In this article, I am going to explain, How to Pronounce ‘CH’ in French?
Where is French spoken? How many French-speaking countries there are? Facts and Figures About the French Language: Exploring the Richness of French Worldwide.
Let’s Explore Some Basic Facts and Numbers About the French Language, like How Many People Speak French and Where it’s Spoken.
Where French Is One of the Official Languages?
French holds official status in 33 countries, making it one of the most widely recognized languages in official capacities. Only English surpasses this, with official status in 45 countries. French and English share the distinction of being native languages on five continents and are the only two languages taught in every nation globally.
Countries Where French is the Official Language
French is the official language of France and its overseas territories, as well as 14 other countries.
- Congo (Democratic Republic of) – Population: 85 million
- Congo (Republic of) – Population: 5.5 million
- Côte d’Ivoire – Population: 26.4 million
- Burkina Faso – Population: 21.5 million
- Niger – Population: 24.2 million
- Mali – Population: 20.3 million
- Sénégal – Population: 16.7 million
- Guinea – Population: 12.4 million
- Bénin – Population: 12.1 million
- Gabon – Population: 2.2 million
- Togo – Population: 8.3 million
- Luxembourg – Population: 0.6 million
- Central African Republic – Population: 4.9 million
- Monaco – Population: 0.04 million
Countries and Territories Where French Is One of the Official Languages
- Canada (the official language in Québec) – Population: 37.9 million
- Belgium (the official language in Wallonie) – Population: 11.5 million
- Switzerland (the official language in Jura, Genève, Neuchâtel, and Vaud) – Population: 8.6 million
- Cameroon – Population: 27.2 million
- Haiti (the other official language is French Creole) – Population: 11.4 million
- Madagascar – Population: 26.3 million
- Rwanda – Population: 12.6 million
- Chad – Population: 16.4 million
- Burundi – Population: 12.1 million
- Djibouti – Population: 0.9 million
- Equatorial Guinea – Population: 1.4 million
- Comoros – Population: 0.9 million
- Seychelles – Population: 0.1 million
- Vanuatu – Population: 0.3 million
- Channel Islands (the official language in Guernsey and Jersey) – Population: 0.17 million
Where French Plays an Important (Unofficial) Role
In numerous countries, French holds significance, whether as an administrative, commercial, or international language, or thanks to a substantial French-speaking community.
Countries Where French Plays an Important (Unofficial) Role
- United States (Louisiana, New England)
- Italy (Valle d’Aosta)
- Cape Verde
- Vatican City
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Dominica (French patois)
- Grenada (French patois)
- Saint Lucia
In Canada, Québec has the largest French-speaking population, while the provinces of Ontario, Alberta, and Manitoba also have significant French-speaking communities, though smaller than Québec’s.
Number of French Speakers in the World
Obtaining an exact count of French speakers worldwide is quite a challenge. According to the “Ethnologue Report” from 2018, there were approximately 280 million native French speakers and an additional 200 million people who spoke French as a second language. It’s noteworthy that French is the second most commonly taught second language globally, following English.
Alternatively, “La Francophonie dans le monde 2006-2007” provides a different perspective:
- 128 million fluent French speakers use the language regularly, either as natives or through adoption.
- 72 million “partial” francophones live in French-speaking regions but don’t use French regularly due to limited proficiency.
- 100-110 million students of all ages, residing outside francophone areas, are learning French to communicate with francophones.
Organizations Where French Is an Official Language
French is regarded as an international language, not just because it’s spoken in numerous countries, but also because it serves as an official working language in numerous significant international organizations.
- United Nations (UN)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- African Union (AU)
- Amnesty International
- International Criminal Court
- North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
- World Trade Organization (WTO)
- European Commission
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
- Council of Europe
- International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
- International Red Cross and Red Crescent
- North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
- International Olympic Committee
- Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders)
Exploring the worldwide presence of the French language unveils its richness and diversity, from the numerous countries where it’s spoken to its significant role in international organizations. These facts and figures underline the global significance of French as a language of culture, diplomacy, and communication.
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