Exotic, vibrant, international, widespread, sexy, symbol of culture and creativity… In how many ways are you able to describe the French language?
Today, 20 March, it’s an occasion meant to respect multilingualism and cultural diversity… today we celebrate French language day! This date also coincides with the 40th anniversary of the International Organization of La Francophonie — a group whose members share a common tongue, as well as the humanist values promoted by the French language.
But what does ‘francophonie’ means? Where do people speak French around the globe? Why is French so important in our world? Keep reading to discover some of the most curious facts about this beautiful language.
Francophonie it’s the name used to collectively describe all of the countries and people who share French as a common language.
French is the only language other than English to be spoken in all five continents worldwide, in virtually every nation.
French-speaking regions and countries include Quebec, Mali, Belgium, Lebanon, Switzerland, Madagascar and Vietnam. Yes, you read that correctly, French is spoken in that far distant country, more than 10,000 kilometres (6,000 miles) from France!
Currently, there are over 280 million French speakers spread over the world. The number also includes 71 million partial speakers and speakers of numerous French dialects and creoles.
It is estimated that by 2050, the number of French speakers will rise above 700 million — 80% of them in Africa.
UNESCO loves, speaks and promotes French. It’s one of its 6 official languages and one of its 2 working languages. French also doubles as a procedural language of the European Union and the only language used in deliberation in the European Union Court of Justice.
Happy French language day to you all… Bonne fête à vous tous, en cette journée internationale de la francophonie !