- You will find French speakers on all continents
around the world. French is the native language of some 200 million
people and is the second language of millions more. In Europe,
it is spoken in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg.
In the Americas, it is an official language of Canada and spoken
in the Carribbean.
- It is the language of the well educated in
parts of Southeast Asia, North Africa and much of Western and
Central Africa. Being able to speak French is an asset for anyone
interested in working in international organizations such as the
- French is a key language in the European Union
of twenty five nations, the world's largest economic entity.
- With a population of 350 million and a gross
national product larger than the United States, the European Union
is an economic superpower
- French is a language of business. Today, American
companies have over 2,000 subsidiaries in France, and French companies
have over 600 subsidiaries in the United States. Major corporations
with headquarters or subsidiaries in the United States and France
include Du Pont, Hewlett-Packard, Xerox, Apple Computer, Michelin,
Renault, Bic and many more.
- French is a language of technology and medicine.
Dr. Luc Montagnier discovered HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
The Chunnel under the English Channel, the TGV high speed trains,
and the Concorde are only a few examples of recent French technological
- French fashion designers, artists, writers,
musicians, chefs and filmmakers have had a wide influence in the
United States and the rest of the world.
- Impressionist painters like Monet, musicians
like Ravel and Boulez, novelists like Flaubert and Camus have
had an influence on world culture. Many recent American films
like Three Men and a Babyor Point of No Return are remakes of
French movies. Where would Julia Child be without French cuisine?
Who hasn't heard of Christian Dior, Chanel, and Pierre Cardin?
- French is the language of influential, religious,
and intellectual movements. Jean Calvin helped define Protestantism;
Enlightment writers like Voltaire championed human rights; Simone
de Beauvoir was a prominent feminist, and Michel Foucault was
a founder of postmodernism.
- French is a language of tourism. Paris is the
third most visited international city by Americans. France is
the second most visited country in the world, and Quebec offers
a taste of Europe in North America.
Acknowledgment: Alliance Française