French is an incredibly popular language that is spoken by 88% of French residents as their first language. It is also spoken across the world by people on nearly every continent.
If you are interested in learning French, or using it in a voiceover agency or business, you might be interested to know exactly how popular it is across the globe. Let’s take a closer look at its presence in different global areas.
A Popular Official Language
French is the official language in 29 worldwide countries, with around 25-300 million people speaking French worldwide. It is also the procedural language for the EU (European Union) and the only language that is used at the EU Court Of Justice.
Here are some of the countries who list French as their official language.
- Burkina Faso
- Ivory Coast
- Democratic Republic Of Congo.
- Equatorial Guinea
With so many countries, it’s no surprise that voice over French actors are in such demand!
France has the highest number of residents within it who speak French, which is to be expected. Interestingly though, it is the Democratic Republic Of Congo that is the country with the biggest population with French as an official language, although not the highest number of French speakers.
This is because the Democratic Republic Of Congo was a Belgian colony that spoke French. That colony contained millions of French speakers, and so it was chosen as a neutral group in order for communication to move forward with pre-existing indigenous groups in the area, who speak Swahili, Lingala, Kikongo and Tshiluba.
Within Europe approximately 50% of Belgium speaks French, and about a fifth of Switzerland residents speak the language. Despite this high number, including native French speakers living in France, the language sits well behind Russian and German as the main European spoken languages.
French is highly popular in North America and is the main language in Quebec, with many residents who don’t have it as their main language, speaking it as a second language. In America, French is also prevalent as a spoken language, including Haitian Creole, thought to be because of Haitian immigration increases occurring since the 80’s.
French exists as a second language for most people on the African continent. Despite that, it continues to grow in popularity and there are versions of French that exist within specific areas on the African continent.
It is also a feature of education and official job roles, being expected in jobs that require higher qualifications and schooling.
Is French Spoken Elsewhere?
French is spoken in Oceania, South America, The Middle East and Asia but in very small pockets. In Oceania it is the official language of Vanuatu and is spoken by lots of French Polynesia residents.
In South America French is the official language of French Guiana. In the Middle East Lebanon is commonly spoken, although Arabic is the official national language. In Asia, French is spoken only in small amounts as part of France’s Colonial past in very specific areas.