November 27, 2021
French (français, AFI: [fʁɑ̃ˈsɛ]) is a language belonging to the group of Romance languages. Spread as a mother tongue in metropolitan and overseas France, in Canada (mainly in the provinces of Québec and New Brunswick, but with a significant presence also in Ontario and Manitoba), in Belgium, in Switzerland, in numerous Caribbean islands (Haiti , Dominica, Saint Lucia) and the Indian Ocean (Mauritius, Comoros and Seychelles), in Luxembourg and in the Principality of Monaco, it is the official language of about 30 states spread over all continents (as a legacy of the French colonial empire and colonization Belgium), as well as numerous international organizations such as the UN, NATO, the International Olympic Committee and the Universal Postal Union. It is also, together with English and German, one of the three working languages of the European Union. In Italy it is spoken and protected in the Aosta Valley, where it enjoys a co-official status with Italian Although it is not in the first places among the most spoken languages in the world by number of native speakers (79.6 million according to Ethnologue, 2021), it is instead the second by diffusion (after English) by number of countries in which it is official and by number of continents in which it is spoken. Estimates of the total speakers are difficult due to the greater diffusion of French as a second language than as a mother tongue and the large weight that the vast territories of French-speaking Africa have in the demography of this language, in which the advancement of knowledge of French is constantly growing thanks to schooling and for which precise or updated statistics are not always available. However, according to the estimates of the International Organization of Francophonie, there are around 267 million speakers in the world (it is the fifth most spoken language in the world based on the number of total speakers). But, as a number of native speakers (L1), it is number 17. French is currently the second most taught language in the world after English, also thanks to a widespread network of linguistic and cultural services centered on the Centers Culturels Français (CCF, dependent on the Embassies) and on the offices of the Alliance française.