Interesting Facts about the French language
Keywords: learning french – french language – facts about french
“French is a very beautiful language”
“French pronunciation is poetic”
“French is rich but very hard to learn”
“French is a romance language”
“French is the language of love, food, art, and fashion”
Have you ever come across any of these statements before? Or maybe you have met someone who told you something similar. Either way, knowing all the things assigned to the French language, have you ever thought if there is more to it than that? What makes it so special? Here are some interesting facts that you should know about the French language.
- French speaking England
It might be a well-known fact to some, but it still is important to remind you that French had been the official language of England for over 300 years. In fact, French became the official language of France in 1539 and replaced Latin as the language of courts and chanceries.
- French speaking people
Did you know that there are 274 million people that speak French in the whole world? Believe it or not, but the majority of french speakers are not French and do not live in France. They are in Africa. The African continent is home to around 120 million French speakers. French is the official language of 29 African countries, including Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Burundi and Mali. In most African countries, French is generally spoken alongside local languages.
French makes up to 30% of the English vocabulary. This goes back to the Norman conquest of England in 1066 when French became the language of the aristocracy and administration. This eventually resulted in a great number of French words and expressions being incorporated into English.
- Amour and délice
The words amour (love), délice (delight) and orgue (organ) have the particularity of having a gender that changes from the singular to the plural form. We say amour parfait (perfect love), but leurs premières amours (their first loves). These are the only three words in the French language that are masculine in the singular and then feminine in the plural. Why, you might ask. That is the magical side of French!
- French Language Day
There are six “Language Days” celebrated each year by the United Nations. These are dedicated to the six official languages of the United Nations; Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. These celebrations were introduced in 2010 to honour multilingualism and cultural diversity. The date of the Day of the French language was chosen symbolically with reference to March 20, 1970, which marks the creation of the Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation (ACCT), which has become the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF).*
*Taken from language magazine.com