Why do the French dislike speaking English?

I have a secret for you : go to Japan and try to speak English to people there. It will terrify them. Most of the Japanese are not good at all in English, or even Indo-European languages in general, because these are languages very different in many ways. It’s maybe even worse for mandarin and vietnamese because these are tonical languages.

The French in France have such a pronunciation in French that it makes English quite hard to pronounce. It is less true for French North Americans like Quebecers, Acadians and Louisianians. The ears of the latters are much more used at hearing English, and t

I have a secret for you : go to Japan and try to speak English to people there. It will terrify them. Most of the Japanese are not good at all in English, or even Indo-European languages in general, because these are languages very different in many ways. It’s maybe even worse for mandarin and vietnamese because these are tonical languages.

The French in France have such a pronunciation in French that it makes English quite hard to pronounce. It is less true for French North Americans like Quebecers, Acadians and Louisianians. The ears of the latters are much more used at hearing English, and they therefore have better ears to imitate the sounds. The French are often quite good with the grammar, the conjugation, the vocabulary… it’s really the oral part that is difficult. It’s no surprise for the vocabulary : when you reach fancier language in English, it’s 60 % French and more (some greek or latin words were borrowed from French as well).

As you can interpret, French and Latin enter English vocabulary much earlier and in much greater quantities than previously thought, it only takes the top 1,627 words in English for Germanic languages to lose the majority share of vocabulary and at exactly the 1,875 most commonly used words do French and Latin dominate English vocabulary. It seems that Romance languages enter English at an exponentially fast rate but eventually do solidify at a level that I cannot reliably determine at a sample size of 5,000 words; it does appear that it eventually reaches the percentages earlier provided by other researchers such as Mr. Williams.

When I was in school I struggled to speak English orally. It took me years to start to feel at ease to speak it. Even now, I consider my pronunciation substandard, but at least I speak with more confidence. I have no such issue with the castillan language (so-called spanish), only the RR is really challenging for the pronunciation, because I can’t speak with fluidity while doing that sound.

Some sounds in English are nightmares for us. Any th or gh are almost impossible to achieve. French tend to think th sounds like Z whereas Quebecers think it sounds like D. So yeah, I speak a kind of hebonix : da thing I ate yesterday. Don’t ask me to say trough, it would likely sound just like true. I don’t even want to utter the words though and thorough, they just scare me. Tough seems easy, but I may mispronounce it anyway. Quebecers sometimes francicize the word, and it looks life toff (with an opened o, reverse c in IPA). Don’t ask for a third something, it might sound like a turd.

Look how we can be pathetic :

  • French attempting to speak English :
  • Quebecers attempting to speak English :

Another thing. French is a global language as well, not just English. Our language is the only one besides English that is spoken on all continents (it is true it’s less so in former Indochina now but I was surprised to see on Quora a news report in French in Laos, so yeah, it’s there). Our language is the only other official language in the olympic games. Our language is official in the UN. The UNESCO is based in Paris and the International Civil Aviation Organization is based in Montréal. Many people in Africa, either Maghreb or subsaharian, quite prefer to speak French than English and sometimes prefer to immigrate in French-speaking areas precisely to avoid English as much as possible. You have a lot of international news completely in French : l’Agence France-Presse, France 2, le Courrier international, le Monde diplomatique, Radio Canada International, TV5 Monde, etc. We still do science in French when possible. French is a language in which movies and video games are not just subtitled but also dubbed in. I heared, but I don’t know if it’s true, that the Constitution of China used to be written in French due to the accuracy of the language. Roughly a third or a half of the area of the United States is covered with French influences, sometimes in the most unexpected places like Juneau in Alaska, that was founded by a Quebecer. So you see, it’s still possible for us francophones to not need English. French are perhaps worse “offenders” for that regard because they are good at navel-gazing, just like the Americans ! However, they are still better at learning languages and knowing geography.

I realize that anyone who says the truth (that English and its dire spelling system are in fact the reason why speakers do not like to speak it) on ENGLISH Quora will get excluded and “No upvotes for you, my friend!”, but I do not care.

English is hard to speak because most French speakers were never explained that English is 2 languages, really. In fact, it is much more than that if we include the hundreds of dialects, but I would open a can of warm if I did go down that … path and can. It is 2 languages because its spelling system, its vowel system, mainly, is not representative of how these

I realize that anyone who says the truth (that English and its dire spelling system are in fact the reason why speakers do not like to speak it) on ENGLISH Quora will get excluded and “No upvotes for you, my friend!”, but I do not care.

English is hard to speak because most French speakers were never explained that English is 2 languages, really. In fact, it is much more than that if we include the hundreds of dialects, but I would open a can of warm if I did go down that … path and can. It is 2 languages because its spelling system, its vowel system, mainly, is not representative of how these are pronounced, 1/3 to 1/2 of the time, if one goes by Masha Bell’s research on just 7000 words. If we were going to look at how the infamous schwa is represented —or not, rather— we could easily extrapolate those ratios to the whole lexicon, whatever it is defined as.

I have given more information on this topic, but the bot or someone has kicked my answer to the curb and no appeal has managed to convince whoever that it is written in English, except for a few words in a new spelling system called Iezy Ingglish (I guess the bot is not that intelligent. Quora mod?). Anyway, judge by yourself and tell me if it is not written in English (99.999999% is in English): John Katt's answer to What are your most controversial or unpopular opinions?

Sure, there are —as others have noted— a few phonemes that are unusual for a French person to pronounce (th, r, the long vowels, and a few diphthongs ) and everyone knows that they are told to speak as if they have a hot potato in their mouth, that’s because French people tense their muscles when they speak French and English is the opposite: the less you open your mouth the better you sound! That’s not easy to switch.

English has a word stress that is vital and different than French (which is very regular) and the spelling does not guide the speaker as to which syllable that stress will fall onto. You must memorize that and thousands of exceptions (and spew them out when you speak). (To cvompare that to French orthography is disingenuous where French spelling is much more regular and where even the infamous silent final letters do not cause a language barrier or a comprehension barrier). Speaking is the hardest of all skills to master in general in all languages. There are linguists and others on Quora who will point out that to master English pronunciation you could memorize the hundreds of endings and a few other rules and know where that word stress is going to be. Are you serious? And some of them call me disingenuous sometimes. LOL I know I have a bit of an attitude, but stupidity begets stupidity or disingenuousness begets an attitude, rather.

There are not as many teachers that can speak English or Germanic languages like in Belgium or Switzerland in France and most movies are not subtitled. Things will be better with Youtube, I expect.

So, don’t upvote my answer. I am on Quora to learn and to share the truth, not win popularity contests. That much should be obvious to the one who is honest and smart.

To illustrate the problem (Not to be taken as an accurate representation of French schools as the movie is about a school with the worst teachers.):

Everybody keeps asking me all the time this question : why don’t you like English ?

To which, as a Frenchman, I gave all sorts of reasons and justifications based on history, politics or the language itself.

All of that is not untrue, but that’s not the fundamental reason.

Truth to be told, I do not hate English. I am not the biggest fan of it ever, but I do appreciate English literature and the pronunciation when it’s crystal clear like some people do achieve or with the British accent that gives it some charm.

I do appreciate the language like I would any other language. What I don’t like especi

Everybody keeps asking me all the time this question : why don’t you like English ?

To which, as a Frenchman, I gave all sorts of reasons and justifications based on history, politics or the language itself.

All of that is not untrue, but that’s not the fundamental reason.

Truth to be told, I do not hate English. I am not the biggest fan of it ever, but I do appreciate English literature and the pronunciation when it’s crystal clear like some people do achieve or with the British accent that gives it some charm.

I do appreciate the language like I would any other language. What I don’t like especially with English is when it stops being a language to become mandatory to interact with anybody anywhere just about anything. I go to Russia, China, anywhere in the world, do my best to speak with locals their language, no way. Those who learnt any basic English can’t figure out how to communicate with me not using it, even though I speak sometimes better their own language than they English. The thing is, I am fine with the English language in United Kingdom or the US, but I have no interest in speaking or hearing it anywhere else.

Here is the big difference with French : French is not as global as English, not quite as many people know it, but it is also spoken and studied everywhere. HOWEVER you’ll hear and speak it when you really want to, not if you don’t. People will not want to speak French with you at all cost even if they did learn somehow the language (and many people do learn French : it’s the only language with English and Swahili that has more secondary than primary speakers).

Anywhere I go, I can stop by an Alliance Française, a Lycée Français, a French restaurant or some Couchsurfing or Quora French meeting and get to meet French-speaking locals. If I want to. If English could do the same, stay in its place and not interfere when it’s not been asked for, that would be great.

So when people ask me : do you speak English ? I always give the same reply, in French or in the local language : non, désolé, je suis Français, pas Anglais :-)

Aaah… the Anglo abroad. A strange and curious creature but one worthy of close examination.

Genetically they are incapable of understanding the relationship of language to place and culture in the way that most of the rest of the world sees these linkages.

Some say that this is mainly because, by force of their erstwhile powerful trading and military forces, they found it possible to impose their language (the true language of Shakespeare) on the poor ignorant foreigners they came to the aid of (i.e. conquered).

They are nonplussed when they come up against pockets of lingual resistance and truly

Aaah… the Anglo abroad. A strange and curious creature but one worthy of close examination.

Genetically they are incapable of understanding the relationship of language to place and culture in the way that most of the rest of the world sees these linkages.

Some say that this is mainly because, by force of their erstwhile powerful trading and military forces, they found it possible to impose their language (the true language of Shakespeare) on the poor ignorant foreigners they came to the aid of (i.e. conquered).

They are nonplussed when they come up against pockets of lingual resistance and truly do not understand why, for example, a Frenchman living in France refuses to learn sufficient English to be able to converse comfortably with the monolingual Anglo. And further more is tired of being asked time and again “I say - plucky Pierre old Frenchie buddy- do you speak English?”

And here’s the kicker. As a French person I may or may not know some English but it is always assumed that if I do not feel comfortable, or just can’t be bothered, I am considered the one that is lacking in international bonhomie. Not the presumptuous foreigner standing in front of me.

I bet that just about every French person understands the question “Do you speak English?” But it is a large, and ridiculous, leap to assume that the person you are talking to is sufficiently comfortable conversing in English from his understanding that you want him to.

Imagine if every Francophone when travelling in Anglophone countries started every interaction with “Parlez vous Francais?” I bet they would get the same reaction - lots of frowns.

Oh, and by the way - traditionally in France ALL interactions, even between strangers, starts with a greeting. If you don’t include a greeting you are likely to be considered boorish, ignorant or worse an Anglo!

Pardon my english…

I think french people prefer english as a lot of other languages, they just don’t like foreigner languages in general.

Despite I use this english language everyday through my expat life,
I really cant stand it.

First, french people are very Cartesian and need to explain more deeply, we need to avoid ambiguity and being able to explain things clearly. The fact that a huge amount of common words in English can be used as noun and verb, is sometimes tricky for us. We love long explanation, and in some ways, the English language is too efficient. So it is easy to use, but it has a

Pardon my english…

I think french people prefer english as a lot of other languages, they just don’t like foreigner languages in general.

Despite I use this english language everyday through my expat life,
I really cant stand it.

First, french people are very Cartesian and need to explain more deeply, we need to avoid ambiguity and being able to explain things clearly. The fact that a huge amount of common words in English can be used as noun and verb, is sometimes tricky for us. We love long explanation, and in some ways, the English language is too efficient. So it is easy to use, but it has a huge lack of “je ne sais quoi” special taste. Even I speak english, I may be the type of person wanting to write long sentences to say nothing more than a native will do with only three words. This logic may also be the difference you can find between native speakers from Europe and native speakers from America (especially the one used in the west of the USA and Canada), I often find the English used in Europe is more dense. As living in China, chinese is also a language in which you can use the minimum of words that you need to be understood. From what I have experience lot of asian american in California tend to minimize compare to the european speakers.

Secondly, “English is bad pronounced French” as Clemenceau said. For most European using Latin alphabet a A is pronounced A or sometimes something else if it is next to a vowel or some specific letters. English complain about languages using genders and silent letters, of course I agree with the fact that “un oeil, des yeux” is complicated and that pronouncing “eau”-> O is not logic. But english native often forgot at which point the way they pronounce things is totally strange and bizarre. But this can stand for most of other languages speaker. Remind that the writing of French and the speaking are very far from each other, but it is a non tonal (or same-position tonal language). Some french can find accentuation sexy, especially in songs, the use of tons are not something they understand well. So they won’t be able to master it easily and they may not like the move of an english speaker mouth. From my point of view, italian, russian and japanese are much lovely to hear than english. An english speech look like someone is surprised of something and try to breath as explaining the things at the same time. I do prefer the british accent, because the american looks like the speaker do not care about what he said.

Thirdly, English is easy accessible so it becoming the language of the easy ones. So it look like very rude towards the english literature, but this one is more specific with the use of English as lingua franca. A lot of French are jealous about the domination of English language as the international language. As me, they will always explain that english power is just the result of 3–4 really bad strategic move from France during the last centuries, and that there is no natural reason why english is the international language. And at the same time, a lot of us won’t be ready to listen to someone pretending mastering french with a huge foreigner accent. Most of the english speakers from UK and other native countries may be more tolerant than the French even mocking the Belgians and the Swiss. So everybody can learn English and hold english as their own. Texans, Scottish, Singaporeans, Filipinos, Aussies they all don’t speak the english from London. Nowadays French people are more tolerant with speakers from Quebec and Africa for example, but it is still very hard for people in France to accept other accent. I have a lot of friends within the Francophone world, I of course understand them totally. But when I come back metropolitan France, I am chocked to see that the main french TV channels put subtitles on native speakers from our overseas territories. It is one of the stupidest things french are able of.

As I said at the beginning, french hate most of the foreigner language. Most of the hate towards in english is primary because it is dominant. So French are jealous, and because they are all forced to learn it at school, you will hear more french complaining about english than against any other one. If you look deep in the grammar system, the easiness of english is not seen as beauty among french people. Plus the fact that the pronunciation may be less cute than other foreigner languages.

Hello there,

I’m French and have lived in France most of my life. As for me, I really like speaking English, even if I still do mistakes, because I love this language and how beautiful it sounds. I have many international friends, international colleagues, I’ve traveled a lot and it’s always a pleasure talking English with people.

I agree with the fact that most French people dislike speaking English. I see that in my friends’ behavior. I think they do because they’re not good at English and don’t want to be embarrassed. They do not have the confidence to talk English because they know they do s

Hello there,

I’m French and have lived in France most of my life. As for me, I really like speaking English, even if I still do mistakes, because I love this language and how beautiful it sounds. I have many international friends, international colleagues, I’ve traveled a lot and it’s always a pleasure talking English with people.

I agree with the fact that most French people dislike speaking English. I see that in my friends’ behavior. I think they do because they’re not good at English and don’t want to be embarrassed. They do not have the confidence to talk English because they know they do so many mistakes and have too much pride to begin a conversation they don’t feel comfortable with. They should understand you improve your level … by practicing.

However, my friends who talk a good English are pleased to talk this language. The truth is, in France, not a lot of people can talk a correct English (even people who did long studies) so they feel intimidated because they don’t understand everything, and are not able to say everything they want to say. So it might seem French people are rude and don’t want to talk English … but not all of them obviously!!

I’ve met someone at a party, he was Finnish and didn’t know how to speak French, I talked with him some time (in English), and a lot of my friends approached us to talk during this time … but when they heard we were talking English, they just left. I thought that was crazy and realized how French people can seem inconsiderate.

However, I think that French people should understand that English is necessary in the business world, I had many jobs in my life (even if I’m still young) and 3/4 of these jobs, I could never have done them if I didn’t know how to speak English. It’s also a good way to make friends because not a lot of international people can talk French, but most of them can talk English!!

Hope this will be useful. Don’t hesitate to ask question if you want to know more about French people’s habits.

I love to speak English. It all depends with whom. Or who. Whatever.

I may be a special case, but here goes. I was once an English major. I love the English language. I’ve dedicated countless hours to make sure the syntax I use and my pronunciation do not give me away as a French. I can hold the illusion for some time, though not for a whole evening of chatter. At university my one book with a ravaged spine was my pronunciation dictionary.

Outside of that geeky world of academia, there’s something people need to know about France : like many other countries, in France anything related to the Eng

I love to speak English. It all depends with whom. Or who. Whatever.

I may be a special case, but here goes. I was once an English major. I love the English language. I’ve dedicated countless hours to make sure the syntax I use and my pronunciation do not give me away as a French. I can hold the illusion for some time, though not for a whole evening of chatter. At university my one book with a ravaged spine was my pronunciation dictionary.

Outside of that geeky world of academia, there’s something people need to know about France : like many other countries, in France anything related to the English speaking world —to be perfectly fair, mostly from the US— is cool in many people’s eyes. As in cooler than if it were French. More and more English words used in French sentences, “we French could never do Game of Thrones”… To the point that sometimes you find oddities like the translation of English movie titles into… English. The Hangover is Very Bad Trip in France. People are thought to know what a bad trip is, they should ± know what “very” means. “Hangover” is not cool, because only the ones who took the time to actually learn a thing or two about the language can understand it. Not cool. But “Very Bad Trip” apparently sounds way cooler than “La gueule de bois” (which translates “The Hangover”) —The Québec view on this kind of things is a discussion for another day.

What do you get from all this ? French people are suckers for anything related to Anglo-American culture. It’s where it’s at. We do have the French touch, we do have wit, humour, culture etc., but at the end of the day there exists a sort of weird double sense of inferiority AND superiority towards the Anglo-American culture. Supposedly cleverer (though you don’t say that, that would be smug, not saying we cleverer people would never elect a dumbass like the current potus), but very aware that Apple, The Avengers, Google, New York, Steven Spielberg and Richard Stallman are no French feats.

Soooo back to our Parisian streets. French people living in Paris (notice the difference with “Parisians”) are usually those same suckers from Anglo-American culture and overall cool. But they also have this very smug knowledge of being in one of those places revered by that very same cool culture, the one all rich couples want to spend their honeymoon in, the one where supposedly the best food on Earth is served etc.

To be a citizen of the world today (and you cannot not be one, right ?), you can’t not speak English. How satisfying that validation ! Not to mention that it feels good to be understood by someone other than your boring English teachers.

Thing is, I’ve had enough of validation and appreciation to practice the language. I’ve lived abroad, I’ve been in constant interactions using foreign languages in my work, I don’t need it for myself, and I’m now at a state where I can firmly stand my ground and choose to ignore an American (mostly, sorry folks…) who asks me something directly in English “Désolé j’parle pas anglais, pas le temps”. France is not just a resort for Americans. Europe on the whole is a magic collection of cultures who are doing fine on their own —like the rest of the world.

When people go to the US, they have to speak English. Well, just because there’s a worldwide financial and cultural imbalance in favour of the US (for how much longer ?) it doesn’t mean other cultures are necessarily less worthy.

So there you have it. That’s my statement over this 3 second exchange (or rather lack thereof) when an English speaking native asks me something without bothering that he’s not in an English speaking country.

An English speaking native mumbling words in bad French that he’s sorry he can’t speak French ? I’ll stop and help, and reassuringly speak it my best, happy to speak English as ever, proud as I am to show French people can speak it that well.

A non-English speaking native asking in broken English ? I’ll stop and help, making sure I speak in a way I can be understood. Oh you’re speaking Spanish, Italian, Japanese or Mandarin ? Let’s try yours ! Oh the smiles and even the blushing of non-English speakers who meet someone who helps them on the street in their own language ! What plenty of Americans take for granted is a source of joy for nearly all the others. Quite telling.

Any non-French with an ok-but-not-really-good-French insisting we use French throughout the exchange for practice ? I’ll take the time to help, and even throw in a quick language explanation if I have the time and the person is inclined to hear it.

At the end of the day it boils down to

Clearly some French dislike speaking English and each would have their own perfectly valid reason for doing so, but a better question would be “Why do the French (some of them) give the impression of disliking speaking English?”. PS, don’t take my ‘French Bashing’ too seriously.

  1. Preference: doh! speaking your own language i.e. French
  2. Obligation: I don’t have a choice.
  3. Identity: Je suis Français, donc je parle Français.
  4. Embarrassment: I feel weird, stupid, ridiculous etc, speaking English.
  5. Pride: I love my language.
  6. Insecurity: I feel inferior speaking English.
  7. Politics: English is destroying our cult

Clearly some French dislike speaking English and each would have their own perfectly valid reason for doing so, but a better question would be “Why do the French (some of them) give the impression of disliking speaking English?”. PS, don’t take my ‘French Bashing’ too seriously.

  1. Preference: doh! speaking your own language i.e. French
  2. Obligation: I don’t have a choice.
  3. Identity: Je suis Français, donc je parle Français.
  4. Embarrassment: I feel weird, stupid, ridiculous etc, speaking English.
  5. Pride: I love my language.
  6. Insecurity: I feel inferior speaking English.
  7. Politics: English is destroying our culture and language etc, etc,
  8. Perfectionism: I’ll speak it when I am bi-lingual.
  9. Complex: I hate that my English isn’t better.
  10. History: We lost the 100-year war but don’t expect us to roll over and die.
  11. Schools: Okay class, write out your irregular verbs again.
  12. Chauvinism: ‘Anglo Saxon’ savages.
  13. Films: I only watch them with French subtitles.
  14. Practice: I don’t know anyone who speaks English.
  15. Method: I can’t possibly speak until I know how to use present perfect.
  16. Realism: Will 20 hours make me bi-lingual?
  17. Motivation: I have an exam in 3 days, a job interview in 2 weeks, I am moving to Canada next month.
  18. Google Translate: I want to ‘ameliorate’ my English.
  19. Projection: I am being judged.
  20. Peer pressure: Speaking English is treason.
  21. Vocabulary: WTF!
  22. Pragmatism (sic): Chinese tourists should speak French.
  23. Arrogance: Fuck the English.
  24. Resistance: I refuse to speak English.
  25. Delusion: French is a superior language.
  26. Laziness: I can’t be bothered.
  27. Priority: I can’t go to my class, it’s raining, I need to go shopping, my cat is ill.
  28. Economics: Where can I learn for free?
  29. Fallacy: We speak better English than the Anglophones speak French.
  30. Tourism: It’s not that we don’t like it, but…

1/ Because we are not English. Which explains that when we are at home, we tend to use this beautiful language that is French

2/ Because we are now confronted with a certain tendency at the world level to use Covfefan (the language of a certain population from beyond the Atlantic ocean) as a lingua franca which is unreasonable, for this population is known to hate complexity, subtelties, nuances, in short, ideas.

3 / Contrary to popular belief, we are not opposed to speaking English but we only do it for intellectual matters, to exchange viewpoints, sensitivities, emotions. Using this magnificen

1/ Because we are not English. Which explains that when we are at home, we tend to use this beautiful language that is French

2/ Because we are now confronted with a certain tendency at the world level to use Covfefan (the language of a certain population from beyond the Atlantic ocean) as a lingua franca which is unreasonable, for this population is known to hate complexity, subtelties, nuances, in short, ideas.

3 / Contrary to popular belief, we are not opposed to speaking English but we only do it for intellectual matters, to exchange viewpoints, sensitivities, emotions. Using this magnificent language solely to claim extra fries in a Mac Donald exceeds our strengths. And I do not even mention the time spent listening to the pidgin of the average tourists when they are lost in the streets of Paris ...

4/ On the other hand, I am at your disposal to explain to you why the idealism of Berkeley in the “Three dialogues between Hylas and Philonous” is often misinterpreted…

To be kind to the French one can ignore the perpetual battle between France and England originally over title ( The French King William who founded the Norman dynasty in England in 1066 and wanted to use English armies to retain his titles and home lands in France, resulted in centuries of claims over French lands and now a division of responsibilities in the great European social experiment.

OK, ignore all that and the difficulty of the different languages and civic pride etc. For a thousand years the language of diplomacy has been French. The Regal courts of Europe and further abroad spoke Fr

To be kind to the French one can ignore the perpetual battle between France and England originally over title ( The French King William who founded the Norman dynasty in England in 1066 and wanted to use English armies to retain his titles and home lands in France, resulted in centuries of claims over French lands and now a division of responsibilities in the great European social experiment.

OK, ignore all that and the difficulty of the different languages and civic pride etc. For a thousand years the language of diplomacy has been French. The Regal courts of Europe and further abroad spoke French. Sophisticated people spoke the French language as standard. French and English were the only two global languages. English has taken over the world and is now considered to be the only Global Language.

I tried googling language in the Eu and was stymied at every corner. In brief the Original language of the European Union was written in 1958 in French; now the EU has 24 official languages and a thoroughly efficient translation system. The law courts at the Hague don’t seem to have a single language but the staff is reported to speak English and Dutch.

In short the French are having the ground cut out from under their feet and they are losing French as a global language. Not to be too easily defeated there is a tremendous movement especially among the French for Brexit to be accompanied by the removal of English as an official EU language. Whilst this may be proposed or even passed it will not change the tendency of EU dignitaries to continue to use the English language and French will not return to its former status.

This is more than losing a sporting event it is a global decline understood but not sympathize with by similar nations such as Greek and Roman.

Probably because French is their first language and it's almost always easier for one to speak in their mother tongue. And I've only encountered French people not speaking English in France itself. French is the national language so it's pretty straightforward why they speak French there.

I can get by in French but English is my first language and I'm obviously better speaking it. I've been to France a few of dozen times and when I'm in Paris or a more tourist destination a large percentage of the population can speak English. I start speaking French, exchange pleasantries and want to continue

Probably because French is their first language and it's almost always easier for one to speak in their mother tongue. And I've only encountered French people not speaking English in France itself. French is the national language so it's pretty straightforward why they speak French there.

I can get by in French but English is my first language and I'm obviously better speaking it. I've been to France a few of dozen times and when I'm in Paris or a more tourist destination a large percentage of the population can speak English. I start speaking French, exchange pleasantries and want to continue speaking French for practice but 9 out of 10 times they'll start speaking English. I made the attempt to speak their language therefore they're cool with it. My wife can say “hi,” “bye,” “where's the toilet” and get a glass of wine or beer. But because she makes the attempt to say “bonjour” and “ca va?” people will typically be nice and speak English.

Maybe you're being rude to them and assuming that they should speak English right off the bat. Learn a few words. Say bonjour when you enter a shop and don't be the rude American or Brit who expects everyone to speak English. I don't know if you're American but there are plenty of people here who will pull the “speak ‘Murican cuz you're in ‘Murica” when someone speaks in another language so we don't have much of a leg to stand on.