What Languages Are Spoken In France?

In France, officially the French Republic is the territory where we can find a variety of cultures, civilization, and different languages. Some of the languages are new and the others have been rooted deeply for centuries in France.

Languages Are Spoken In France

In the European Union, France is the largest country and it is known as hexagon due to its six-sided shape. Its area consists of 551,000 sq km, and it makes the fifth of the total area of European Union.

It is also one of the world’s most attractive tourist’s destinations and according to the World Tourism Organization report published in 2014, it was stated that there were 83.7 million tourists arrived in France, making it the world’s most-visited country.

The main attraction for the tourists is the wide range of culture and civilization. In addition to this, different official and non-official languages enrich the country and make it one of the most multicultural in the world.

In this article, we will explore different languages spoken in France which beatify its culture, so to know more, read the article till the end.

The Official Language – French

The Official Language - French

Although there are many major languages spoken across the country but French is the official language of France. There is no other language recognized by the state, only French is the official language.

French is the second largest spoken language in the world, the first one is English. It is estimated that 300 million people speak French as their mother tongue or second language.

It is also the only language which is taught in each country of the world and has 100 million students and 2 million teachers. French is also an official language in other countries such as Canada, Congo Madagascar, Senegal, Belgium, Seychelles, Haiti, Switzerland, Monaco, and Luxembourg.

Non-Official Languages

Though there is a variety of languages, not recognized as official languages, but they are spoken in France in addition to French.

Southern France

In southern France there are five different languages:

Southern France

Occitan

This language has its origin from romance, and it has been spoken for centuries across the origin known as Occitan which consists of the major parts of Midi Pyrenées, Languedoc-Roussillon, and the parts of Aquitaine.

There are several accents that have originated from Occitan and one of the most widely spoken dialects are Provençal and Gascon.

Unfortunately due to the past centuries of poor language heritage policies, this language was not transferred to generation adequately and currently, only 600.000  people are said to be present who can speak this language in France.

Occitan is also the official language of the region Vall d’Aran, where it is still spoken at a wide range. Provençal is often referred as a language in itself because of its differences with Occitan.

Catalan

It is a fact that before the 17th century’s Pyrenees treaty, the certain parts of the south east were under Catalan territory which is why you can still hear people speaking Catalan in the villages of the Houte-Cerdagne, Vallespir and Conflent regions, as well as the city of Perpignan.

Bonifacien

This Italo-Romance language can be still heard among the elder in southern Corsica, in the city of Bonifacio.

Corsican

This Italo-Romance language is spoken in the island of Corsica and the northern Sardinia. Its origin is said to be in the Tuscan dialect.

Basque

French Basque Country, the area of France has many villages who still speak this language of unknown origin.

North-East France

The Languages spoken in Northeast France are:

Northeast France

Alsatian

Alsatian language is spoken by the people of the Rhine valley which is similar to the German language.

Dutch-Flemish

Dutch-Flemish is spoken in the north, near Dunkirk. This language owns its proximity to the Netherlands.

Western France

The languages spoken in Western France are:

Western France

Breton

Breton language is spoken in western France and this language has its origin from Celtic. This language is spoken across Brittany and was brought by British migrants during the middle ages. According to UNESCO, this language is in danger.

Overseas France

Overseas France

Due to past France’s colonization, several islands are still under French territory that have their own official languages apart from French.

For example, 

  • Creole is spoken in Guadaloupe, Martinique and French Guyana.
  • Bantu is spoken in Indian Ocean islands.
  • Austronesian languages are spoken in islands across Oceania.
Note: As these languages are not spoken in the actual French country, they are not generally considered as languages spoken in France.

Interesting Facts About Languages In France

Given below are some interesting facts about French language:

Interesting Facts About Languages In France

  • In Africa, there are around 100 million French speakers.
  • In 32 countries, French is either the official language or one of the official languages.
  • On the internet, French is one of the most frequently used languages.
  • In dozens of the international organizations and agencies, French is the official working language. It is the official working language of the UN, the International Red Cross, The European Economic Community, NATO, and the International Olympic Committee, amongst others.
  • It is estimated that about 2 million people in the US speak French or French creole as their mother tongue. Also, more than 6 million people in the US can speak French fluently.
  • After Paris and before Montreal and Brussels Kinshasa is the world’s second largest French speaking city.
  • Many famous living French language authors did not speak French as a mother tongue such as – Milan Kundera, Nancy Houston, Jonathan Little, Andreï Makhine, Tahar Ben Jeloun, Dany Laferrière, François Cheng.
  • Seventy-five percent of the French citizens did not speak French as a mother tongue at the time of French revolution. Until the 19th century, French was spoken more widely in Holland and Germany than in some parts of France.
  • About a third to a half of basic English words come from French, including pedigree, surf, view, strive, challenge, pride, staunch and war.

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