Is French an important language ? When England was ruled by the Norman Kings, French was the ruling language in England. For almost 400 years the nobility, including the judiciary, spoke French and the common people spoke an evolving English. After the conquest in 1066, Norman French became the language of Power in England and English remained the language of the common people. All official documents were written either in Latin, the language of the church, or in French.
Almost a 1000 years later and the British still cannot be bothered to learn a second language.
Should schools give up teaching French?
Should schools give up French? Since 2002 there has been a decline in the number of pupils in the UK who can speak French, and it is said that this is a direct result of government legislation in the UK which abolished foreign languages in schools as compulsory. In 2002, 341,604 school children or pupils in England and Wales took GCSE French, whereas in 2010 it was down to 188,688, which is down by 45 percent. During the same period the number of A levels in French went down by 14 percent.
Should you bother to learn French?
So, is this putting English speaking students, businessmen and companies at a disadvantage? English may be described as the world’s business language, but 200 million people speak French around the world, and it is an official language in 29 countries. Furthermore, did you know that French is an official language of the United Nations AGENCIES and a large number of other international organizations? The British Commonwealth has eight French-speaking countries as members.
French the third language in the European Union
According to the European Union, 129 million, or twenty-six percent of the Union’s total population can speak French, of whom 72 million are native speakers (65 million in France, 4.5 million in Belgium, plus 2.5 million in Switzerland). 69 million are second-language or foreign language speakers, thus making French the third language in the European Union.
According to a demographic projection led by the Université Laval and the Réseau Démographie de l’Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie, French speakers will number approximately 500 million people in 2025 and 650 million people, or approximately seven percent of the world’s population by 2050.
In a special report produced by “Forbes 2000”, it is shown that 3 out of the top 50 companies in the world are French. They are, at number 15, Total France Oil & Gas; number 17, BNP Paribas France Banking; and at number 28, AXA Group France Insurance.
If you are serious about your career, international business, export or you are a serious traveller, then French should be a prime candidate. Remember that 29 countries in the world have French as their second language.
How to Learn French
How to learn French read how La Giraudiere helps its’ volunteers and interns how to learn French
Acknowledgment of help from the following: The Forbes 2000 Report; Will Smale, BBC News and Wikipedia.org. and the volunteers and interns from La Giraudiere who have learned French in France and The Académie Française,