The French Language
Over 220 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 the Francophonie Française 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 in politics. It is one of the official working languages in dozens of powerful international organisations such as the European Union, United Nations, World Health Organisation, World Trade Organisation and a host of other worldwide institutions. In addition, the Universal Postal Union, a part of the United Nations, together with the worldwide postal system, uses French the official language. English, a working language, was only introduced in 1994.
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 language, which was spoken at that time and from which the French language descended. It is also known as one of the Romance languages, which include Catalan, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. They are called such because of their parent tongue, Latin, was the language of the Romans. Of course, this is not to say that French isn’t a romantic language, many a time Paris has been called the city of love. Over the years, the early French language has undergone changes in words and grammatical structures. It has evolved into the global French that is taught today.
French speak – Here, There and Everywhere
The French-speaking world spans the entire globe as it is heard and used in all continents. Aside from English, French is the only language spoken as a native or first language on five different 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 also a co-official language in Switzerland. This picturesque country is one of the world’s richest countries and 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, there are over 20 French-speaking countries include Algeria, Burundi, Benin, Chad, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Comoros, Côte 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 Pacific, Vanuatu and the overseas French territories French Polynesia, New Caledonia and Wallis and Fortuna are French-speaking. In total, there 29 countries using French worldwide and the Côte d’Ivoire is one such country often recognised for having one of the fastest growing economies in the world. As such, French is quickly becoming an important language in the business world.
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. Within the Francophonie Française there are associate members who, despite not being in a French-speaking country, are engaged in promoting the French language and its culture.
Learning French doesn’t have to be boring, especially since it’s a language with such rich history and culture. At Agape School of Education, our language classes are interwoven with culture. We hope to inspire a love of learning and the language through a deeper understanding of the language, be it their culture, their people or even their food! We also provide an executive conversational course for professionals and business leaders, called French Expresso. Our materials are specifically designed for high-level management and CEO’s. The French language is poised to be a key player in future expanding businesses worldwide. Come down today to find out how we can help you learn French for any purpose!