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Is Spanish easier than French?

(33 Posts)
bananacake1 Thu 27-Apr-17 10:00:58

Is Spanish easier to learn than French? And does that mean it is easier to get a 8/ 9 in GCSE Spanish than GCSE French?

Are people really better at one Romance language than the other with the same amount of teaching in both?

DS has to choose between these options today. He says that he prefers French, but according to his results, he's better at Spanish.(NB he said he preferred French before he got the results - knowing him, the only thing that he really prefers is minimal work!).

Seeline Thu 27-Apr-17 10:05:22

No scientific back up, but DS started both in Y7, and definitely found Spanish easier, however as the learning progressed he began to find the French easier (Y8/9) and in the end decided on French for GCSE. He said the initial vocab etc was easier in Spanish, but after a bit of progression the grammar for Spanish was much harder than French.

Obsidian77 Thu 27-Apr-17 10:07:51

If he prefers French I would go with that, unless it's because he likes the teacher or his mates are in the same class.

alteredimages Thu 27-Apr-17 10:08:49

I have no idea about exams and whether French or Spanish GCSEs are easier, but I have learned both languages and I would say that it was easier for me to pick up Spanish pronunciation and spelling rules because they are easy and phonetic. I attained a good level of conversational Spanish more quickly than I did in French.

There are a lot of irregular verbs in both languages, but I think Spanish irregular verbs are a bit easier for me.

There are fewer "exceptions" to grammar rules generally in Spanish. French is a bugger for this.

You don't have to worry about "liaisons" and other weird pronunciation rules with Spanish.

However, subjunctives in Spanish take practice. It's all plain sailing until then. French, to be fair, has the same problem, but because the grammar is quite complicated from the beginning, I didn't have the same WTF moment when I reached that point.

If the GCSE syllabus for Spanish doesn't include subjunctives, I would be tempted to study Spanish. If your DS won't enjoy it then he won't practice and probably won't do as well as in a harder subject he enjoys though.

WhatHaveIFound Thu 27-Apr-17 10:10:54

Personally i'm not worried about which one is easier to get an 8/9 in. I think they should do the one they like and which they feel would be more useful for travel in the future.

DD opted to do Spanish GCSE even though she had better marks in French. I get the feeling DS may go the same way as he has just picked Spanish instead of German to study alongside French in Y8.

bananacake1 Thu 27-Apr-17 10:13:55

Last year:
92,000 took Spanish GCSE and 27% got A/ A*
145,000 took French GCSE and 23% got A/ A*

There's not much to choose between them, is there?

Would a GCSE in either actually be useful in the future? I have not made much use of the French I took at school in the last 35 years since I left, but they say that the Spanish speaking world is exploding.

alteredimages Thu 27-Apr-17 10:15:59

bananacake1 what do you know about the teachers for each subject? Aside from student motivation, I suspect that the most important variable in your son's success will be the quality of the teaching and whether the teacher fits well with your son's style of learning.

PatriciaHolm Thu 27-Apr-17 10:17:49

DH speaks both to an extent, and definitely says Spanish is easier at this level - far more "say what you see" rather than "oh no, don't say that letter..."

bananacake1 Thu 27-Apr-17 10:19:27

The French teacher said that he's top set and its a good result. She said he should do French.
The Spanish teacher said he got the maximum mark possible.(If they can be compared, then he's a whole level better at Spanish than French. ) She said he should do Spanish.

Nice problem to have, but i'm none the wiser.

bananacake1 Thu 27-Apr-17 10:21:00

Unfortunately, i don't know anything about the teachers. I've had a child at the school for a few years and the turnover seems very high. The names keep changing each year.

Twinkie1 Thu 27-Apr-17 10:24:18

DD does both at A level and says Spanish is by far the easier of the two.

GU24Mum Thu 27-Apr-17 14:15:45

It sounds as though he could do either so should choose the one he prefers. Spanish is often considered to be easier to learn as it is slightly more similar in terms of grammar and pronunciation to English than French is but if is't good at both, that isn't really a factor.

readthethread Thu 27-Apr-17 14:57:01

my DD (yr8) says Spanish is much easier.
She is dropping French this year.
The school also allow pupils to switch into Spanish, effectively starting from yr9. They only allow that in Spanish - maybe due to teacher availability? or maybe because it is easier..?

readthethread Thu 27-Apr-17 14:58:54

how is his prononciation?
does he feel comfortable speaking french? Getting to grips with a passable accent seems to be more difficult in French (but isn't dd's issue with French, she's a bit of a thespian and quite likes doing all the accents.

KonKatenate Thu 27-Apr-17 15:04:41

Something else to consider (please don't flame me, francophiles) - Spanish is much more useful in the world of business. Having worked in global companies, those who could speak Spanish and therefore deal with Latin America, Miami etc got on really well, even if they didn't want to work overseas. So depending on future potential career choices - I'd say Spanish (I speak both).

bananacake1 Thu 27-Apr-17 17:00:07

He's chosen French because he prefers it (good reason) and DC1 we have some French books at home that he could use to save me buying more (not such a good reason).

I was wondering if Spanish would be a better MFL for business over the next half century too, KonKatenate. French had its heyday in the 18th and 19th centuries when it was the language of diplomacy.

bojorojo Thu 27-Apr-17 17:49:42

I don't think trying to guess what language might be "useful" is the best way forward for GCSE level. DD has French and Italian degree but uses neither at work. I will be controversial and suggest he does both! No-one thinks a single science is good enough so a single language is not good enough for a talented linguist. Also, languages are not all about the spoken language. There is culture, literature and art in the mix as well as no higher level of study is purely vocational. Also, why do what appears easy? Having said that, at DDs university there were more firsts in Spanish than several other languages put together!

Afo Thu 27-Apr-17 17:56:37

When I was at school (NI) we could study french or irish for 5 years to GCSE or drop both after yr 10 and take up Spanish and complete it in 2 years which is what I did as I hated the other 2. Ended up with an A in GCSE Spanish. I loved it but I don't know if it was easier, or the teacher was better or I was just a bit more mature, I don't think I grasped the basics of the other 2 in year 8 and struggled with the rest then.

Ktown Thu 27-Apr-17 18:02:18

Agree do both and drop any soft subjects
They are both useful
I did a science degree and went off to France for a year
Great experience and not I use it daily for my job
Spanish is widely spoken though so might be more useful

Vietnammark Thu 27-Apr-17 19:00:51

According to this, French could become the most spoken language in the world:

faintlyoptimistic Thu 27-Apr-17 19:10:20

Everyone used to say this when I was at school (20 years ago) but despite having an affinity for languages I always​ found French way easier. I only got a handle on Spanish after spending a year there through uni.

Saying that I am now fluent in French, Spanish and Portuguese and French is now the one I am least interested in and use least.

But... I'd go with the one he's genuinely interested in!

bananacake1 Thu 27-Apr-17 21:43:55

bojorojo - the school is only offering one MFL per pupil. I don't know why - teacher shortage, maybe?
I don't think DS is a talented linguist. He's ok at it, but right now I doubt he'll do it beyond GCSE. As it is for most people, its just something he'll learn to a basic standard and then try to remember it on a holiday in France in 20 years time!
We are spoiled by speaking English as our mother tongue because English is the international language of business, but because all other countries learn English, we find we don't need to learn other languages to communicate.
(At least that's what i have observed when working with foreigners, even in their own country)

Paty999 Fri 28-Apr-17 00:00:41

My opinion as a French native, who has been teaching French for 30 years and speak Spanish roughly to A level standard:
-Spanish is much easier to spell than French.
-the rules of pronunciation are easier. ( there are fewer sounds in Spanish than in French but both the “r” and the “j” can be difficult for English speakers.)
-However, Spanish grammar is overall harder than French grammar for an English speaker. ( it is easier than French to construct basic sentences, but not to achieve a top grade for GCSE when more complicated structures are introduced, it is harder.)
This being said, what should guide your child is:
-how much he enjoys learning French versus Spanish. ( I loved learning English at school, my first foreign language, enjoyed learning Spanish as my second foreign language, but totally fell in love with learning Italian by myself as an adult. Some languages just appeal to us more than others.. let your child decide.)
-how good the teachers are at this school. This is vital, especially if you don’t think he will take a language for A level. He will need a good teacher to keep him interested, focused, keen to learn.
-whether or not you have holidays/ relatives/ friends in Spanish or French speaking countries/ or if your child is interested in French speaking or Spanish speaking countries.
If your child picks French, he will find Italian very easy to pick up as the grammar is virtually the same. But learning any language will make it easier to pick up others in later life. And as someone said in an earlier post, learning a language opens doors to learning about cultures.

Etaina Fri 28-Apr-17 09:09:13

I found Spanish easier than French.

There was a thread on here a while ago asking which MFL was the most useful and someone linked to a document which said that Spanish was the most useful language for business.

kel1493 Fri 28-Apr-17 19:28:04

My school became a specialist language college. In years 7 and 8 everyone did French. Then from year 9, depending on what set you were in for French, the school chose another language for you.
Spanish was picked for me, and in year 9 I did both French and Spanish.
I found Spanish easier to learn, and I enjoyed it a lot more than French, and I got better results in it. I even paid more attention in the Spanish lessons than I did in French.
So I took Spanish as my language option, and I'm really glad I did. (I did okay in my speaking, reading, listening and writing). (--I still remember most of my 6 paragraphs I wrote for my year 10 Spanish speaking exam. I got 55 marks out of 56, so an A*. Was very proud).--
Ultimately though it's up to your son.

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