What is the French Language?
French is considered a Romance language. With its origins in Latin, French is widely regarded to be among the most beautiful languages in the world.
French language History and Origins
Key influencers are early Latin and Italian. In the 17th – 19th centuries French was the main international language, though it has been overtaken by English in the 20th – 21st.
Today, besides in France itself, French can be heard in many other European countries, widely throughout Africa, and also in various dependencies. In addition, it is the unofficial second language of Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and many others.
How is the French Language is Used Today?
France is part of the European Union and the official language in 29 countries and spoken by about 110 million people, mainly by people who live in France and as a second language by a further 190 million French language speakers. French is spoken by many people in Switzerland, Belgium and Luxemburg. In Canada, French is spoken mainly in Quebec and was introduced by the French explorers led by Jacques Cartier in 1554. French is an official language in Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey which are British Crown Dependencies in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy.
French is spoken on 5 different continents. Making French one of the most useful second language for travelling.
France is the second largest tourist location in the world that attracts over 70 million visitors a year alone.
Other major destinations that speak French include the Caribbean, Europe, Canada, and parts of Africa and Asia.
French is an official language of many of the world’s organizations:
- United Nations,
- International Red Cross Association
- Doctors Without Borders
- Numerous other international committees and organizations.
After English, French is the most learned second language in Europe and around the globe.
List of French Speaking Countries
List of countries where French is native language or French is regularly in use.
French Speaking Countries in Europe
French Speaking Countries in Africa
- Burkina Faso
- Central African Republic
- Republic of the Côte d’Ivoire Djibouti
- Equatorial Guinea Gabon Guinea
French Speaking Countries in the Americas and the Caribbean
- French Guiana
- Haiti Martinique
French Speaking Countries in Australia and the Pacifics
- French Polynesia
- New Caledonia Vanuatu
Quick French Language Facts
- Language family: Slavic group of the Indo-European
- Origin 9th Century
- Spoken by 220 Million (70m Online Readers)
- 8th most spoken world language
- Official Language in 32 Countries
- Approx 1m Words – Only 10k words commonly used
Importance of French in Culture
French is the language of culture opening your door to art, music, dance, fashion, cuisine, and cinema.
As you quickly realize when you look at the foreign film section of your local video store, France is one of the most prolific producers of international films. The Cannes International Film Festival annually attracts the attention of the world when the best films, directors, and actors are named. When you understand French you don’t need to rely on subtitles to enjoy a French film.
If you follow French literature then you have heard of such wonderful French novels like Les Miserables, The Three Musketeers, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, The Little Prince, and The Stranger. In fact, France has won more Nobel Prizes for literature than any other country. The French are also admired for their great philosophers, such as Descartes and Pascal, Rousseau, Voltaire, Camus and Satre. When you read French, you can enjoy these works and authors in the original.
Famous French Celebrities who speak French include:
- Serena Williams,
- Johnny Depp
- Elton John
- Bradley Cooper
- Mick Jagger
- John Travolta.
France is known for its fine dining, its wine exports, and so it is no surprise that French words go along with it all: words like foie gras, brie, and sauvignon blanc are all very commonly used. But the influence of the French language goes beyond the restaurant and back into the kitchen as well. Chefs have taught themselves to master the French arts, including julienne, consomme, and even mayonnaise.
Importance of French in Business
The importance of the French language extends into France’s military power. France is the third most robust military in the world after the United States and Russia. France is second in the building defence systems such as Exocet missiles, radar technology, as well as being the second largest exporter of civilian and military aircraft and helicopters. French has troops presence in over 15 countries worldwide. France also boasts one of the most advanced telecommunication systems
France has also led the way in major advancements in science and technology. France was the place where the very first nuclear fusion reactor was developed and manufactured. Advances in high energy physics and research in the medical field such as isolating HIV from the AIDS virus, the crucial first step in a cure for the virus as led to French being adopted has a necessary language of the scientific community. The importance of French has regional and global implications on all major economies of the world.
Learning any language is an ongoing process and don’t expect results overnight or without any effort. Many resources are readily available to lessen the effort and time it takes to learn French.
Believe it or not but over 40 to 50% of English vocabulary comes from the French Language.
In fact, French has the most words spread out over many different languages. Learning the importance of French can even help you understand your own language better! French is also a good language to learn if you plan to learn other romance languages like Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian.
Learn more about the importance of French Language in Business
Learning French Difficulty
The French Language is a romance Language with similarities to Spanish and Italian.
Romance languages share a similar grammatical structure and there are often similarities in vocabulary.
If you learn French, you’ll have a head start in learning other languages such as Italian, Spanish or Portuguese
All languages change over time and French is no exception. To indisputably understand the importance of the French language you need to learn the language yourself so you can receive the full benefit of this amazing language.
Top Ten Reasons to Learn French
You probably already have your own reasons to learn French but in case you don’t have one already or still looking for more reasons to get motivated to learn French. This article should help you answer the question “why learn French?”
1: French is one of the most important languages in the world
French is an international language spoken by over three-hundred million on five different continents. French is the official language of many of the international organizations like the United Nations, NATO, the European Union, UNESCO, and many more. French is also the third most used language on the internet after English and German.
2: Tourism is Huge in France And Other French Countries
France alone attracts over seventy million visitors a year but that doesn’t include other places that speak French like the Caribbean, Europe, and parts of Africa. Paris was recently named by Fortune Magazine as one of the top ten global cities. Overall, France is the second most visited tourist location in the world and knowing a little bit of French will make your travel experience that much better.
3: Easier to Understand International Sporting Events
French is always an official language used to announce events, winners, and medals at the Olympic Games. In Canada, you can also follow hockey and baseball games in French. Automobile races (Le Mans and Monte Carlo), horse racing (Longchamps), tennis tournaments (French Open), and the Tour de France engage fans around the globe. When you know French, the international world of sports is open to you.
4: French is One of the Most Romantic Languages Worldwide
French is considered by many to be one of the most romantic languages in the world with it’s beautiful, rich, the melodious rhythm of sounds.
5: Learning French for International Business
Knowledge in a second language increases your potential business opportunities cause businesses planning to break into international markets should understanding that communicating in your target demographic native languages increases confidence and builds trust among both parties.
6: There are Scholarship Opportunities for French Studies
Because of the higher demand for people speaking French, many of the world’s governments and agencies have been offering scholarships and other opportunities for individuals who are interested in French studies and learning French.
7: Many of the World’s Greatest literary masterpieces Are in French
People around the world are familiar with Les Miserables, The Three Musketeers, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, The Little Prince, and The Stranger. In fact, France has won more Nobel Prizes for literature than any other country. The French are also admired for their great philosophers, such as Descartes and Pascal, Rousseau, Voltaire, Camus and Satre. When you read French, you can enjoy these works and authors in the original.
8 – Wanting to Learn More About French Culture
French is the language of culture opening your door to art, music, dance, fashion, cuisine, and cinema. As you quickly realize when you look at the foreign film section of your local video store, France is one of the most prolific producers of international films. The Cannes International Film Festival annually attracts the attention of the world when the best films, directors and actors are named. When you understand French you don’t need to rely on subtitles to enjoy a French film.
9 – Learning French from English is very Easy
Believe it or not but over 40 to 50% of English vocabulary comes from the French Language. In fact, French has the most words spread out over many different languages. Learning French can even help you understand your own language better! French is also a good language to learn if you plan to learn other romance languages like Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian.
10 – Learn French as a Hobby/Love of Learning Languages
Maybe you are just one of those people that just enjoy learning languages for the fun of it! Once you’ve mastered the urge to learn more becomes pretty strong. Contrary to popular opinion, not much confusion happens between languages
Consider Using a French Language Learning Program
If you are really serious about learning French and want to maximize your time then you should consider using a French language course to further aid you in your quest to learn French
There are several great programs out there that deliver a great language learning experience. The advantages of a language learning program are the organization and having a next step already lined up. Most break down the lessons into 30-minute intervals that can fit into any type of schedule. Flexible to retry a lesson to make sure you understand what you are learning and give you confidence in succeeding.