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Get ready for beginners’ French
Get ready for beginners’ French

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3 French-speaking countries

So, as you’ve just learned, there are over 300 million French speakers spread across the world’s continents. You will now investigate this more closely.

Described image
Figure 3 French speakers around the world

How many countries were you able to name when you completed Activity 2? The countries where French is an official language are, in alphabetical order:

Belgium • Benin • Burkina Faso • Burundi • Cameroon • Canada • Chad • Djibouti • Equatorial Guinea • France • Gabon • Guinea • Haiti • Ivory Coast • Luxembourg • Madagascar • Mali • Monaco • Niger • Rwanda • Senegal • Switzerland • The Central African Republic • The Comoros • The Democratic Republic of the Congo • The Republic of the Congo • The Seychelles • Togo • Vanuatu

Did the list surprise you at all? Perhaps you’ve visited some of these countries, or otherwise know something about them. Try the following activity and see if you can identify four of the flags of French-speaking countries (which appeared in the list just now).

Activity 3 Match the flags

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

Do you recognise these flags? Drag the country name to match up with its flag.

Using the following two lists, match each numbered item with the correct letter.

  1. Belgium

  2. Chad

  3. Luxembourg

  4. Senegal

  • a.

  • b.

  • c.

  • d.

The correct answers are:
  • 1 = c
  • 2 = b
  • 3 = d
  • 4 = a

Some of the countries which belong to la francophonie have more than one ‘official’ language. Canada, Belgium and Switzerland are examples of this. Then there are countries and territories where part of the population speaks French, but it is not an official language. For example: Algeria, Andorra, Dominica, Morocco, Saint-Lucia and Tunisia. And of course, there are people who speak French as a second language all around the world. Hopefully you will join their ranks soon!

French is also one of the three procedural languages for the EU. It is the only language used for deliberations at the EU Court of Justice and it is one of the recognised working languages of the United Nations. It is one of just two official languages of the International Olympic Committee.

Being used in so many different contexts, you start to get the picture of French being a globally important language. No wonder that over 300 million people speak it around the world!