Lori invited me to write in this journal, and she knows she's done that at her own peril.
I speak four languages, including (apart from English) German and French. Leaving those to one side, I have a smattering of Scots Gaelic and Italian. I'll just put in a post about one of my pet hates: the misconception in the UK that French is "easy".
Many young people in the UK take up French at school, thinking it is so similar to English. It is not. Let me explain.
All major European languages stem from a source language, called Indo-German. It has several branches: Romanic, Germanic, Slavonic, Celtic and a rest-group, containing odd ones out like Hungarian, Finnish, Rhaeto-Romanisch [Switzerland] and Basque. These are all alike in being unintelligible to readers from any of the other groups.
Having introduced the concept of branches of languages, I can now set about destroying the myth that French and English are alike. They are not. They have quite a few words in common, or appear to have. I'll close the post with a devastating put-down about that perceived similarity.
English has actually more in common with German. Both languages stem from the Germanic group, and have a common denominator in that strangely morphed language called Frisian, spoken in northern Holland. Frisian is a mixture of Danish, Dutch, German and English. Although English spelling is full of idiosyncracies, it also has things in common with Scandinavian languages, such as Icelandic. The infamous "th" is shared with the Icelandic letters "þ" (as in thing) and "ð" (as in there).
English and German people have more in common than either side is likely to be willing to admit. They are both, for a start, strongly regimented. A class system, to this day, still exists in the UK, even if no longer overtly discernible. In Germany, your social standing is denoted using any letters before or after your name.
So, what do English and French have in common? A few words? Oh really?
Let's have a look at one example.
If you are unfortunate enough to have an allergy to a food preservative, you have to be careful. So, you are across the Channel and you want to ask the shopkeeper whether the things are contained in your jar of beans. You ask him: "Est-ce qu'il y a des conservatifs dans ces haricots-verts?". You don't ask him "Est-ce qu'il y a des preservatifs dans ces haricots-verts?" because you'd be asking him if there are condoms in those beans.