The French language in the world
, IPA: [fʁɑ̃sɛ]
) is a Romance language
spoken as a first language by about 136 million people worldwide. A total of 220 million speak it as a first and second language. French speaking communities are present in 57 countries and territories. Most native speakers of the language live in France
, where the language originated. The rest live essentially in Canada
, particularly Quebec
, New Brunswick
, as well as Belgium
, and certain places in the U.S.
states of Maine
. Most second-language speakers of French live in Francophone Africa
, arguably exceeding the number of native speakers.
French is a descendant of the Latin language of the Roman Empire, as are national languages such as Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Romanian and Catalan, and minority languages ranging from Occitan to Neapolitan and many more. Its closest relatives however are the other langues d'oïl and French-based creole languages. Its development was also influenced by the native Celtic languages of Roman Gaul and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders.
It is an official language in 29 countries, most of which form what is called, in French, La Francophonie, the community of French-speaking countries. It is an official language of all United Nations agencies and a large number of international organizations. According to the European Union, 129 million (or 26% of the Union's total population), in 27 member states speak French, of which 65 million are native speakers and 69 million claim to speak French either as a second language or as a foreign language, making it the third most spoken second language in the Union, after English and German. Twenty-percent of non-Francophone Europeans know how to speak French, totaling roughly 145.6 million people.
According to a demographic projection led by the Université Laval and the Réseau Démographie de l'Agence universitaire de la francophonie, French speakers will number approximately 500 million people in 2025 and 650 million people, or approximately 7% of the world's population by 2050.
The Alliance française (French pronunciation: [aljɑ̃s fʁɑ̃sɛz], French Union), or AF, is an organisation whose mission is to promote French language and culture outside France. Its primary concern is teaching French as a second language. It is headquartered in Paris.
The Alliance was created in Paris on 21 July 1883 by a group of eminent men, including the scientist Louis Pasteur, the diplomat Ferdinand de Lesseps, the writers Jules Verne and Ernest Renan, and the publisher Armand Colin.
It finances most of its activities from the fees it receives from its courses and from rental of its installations. The French government also provides a subsidy covering approximately five percent of its budget (nearly €665,000 in 2003)
More than 440,000 students learn French at one of the centres run by the Alliance, whose network of schools includes:
- a centre in Paris,
- locations throughout France for foreign students and
- 1071 locations in 133 different countries.
The organisations outside Paris are local, independently-run franchises. Each has a committee and a president. The Alliance française brand is owned by the Paris centre. In many countries, the Alliance française of Paris is represented by a Délégué général. The French Government also run 150 separate French Cultural Institutes, that exist to promote French language and culture. Read more...
Léopold Sédar Senghor (9 October 1906 – 20 December 2001) was a Senegalese poet, politician, and cultural theorist who served as the first president of Senegal (1960–1980). Senghor was the first African to sit as a member of the Académie française. He was also the founder of the political party called the Senegalese Democratic Bloc. He is regarded by many as one of the most important African intellectuals of the 20th century.
Léopold Sédar Senghor was born on 9 October 1906 in the small coastal city of Joal, some one hundred kilometres south of Dakar. Basile Diogoye Senghor, Léopold's father, was a businessman belonging to the bourgeois tribe Serer, a minority group in Senegal. Gnilane Ndiémé Bakhou, Léopold's mother, and the third wife of his father, was Muslim of Peul origin belonging to the Tabor tribe. She gave birth to six children, including two sons. Senghor had also inherited from the Serers, apart his first name, his two last names: his father's name, Senghor (derived from the Portuguese for Lord, Senhor) and the Serere's name Sedar (meaning "One that shall not be humiliated"). Read more...