Published February 25, 2016
Description for French taken from Bryan's video 8/26/18: French is spoken by about 60,000,000 people in France and almost 75,000,000 internationally. French is a Gallo-Iberian language of the Romance languages under the Indo-European language family. French is the official language of 29 countries and spans five different continents -- it is the 18th most natively spoken language in the world and the second most studied language worldwide, with about 120 million learners. Owing to the historical forces of French and Belgian colonialism beginning in the 16th century, the French language found its way across the Americas, Africa, and Asia. Given its historical prestige, French has become the primary or secondary language of many international institutions including the United Nations, the European Union, NATO, the International Olympic Committee, and the International Committee of the Red Cross. French has over two dozen dialects that also span all over the globe, from the southern tip of South America to New Caledonia and the Polynesian islands. As a Romance language, French descends from Vulgar Latin in Gallia, where it sustained linguistic influence from early Germanic invasions as well, resulting in Old French, the beginning of the French language from the 8th to 14th century. French was the language of diplomacy and international relations beginning in the 17th century and remained so up until the Second World War.