20 facts about French

French is one of the 12 world languages. But what do you really know about this language?

20 facts about French

1) The number of French speakers has tripled since 1945.

2) French is a working language of the UN, the EU and a lot of international organizations like the International Red Cross committee, Amnesty International and Doctors without Borders.

3) Until the 19th century, French was spoken more widely in Germany and Holland than in some parts of France.

4) The French language has official status in 32 countries.

5) 75% of French citizens didn’t speak French as a mother tongue at the time of the French Revolution.

6) French is – with English – the only language which is taught in every country of the world.

7) All over the world, there are about 100 million students and 2 million teachers of French.

8) The French Academy which was created in 1635 was the first body to rule over a language.

9) Many major living French language authors didn’t speak French as a mother tongue. These authors are for example Tahar Ben Jeloun, Dany Laferrière or Milan Kundera.

10) There are 630 French language universities worldwide which are networked by the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie.

11) Half a million native French speakers live in Ontario, Canada.

12) There are two G-8 countries where French is spoken: France and Canada.

13) There are six European countries where French is spoken: France, Belgium, Switzerland, Romania, Luxembourg and Monaco.

14) After Paris and before Montreal and Brussel, Kinshasa is the world’s second largest city where French is spoken.

15) The latest edition of the comic book Astérix was printed 7 million copies in French.

16) French has more than a million words.

17) About 20.000 new words are created every year.

18) The origin of French language purism can be traced back to the influence of François de Malherbe, a poet.

19) Scientist and technicians who spoke French invented for example the hot air balloon, the cinema, the snowmobile or the saxophone.

20) In the United States, French is the number four native language.

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