Roughly around 200 million people around the world speak French. This number includes people who speak French as a native language, as a second language and students of all ages who do not live in a francophone (French-speaking) country but have learned French. In fact French as a foreign language is the second most commonly taught language worldwide after English. It is also the only foreign language that can be useful throughout the world as well as in the United States. French comes in second after English on the list of the world’s 10 most influential languages. Proof of this is the pivotal role French holds. It is one of the official working languages in dozens of powerful international organisations such as the European Union (EU), United Nations (UN), World Health Organisation (WHO), World Trade Organisation (WTO), and a host of other worldwide institutions.
The French language of today is a direct result of long periods of evolution. France, throughout its long history, had been invaded by different ethnic tribal groups. The most distinguished of these are the Franks. They adopted the Latin being spoken at that time. Thus, the French language is a descendant from Latin. It is also known as one of the Romance languages which include Catalan, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. They are called such because their parent tongue Latin was the language of the Romans. Over the years, the early French language has undergone changes in words and grammatical structures. It has evolved into today’s global French.
Frenchspeak – Here, There and Everywhere
The French-speaking world spans the entire globe with its language heard in all the continents. Aside from English, French is the only language spoken as a native or first language on 5 continents.
In Europe, French is the official language of France, Luxembourg, Monaco, Belgium and Switzerland. France with a population of more than 60 million is one of the most modern countries in the world. It is one of the predominant leaders in the European Union. French is a co-official language in Switzerland. This picturesque country is one of the world’s richest countries. It is the centre of many international associations. Belgium, in the half past century, has emerged as a progressive European state. Brussels, the capital of Belgium, is home to the headquarters of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
In Africa, the French-speaking countries include Algeria, Burundi, Benin, Chad, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Comoros. Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Guinea, Madagascar, Morocco, Rwanda, Togo, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Tunisia, Mauritius, Reunion and Seychelles.
In the Americas and the Caribbean, French is spoken in Canada, Haiti, French Guiana, Martinique and Guadeloupe (these last three are French territories).
In Australia and the Pacifics, Vanuatu and the overseas French territories French Polynesia, New Caledonia and Wallis and Fortuna are French-speaking.
In many other countries, French plays a significant role either as an administrative, commercial or international language. Some of these countries are Andorra, Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Egypt, Greece, India, Italy, Laos, Lebanon, Mauritania, Poland, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom (Channel Islands), United States particularly Louisiana and New England, the Vatican City and Vietnam. Clearly, the French language is spoken everywhere.
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