List of Countries That Speak French

List of Countries That Speak French Quebec City
With more than 77 million native speakers and 220 million total speakers, French ranks in the top 10 of the most commonly spoken languages worldwide. Due primarily to France's extensive colonial influence in the 19th and early 20th centuries, many countries throughout the world recognize French as an official language or at least have a significant portion of their population who speak French. France, with a population of over 59 million, is, not surprisingly, the country with the most French speakers. (Québec City, Canada pictured right)
 

French As an Official Language

While French is spoken by a significant part of the population of about 60 countries, it is only recognized as an official language by 29 countries. The countries that speak French as an official language are Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Guinea, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Monaco, Niger, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Switzerland, Togo and Vanuatu.

European Countries

Aside from France, the European countries where French is widely spoken include Belgium, Luxembourg, Monaco and Switzerland, all of which also recognize French as an official language. While French is an official language in these countries, each of these countries, aside from France and Monaco, also recognize other languages officially. For instance, Switzerland recognizes German, French, Italian and Romansch all as official languages.

African Countries

France was a major player in the European efforts to colonize Africa and certainly left its mark in many ways, including language. French is widely spoken, though it may not be recognized as the official language, in these African countries: Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Niger, Reunion, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Togo and Tunisia. While French is widely spoken in these African countries, native languages are still commonly spoken by most of the population, along with other languages such as English and Dutch.

Countries in the Americas and Caribbean

The list of countries that speak French in the Americas and Caribbean include Canada, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Haiti and Martinique. French Guiana, Guadeloupe and Martinique all recognize French as their official language, are formally governed by the Overseas Department of France and are considered non-sovereign.

 

Countries in the Pacific

Three countries in the Pacific--French Polynesia, New Caledonia and Vanuatu--have a significant French-speaking portion of their population. French Polynesia includes the popular tourist destination of Tahiti and is considered an overseas territory of France, thus recognizing French as an official language. New Caledonia is also an overseas territory of France with French as its official language, while Vanuatu is a sovereign republic.

Article Written By Christie Leman

Christie Leman is a public educator who has been writing informative articles on a variety of topics for five years. Her articles have appeared on several websites, including eHow, Associated Content and Examiner.com. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and history from Texas A&M University and is a certified Texas teacher.

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