Why choose a French education
There are currently over 220 million French speakers worldwide. 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. 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.
French is unusual in that it often exists alongside other languages in multilingual contexts.
There are approximately 125 million French language learners around the world.
French shares with English the distinction of being taught as a foreign language in the education systems of most countries around the world. French is thus the second most widely learned foreign language in the world, with almost 120 million students and 500,000 teachers.
An estimated 2 million school students in some 50 foreign countries are enrolled in bilingual sections with French as one of the languages of instruction.
French is Europe’s second most widely spoken mother tongue with over 77 million speakers, after Germany (around 100 million), but ahead of English (around 61 million). French is predicted to become the most widely spoken mother tongue in Europe by 2025 and the most widely spoken mother tongue in the world by 2050.
Just as English benefited from the synergy of multiple forces in the 20th century, French may benefit from the synergistic effect of a globalized francophone culture in the 21st century. It is interesting to note that only 36% of native French speakers live in Europe, a powerful indication that while French is indeed a European language, its future is global and its status is impacted by the same global forces that have led to the rise of English.
French is one of the working languages of the United Nations alongside English, Spanish, Russian, Arabic and Chinese.
French is one of the three procedural languages of the European Union, along with English and German, and the sole language used for the deliberations of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
UNIVERSAL POSTAL UNION
French is the sole official language of the Universal Postal Union (UPU).
French is one of the working languages of many other international institutions such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Council of Europe, the African Union (AU), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA).
UNITED NATIONS ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR AFRICA (UNECA).
It is also one of the preferred working languages of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (IOC)
French plays a special role in international sporting life as an official language of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and thus of the Olympic Games. The inauguration in 1989 of the Francophone Games has underscored the existence of a real international French-speaking sports community.
- France and the French-speaking countries play an active part in world economy, accounting for some 20% of world trade in goods.
- A study entitled "The global economic importance of the French language" conducted by the Foundation for International Development Study and Research (FERDI) in 2012 shed useful light on the positive correlation between a country’s membership of the French-speaking community and its trading position. Sharing a common language would appear to boost trade flows by some 33% on average, mainly by bringing down export costs, making it easier for businesses to penetrate a new export market and helping to sustain existing flows.
- Membership of the French-speaking community, which accounts for 15% of the world’s wealth and one tenth of its agricultural land, is thus a source of great potential, particularly in periods of economic crisis, and particularly so for our partners in the southern hemisphere who stand to benefit the most.
- French also has a role to play in global communication, thanks to international media channels TV5Monde (55 million weekly viewers), France 24 (45.4 million weekly viewers) and RFI (40.1 million listeners).
- French also accounts for 5% of internet pages, ranking between sixth and eighth of the languages most widely used on the Internet.
- France Diplomatie | The status of French Language in the world
- France Diplomatie | Ten good reasons for learning French
- Language Magazine | The Future of French in the EU and Beyond