Interesting Facts about the French Language
Posted on April 17, 2014 by Chris
When you look at the history of the French language and how many people are taught the language as they are growing up, it really isn’t surprising at just how popular this spoken language is.
French is taught in many schools across the globe and even at the basic level it is taught, you often find that this language stays with people through later life, which helps to contribute to just how popular the language is.
French is a language that is spoken all over the world, although it is mainly since 1945 that the language has grown so much – in fact since then it has seen a 300% rise in the number of people who speak it. Standard French is the most spoken version of the language and has been the official language of France since the 16th century. This version is based on the dialect of Paris and although there are other versions of the language, they’re often similar and will be understood by those people who do speak standard French.
Facts and Figures
When you look at countries that have French as their official status, you’ll find that there are 32. This puts French at second place, behind English which has 45. It is also the only language (alongside English) in the world that is taught in every country – with over 100 million students at any one time.
It is estimated that up to 11 million Americans speak French and it is the most visited country each year, with an estimated 75 million tourists annually. In Britain, French is the most popular foreign language taught in schools.
Around 33% of the English language is thought to have originated in France/the French language. Words that originally came from the French language include surf, view, challenge, war and pedigree. The French language itself has over one million words and around 20,000 new ones are added every single year.
Although the French alphabet has 26 letters it also has five diacritical (accent) marks (the circumflex accent, acute accent, grave accent, diaeresis, and cedilla) and the two ligatures (œ and æ) which can make it a little complicated to learn. They also have masculine and feminine words. However what you will find is that many words look and sound similar to their English equivalent which can make it a little easier.