Francophony and the French Language


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Spreading the French language: a priority for French diplomacy

French is spoken by 300 million people around the world, a figure that has increased from 9.6% since the last census in 2014. It is the fifth most-used language in the world behind Mandarin, English, Spanish and, depending on the estimates, Arabic or Hindi.

France’s aim is to make French one of the main world languages of the future and an asset in an ever-more global world.

France’s international strategy for the French language and multilingualism, presented by Emmanuel Macron on 20 March 2018, is based on 33 measures to learn, communicate and create in French.

In order to promote French and the French-speaking world, furthering France’s influence abroad, the actors of French diplomacy have established the following:

  • a bilateral policy aimed at developing cooperation activities with local authorities to develop French in their education system and direct teaching activities led by the French cultural and education system.
  • a multilateral policy aimed at bringing Francophone countries together in a political community. France supported the created of the International Agency of La Francophonie in 1970. In 2018, the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF) has 88 Member and Observer States with French as a reference language. This institution representing the Francophone world contributes to peace, democracy, human rights, the promotion of French and cultural diversity, and the development of shared and sustainable prosperity.

Updated: February 2019