Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

Why French?

French is spoken on every continent, with 220 million speakers, and one of the 10 most widely spoken languages in the world.

A 2014 investment bank Natixis study suggests that, by 2050, French might be the most widely spoken language in the world, with a half billion speakers.

A recent Duolingo, a leader in mobile language learning software and tools, study has found that French is the second most frequently studied language, with only English having more learners.

Additionally 2011 Bloomberg study found French to be the third most useful language for international business, with only English and Mandarin Chinese more useful. This global presence and recognition cannot be ignored.

According to 2013 British Council report, Languages for the Future, French is the third most useful language for British business, further signifying the importance of French to culture, business, and global competency.

It is the 4th most important internet language, which will only become more important as internet access, connectivity, and content continue to expand. Additionally, as the quality of internet content improves it is worth noting that many of the markets targeted for rapid growth are also markets where French is a dominant language of culture and business.

France is a top destination for U.S. students studying abroad, and France is a top destination for international students, with the largest number of international students after only the U.S. and the UK. These trends reinforce the importance of French to global citizens.

France and French-speaking countries are a major economic factor, accounting for 20% of the global trade in goods.

French is the second most studied language in the world, with 100 million students around the world, a huge market. Over 1 million students study French in the Alliance française alone.

Interestingly, French has long been the second most frequently studied language in the U.S. at the K-12 and college level.

French does matter!

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2 responses to “Why French?

  1. Pingback: Why French? — Over 1,000 views — Merci! :) | Language Matters

  2. Анна Соловьева May 24, 2016 at 8:44 am

    For me French sounds like beautiful music. Unfortunately, here, in Ukraine only few people still speak it. But I hope that the situation will change soon.

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