Ever wonder why French is mostly considered the best practical language worldwide?
According to current statistics by the L’Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), there are 274 million French speakers in the world.
This makes French the 5th most spoken language in the world and the 2nd most learned foreign one.
These statistics come from a 2014 analysis which discussed French’s progress since 2010.
The stats stated that “the lack of linguistic diversity encourages uniformity in the way we perceive and think the world” and the OIF is trying to keep French and multilingualism alive within international organizations.
Due to the population growth, the OIF estimates that the number of French speakers will increase to over 700 million by 2050, 80% of whom will be in Africa.
This would increase the proportion of French speakers in the world population from 3% to 8%.
However, to continue to progress, many more French teachers will be needed in Africa, else the feasibility of 700 million francophones by 2050 seems unlikely.
French is one of the five official languages of the United Nations. French claims the spot of the 3rd most important global business language, after English and Chinese, and the 2nd business language of the European zone after English (but still ahead of German, Russian, Italian and Spanish).
The French language also accounts for 5% of Internet pages, ranking between sixth and eighth of the languages most widely used on the Internet.
French is thus the second most widely learned foreign language in the world, with almost 120 million students and 500,000 teachers and remains the 3rd destination students go to when studying abroad.
French is one of the working languages of the United Nations alongside English, Spanish, Russian, Arabic and Chinese.
French is one of the sole languages used for the deliberations of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
It is also one of the preferred working languages of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
French plays a special role in international sporting life as an official language of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and hence of the Olympic Games.
The inauguration in 1989 of the Francophone Games has underscored the existence of a real international French-speaking sports community.
France and the French-speaking countries play an active part in the world’s economy, accounting for some 20% of world trade in goods.
French also has a role to play in global communication, thanks to international media channels such as TV5Monde (55 million weekly viewers), France 24 (45.4 million weekly viewers) and RFI (40.1 million listeners).
The rapid increase of the French language is basically coming from Africa, which uses French or English as the lingua franca
Here are just a few facts I never really thought of that makes French a very important language and that matters a lot to French people.
1. French is a top international language.
The French language is spoken on five continents. It has official-language status in 29 countries, including Belgium, Haiti, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Monaco, Niger, Senegal, Togo, Canada, Mali and more. It’s one of six official languages of the UN. French people know that and are aware it’s strategically important that their language keeps that international position.
2. French gives access to the world.
Due to French history and the amount of exposure France has had to other cultures, as well as the amount of influence it has had on other cultures, you can use French to better connect to the world as a whole. The French are excellent curators. They pay close attention to what’s going on in the arts on an international level and bring the latest right to your doorstep. France is also home to the Cannes Film Festival, the preeminent international film festival that brings attention to new films from all around the world every year.
3. The French Language is on the rise.
Everyone knows the best place to do business is the Francophone Africa due to its rapid population growth. In addition, France’s birth rate suggests that by 2025 the French will surpass German to become the most-spoken language in Europe!
And with things potentially moving in this direction, it’s worth considering that French just might explode in the same way the way Mandarin has in the market world.
A 2014 study by the investment bank Natixis forecasted that French will outgrow other top languages worldwide in coming decades, including English. This projection was visible enough for both USA Today and Forbes to take notice and run articles discussing the possibility.
4. French is a favourite language among learners.
After English, French is the most learned language worldwide.
This means that there are a huge number of resources and communities available to the French learner.
It also means that by learning French you’re opening the door to communicate not just with native French speakers, but other people like yourself who have studied French. This can especially come in handy when travelling. If you already speak English and add French to your repertoire, you might be surprised how many people you can talk to, even in countries where neither English nor French is an official language.
5. A career asset.
The ability to speak both French and English is an advantage for job seekers with the many multinational companies using French as their working language, in a wide range of sectors (retailing, automotive, luxury goods, aeronautics, etc.).
France, as the world’s fifth biggest economy, attracts entrepreneurs, researchers and the cream of foreign students.
French people are aware of the advantage they have in speaking French. No wonder you find so many of them in international organizations.
6. An introduction to an incomparable cultural universe.
France is often considered the language of culture.
Speaking French is like going on a cultural journey taking you into the worlds of fashion, gastronomy, the arts, architecture and science. Learning French also offers access to the works of great French writers such as Victor Hugo or Marcel Proust and famous poets like Charles Baudelaire or Jacques Prévert, in the original text.
It means being able to hear the voices of actors such as Alain Delon or Juliette Binoche, and the pleasure of being able to understand the words of French songs sung by famous singers like Édith Piaf or Charles Aznavour and even sing them yourself..
French people are so much attached to their language because they know and have understood how culturally rich it is.
7. The language of international relations.
As mentioned above, French is both a working language and an official language of the United Nations, the European Union, UNESCO, NATO, the International Olympic Committee, the International Red Cross and international courts.
Proficiency in French is essential for anyone considering a career in any international organization.
I never thought this was that important for French people but I came to understand later that it’s actually an important advantage.
8. A language of reasoning and debate.
French is an analytical language that constructs thoughts and develops critical thinking. It is the language of great philosophers (Descartes, Sartre and Derrida, among others) and eminent scientists (Pierre and Marie Curie, Pasteur, Georges Charpak, etc.).
In learning and speaking this language well, French people know that it’s also a way to learn how to argue a case and present different points of view, valuable skills for discussions and negotiations and also French is the language of the universal ideals advocated by the philosophers of the 18th century Enlightenment, who helped to spread the idea of human rights throughout the world.
9. A language of love
I usually forget that French is considered as one of the best languages to express endearment or affection towards the one you care about.
Its fluidity and beautiful melodic rhythm can soothe anyone in the right situation.
Love expressions like Do you love me? Tu m'aimes? / Est-ce que tu m'aimes?
I love you: je t'aime (juh tehm)
To marry: épouser; se marier
Do you want to marry me? Veux-tu m'epouser
My fiance: mon fiancé (male); ma fiancée (female)
Finally, Speaking French makes a major contribution to preserving linguistic diversity in the world and avoiding the exclusive domination of a single language in today’s globalized world because of the nearly 1 billion people represented in the French-speaking world, France, and Paris in particular, has enormous influence.
There is no city in the French-speaking world that begins to rival the cultural, economic and political influence of Paris.
The French know it and that’s probably why they value their language so much.
Do you have other ideas as of why the French language is that important to French People?
Let’s a have a chat in the comments.
- 7 Top Things That Make Paris Museums Unique
- Learning French: 10 Must-Know iOS, Android, Web Apps And Language Exchange Events In Paris
- A selection Of New Measures In 2017 Every Parisian Expat Should Know
- FUSAC: The Anatomy of the Then Print (and Now Web-based only) Paris English Speaking Sponsored Content Magazine.
- 9 sure ways to live in France for as long as you want.