10/24/2017 (Tue) 07:25:39
French is much easier than Japanese for an English speaker to learn. After the Norman (French) invasion of England in 1066, French had a profound impact on the development of Middle and Modern English. There are many vocabulary similarities, and important cultural similarities, too.
Especially if you're interested in reading/writing instead of speaking, it wouldn't be terribly difficult for you to pick up some French, assuming you're reasonably sharp. Unlike German and Russian, it has no complex system of noun declensions.
The US Foreign Service Institute lists French as a Category I language (easiest for an English speaker to learn), along with several western and northern European languages. For comparison, Russian is Category II and Japanese is Category III.
If you are interested in French mostly for snob value, concentrate on those French phrases that have already made their way into English, for example in law (voir dire), politics (coup d'état, charge d'affaires), cuisine (cuisine is the French word for kitchen, lol), art (trompe l'œil), culture (haute couture), because those are usually snobby.
Up to the mid-20th century or so, being able to show off with a bon mot or two was de rigueur for any educated American or Englishman. That slowly started changing as the "American Century" took hold, but even in the early 21st century, French still has a certain cachet. I CERTAINLY HOPE YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE, MON AMI
Unless you're on the verge of finding a cure for cancer, there are probably worse ways you could spend your time than picking up some French.