French Speaking Countries

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
Can you name a few French speaking countries? If not, don't worry. This lesson will go over the many countries where French is an official language, as well as explore a bit about each one of them.

French Speaking Countries

It seems that a lot of people love speaking the language of love, French. In fact, there are 29 nations around the world that recognize French as an official language. Inasmuch, hundreds of millions of people speak French. French is only behind Mandarin Chinese, English, Hindi, Spanish, and Arabic as the most widely spoken language.

Besides those 29 countries, many other countries throughout the planet have plenty of people that learn how to speak this language in school or on their own. However, for the purposes of brevity, we'll stick to covering those countries where French is an official language.

European French Speaking Countries

We start our exploration in Europe, where the French language was born. It all started with the country of France. The capital of France is the city of love, Paris. Through historic and cultural associations, and because the French were once a colonial power, the French language spread to many other nations.

The Eiffel Tower, an icon in Paris.
Eiffel tower

In Europe, this also includes Switzerland. Switzerland is the nation known for its secretive banking laws, amazing chocolate, beautiful mountains, and perhaps the greatest tennis player in history, Roger Federer. Belgium is another European French speaking nation. Belgium's capital is Brussels and its people also speak Dutch and German as official languages. Belgium is a pretty small country but not as small as two very tiny French speaking nations found in Europe, called Luxembourg and Monaco.

African French Speaking Countries

As mentioned before, France was at one time a colonial powerhouse. It, and Belgium, controlled large territories in Africa and so it shouldn't surprise you that many African nations have French as their official language. These nations are:

  • The Democratic Republic of the Congo. This was once a Belgian colony.
  • Madagascar, a beautiful nation located on a large island.
  • Cameroon, a country where English is also an official language.
  • Ivory Coast, also called Republic of Cote d'Ivoire.
  • Burkina Faso, which achieved independence from France in 1960.
  • Niger, a country faced with environmental devastation through improper farming and deforestation.
  • Senegal, a relatively small nation found on the western edge of Africa.
  • Mali, a country about twice the size of Texas.
  • Rwanda, a very small nation known for a massive conflict between the Hutus and Tutsis
  • Chad, a country once invaded by Libya.
  • Guinea, a predominantly Muslim nation.
  • Burundi, a country whose first democratically elected president was killed after 100 days in office.
  • Benin, once the home of an important African kingdom called Dahomey.
  • Togo, a country ruled by General Eyadema for almost forty years.
  • Central African Republic, once known as Ubangi-Shari.
  • Republic of the Congo, a country with a population of close to 5 million people.
  • Gabon, a predominantly Christian nation.
  • Comoros, a nation of small islands that produce vanilla and cloves.
  • Equatorial Guinea, another small African country. Spanish is also an official language here.
  • Djibouti, once called the Territory of the Afars and the Issas.
  • Seychelles, a country composed of many islands. This country was once fought over by the French and British.

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