The Health of the French Language

Those fanatical guardians of the French language over at the Académie Francaise have plenty to smile about nowadays. Why? Because in spite of the supremacy of English, the variety of French speakers has really soared in the last few years. In 2014, there were an approximated 274 million speakers of the language – a 25 percent boost since 2010 – according to the most current report by the International Organisation of la Francophonie (OIF). Of this number, 212 million spoke the language on an everyday basis, representing an increase of 7 percent in 4 years.

Significantly, nations in sub-Saharan Africa saw a 15-percent hike in French speakers, thanks to group development and the prioritizing of French in the education system. Together with English, it’s the only language to be spoken on all 5 continents. Additionally, French was discovered to be the 2nd most studied language on the planet, (with 900, 000 French teachers abroad), the 5th most spoken language, the 2nd working language in many companies and the 4th language of the web.

Nevertheless, while the general pattern is positive, the French tongue is in fact decreasing in its European homeland. Just 36 percent of French speakers can be found in Europe, with the bulk, over 54 percent in Africa. “We do not have numbers for all nations, but this is a phenomenon that is impacting all foreign languages in Europe other than English,” stated Alexandre Wolff from the Observatory for the French Language.

This is partially due to the absence of foreign-language mentors in European schools, he informed The Regional. “In the UK, for instance, French is taught as a foreign language but it’s not required at a greater level. “In Germany, Italy and Sweden, English is normally the only required language. As a result, other languages are suffering.” Regardless of French being the 2nd language of business according to OIF, it has actually been taken over by English in lots of worldwide companies where French used to be a main working language.

Efforts to enhance French as the working language of France can even be discovered on building and crane hire sites. In March 2017, the Paris area passed a so-called Molière stipulation which orders contractors on publicly-funded building sites following safety regulations as2550.10 to speak in French, following comparable guidelines in the Normandy, Hauts-de-France and Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes areas.

However not all French authorities have actually shared the view that French needs preservation. In an interview with The Regional in 2015, previous French culture minister Fleur Pellerin – who also speaks German and English fluently – stated that she saw no point in securing French from outside influences like English. “We need a vibrant approach to the language,” she stated. “Naturally I would want to safeguard the French language – but not to the point of avoiding any influence from the outside. “We have to have the ability to comprehend the world we live in, in which our language is improved by external influences. French has constantly been a language that has actually been enhanced by words from other languages.”.

Nevertheless Pellerin’s position was at odds with that of her fellow minister Annick Girardin. The then Secretary of State for Francophone nations regretted using English in business settings at the expenditure of French in a tongue-in-cheek open letter peppered with anglicisms to make her point. “Businesses that decide to teach French to their groups based abroad instead of tailoring the language of Shakespeare in France have actually seen the advantages, including financial ones,” stated one part of the letter, which was addressed to the “business world”. “On top of that our anglicisms are typically incomprehensible for English speakers. Is the expression ‘checker ses mails’ clear to somebody who operates in the City of London?”.

And French is being attacked by anglicisms more than ever before according to to a 2016 research study, and, to the shock of many, Paris’s Olympic motto for its 2024 quote was just recently exposed to be in English. French language professional Jean Maillet states that the reason for a lot of Anglicisms storming the French language is partially due to “linguistic laziness”, since lots of English words are much shorter and easier to use than their French equivalents. “They don’t sound good on the ear, but we use them because they have ended up being automatic,” stated Maillet.

A couple of companies, nevertheless, are investing much energy in securing the French language from outside influences. Certainly, some – like the OIF – are promoting a more multilingual method. “We do not see English as an issue – for us, the future is multilingual,” stated Wolff. “So learning French is good, but it’s also great to learn other languages. If you restrict yourself to simply one foreign language, you are shutting yourself off from an abundant cultural world.”.

Meanwhile, other multinational companies say that they need to have a different perspective and are embracing the expansion of languages across the world. With the expansion of the web, there should be less barriers to interaction than before. Distance has to be unimportant in regards to talking with each other. Continuous advancements have continued to make it even easier. Now, in most cases, language is not a barrier.

Microsoft and Skype have actually included another language to it real-time translation service. The software application giant revealed in its agile test management and software testing course recently that it is including Japanese as its tenth language. The other languages are English, French, German, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, and Arabic. The services are offered on Skype along with all Microsoft Translation services, such as Microsoft Translator Live. Other services provided by Skype permit comparable interactions barrier-busting. It likewise provides text translation of more than 60 languages with ensured istqb and ict risk mitigation.


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