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Interesting facts about France: French Language

1. The world's first real international language

French used to be the language of the nobility and diplomacy all across Europe and in the Ottoman Empire, then the world's first real international language until English replaced it in the mid-20th century. 

2. Several regional languages in Metropolitan France

Metropolitan France counts several native regional languages : Alsatian and Lorraine German (both High German dialects), Occitan (including Gascon and Provençal), Oïl dialects (such as Picard and Poitevin-Saintongeais), Basque, Breton, Catalan, Corsican and Franco-Provençal. 

3. Many French people can speak at least one foreign language

In spite of foreign stereotypes, many French people can speak at least one foreign language (45% are able to participate in a conversation in a foreign language according to Eurobarometer in 2005), and English is the most widely spoken (34%). 

4. The official language of 30 countries 

French was the official language of England for over 300 years (from 1066 until the early 15th century). It is still the official language of 30 countries worldwide.

5. 270 million speakers worldwide

French language is spoken by 270 million people worldwide (almost as much as the population of the USA), of which 120 million are native or fluent. There are less than 60 million of White Caucasian native speakers of standard French worldwide.

6. Quebecois hard to understand for French people

The variety of French (Quebecois) spoken in Quebec, Canada, is a distant dialect from the French spoken in Europe, and sometimes hard to understand for French people.

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