French – The romance language spoken by millions of people


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The government of Nigeria passed a legislation that will see French made a compulsory subject in primary and secondary schools. The idea behind this move was so that Nigerian citizens can be able to tap into the political, economic, cultural and diplomatic advantages of learning the language. This declaration was made public by the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives Emeka Ihedioha who made the announcement during the 20th anniversary of the Nigeria French Language Village which was held in Lagos. Alongside English, French is the only language that is taught in every country in the world. It has a total of 100 million students and 2 million teachers. 20 percent of learners are located outside Francophone countries.

French is a romance language spoken by 256 million people, out of which 75 million people speak it as their mother tongue. French is a popular language, second only to English. It is the official language in 32 countries. French speakers can be found in Luxembourg, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, France, Madagascar, Canada USA, Lebanon, the Caribbean islands among other places. Paris is the world’s largest French speaking city, seconded by Kinshasa. Montreal and Brussels hold the 3rd and 4th positions. The UN, EU, the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders and many other international organizations use French as their working language. The number of French speakers has tripled since 1984. this is largely due to the fact that the French colonies chose to continue speaking French even after gaining their independence.

French descended from the Latin language. French uses the same alphabet as the English language although, the letter “w” is only used in foreign words. French spelling is a poor guide to pronunciation as it represents how the language was spoken 4 to 5 centuries ago. Also, there are a lot of silent letters which tend to appear at the end of words. It may take a bit of time for an English speaker to master the pronunciation of French words and acquire the accent. French has acquired some English words and some French words have also been borrowed from French.

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