Colourful buildings on the bank of a river in Strasbourg, Alsace, France. Concept of the French language.

Eight Interesting Facts about the French Language

With French Language Day approaching on March 20th, we decided to provide you with some interesting facts about the French language. Did you know, in the English vocabulary, French is 30% of the root language spoken worldwide today? Do you enjoy speaking French?

Interestingly, it is one of the oldest world languages holding a reputation as one of the most attractive languages. No wonder everyone calls it the “language of love”. Now, let us give some love to our French patriots with eight fun interesting facts about the French language.


1. A lot of People Speak French

Over 274 million people speak the French language in the world. While it is not as common as ChineseSpanish, or English, it remains popular. Moreover, out of the 274 million people, 212 million use the vocabulary daily as their first language. Additionally, one to five million people are speaking French as a second language.


2. The Majority of People Speaking French Do Not Live in France

Most people speaking French live in Africa and not France. The African continent is home to approximately 120 million people who speak the French language. In 29 African countries, the official language is French. These include Burundi, Mali, Senegal, Nigeria, and the Ivory Coast. The language is spoken alongside the inhabitant’s indigenous languages.


3. The French Language is the Sixth Most Common Language on Internet

Are you running an online business? Then make sure to note this fun fact in the French language. In 2016, researchers found that 102,171,481 internet users are speaking French. At the time, as more users that are African came online, the number grew. Still, only 2.5% of the content on the web is in French. Therefore, if you want your business to reach wider audiences, make sure you include French content on your website. You may be surprised at your new customer base and how grows.


4. One-Third of the English Vocabulary in French

Interestingly, English is not unique as it takes a lot from other countries’ languages. Look at the famous quote of James Nicolle, “We do not borrow words. But on occasion, the English language pursued other languages down the alleyways to beat them unconscious of rifling their pockets for building a new vocabulary.”

One of the languages that English borrowed from is the French language. In fact, many sources claim that up to 45% of the words in the English language come from speaking French. Here are some examples:

  • Abattoir
  • Abandon
  • Café
  • Cabinet
  • Infidel
  • Infertile
  • Similar and so the list goes on


5. For English Speakers, French is an Easy Language to Learn

After Spanish, with more straightforward grammar, the French language is easy to understand. As French and English have a lot of similarities in words, it is not as hard to understand them if you have an English-speaking background and start speaking French.


6. In the World, There Are around 100 million Native French Speakers

While there are more than 60 million people speaking the French language in France, you can find many different French communities around the globe ranging from Africa, Canada, Monaco, and Switzerland.


7. There Are Five Continents Where People Speak French

You can find English speakers worldwide, but the French language is also vocal on the five continents. In other words, there are people speaking French in North and South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.


8. French is Growing Fast and Becoming Popular

While the French language is not commonly spoken by all people, more people want to learn and speak this language. The statistics show that over 500 million people will be speaking French by 2025. You can find more people speaking French every year, and the number keeps growing. Even the French Diplomatie website feels that French will become a spoken language by all, especially with the high birth rate in France alone. You may even find that the language will become widely spoken in Europe, taking over the German language by 2025.


Final Thoughts

In conclusion, there are many more interesting facts in the French language we could mention, like the Academie Francaise. It has preserved the language since its creation by Cardinal Richelieu in 1634. The Academy comprises 40 members overseeing French for France and adding new words while changing others with modern terms for people who are speaking French.

Another fun fact is counting in the French language, as it is unclear how to pronounce the numbers between 80 to 99. In the English vocabulary, you say “eighty-three” while when speaking French, you say quatre-vingt-trois which means ‘four twenties’. Instead of saying ninety-nine, the French say four twenties, nineteen, or quatre-vingt-dix-neuf.


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To guarantee a professional translator is always available when needed, we have pooled the talents of native translators internationally. Your partnership with Renaissance Translations comes with professional memberships such as ATC and SDL LSP Partner Programme. Get in touch today to discuss your French translation project, or a request a quote online on our website.

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