Known to the French as “La Fête Nationale,” and by the Anglicized term “Bastille Day,” Tuesday marks France’s independence and the 226th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, a medieval fortress.
In honour of Bastille Day, here are some reasons you should étudier.
1. For English speakers, French is the easiest language to learn
You may have heard it’s Spanish. That cannot possibly be true, though, because English is actually the mutant stepchild of German and French, and it got most of its genes from its Gallic side. For several centuries in fact, French was the official language of the English court.
The list of English words with French roots is basically infinite.
2. And besides, learning French makes learning Spanish way easier
We again assume America’s natural inclination is to learn Spanish.
Because French and Spanish are the mutant stepchildren of Latin, you can practically cut out a step if you ever decide to take up Spanish. And if you already know Spanish, it requires very little effort to make the jump to French.
Don’t fancy Spanish? Well, then French is a solid base for learning the rest of the Romance languages, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian.
3. All over Europe the world, French is still the main 2nd language
French is the only language (besides English), that is taught in every nation in the world. More than 200 million people speak French, making it the ninth most widely spoken language in the world.
And of course the EU’s power cities, Brussels, Strasbourg, and Luxembourg, parlent Français.
French is also an official language of NATO, Unesco, the International Olympic Committee, the UN, the Red Cross, and international courts.
What’s more, half of Africa’s fastest-growing countries also speak French.
China gets this, and it continues to pump huge investments into the resource-rich region. We can thus expect Africa to be an increasing focus of global trade and international relations.
Simply put, la Francophonie, “the sphere of French language” is all of this:
4. Also, which country is the world’s most popular destination?
You guessed it, France.
Paris, Nice, Marseille, Cannes, Bordeaux, Monaco, and Versailles are a few obvious reasons nearly 85 million travellers make France the world’s most popular travel destination.
And if you’re not interested in touring any part of France, well then there is Canada, Switzerland, Monaco, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Caribbean, and a significant amount of Africa.
5. If you want to understand modern China and Russia, you need to know French
For all the good stuff it led to, the French Revolution gave the world its first glimpse at totalitarianism. The Russian Revolution of 1917 was basically an attempt to reenact that part of the French Revolution.
And Mao’s Communist revolution in China was basically an attempt to reenact the Russian Revolution. This is why Alexis de Tocqueville’s book on the French Revolution recently became a best-seller.
Sure, you can get it in English. But translations suck — and who is going to do the translations in the first place if we run out of French speakers?
6. You can’t study literature, theatre, music, maths, science, history, fashion, architecture, or gastronomy without coming across French
Heard of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables? What about the philosophical works of say Voltaire, Sartre, Descartes, Camus, or Pascal? Indeed, French is the language of the some of the world’s greatest literary masterpieces, and France has won more Nobel prizes for literature than any other country.
Prefer movies? France hosts the annual Cannes International Film Festival, arguably the second-most-prestigious cinematography festival in the world.
C’est la vie.
7. It’s a marketable language for jobs
If you’re reading this, we probably don’t need to spell out all the socioeconomic benefits that come with learning a second language.
But the ability to communicate in French opens the door to the world’s fifth-biggest economy and third-biggest destination for foreign investment.
8. French politics is the greatest show
You may have heard French President Francois Hollande was recently caught leaving his attractive actress mistress’ house wearing a ridiculous motorcycle helmet.
In the US, this would have resulted in scandal. In France, this resulted in a resurgence in Hollande’s popularity.
Bien sûr, Rob Wile contributed to this report.
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