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French language

French (Français) is a Romance language of the Indo-European origin. Like other Romance languages (such as Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Romanian and Catalan) French is a descendant of the spoken Latin language of the Roman Empire. Fom the 18th century to the mid-20th century (when it was overshadowed by English), French served as the language of diplomacy and international affairs as well as a lingua franca of the European aristocracy and among economic and cultural elites of Europe. As a result of colonial ambitions of France and Belgium, between the 17th and 20th centuries, French language was introduced to America, Africa, Polynesia, South-East Asia and the Caribbean (many of the Creole languages are a mix of local languages with French). 77 million people speak French as their mother tongue. 190 million use French as a second language. 200 million speak French as a foreign language. French is an official language in 30 countries, most of which form the community of French-speaking countries, called La Francophonie. French as native and official language is spoken in: Belgium, France, Canada (Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick), Luxembourg, Monaco, Switzerland and French-speaking Africa (Cameroon, Gabon, Ivory Coast). French as official language is used in: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, Congo, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Central African Republic, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Togo, Vanuatu. French is also spoken by descendants of French settlers in the State of Louisiana and Maine (where it is the de facto official language along with English), in the Aosta Valley in Italy (along with Italian), in the formr French colonies in Asia (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia), in northern Africa (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia), in Lebanon and in the Middle East. French is an official language of all United Nations agencies, the European Union, the African Union and the large number of international organizations: the European Space Agency, FIFA, Interpol, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, the International Olympic Committee, the International Court of Justice, NATO, OECD, the World Anti-Doping Agency, World Trade Organization.

The language is spoken in the following countries: Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, France, Guadeloupe, Luxembourg, Morocco, Monaco, Mauritania, New Caledonia, Ivory Coast, French Polynesia

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Belgium - French
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