French is one of the most popular global languages in the world today. Alongside English, Spanish, and German, it is one of the languages that is taught as a second or third language. When people visit France, the language is all that they hear. It is only if there is a group of people visiting France together that you would hear a different language spoken. Apart from the Francophone countries like Canada, Burkina Faso, Belgium, Chad, or France, there are so many regions in the world where French is spoken fluently.
So the question is “how many people speak French in the world?”. People are born every day, and some people learn languages newly, so it’s not possible to know the exact number of people who speak French. Also, a person watching a French film somewhere might fall in love with the language and just decide that they’d like to learn French. Here is a breakdown of French speakers all over the world.
French in Europe
As the official language in France, French is widely spoken. Some speakers learn other languages like English or Spanish, but French is their language of education, business, medicine, and the internet. Worldwide, there are about 76.8 million native speakers of French. That means there are more French speakers as seen in the French Iceberg.
France is in Europe, and the country most certainly has trade relations with other countries. Trade relations demand interpreters and proper communication. That is why many languages are accessible all over the world.
French in Africa
The French colonized some parts of Africa, and they still retain the language today. These countries are called Francophone countries. Unlike Anglophone countries in Africa that have English as their official language, Francophone countries retain French as their official language. Africa has an estimate of 2,000 languages with a general language as their lingua franca (common language). French is the lingua franca of Francophone countries, and it makes communication much easier. A country can have over 100 languages, and this won’t make communication cut across the entire nation. One language helps to unite the country.
French in America
Americans learn either French, Chinese, or Spanish as a second or foreign language. The reason is that they either want to learn a new language and interact with others who use it, or they want to learn the language for work. School curricula have provided the option for students to learn French. In Canada, Quebec is the only region where French is the only language spoken.
French in Asia
The French people were once colonial masters of people in Asia. There are traces of the French language spoken by people of Lebanon, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Syria.
Across all the continents, people speak French either as a foreign language or first language. Many English-speaking countries in Africa and America add French to their school curriculum. This shows how popular the language is, and how important it is. Overall, there is an estimate of 275 million people who speak French in the world. As mentioned earlier, this figure isn’t completely accurate because there could be more people developing an interest in the language as each day passes.