Facts and Figures About the French Language
How many French speakers are there? Where is French spoken? In which international organizations is French an official language? Read this introduction to some facts and figures about the French language.
How many French speakers?
As of 1999, French was the 11th most common first language in the world, with 77 million first language speakers and another 51 million second language speakers, according to the Ethnologue Report. (1)
For the same year, Rapport sur l'état de la Francophonie dans le monde (2) offers more detailed figures:
* 113 million Francophones - Speak French (as a native or adopted language) fluently and use it on a regular basis.
* 61 million "occasional" Francophones - Live in a francophone country but do not speak French regularly, due to limited knowledge.
* 100-110 million students of all ages - Do not live in a francophone country, but have learned/are learning French in order to communicate with Francophones.
French is the second most commonly-taught second language in the world (after English).
Where is French spoken? (3)
French and English are the only languages spoken as a native language on 5 continents.
French is the official language of France and its overseas territories* as well as Bénin; Burkina Faso; Central African Republic; Congo (Democratic Republic of); Congo (Republic of); Côte d'Ivoire; Gabon; Guinea; Luxembourg; Mali; Monaco; Niger; Sénégal; Togo; the Canadian province of Québec; and the Swiss districts of Vaud, Neuchâtel, Genève, and Jura.
Départements d'outre-mer (DOM)
French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Réunion
Territoires d'outre mer (TOM)
French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, French southern and Antarctic lands
Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Mayotte
French is a co-official language in Belgium, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti (the two official languages are French and French Creole), Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Switzerland, and Vanuatu.
In many countries, French plays an important role, either as an administrative, commercial, or international language or simply due to a significant French-speaking population: Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Dominica (French patois), Egypt, Greece, Grenada (French patois), Guinea-Bissau, India, Italy (Valle d'Aosta), Laos, Lebanon, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Poland, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, United Kingdom (Channel Islands), United States (Louisiana, New England), Vatican City, and Vietnam.
Please post them
on the forum.
Although I haven't found any official information about what role French plays in them, the following countries are members of or associated with la Francophonie: Albania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldovia, Romania, and Slovenia.
Where is French used?
French is one of the official working languages in dozens of international organizations, including:
Amnesty International 4
European Union (EU) 11
International Olympic Committee 2
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) 3
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) 2
Org. for Economic Cooperation + Development (OECD) 2
Red Cross and Red Crescent 6
United Nations (UN) 6
World Health Organization (WHO) 6
World Trade Organization (WTO) 3
*The total number of languages for each organization.