French (le français or la langue française) is a Romance or Italic language descended from the spoken Latin language of the Roman Empire, as are languages such as Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Romanian, Lombard, Catalan, Sicilian and Sardinian. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Roman Gaul and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France’s past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian.
Interesting Facts About the French Language
- It is the common 2nd language of:Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, Syria, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
- Since a large number of English words and expressions are of French origin, you’re actually already familiar with quite a lot of French vocabulary
Had a déjà vu lately? Did that glass of wine have a certain je ne sais quoi? In a restaurant or café, you might find olives, pâté, omelette on the menu, along with soufflé or chocolate mousse for dessert. Feeling flush? Wash it all down with champagne.
- French is also the only language, with English, that is taught in every country of the world, with 100 million students and 2 million teachers – 20 % of whom are outside of francophone countries.
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Where Is French Spoken?
French is spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the provinces of Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick (Acadia region) in Canada, the Acadiana region of the U.S. state of Louisiana, the northern parts of the U.S. states of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont in the New England region, and by various communities elsewhere. Other speakers of French, who often speak it as a second language, are distributed throughout many parts of the world, the largest numbers of whom reside in Francophone Africa. In Africa, French is most commonly spoken in Gabon (where 80% report fluency), Mauritius (78%), Algeria (75%), Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire (70%). French is estimated as having 110 million native speakers and 190 million more second language speakers.
French is an official language in 29 countries, most of which form la francophonie (in French), the community of French-speaking countries. It is an official language of all United Nations agencies and a large number of international organizations.