If you’re thinking about learning French it’s always good to know a little about the origins and history of the language you are learning. Here, Cactus Language offers up our most interesting French language facts:
The French language derived from Vulgar Latin. Both Gaulish, a Celtic language which was spoken in ancient Gaul before the Roman invasion, and Old Frankish also left their mark on the French language. In 1539, Francis I of France made French the official language for the administration.
French started to be standardised from the 17th century onwards, with the creation of the Académie française in 1634, and its structure has little changed since then. During the 17th century, French became the lingua franca of Europe and spread worldwide as France expanded its colonial empire, influencing many other European languages on the same occasion.
80 million of French speakers are native speakers. French is an official language in 29 countries, such as France, Belgium, Canada, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Congo, Mali, Senegal, and it is spoken on every continent. It is the European Union’s fourth most widely spoken mother tongue. The number of French speakers is expected to reach 700 million by 2050, mostly in Africa.
Homephones are words sharing the same pronunciation but with different spellings and meanings. This makes it easier to create tongue twisters. Some of the most famous examples include:
After the Norman conquest of England in 1066, French became the language of the aristocracy and administration, which resulted in a great number of French words and expressions being incorporated into English. Over the centuries, French remained a major language influencing modern English.
Many international institutions have French as one of their official languages, including the United Nations, the European Union, the International Olympic Committee, the Red Cross, and Médecins sans Frontières. Many international courts also use French as an official language.
An excellent way to improve your French language skills is by taking a group French language course with Cactus. We offer French languages courses online and face-to-face in over 10 locations across the UK.
Cactus offers a range of options for French private tuition. You can choose one-to-one classes if you prefer online and tailored French lessons that suit your schedule and location. For more information please visit our private tuition and corporate language training division.
An excellent way to improve your language skills is by taking a French immersive language course in the country where the language is spoken. Cactus offers courses in France, Canada, Switzerland, the Caribbean and Reunion Island.