I started writing this post from Valence, a southeastern French city where I've been invited by friends to spend the Easter weekend. I got back to Paris last night and had to finish it before publishing it today.
Like at any traditional French family mealtime, a few topics emerged going from food recipes, to world’s current affairs via the upcoming French presidential elections.
At Expats Paris, we don’t talk at about current issues, we don’t either write about French political issues.
While discussing with my friends (during this Easter five hours meal), I had a thought about an almost-similar conversation topic I had a few weeks ago with Christian and Tony on WhatsApp. Our conversation brought up concerns over the way French people should vote for. We basically expressed our worries about a candidate that may lead the country to a Frexit and lock it up to itself, throwing away all the cultural and economic benefits it’s been enjoying from its Foreign Policy and immigration, in particular.
Back to the dinner table.
Ever wonder why French is mostly considered the best practical language worldwide?
According to current statistics by the L’Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), there are 274 million French speakers in the world.
This makes French the 5th most spoken language in the world and the 2nd most learned foreign one.
These statistics come from a 2014 analysis which discussed French’s progress since 2010.
The stats stated that “the lack of linguistic diversity encourages uniformity in the way we perceive and think the world” and the OIF is trying to keep French and multilingualism alive within international organizations.
Due to the population growth, the OIF estimates that the number of French speakers will increase to over 700 million by 2050, 80% of whom will be in Africa.
This would increase the proportion of French speakers in the world population from 3% to 8%.
However, to continue to progress, many more French teachers will be needed in Africa, else the feasibility of 700 million francophones by 2050 seems unlikely.
French is one of the five official languages of the United Nations. French claims the spot of the 3rd most important global business language, after English and Chinese, and the 2nd business language of the European zone after English (but still ahead of German, Russian, Italian and Spanish).
The French language also accounts for 5% of Internet pages, ranking between sixth and eighth of the languages most widely used on the Internet.
Coco Chanel, the legendary French designer, said it best: “A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.” For many, French women—les Parisiennes in particular—seem to be shrouded in mystery, with an allure and self-possession that isn’t easy to emulate. It’s not that women the world over aren’t as wonderful or stylish as the lovely ladies in France, but they seem to do it with a flair all their own. Books have been written and studies done to try and capture in words that special...something that is innate in a French woman. How do they do it?