C’est la vie?
France also had its historic days of empire sometime in the 18th century. During its imperial years, France was able to influence many nations with everything French – from cuisine to fashion to flair and values. Nations stretching from parts of continental Europe to the far reaches of Africa, to the Caribbean and a vast portion of Southeast Asia, the French once controlled an empire that would only be toppled by the British in the 19th Century.
They say that the key to understanding French culture lies in understanding its language. This is very true. French is one of the so-called romantic languages – soft and pleasing to the ear.
This list dishes the 10 countries with the highest number of French speakers. Take a look and see for yourself if your country is on the list.
10.Belgium – 9.1 million French speakers
Belgium is one of the so-called low countries in Europe, the other being Holland. Known formerly as the Spanish Netherlands, Belgium combines its Spanish and French roots to bring about a unique Belgian and utterly European culture. Presently, it associates more with France than it does with Spain. French is Belgium’s official language.
9.Cameroon – 9.4 million French speakers
Cameroon is a bilingual nation in West Africa where French is the most widely spoken language followed by English. Compared to other countries in Africa, Cameroon can boast of relative economic stability and a less chaotic peace and order situation. Cameroon’s French influence can not be denied once one visits the country and tries to observe its people.
8.Italy – 9.7 million French speakers
Close to 5 million French citizens have migrated to Italy and made it their permanent home. Hence, Italy has one of the largest French-speaking minority in continental Europe. Italian culture actually rivals French culture in terms of creativity and showmanship – particularly in the art scene, fashion industry, and in the culinary arts.
7.Canada – 10.5 million French speakers
Canada is the world’s second largest nation in terms of land area next to Russia. Ironically, it is one of the world’s least densely populated nations, which explains why Canada has a fairly liberal migration policy. The western part of Canada if the center of French culture – particularly in the province of Quebec and the city of Montreal – the largest French-speaking metropolitan area in Canada.
6.Morocco – 10.7 million French speakers
Morocco is an Islamic nation located in the northern part of Africa and is the birthplace of the historic Moors who swept into Europe and made Islamic enclaves in Spain and Portugal. Though zealously Muslim, Morocco tends to be secular in many of its policies. It also has a large and progressive tourism sector as Morocco is rich in culture and beautiful places to visit.
5.Algeria – 11.2 million French speakers
Algeria is a Muslim-dominated nation located in North Africa. Unlike neighboring Morocco, Algeria is traditionally more Islamic and Islam is considered as the state religion. Algeria’s culture is very interesting because it is a combination of Arabic, French, and Islamic influences.The nation is truly a melting pot.
4.Germany – 12.2 million French speakers
Germany has the largest population of French speakers in continental Europe outside France itself. France and Germany are actually neighbors and are very different in terms of culture and heritage. The French love the arts while the Germans are more identified with engineering. The history of both countries also include several years of war and fighting.
3.United Kingdom – 14.8 million French speakers
The British and the French have a long history of friendship and warfare. For now, both countries are allies. The United Kingdom is home to around 15 million French speakers who now hold a British passport.
2.Democratic Republic of Congo – 33 million French speakers
This country, which was formerly called Zaire, was a French colony in Africa. Sadly, France did a lot of abuse and mismanagement to this country, which is partly the reason why the DRC remains impoverished and backward up to now.
1.France – 63 million French speakers
It goes without saying that the country with the most number of native speakers in French is no other than France itself – the capital of everything French!