French is spoken in countries and continents around the world, and the world's francophone population is only growing! Have you considered taking the plunge and learning French yet? Maybe you should!
French speakers are everywhere
French is one of the very few languages spoken all over the world, ranked the sixth most widely spoken language after Mandarin Chinese (over a billion speakers), English, Hindi, Spanish and Arabic. There are currently over 220 million French speakers worldwide, including 72 million partial French speakers. Europe accounts for 39.87% of the French-speaking population, sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean for 36.03%, North Africa and the Middle East for 15.28%, America and the Caribbean for 7.66% and Asia/Oceania for 1.16% (source: OIF, La langue française dans le monde, 2010).
Learning French for the Future
As a result of population growth, the OIF estimates that the number of French speakers will rise to over 700 million by 2050, 80% of whom will be in Africa. This would take the proportion of French speakers in the world population from 3% to 8%.
French is also Europe’s second most widely spoken mother tongue with over 77 million speakers, after German (around 100 million) but ahead of English (around 61 million). Demographers forecast that France’s birth rate will make French the most widely spoken mother tongue in Europe, ousting German, by 2025. French is an official language of 29 countries, second only to English in this category.
Where is knowledge of French useful?
French is unusual in that it often exists alongside other languages in multilingual contexts. In Europe (excluding France), the largest populations of French speakers are found in Belgium (45% of the population), Switzerland (20% of the population) and Luxembourg.
Why learn French?
You should learn French so you can communicate with diverse groups of people all over the world. If you know French, you can travel the world with ease!