French: Difficult Language?

We often hear that French is a difficult language. But is it just a difficult language to learn or is it also difficult to love? Its many exceptions, complex grammar, reformed spelling and difficult punctuation scare quite a few. However there are many, who like me, love the French language in all its complexity.

“Exception: Just say that it proves the rule. Don’t risk offering an explanation.” - Gustave Flaubert

The great novelist Flaubert could not have said it better; however, everyone who learns French asks the question "Why are there so many exceptions in the French language?”.

I tip my hat to all the Anglophones and Allophones who took up the challenge to learn French. It takes a lot of courage to face all those hard to explain rules! Unfortunately, I have no definitive answers to offer in explanation of the many exceptions. Is there a linguist in the room?

While we wait for some answers, here’s a short sketch of Boucar Diouf who presents his colorful love of the language.

A Living Language

To justify the complexity of the language, my French teachers taught me that the exceptions were caused by the changes made to the language over time. Indeed, French has been influenced by many languages since its inception, including Latin, Spanish and English. And it's not over! As our language is in constant change, it will most probably face new exceptions in the near future...

A Complex Language

As a writer, I’m confronted on a daily basis by a multitude of illogical exceptions that all confirm that most of the rules, of the language I love, exist to be challenged. One only has to look at the list of websites referenced on the site to realize the huge amount of online resources available to help allophones learn a very complex language, but that is yet so easy to love!

Philippe Daoust