French is a member of the Romance family of languages, which along with Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian and other Romance languages developed from Vulgar Latin.
In the European Union
It is the official language of France, but also one of the official languages of Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Manaco. It is spoken by a total of 20% of the European Union`s population.
In the Americas
French is also an official language in Canada, being spoken primarily in the province of Quebec – one of Canada`s most populous provinces. It is also spoken in the Caribbean territories of Martinique and Guadeloupe as well as the nation of Haiti, and in French Guiana in South America, which is an overseas region of France.
French is also widely spoken as a non-native but official language in many African countries. These include:
|Burundi||Cameroon||Central African Republic|
|Chad||Comoros||Democratic Republic of the Congo|
|Congo, Republic of the||Côte d’Ivoire||Djibouti|
French is considered one of the most important languages in the world, despite the fact that it has only 75 million native speakers. That is because it has an additional 87 million second language speakres, and is still used widely in diplomacy and as a language of international communication.
The most similar language to French is Italian, another Romance language which shares very similar grammar and a majority of cognate vocabulary.