I know most of the time an article is always needed in French.

There are a couple of exceptions like: profession and nationality. Je suis canadienne. Je suis cuisinier.

Why do we drop the article when it comes to speaking languages?

Je parle le français. / Je parle français. Je ne parle pas le français. Je ne parle pas français.


In je parle français, français is used adverbially so doesn't require an article. Other examples of such usage are:

  • Je m'habille français.

  • Je mange français.

  • J'achète français.

  • Je roule français.

Je parle le français is however possible and correct and so is je parle en français (which has a slightly different meaning).

With être, it is no more an adverbial usage so there is agreement with the subject. The lack of article is standard:

  • Je suis ingénieur.

  • Tu es française.

  • Ils sont bouddhistes.

  • How is it adverbially? Is it adverbially in English? Jun 18 '18 at 11:21
  • No sure about what you are asking. Français is not an adverb but is used here as if it were one. Whether it would be in English or not is irrelevant.
    – jlliagre
    Jun 18 '18 at 12:28

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