6 Good Reasons To Learn French
With over 7,000 languages spoken in the world, it is difficult to narrow in on one when choosing a second language. Family culture and prior language knowledge often weigh into the decision. It goes without saying that there are countless benefits to learning another language. For French speakers, the future is bright. Although more people speak English, Chinese, Hindi, and Spanish worldwide, French is spoken in more countries and over a greater geographical area than any other, making French second only to English as a global language. That statistic aside, here are six good reasons to learn French!
More than 300 million people on five continents speak French.
This number has risen 10% since 2014. In fact, French is the only language other than English to be spoken on five continents. French is the world's fifth most spoken language when you include everyone who speaks French, not just native speakers. One of the factors that pushes the French language to number five is the high number of second language speakers. Many French speakers are bilingual or multilingual. After English, French is the most commonly taught second language. Knowing French will certainly make it easier to communicate with a range of people all over the world!
The map above shows the 88 member states and governments of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF). Created by President Senghor of Senegal, this organization is an international community of nations where French is either the first language, national language, working language, or the country has a notable affiliation with the French culture. There are also a number of regions with a large population of French speakers not affiliated with the organization.
Learning French will broaden your world view.
The case that learning another language broadens your world view could be made for many languages, but particularly French as it is spoken as a first and second language across so many different countries and such a wide geographic area. Knowing how to speak French will open doors note only to France, but Canada, French Guiana in South America, the Caribbean, and Belgium - to name a few. There are 29 French-speaking countries in Africa out of 54 countries on the continent, 21 of which are known as Francophone countries (they use French as an official language). That's over 50% of the African continent. French is the lingua franca to many multilingual cultures and can certainly provide a bridge to picking up another language, culture, or perspective.
It is estimated a native English speaker already knows 15,000 French words.
It is no problem if you only know English, and are hoping to learn French. The French language is estimated to be the derivative of more than one-third of all English words. Way back in 1066, the French Duke of Normandy invaded England. As a result, today we benefit from a fair amount of shared derivatives and vocabulary between the two languages.
Some words are similar like monnaie in French is to money in English. English speakers made the change from the Middle English word schat for money. Another example of links between the two languages is the circumflex over the o (ô). It indicates that there was once an S present in the French word.. So the French forêt translates to forest. Many words commonly used in the English language can be linked back to a French derivatives.
As France and England are geographical neighbors, it isn't too surprising to see evidence of this language overlap as their cultures inevitably also did throughout history.
French is ranked among the most influential languages in the world and is the lingua franca of art, cuisine, dance and fashion.
The French are well-known around the world for their cuisine. They have the highest number of Michelin-star restaurants in the world, leading the way in innovative dining. Those who study art history may also notice a disproportionate number of famous French artists. Known as the "land of art," France has produced noteworthy art from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance and Impressionism to Modern art today, and continues to inspire generations of artists. Ballet has a strong cultural significance in France. King Louis XIV is responsible for popularizing and creative a standard form of ballet. It continues to be celebrated as an art today. France's distinction as the fashion capital of the world with its multitudes of high-end French Fashion Houses dates all the way back to Louis XIV as well and his lavish court at the time. The French have made their mark on a multitude of industries in their celebration of artistic expression.
French-speaking cultures outside of France also have additional noteworthy contributions to the cultural dining scene. Belgium has contributed Belgian waffles, chocolate, mussels, and beer. The Canadians have poutine. The South American French Guiana has flavored rice and beans dishes, casava, and smoked fish.
French is crucial for international relations and diplomacy.
French is one of the official languages for most international organizations such as NATO, the European Union, UNESCO, the International Court of Justice (alongside English), INTERPOL, the International Red Cross (alongside English and Spanish), and the United Nations, It is also the third most common language on the Internet.
French is a romance language.
As French is a romance language, it is somewhat easier to pick up if you already speak a romance language or to learn another romance language like Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian. Between romance languages, much of the vocabulary and grammar rules are similar. For instance, most nouns have a masculine or feminine gender, although word genders are not always the same between languages.
By 2050, French may be among the three most widely spoken languages.
The OIF has estimated that there will be at least 715 million French speakers (or more) by the year 2050. Much of this language explosion is due to the rapid population growth and development in Africa. With a population of around 112 million people, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is now officially the most populated Francophone country in the world.