Should you learn French or Italian? Which one is more useful? Are they similar? In this article I’m going to answer all of these questions.
Both French and Italian are Romance languages. This means they are similar, because they share the same roots. The How to Learn Any Language website states that 85% of Italian vocabulary is similar to French.
Italian grammar is very easy if you know French, but pronunciation of both languages differs a lot. Italian pronunciation is closer to Spanish than to French. If you speak French, you can learn Italian in a matter of months. If you speak Italian, you can also quickly learn French but it will take a little longer since French is more difficult than Italian.
French is definitely more popular than Italian – there are about 128 million native French speakers and only 60 million native Italian speakers. French is the official language of 29 countries while Italian is the official language of only 4 countries. French is one of the most important languages in the world.
French is unquestionably more useful for travel or business purposes because it’s not only spoken in Europe (France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Monaco and Switzerland) but it’s also the official language of Canada and a lot of African countries including Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, Cameroon. France has also four overseas regions: Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, and Réunion.
French orthography and pronunciation is way more difficult than Italian. Pronunciation is more difficult, because French doesn’t have a phonemic orthography as Italian does. What’s more, French spelling is full of irregularities (even more than English!). Italian is easy to pronounce and verb conjugations are easier to master.
Italian/French as a second language
There are more people speaking French as a second language than people who speak Italian as a second language. If you want to improve your competitiveness in the job market, Italian may look better on your CV than French, because it’s more difficult to find a person who speaks Italian.
In my opinion, French is definitely a more useful language than Italian. However, not so many foreigners speak Italian and if you are interested in Italian culture, you should definitely learn Italian. Both languages are similar so if you learn one, it shouldn’t be difficult for you to learn the other one. Whatever your choice will be – good luck!