The Languages of France
French is the official language of France and 40 other countries all over the world. It is spoken by approximately 300 million speakers and it is the sixth most spoken language in the world. Out of the 300 million speakers, 77.2 million are first-language speakers*. In addition to French, the residents of France speak about 80 different dialects, which are officially part of the country’s cultural heritage. Moreover, there is a small region in the Pyrenees, where Basque is spoken.
The “Académie Française” in France has the task to maintain the French language, including the monitoring of neologisms. Furthermore, there are several laws for science, economy or the public domain that safeguard the use of the French language.
For a long time, French was considered as the language of diplomacy because of its tendency to nominalise concepts, which enables users to communicate with clarity and unambiguousness. In the last decades, this function has been taken over by English.
French is a Latin language and part of the “Union Latine”.
Features of French:
- The French sound system contains 16 distinct vowels, twelve oral vowels and four nasal vowels.
- French is popular for the mismatch between orthography and pronunciation.
- The conjugation of the verb and the use of the subjunctive is considered as difficult to grasp by learners of French.
More detailed information about Basque can be found on the NNC page for: Spain