About the French language


While most people think of the French language in relation to France alone, it's worth remembering that it is the 5th most spoken language in the world and that there are more French speakers outside of France, than in 'L'hexagone', as we call France, whose shape is hexagonal (i.e., with six straight sides and angles).


French is also the official language in 33 countries and the only language with speakers in every single continent. It’s spoken by 300 million people as a first language - a number that has increased by 9.6% since the last census in 2014. 81 million people are educated fully or partially in French and 50 million people study it as a second language.


French is also the official language of the United Nations and one of the most important languages in diplomacy.

Pierre de Coubertin, known as the father of the modern Olympic games, was responsible for the revival and remodelling of the ancient Olympics. He founded the International Olympic committee and planned the first modern games, which took place in Athens, in 1896. Because French was already the language of diplomacy at the time, and of de Coubertin's French roots, French was made the first official language of the games, with English as the second.


Finally there are five fields in which French is used on a regular basis:

  • cooking: 'bain-marie', 'consommé', 'flambé', 'canapé', 'béchamel', etc.,

  • fencing: 'en garde !', 'flèche', 'riposte', etc.,

  • ballet: 'arabesque', 'jeté', 'pas de deux', etc.,

  • gambling: 'faites vos jeux !', 'croupier', 'roulette', etc.

  • fashion: 'chic', 'haute-couture', 'prêt-à-porter', 'lamé', 'lingerie', 'tulle', etc.

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