rate. Often there are more words in comparable sentences. Then there is the liaison you mentioned, plus the tendency to swallow letters e.g. tu as raison = t’a raison. And also dropping entire words in very informal speech: t’inquiète! = ne t’inquiète pas! Removing the entire negative structure!
Like any language once you know these patterns, you can recognise them. It takes much listening.

German is also going to be somewhat easier for native English speakers from a listening perspective because it is extremely phonemic (but then so is Dutch, Spanish more-or-less, Italian). But remember the huge number of words in French that correspond so closely to English vocab! Can’t win 'em all.

At school, I had to pick a second foreign language to learn - French or German. I chose German because it is indeed easier.

I agree with 99% of this, though I would say word order and vocab choices in German are in many cases easier than in French. They are both equally more complicated than English, but if you take a sentence (dispensing with excessive book-like politeness) like ‘Excusez-moi. Où puis-je trouver la Place Vendôme?’ It’s much easier in German for an English speaker: ‘Entschuldigen Sie. Wo finde ich den Berliner Hof?’ Of course it can be simplified even more in French: ‘Excusez moi, pour aller à la Place Vendôme?’ which is trickier in German with the verb shunted to the end of the sentence. There are times I find French harder than German, but less so in reverse.

Politics in French calm?!

In my experience, being native Spanish and having learned both languages with LingQ, I would say that French is much more easier because I can deduct the meaning of many words from Spanish and from English. What I find more difficult from German is the Trennbare Verben and the big meaning change that a preposition can generate.
Easier, from the other side, is that German makes many words by taking other words.
As well, when speaking to natives, I have the feeling that French people is more “picky” when it comes to correctly speaking than Germans. Probably as well because the Germans are use to people using dialects and different accents.

I agree, overall French is easier.

Well it would be for someone coming from a romance language perspective, but even then I’ve met a lot of Spanish people (many here in the Netherlands!) who completely fail to learn French, citing the orthography/pronunciation which is completely at odds with Spanish orthography/pronunciation. Ask a Dutch person if German is easier and they’ll probably say ‘yes’. It matters what your linguistic background is. One of the most misleading pieces of trivia is the ‘English has loads of French words in it’… It’s true, but it doesn’t do all that much for helping you to actually speak French. There’s a lot more opinion than fact in the language-learning world.