Difference Between French and Spanish

French vs Spanish

French and Spanish are two languages that show enormous differences between them when it comes to the pronunciation of their words, word formation, and the like. It is important to know that both French and Spanish belong to the family of languages called the Indo-European family of languages. They even belong to the same sub-category of Italic languages that come under Indo-European language family. If you have ever heard the words Romance languages that is a reference to modern languages that evolved using spoken Latin. Spanish and French are two of the five most spoken romance languages of the world. In this article, we will learn the differences between these two languages, Spanish and French that sets them apart from each other.

Since, both French and Spanish belong to the same family they show a lot of similarities too among them apart from numerous differences in their syntax and semantics. Syntax is the study of sentence formation, whereas semantics is the study of the development of meanings.

More about French

French is spoken is the country of France in the continent of Europe. Apart from France, French is spoken in a few other countries in Europe and South America as well. It is spoken in countries such as Guyana and West Indies too.

When it comes to pronunciation, there are a number of rules in French. Certain letters are not pronounced in French. For example, the letter ‘s’ in ‘vous’ is not pronounced in French. The letter ‘r’ when present at the end of the word goes unpronounced as in the word ‘chauffeur.’ The final ‘r’ is silent in French language. All this happens to the last letter of a sentence. That is because in French you do not pronounce the last letter of a word. The letter ‘i’ when present in the second place of a word should be lengthened as in the case of the word ‘livre’ meaning book. The letter ‘i’ is lengthened in pronunciation.

Difference Between French and Spanish

In French, for the verb ‘to be’ you have a single verb; Être. You conjugate this according to the tense and number and gender of the subject.

In French language, you see a number of accents that are used all the time. You see acute accent (étoile), grave accent (où), the circumflex (être), the umlaut (noël), and the cedilla (garçon).

More about Spanish

On the other hand, Spanish is spoken in the country of Spain in the continent of Europe. It is spoken in some Latin American countries such as Columbia as well. Spanish is the most widely spoken Romance language in the world. A reason for that can be the less complex nature of Spanish compared to French.

When it comes to pronunciation, Spanish has fewer rules. It is a more learner friendly language that pronounces what you write. That is exactly the opposite of French which pronounces in a completely different way. So, if you know a few general rules in Spanish such as the first h is silent and double l is pronounce as y, you can pronounce Spanish easily.

A very important characteristic of Spanish is the use of two verbs for the English verb ‘to be.’ In Spanish, you have two different verbs for ‘to be.’ They are ser and estar. These two verbs have to be used depending on the situation. Ser is used to express a quality. Estar is used when you want to express a condition.

 French vs Spanish

In Spanish, you see only a few accents such as the acute accent (está) and the umlaut (agüero).

What is the difference between French and Spanish?

• Language Family:

• Both French and Spanish belong to the Indo-European language family.

• They also belong to the same sub-category called Italic languages.

• They are also a part of the Romance languages.

• Pronunciation:

• French has a number of rules regarding pronunciation which can be complex for a beginner.

• Compared to French, Spanish only has a few rules regarding pronunciation.

• Accents:

• French uses a number of accents.

• Spanish uses a less number of accents.

• Verb ‘To Be’:

• In French, only one verb is used for to be; Être.

• In Spanish, there are two verbs for to be; ser and estar.

These are some of the differences between the two important languages spoken in the world, namely, French and Spanish.

Images Courtesy:

  1. French by Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier (CC BY-SA 2.0)
  2. Spanish phrases by Day Translations Team (CC BY-SA 3.0)