47 Surprising Facts About French Speaking Countries! | Kidadl


47 Surprising Facts About French Speaking Countries!

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Did you know that more than 220 million people across the globe speak French as their everyday native language?

Did you know that more than 45% of words of the English language have their roots in the French language? To know more facts about the incredible French language, read on.

The origin of the French language dates back to the 2nd and 1st century BCE when Gaul was conquered by the Romans and the Gaulish language was amalgamated with the Roman language and hence the phrase 'to speak in Roman' came into being.

The French language is so dominantly present in the roots of the English language that the word ‘culture' itself comes from France. The word ‘culture' derives itself from its French counterpart which was in turn derived from the Latin word ‘colder', which meant growth, cultivation and nurturing.

The international emergence of the French language initiated during the Middle Ages while the influence of the French kingdom was at its peak. Its dominance became prominent in the 17th century when the French language replaced Latin as the language of the European court and became the main language of diplomacy in the European region. At the time, most countries that used French as their mother tongue were colonies of the French empire and with the French colonization, the language spread further for many reasons in the centuries that followed. For example, the Canadian region of Quebec was under the French empire and thus had a majority of its population as French speakers. However, the number of people speaking French decreased gradually after France lost most of its colonies by the 19th century.

In the second phase, the French colonial empire began its descent over the Arab region. With the advent of the 20th century, France exercised its control over the regions of the current day Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Senegal. These regions continue to speak the French language even today. By the end of World War I, most of the colonies of France gained independence but the empire continued to maintain its influence over African colonies even after the mid 20th century and so these regions still use French as their main language.

Since we are discussing the French language, we have some tips for you if you ever visit France as a tourist. If you ever get to meet a tourist that has come to visit your city or country, we are sure you would feel good if he or she talks to you in your native language. The same goes for French people as well as many French speakers know no more than a few languages.

Before you plan a vacation in France you must learn how to order food in French, how to ask where a washroom is and most importantly, how to say that you are lost. Knowing how to speak this last phrase in French could get you out of trouble if you ever get lost in a busy city in France. One more sentence that you must know is how to tell the locals that you don’t know how to speak French. With this, the locals can attempt to talk to you in some language other than French.

After reading these French language facts, also check out which is the largest French-speaking country and facts about French culture.

Facts About French Culture

What comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘France’ or ‘Paris'? The word ‘French' and its associates are generally related to fashion, art, architecture and food but there’s much more to the French culture other than these as life beyond the city of love varies from place to place.

Presently, France is the largest member of the European Union which has an area of 213,010 sq mi (551,695 sq km) and is the third-largest country of Europe after Ukraine and European Russia. One third of the landmass of the French subcontinent is covered in forest and the country is one of the most forested countries in Europe.

If you are a travel enthusiast then France could be one of the top contenders on your go-to list. In 2018 alone, around 90 million tourists visited France which made it one of the most visited countries in the world. The capital city of Paris alone is the third most visited city after Bangkok and London. This might be an indication that you need to speed up your pace of learning the French language.

Along with this, France also holds a number of records and innovations in its name from hair dryers to tin cans and hot air balloons. Many of the things that we commonly use in our daily lives are a result of French innovation. Nicolas Appert, a French innovator, recommended using sealed glass jars that could be placed in hot boiling water to preserve the food inside it. Similarly, the tin can was invented by Pierre Durand, a Frenchman. Braille, a technique used by blind people to read, was invented by Louis Braille. The signature instrument of every doctor, the stethoscope, was also invented in France by Rene Laennec. In 1888, the world witnessed the first hairdryer invented in France by Alexandre Ferdinand Godefroy. Last but not the least, the world’s first hot air balloon was introduced by the Montgolfier brothers in France in the year 1783.

France also has the record of having the most Nobel Prize winners in literature in the world. More than 15 French individuals have won the award since its inception in 1901, so one can easily interpret that the French are amongst the most influential in the field of literature and the French soil nurtures some of the best writers and philosophers. Victor Hugo, Blaise Pascal, and Gustave Flaubert are some of the most renowned French writers with Sully Prudhomme having won the first Nobel Prize in literature from France.

Which is the largest French-speaking country?

The French subcontinent is home to the largest number of French-speaking people with 67 million French speakers. As we all know, the country is also the birthplace of the French language and hence the country and the language go hand in hand.

After France, the Democratic Republic of Congo has the second largest French-speaking population with an estimate of more than 37 million people who speak French. The list goes on, with Canada and Cameroon having 10 and nine million people who speak French.

According to a survey, there are more than 220 million people who speak French worldwide. Out of this figure, around 80 million people are native French speakers whereas the remaining are learners of the French language. French is used officially by 29 countries like France, Switzerland, Congo, Luxemburg, and Canada. The language is spoken in almost every continent.

According to an estimate, there will be more than 700 million French speakers by the year 2050 with the majority of French-speaking nations being in the continent of Africa. Other than this, various international organizations like the United Nations and the European Union use the French language showing that the language has an established dominance worldwide.

The French subcontinent is home to the largest number

What makes the French language unique?

One of the most interesting and amusing facts about the French language is that it is regarded as the language of love worldwide. Before the Roman invasion of Gaul, Gaulish was spoken in the region but this changed further with Old Frankish leaving their traces over the French language. 

Later on in the year 1539, French was made the official language of France by its ruler Frances I. By the 17th century, French was made a standardized language with the creation of the Academie Francais. Since then the language has received little to no change in its format. In the 17th century, the French language started covering a major region of Europe and its extent further spread with the expansion of French colonies in Africa, Asia and the two continents of America.

One of the most unique and magnificent facts about the French language is that it is the most predominant asset of the modern-day English language. As already mentioned, more than 45% of words of the English language are derived from French words. This derivation was initiated with the conquest of England in 1066 by Norman who made French the language of administration which resulted in the amalgamation of the two languages.

Notable Facts About The French Language

One of the most interesting facts about the French language is that it remained the official language of the United Kingdom for more than three centuries.

This change was brought in by the conquest of Norman by William in 1066 after he introduced his own version of the amalgamation of the two languages. This newly formed language was only and generally spoken by higher officials and people of the royal family. However, the use of French as the official language stopped with the passing of the Pleading in English Act of 1362 which made it compulsory for English to be used as the language for pleading as French was difficult to understand by most of the common people.

French is the most taught language after English, with more than 100 million students and two million teachers worldwide. The language is taught in almost every country across the globe. According to a survey, the number of French speakers tripled after the end of the Second World War as many of the French and Belgian colonies accepted French as their official language for the purpose of governance, education and employment.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 47 surprising facts about French speaking countries then why not take a look at cross link 1, or cross link 2.

Written By
Supriya Jain

<p>As a skilled member of the Kidadl team, Shruti brings extensive experience and expertise in professional content writing. With a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from Punjab University and an MBA in Business Administration from IMT Nagpur, Shruti has worked in diverse roles such as sales intern, content writer, executive trainee, and business development consultant. Her exceptional writing skills cover a wide range of areas, including SOP, SEO, B2B/B2C, and academic content.</p>

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