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French is a member of the Romance group of languages. It is spoken as a first language by more than 70 million people, chiefly in France (55 million speakers), Belgium (3 million), Switzerland (1.5 million), former French and Belgian colonies in Africa (5 million), and Canada (6.5 million). French probably ranks next after English as a second tongue. Having served as an international language in diplomacy and commerce as well as among educated people during the last few centuries, it still enjoys great prestige culturally and is one of the languages used officially by the United Nations.
French Fun Facts:
- French is the official language of 29 countries.
- French is understood in 55 countries across five continents and spoken by over 200 million people.
- French is one of the official working languages of the United Nations as well as the Olympic Games
- Montreal is the second largest city of native French-speakers in the world (after Paris) and is located only about 2 hours away by plane from Chicago.
- French uses the same alphabet as the English language but no words in French contain the letter “w”.
- The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France over 100 years ago in recognition of the friendship the two countries developed during the American Revolution.