Is French Difficult? - Steve Kaufmann

I love French for its history and cultural influence. For English speakers, or speaker of other Romance languages, the amount of familiar or recognizable vocabulary is a major advantage to learners, despite the occasional “false friend”.

I personally found French way harder than Spanish.
I tried French a couple of times and failed.
I tried Spanish and succeeded, even though I didn’t clearly know what I was doing at the time.
Over about a decade I eventually hypothesized that the optimal (for me) way to learn languages is tons of listening and I decided to experiment using French as the first try. It worked. So I think that the issue for me was that the pronunciation didn’t clearly match the spelling when I tried to learn it through books and writing; but when I tried to learn it by sound, it was much easier. Then it just clicked. Six months of slogging, 2-3 hours a night. I reckon my comprehension is mid B1 to low B2 somewhere around there.
So from that perspective: yes French is difficult if you are trying to learn it only through writing because the sounds don’t clearly correspond (at least to me).

From another angle: is French difficult for an English speaker compared to say Russian?
Hell no.
Russian was a freaking nightmare for the first 4 months. I felt like nothing was sticking. At least with French a good third to a half of the words were just wierdly pronounced English. No such luck with Russian.
So from this perspective French is dead easy, comparatively.

My 2c for what it’s worth.

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