French is one of the world’s most widely spoken languages, with a total of 300 million speakers across 106 countries and regions. Despite its global reach, the use and proficiency of French varies widely across different regions and contexts.
French is the fifth-most spoken language in the world, after Mandarin, English, Spanish, and Arabic. It is also the only language, apart from English, that is spoken on five continents. However, depending on the country or region, French can be used in different ways – as a language learned at home or in school, as a means of communication for work or administrative procedures, or as a language used in international discussions, the media, and cultural activities.
While some countries have a large portion of the population that is proficient in French, others only have a small segment of the population that speaks the language. In many cases, French is used alongside other languages, highlighting the diverse and multi-faceted nature of the language.
French is used throughout Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, the Maghreb, and the Middle East. Its wide-ranging use brings diverse identities together in dialogue and reflects a broad spectrum of cultural imagination.
According to data, 235 million people use French on a daily basis, with 132 million people learning French as a foreign language or in a French-speaking environment. French is the second-most learned foreign language, and the fourth-most widespread language on the internet. Additionally, 88 states and governments are members of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF), while 32 states and governments use French as an official language.