International Strategy for the French Language and Multilingualism


French is the fifth most-spoken language in the world. The number of French speakers is growing, with most now living in countries other than in France.

On International Francophonie Day, President Emmanuel Macron presented the international strategy for the French language and multilingualism.

France will help implement this strategy with the International Organisation of La Francophonie and all the partners who share its aim to promote the French language and multilingualism.

President Macron revealed France’s international strategy for the French language
and multilingualism on 20 March 2018, during a speech at the Académie Française.

It is the result of participatory work: the citizen consultation “My idea for the French Language” collected more than 5,000 “ideas” and many suggestions were put forward at an international conference bringing together 500 intellectuals, artists, business leaders and teachers on 14 and 15 February 2018 in Paris.

The strategy centres on 33 measures for learning, communicating and creating in French, with an objective of making French one of the major world languages of tomorrow and an asset in globalization.

Learning in French

The first challenge of an ambitious French language policy is that of transmission and learning.

France is committed to supporting education systems in Francophone countries, particularly in Africa, so that they can transmit the French language to the new generations, while respecting multilingualism.

Beyond the French-speaking world, France wishes to see the French language more present in education systems of its European and international partners. It will participate more in educating talented people across the globe in French lycées and universities.

In France, more attention will be focused on learning the language, particularly for the most vulnerable populations.

Communicating in French

The second challenge for an open and bold Francophonie is that of use and communication.

French is the fourth most-used language on the Internet and the third most-used language in business. The Francophone space represents more than 15% of the world’s wealth.

French is an official language of the United Nations and a working language of the European Union and the African Union. It is the most-used language in diplomacy after English, and one of the two official languages of the Olympic Games.

To make French one of the top three world languages of the 21st century, it is important to increase its presence in the emblematic places of international life: the Internet and global information media, the economy, and European and multilateral diplomacy.

At a time when the number of French speakers is growing and the trend is emerging towards a multipolar world, the role of the French language should be defended and enhanced.

Creating in French

The third challenge for Francophonie is for French to be more than ever a language in creating, in which the world of tomorrow is thought out and invented.

The Francophone world is full of hotbeds of creativity – in Europe, Africa, North Amercia, the Caribbean, the Middle East and the Asia Pacific.

In literature, film, theatre, dance and visual arts, new names are emerging that are shaping a new vision of the world. It is crucial to support them, encourage them and to make them known.

It is also important to decompartmentalize cultural and creative spaces and promote the mobility of artists and artworks to strengthen a common Francophone awareness.