Archived 15th edition
Ethnologue.com home
Ethnologue > Web version > Country index > Europe > France > French

French

A language of France

ISO 639-3: fra

Population 51,000,000 in France. Population total all countries: 64,858,311.
Region Also spoken in Algeria, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, French Guiana, French Polynesia, Gabon, Guadeloupe, Guinea, Haiti, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Martinique, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mayotte, Monaco, Morocco, New Caledonia, Niger, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Réunion, Rwanda, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Switzerland, Togo, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, USA, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna.
Alternate names   Français
Dialects Standard French, Norman (Normand), Angevin, Berrichon, Bourbonnais, Bourguignon, Franc-Comtois, Gallo, Poitevin, Santongeais, Lorraine. Lexical similarity 89% with Italian, 80% with Sardinian, 78% with Rheto-Romance, 75% with Portuguese, Romanian, and Spanish, 29% with German, 27% with English.
Classification Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Gallo-Romance, Gallo-Rhaetian, Oïl, French
Language use National language. 50,000,000 second-language speakers.
Language development Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 1530–2000.
Comments SVO. Deciduous forest. 80 meters. Intensive agriculturalists; industry workers, marketers. Christian.

Also spoken in:

Algeria

Language name   French
Population 110,600 in Algeria (1993).
Region Known more in the cities.
Language development 20% of the population can read and write French.
   

Andorra

Language name   French
Population 2,400 in Andorra (1986).
Language use National language.
   

Belgium

Language name   French
Population 4,000,000 in Belgium (1988 M. Harris in B. Comrie).
Region Official language in provinces of Hainaut, Namur, Liège, Luxembourg, Brabant-Walloon, southern hills, and the bilingual part of Brussels. Lorraine dialect, southern villages Luxembourg Province.
Alternate names   Français
Dialects Lorraine.
Language use Official language.
Comments The following municipalities have minority rights for Dutch-speaking persons: Comines-Warneton, Mouscron, Enghien, Floubecques; and for German-speaking persons: Malmèdy, Weismes, Welkenraedt.
   

Benin

Language name   French
Population 16,700 in Benin (1993 Johnstone).
Language use Official language.
   

Burkina Faso

Language name   French
Language use Official language.
   

Burundi

Language name   French
Population 2,200 in Burundi (2004).
Language use Official language.
   

Cambodia

Language name   French
Language use Still a second language for older Cambodians.
   

Cameroon

Language name   French
Region Used mainly in the Littoral, West, Center, South, East, Adamawa, North, and Far North provinces.
Language use Official language.
   

Canada

Language name   French
Population 6,700,000 in Canada (1998 Statistics Canada). 300,000 speak Acadien, 500,000 speak Franco-Ontariens.
Region Québécois is in Quebec, Franco-Ontariens in Ontario, Acadian is in Caraquet, Shippagan, the east coast of New Brunswick, pockets in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Some Québécois speakers in Manitoba and Newfoundland.
Alternate names   Français
Dialects Québécois, Franco-Ontarien, Acadian (Acadien).
Language use Official language. All domains. English partly used in public contexts such as commerce, technology, government, or public discourse such as sports, rock and roll music, dialogue with English speakers.
Comments Difficult intelligibility between speakers of Québécois and Acadian for speakers not fluent in Standard French. Québécois is used more vigorously than Acadian. Christian.
   

Central African Republic

Language name   French
Population 9,000 in Central African Republic (1996).
Region Scattered.
Language use Official language.
   

Chad

Language name   French
Population 3,000 in Chad (1993).
Language use Official language.
   

Comoros

Language name   French
Population 1,700 in Comoros (1993).
Language use Official language.
Comments Language of all formal education except Koranic.
   

Congo

Language name   French
Population 28,000 in Congo (1993).
Language use Official language.
Comments Sole language of formal education.
   

Côte d'Ivoire

Language name   French
Population 17,470 in Côte d'Ivoire (1988 census).
Language use Official language.
   

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Language name   French
Language use Official language.
Language development Taught in secondary schools.
   

Djibouti

Language name   French
Population 15,440 in Djibouti (1988).
Language use Official language.
   

Equatorial Guinea

Language name   French
Region Known more in the cities.
Language use Official language. 75,000 to 100,000 second-language speakers in Equatorial Guinea. Used in commerce and government.
Comments Declared an official language in 1997. Increasingly becoming a language of wider communication.
   

French Guiana

Language name   French
Language use National language.
   

French Polynesia

Language name   French
Population 25,668 in French Polynesia (2000 WCD).
Language use Official language. 50,215 attending French schools, second-language users (1978).
   

Gabon

Language name   French
Population 37,500 in Gabon (1993 Johnstone).
Language use Official language.
Comments The only language of formal education.
   

Guadeloupe

Language name   French
Population 7,300 in Guadeloupe (2004).
Language use Official language.
Comments There is a variety on the northwest end of St. Barthélemy, west of but not including Gustavia, similar to Cajun French of the USA (Julianne Maher 1997).
   

Guinea

Language name   French
Language use Official language.
   

Haiti

Language name   French
Population 600 in Haiti (2004).
Language use Official language. 400,000 second-language speakers.
   

Italy

Language name   French
Population 100,000 in Italy (1987 Harris).
Region Aosta Valley.
Alternate names   Français
Language use Official regional language status.
   

Lebanon

Language name   French
Population 16,600 in Lebanon (2004).
Language use Official language. An estimated 20% of the population speak French in their daily lives, and up to 65% of the population can read and converse in French. A number of government and private universities teach in French. The language of instruction in most schools.
Language development Taught in primary and secondary schools.
   

Luxembourg

Language name   French
Population 13,100 in Luxembourg (1993 Johnstone).
Language use National language. Used mainly by intellectuals, professionals, authorities. Taught in school as a third language. Used for streets, shops, travel tickets, hotel registries, menus.
   

Madagascar

Language name   French
Population 18,000 in Madagascar (1993 Johnstone).
Language use Official language.
   

Mali

Language name   French
Population 9,000 in Mali (1993 Johnstone).
Language use Official language.
Comments Official language for instruction in schools.
   

Martinique

Language name   French
Population 9,000 in Martinique (2004).
Language use National language.
   

Mauritius

Language name   French
Population 37,000 in Mauritius.
Language use Official language. Used in stores. Widely used by young people as second language. Older adults tend to use creole.
   

Mayotte

Language name   French
Population 2,450 in Mayotte (1993 Johnstone).
Language use Official language.
   

Monaco

Language name   French
Population 17,400 in Monaco (1988).
Alternate names   Français
Language use Official language.
   

New Caledonia

Language name   French
Population 53,400 in New Caledonia (1987).
Region Mainly Noumea.
Language use Official language.
   

Niger

Language name   French
Population 6,000 in Niger (1993 Johnstone).
Language use Official language.
   

Réunion

Language name   French
Population 2,400 in Réunion (1993 Johnstone).
Language use Official language. 160,500 second-language speakers.
   

Rwanda

Language name   French
Population 2,300 in Rwanda (2004).
Language use Official language.
   

Saint Pierre and Miquelon

Language name   French
Population 5,114 in Saint Pierre and Miquelon (1967 census). Ethnic population: 5,235.
Language use Official language.
   

Senegal

Language name   French
Language use Official language.
   

Seychelles

Language name   French
Population 977 in Seychelles (1971 census).
Language use Official language.
Comments Spoken by the French settler families, 'grands blancs'.
   

Switzerland

Language name   French
Population 1,272,000 in Switzerland (1990 census).
Region Western Switzerland.
Alternate names   Français
Dialects Franche-Comtois (Jurassien, Fribourgois).
Language use Official language. 33% of the population of Switzerland speak French daily (1990 census). Used for education in French-speaking areas.
   

Togo

Language name   French
Population 3,000 in Togo (1993).
Language use Official language.
   

Tunisia

Language name   French
Population 11,000 in Tunisia (1993).
   

United Kingdom

Language name   French
Population 14,000 in England (1976 Stephens).
Region Channel Islands.
Dialects Jerriais, Dgernesiais.
Language use Official language on Channel Islands. French is only spoken by about 11% of the population of Channel Islands, mainly older adults.
   

Vanuatu

Language name   French
Population 6,300 in Vanuatu (1995).
Language use Official language.
   

Wallis and Futuna

Language name   French
Population 120 in Wallis and Futuna (1993 Johnstone).
Language use National language.