French language

French language

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{{pp-move-indef}}{{French language}} '''French''' ({{lang|fr|''français''}}, {{IPA-fr|fʁɑ̃ˈsɛ|IPA}}, or {{lang|fr|''La langue française''}},{{IPA-fr|la lɑ̃ɡ fʁɑ̃ˈsɛz|IPA}} ) is a [[Romance language]] spoken as a first language in [[France]], the [[Romandy#French|Romandy]] region in [[Switzerland]], [[Wallonia]] and [[Brussels]] in [[Belgium]], [[Monaco]], the regions of [[Quebec]] and [[Acadia]] in [[Canada]], and by various communities elsewhere.
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{{pp-move-indef}}{{French language}} '''French''' ({{lang|fr|''français''}}, {{IPA-fr|fʁɑ̃ˈsɛ|IPA}}, or {{lang|fr|''La langue française''}},{{IPA-fr|la lɑ̃ɡ fʁɑ̃ˈsɛz|IPA}} ) is a [[Romance language]] spoken as a first language in [[France]], the [[Romandy#French|Romandy]] region in [[Switzerland]], [[Wallonia]] and [[Brussels]] in [[Belgium]], [[Monaco]], the regions of [[Quebec]] and [[Acadia]] in [[Canada]], and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts of the world, the largest numbers of which reside in [[African French|Francophone Africa]]. In Africa, French is most commonly spoken in [[Gabon]] (where 80% reports fluency) [[Mauritius]] (78%), [[Algeria]] (75%) and [[Côte d'Ivoire]] (70%). French is estimated as having between 70 million and 110 million native speakers and 190 million second language speakers. French is the second-most studied foreign language in the world, after [[English Language|English]]. French is a descendant of the spoken [[Latin]] language of the [[Roman Empire]], as are languages such as [[Italian language|Italian]], [[Portuguese language|Portuguese]], [[Spanish language|Spanish]], [[Romanian language|Romanian]], [[Sardinian language|Sardinian]] and [[Catalan language|Catalan]]. Its closest relatives however are the other [[langues d'oïl]] and [[French-based creole languages]]. Its development was also influenced by the native [[Celtic languages]] of Roman [[Gaul]] and by the ([[Germanic languages|Germanic]]) [[Old Frankish|Frankish]] language of the post-Roman [[Franks|Frankish]] invaders. It is an [[official language]] in [[List of countries where French is an official language|29 countries]], most of which form what is called, in French, ''la [[francophonie]]'', the community of French-speaking countries. It is an official language of all [[United Nations]] agencies and a [[List of international organisations which have French as an official language|large number of international organizations]]. According to the [[European Union]], 129 million, or twenty-six percent of the Union's total population speak French, of whom 65 million are native speakers and 69 million are second-language or foreign language speakers, thus making French the third language in the European Union that people state they are most able to speak, after [[English language|English]] and [[German language|German]]. Twenty-percent of non-Francophone Europeans know how to speak French, totaling roughly 145.6 million people in Europe alone. George Weber, author of "Top Languages: The World's 10 most influential Languages," said that until a century before 1996, French had a global dominance similar to that now occupied by English. He said "[n]obody could pass for educated without the ability to speak French" and "However, French dominance was never so complete as its rival's is now for the simple reason that 100 years ago large parts of the world were not yet connected to rest as they are all today. In Mongolia it was sufficient to speak Mongolian, in Madagascar Malagasy could get you anywhere. Globalisation had not been heard of then." As a result of extensive colonial ambitions of [[French colonial empire|France]] and [[Belgian colonial empire|Belgium]] (at that time governed by a French-speaking elite), between the 17th and 20th centuries, French was introduced to the Americas, Africa, Polynesia, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean. According to a demographic projection led by the [[Université Laval]] and the [[Agence universitaire de la Francophonie|Réseau Démographie de l'Agence universitaire de la francophonie]], French will be represented by approximately 500 million people in 2025 and by 650 million people, or approximately seven-percent of the world's population in 2050. {{TOC limit|limit=3}} === Europe === {{Reference necessary|French is the fourth-most widely spoken mother tongue in the [[European Union]].|date=August 2011}} It is also the third-most widely understood language in the EU, after English and German, and is one of the three [[working language]]s of the [[European Commission]], again, along with English and German. ====Legal status in France==== {{See also|Toubon Law|Languages of France}} According to the [[Constitution of France]], French has been the official language since 1992 (although previous legal texts have made it official since 1539, see [[ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts]]). [[France]] mandates the use of French in official government publications, public [[education]] except in specific cases (though these dispositions are often ignored) and legal [[contract]]s; [[advertisement]]s must bear a translation of foreign words. In addition to French, there are also a variety of regional languages and dialects. France has signed the European Charter for Regional Languages, but has not ratified it since that would go against its 1958 Constitution. ====Switzerland==== {{See|Languages of Switzerland|Swiss French|Romandie}} French is one of the four official languages of [[Switzerland]] (along with [[German language|German]], [[Italian language|Italian]] and [[Romansh language|Romansh]]) and is spoken in the western part of Switzerland called ''[[Romandie]]'', of which [[Geneva]] is the largest city. The language divisions in Switzerland do not coincide with political subdivisions and some [[Cantons of Switzerland|cantons]] have bilingual status for example, cities such Biel/Bienne or cantons such as Valais-Fribourg-Berne. French is the native language of about 30% of the Swiss population and is spoken by 50.4% of the population. Most of Swiss French is mutually compatible with the standard French spoken in France, but it is often used with small differences, such as those involving numbers after 69 and slight differences in other vocabulary terms. ====Belgium==== {{See|Languages of Belgium|Belgian French}} [[File:Brussels signs.jpg|thumb|200px|left|[[Bilingual]] signs in [[Brussels]].]] In [[Belgium]], French is the official language of [[Wallonia]] (excluding a part of the [[East Cantons]], which are [[German language|German-speaking]]) and one of the two official languages—along with [[Dutch language|Dutch]]—of the [[Brussels-Capital Region]], where it is spoken by the majority of the population, though often not as their primary language. French and German are not official languages nor recognized minority languages in the [[Flemish Region]], although along borders with the Walloon and Brussels-Capital regions, there are a dozen [[municipalities with language facilities]] for French speakers. A mirror situation exists for the Walloon Region with respect to the Dutch and German languages. In total, native French speakers make up about 40% of the country's population, while the remaining 60% speak Dutch as a first language. Of the latter, 59% claim French as a second or third language, meaning that about three quarters of the Belgian population can speak French. ====Monaco and Andorra==== {{See|Languages of Monaco|Languages of Andorra}} Although [[Monégasque language|Monégasque]] is the national language of the [[Principality of Monaco]], French is the only official language, and French nationals make up some 47% of the population. [[Catalan language|Catalan]] is the only official language of [[Andorra]]; however, French is commonly used because of the proximity to France and the fact that France is, with the Urgel's Bishop, part of the government. French nationals make up 7% of the population. [[File:Knowledge French EU map.svg|right|thumb|Knowledge of French in the [[European Union]] and candidate countries (Note that around 40% of Belgium's population are native French speakers, totalling 88% of the country's population.)]] ====Luxembourg==== {{See|Languages of Luxembourg|Multilingualism in Luxembourg}} French is one of three official languages of [[Luxembourg|the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg]], alongside [[German language|German]] and [[Lëtzebuergesch|Luxembourgish]], the natively spoken language of Luxembourg. French is primarily used for administrative purposes by the government, and is also the language used to converse with foreigners. Luxembourg's education system is trilingual: the first years of primary school are in Luxembourgish, before changing to German; while in secondary school, the language of instruction changes to French. ====Italy==== {{See|Languages of Italy}} French is also an official language in the small region of [[Aosta Valley]], [[Italy]]. Though most non-Italophone people in the region speak [[Franco-Provençal language|Franco-Provençal]], they use standard French to write. That is because the international recognition of Franco-Provençal as a separate language (as opposed to a dialect or patois of French) was quite recent. ====The United Kingdom and the Channel Islands==== {{See|Languages of Jersey|Languages of Guernsey|Languages of the United Kingdom}} French is a large minority language and immigrant [[Languages of the United Kingdom|language in the United Kingdom]], with over 300,000 French-born people in the UK. It is also the most popular foreign language. French is spoken and understood by 23% of the UK population. [[Modern English|Modern]] and [[Middle English]] reflect a mixture of [[Oïl languages|Oïl]] and [[Old English]] lexicons after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, when a Norman-speaking aristocracy took control of a population whose mother tongue was Germanic in origin. As a result of the intertwined histories of England and continental possessions of the English Crown many formal and legal words from Modern English have French roots. Thus whilst words such as ''buy'' and ''sell'' are of Germanic origin, ''purchase'' and ''vend'' are from [[Old French]]. French is an official language in both [[Jersey]] and [[Guernsey]]. Both use French to some degree, mostly in an administrative or ceremonial capacity. [[Jersey Legal French]] is the standardized variety used in Jersey. However, [[Norman language|Norman]] (in its local forms, [[Guernésiais]] and [[Jèrriais]]) is the historical [[vernacular]] of the islands. ==== Canada ==== {{See also|Canadian French|French language in Canada|Spoken languages of Canada|Official bilingualism in Canada}} [[File:Arret.jpg|right|thumb|The [[Stop sign|"arrêt" signs]] (French for "stop") are used in [[Quebec]] while the international ''stop,'' which is also a valid French word, is used in France as well as other French-speaking countries and regions.]] French is the second most common language in [[Canada]], after [[English language|English]], and both are official languages at the federal level. French is the sole official language in the province of [[Quebec]], being the mother tongue for some 7 million people, or almost 80.1% (2006 Census) of the Province. About 95.0% of the people of Quebec speak French as either their first or second language, and for some as their third language. Quebec is also home to the city of [[Montreal]], which is the world's second largest French speaking city, by number of first language speakers. [[New Brunswick]], where about a third of the population is francophone, is the only officially bilingual province. Portions of [[Eastern Ontario]], [[Northeastern Ontario]], [[Nova Scotia]], [[Newfoundland and Labrador]], [[Alberta]] and [[Manitoba]] have sizable French minorities, and many provinces provide service in French for its linguistic minorities. Smaller pockets of French speakers exist in all other provinces. About 9,487,500 of Canadians speak French as their first language, or around 30% of the country, with 2,065,300 constituting secondary speakers. Due to the increased bilingual school programs and French Immersion Classes in English Canada, the portion of Canadians proficient in French has risen significantly in the past two decades, and is still rising. The difference between French spoken in [[Quebec]] and French spoken in France is similar in degree to that between American and British English. In [[Quebec]], where the majority of [[French Canadian|French-speaking Canadians]] live, the [[Office québécois de la langue française]] ({{lang-en|Quebec Board of the French language}}) regulates [[Quebec French]] and ensures the [[Charter of the French Language]] (Bill 101 & 104) is respected. The [[Office québécois de la langue française]] determined that "stop" is a valid French word; however, it is observed that [[stop sign]]s reading "ARRÊT" predominate in French-speaking areas, and "STOP" can be found in majority English-speaking areas. ==== Haiti ==== French is one of Haiti's two official languages. It is the principal language of writing, school instruction, and administrative use. It is spoken by all educated Haitians and is used in the business sector. It is also used in ceremonial events such as weddings, graduations and church masses. About 10-15% of the country's population have French as their first language; the rest speak it as a secondary language in varying degrees of proficiency from basic level to fluent. The second official language is the recently standardized [[Haitian Creole]] which is spoken by virtually the entire population of Haiti. Haitian Creole is one of the [[French-based creole languages]], drawing the large majority of its vocabulary from French, with influences from West African languages, as well as several European languages. Haitian Creole is closely related to Louisiana Creole and all other French creoles. ====French overseas departments and territories in the Americas==== French is also the official language in France's overseas departments and territories of [[French Guiana]], [[Guadeloupe]], [[Martinique]], [[Saint Barthélemy]], [[Saint Martin (France)|St. Martin]] and [[Saint-Pierre et Miquelon]]. ====United States==== {{main|French in the United States}} {{see also|Cajun French|Louisiana Creole French|Acadian French|Missouri French}} [[File:French in the United States.png|thumb|left|French language spread in the United States. Counties marked in yellow are those where 6–12% of the population speak French at home; brown, 12–18%; red, over 18%. [[French-based creole languages]] are not included.]] French is the fourth most-spoken language in the United States, after [[English language|English]], [[Spanish language|Spanish]] and [[Chinese language|Chinese]], and the second most-spoken in the states of [[Louisiana]], [[Maine]], [[Vermont]] and [[New Hampshire]]. Louisiana is home to many distinct dialects, collectively known as [[Louisiana French]]. [[Cajun French]] has the largest number of speakers, mostly living in [[Acadiana]]. According to the 2000 United States Census, there are over 194,000 people in Louisiana who speak French at home, the most of any state if [[Louisiana Creole French|Creole French]] is excluded. [[Acadian French]] is spoken in the northern parts of [[New England]] (particularly [[Maine]]) where it is known as New England French. [[Missouri French]] was historically spoken in [[Missouri]] and [[Illinois]] (formerly known as [[Upper Louisiana]]), but is nearly extinct today. ====Brazil==== The French language was spoken in Brazil for a brief period during the colonial attempts of [[France Antarctique]] and [[Equinoctial France|France Ecquinociale]]. Also, the language was used by the community of French immigrants and expatriates in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and by the Brazilian public education system. Today the [[Karipuna]] indigenous community (nearly 30,000 people) of [[Amapá]] in North Brazil speaks a French creole, the [[Lanc-Patuá]], possibly related to the [[French Guiana Creole]]. ===Africa=== {{Main|African French|Maghreb French}} [[File:Yoff-Tonghor.jpg|thumb|300px|Supermarket sign in French in [[Dakar]], [[Senegal]].]] [[File:Francophone Africa.svg|thumb|right|300px|{{legend|#006BA8|Countries usually considered as Francophone Africa. These countries had a population of 349 million in 2011. Their population is projected to reach between 710 million and 729 million in 2050.}} {{legend|#00AAE2|Countries sometimes considered as Francophone Africa}}{{legend|#008080|Countries that are not Francophone but are Members or Observers of the [[Organisation internationale de la Francophonie|OIF]]}}]] A majority of the world's French-speaking population lives in Africa. According to the 2007 report by the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, an estimated 115 million African people spread across 31 Francophone African countries can speak French as either a [[first language|first]] or a [[second language]]. This number does not include the people living in non-Francophone African countries who have learned French as a foreign language. Due to the rise of French in Africa, the total French-speaking population is expected to reach 700 million people in 2050. French is mostly a second language in Africa, but it has become a first language in some areas, such as the region of [[Abidjan]], [[Côte d'Ivoire]] and in [[Libreville]], [[Gabon]]. The classification of French as a second language in Francophone Africa is debatable because it is often the only language spoken and written in schools, administrations, radio, TV and the Internet. This prevalence of French is noticeable in popular music, in which French is often mixed with the language of the song. It is not possible to speak of a single form of [[African French]], but rather of diverse forms of African French which have developed because of the contact with many indigenous [[African languages]]. In fact, the term African French is a misnomer, as forms are different from country to country, and the root of the French spoken in a particular country depends on its former colonial empire. French spoken in the Benin, for example, is closer to that spoken in France than to French spoken in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is rooted in Belgian French. In the territories of the [[Indian Ocean]], the French language is often spoken alongside French-derived creole languages, the major exception being [[Madagascar]]. There, a Malayo-Polynesian language ([[Malagasy language|Malagasy]]) is spoken alongside French. [[Sub-Saharan Africa]] is the region where the French language is most likely to expand, because of the expansion of education and rapid demographic growth. It is also where the language has evolved the most in recent years. Some vernacular forms of French in Africa can be difficult to understand for French speakers from other countries, but written forms of the language are very closely related to those of the rest of the French-speaking world. French is an official language in many African countries, most of them former French or [[Belgian colonial empire|Belgian colonies]]: In addition, French is an administrative language and commonly used, though not on an official basis, in [[Mauritius]] and in the [[Maghreb]] states: (see also [[languages of Algeria#French|languages of Algeria]]) (see also [[languages of Mauritania#French|languages of Mauritania]]) (see also [[languages of Morocco]]) (see also [[languages of Tunisia]]) ====Algeria==== Most urban Algerians have some working knowledge of French, and a high (though unknown) percentage speak it fluently. However, because of the country's colonial past, the predominance of French has long been politically fraught. Numerous reforms have been implemented in recent decades to improve the status of [[Arabic language|Arabic]] in relation to French, especially in education. For this reason, although Algeria is certainly one of the most Francophone countries in the world outside of France, and has perhaps the largest number of French speakers, it does not participate in the Francophonie association. ====Egypt==== [[File:Rue Champollion in Alexandria.JPG|thumb|right|250px|Bilingual Arabic-French street sign in Alexandria, Egypt.]] The [[official language]] in [[Egypt]] is [[literary Arabic]], and it is mandatory in all schools. The most used second languages in Egypt are English and French, which are learned by some elements of the Egyptian upper and upper-middle classes; most Egyptians will mostly learn English and French in addition to Arabic. Private schools have either English or French as the main language of instruction. Egypt participates in the [[Francophonie]]. There are two French-speaking universities in the country, the [[Université Française d'Égypte]] and the [[Senghor University|Université Senghor]]. ====French overseas departments and territories in Africa==== French is also the official language of [[Mayotte]] and [[Réunion]], two [[Overseas departments and territories of France|overseas territories]] of France located in the southwest Indian Ocean. ==== Lebanon & Syria & Israel ==== [[File:1000 Lebanese pound reverse.jpg|thumb|right|A [[Lebanon|Lebanese]] "mille livres" (thousand-pound) bank note]] [[Arabic]] is the official language of [[Lebanon]], where a special law regulates the use of French. French is considered a second language by the [[Lebanese people]] and is used on bank notes (along with Arabic) and on official buildings. French is widely used by the Lebanese, especially for administrative purposes, and is taught in many schools as a secondary language along with Arabic and English. ''See further [[Lebanon#Language|languages of Lebanon]]''. As in Lebanon, French was official in [[Syria]] until 1943. In contrast to the situation in Lebanon, the French language is less used, but it is still spoken to some degree by educated groups, both in the élite and in the middle-class. ''See further [[Syria#Languages|languages of Syria]]''. There are also a significant number of native and second-language French-speakers in [[Israel]] who trace their origins to the francocized Jewish communities of North Africa, ''(see [[Maghrebi Jews]])'' and Romania. Today, about 10% of Israelis speak French, taught in the numerous French schools run by the French government and Catholic orders. ''See further: [[languages of Israel]]''. ====Southeast Asia==== French is an administrative language in [[Laos]] and [[Cambodia]], although its influence has waned in recent years. In colonial [[Vietnam]], the elites spoke French, and many who worked for the French spoke a French creole known as "[[Tây Bồi]]" (now extinct). The language was also spoken by the elite in the leased territory [[Guangzhouwan]] in southern [[China]]. (See also: [[French Indochina]]) ====India==== French has [[de-jure]] official status in the Indian [[Union Territory]] of [[Pondicherry]], along with the regional languages [[Tamil language|Tamil]] and [[Telugu language|Telugu]]. Some students of Tamil Nadu opt for French as their second or third language (usually behind [[English language|English]] and [[Tamil language|Tamil]]). According to the [[French Institute of Pondicherry]], French is however "''very little spoken''" in Pondicherry. French is commonly taught as a third language in secondary schools in most cities of [[Maharashtra]], including [[Mumbai]] (Bombay), as part of the preparation for secondary school (X-SSC) and higher secondary school (XII-HSC) certificate examinations. Certain high-profile schools affiliated with the [[CBSE]] in the [[National Capital Region (India)|NCR]] offer French as an option as early as grade 4. French is also taught in schools in [[Chandannagar]] (a former French colony in [[West Bengal]]). Students also have the option of having French as an additional subject in the secondary school (WBBSE) and higher secondary school (WBCHSE) certificate examinations. Nevertheless, French is taught throughout India as an optional foreign language and is a very popular subject among students. {{See also|French India}} ===Oceania/Australasia=== French is an official language of the [[Pacific Island]] nation of [[Vanuatu]] where 45% of the population can speak French. In the French territory of [[New Caledonia]], 97% of the population can speak, read and write French, whereas only 1% have no knowledge of French. In [[French Polynesia]], 95% of the population can speak, read and write French, whereas only 2% have no knowledge of French. In the French territory of [[Wallis and Futuna]], 78% of the population can speak, read and write French, whereas 17% have no knowledge of French. ==Dialects== [[File:Dialects of the french language.png|500px|thumb|Dialects of the french language in the world]] {{Main|Dialects of the French language}} ==History== {{Main|History of French}} French is a Romance language (meaning that it is descended primarily from [[Vulgar Latin]]) that evolved out of the Gallo-Romance dialects spoken in northern France. === Current situation === French was the most important language of diplomacy and international relations from the 17th century to the beginning of the 20th century. English has taken over that role since then. French remains one of the most important diplomatic languages, with the language being one of the working languages of [[NATO]], the [[International Olympic Committee]], the [[UN Secretariat]], the [[Council of Europe]], the [[International Court of Justice]], the [[Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development]], [[European Commission]], the [[European Space Agency]], [[World Trade Organisation]] and the [[North American Free Trade Agreement]]. It is also a working language in [[nonprofit organisations]] such as the [[Red Cross]], [[Amnesty International]], [[Médecins sans Frontières]], or [[Médecins du Monde]]. Speaking French is a requirement for some careers in fashion, cuisine, art and literature. ==Phonology== {{Main|French phonology}} {{IPA notice}} Although there are many French regional accents, foreign learners normally study only one version of the language, which has no commonly used special name. * There are 16 vowels in French, not all of which are used in every dialect: {{IPA|/a/, /ɑ/, /e/, /ɛ/, /ə/, /i/, /o/, /ɔ/, /y/, /u/, /œ/, /ø/,}} plus the nasalized vowels {{IPA|/ɑ̃/, /ɛ̃/, /ɔ̃/}} and {{IPA|/œ̃/}}. In France, the vowels {{IPA|/ɑ/}} and {{IPA|/œ̃/}} are tending to be replaced by {{IPA|/a/}} and {{IPA|/ɛ̃/}} in many people's speech. * Voiced stops (i.e. {{IPA|/b d ɡ/}}) are typically produced fully voiced throughout. * Voiceless stops (i.e. {{IPA|/p t k/}}) are unaspirated. * Nasals: The velar nasal {{IPA|/ŋ/}} can occur in final position in borrowed (usually English) words: ''parking, camping, swing''. The palatal nasal {{IPA|/ɲ/}} can occur in word initial position (e.g. gnon), but it is most frequently found in intervocalic, onset position or word-finally (e.g. ''montagne''). * Fricatives: French has three pairs of homorganic fricatives distinguished by voicing, i.e. labiodental {{IPA|/f/~/v/}}, dental {{IPA|/s/~/z/}}, and palato-alveolar {{IPA|/ʃ/~/ʒ/}}. Notice that {{IPA|/s/~/z/}} are dental, like the plosives {{IPA|/t/~/d/}}, and the nasal {{IPA|/n/}}. * French has one rhotic whose pronunciation varies considerably among speakers and phonetic contexts. In general it is described as a [[voiced uvular fricative]] as in {{IPA|[ʁu]}} ''roue'', "wheel" . Vowels are often lengthened before this segment. It can be reduced to an approximant, particularly in final position (e.g. ''fort'') or reduced to zero in some word-final positions. For other speakers, a uvular trill is also common, and an apical trill {{IPA|[r]}} occurs in some dialects. * Lateral and central approximants: The lateral approximant {{IPA|/l/}} is unvelarised in both onset (''lire'') and coda position (''il''). In the onset, the central approximants {{IPA|[w]}}, {{IPA|[ɥ]}}, and {{IPA|[j]}} each correspond to a high vowel, {{IPA|/u/}}, {{IPA|/y/}}, and {{IPA|/i/}} respectively. There are a few [[minimal pair]]s where the approximant and corresponding vowel contrast, but there are also many cases where they are in free variation. Contrasts between {{IPA|/j/}} and {{IPA|/i/}} occur in final position as in {{IPA|/pɛj/}} ''paye'', "pay", vs. {{IPA|/pɛi/}} ''pays'', "country". French pronunciation follows strict rules based on spelling, but French spelling is often based more on history than phonology. The rules for pronunciation vary between dialects, but the standard rules are: * final consonants: Final single consonants, in particular ''s'', ''x'', ''z'', ''t'', ''d'', ''n'', ''g'' and ''m'', are normally silent. (A consonant is considered "final" when no vowel follows it even if one or more consonants follow it.) The final letters ''c'', ''f'', ''k'', ''q'' and ''l'', however, are normally pronounced. The final ''r'' is usually silent when it follows an ''e'' in a word of two or more syllables, but is pronounced in other cases. The ''t'' is pronounced when it follows a ''c''. ** When the following word begins with a vowel, however, a silent consonant ''may'' once again be pronounced, to provide a ''[[liaison (linguistics)|liaison]]'' or "link" between the two words. Some liaisons are ''mandatory'', for example the ''s'' in ''les amants'' or ''vous avez''; some are ''optional'', depending on [[dialect]] and [[register (linguistics)|register]], for example the first ''s'' in ''deux cents euros'' or ''euros irlandais''; and some are ''forbidden'', for example the ''s'' in ''beaucoup d'hommes aiment''. The ''t'' of ''et'' is never pronounced and the silent final consonant of a noun is only pronounced in the plural and in [[set phrase]]s like ''pied-à-terre''. ** Doubling a final ''n'' and adding a silent ''e'' at the end of a word (e.g. ''chien'' → ''chienne'') makes it clearly pronounced. Doubling a final ''l'' and adding a silent ''e'' (e.g. ''gentil'' → ''gentille'') adds a [j] sound if the ''l'' is preceded by the letter ''i''. * [[elision (French)|elision]] or vowel dropping: Some monosyllabic function words ending in ''a'' or ''e'', such as ''je'' and ''que'', drop their final vowel when placed before a word that begins with a vowel sound (thus avoiding a [[hiatus (linguistics)|hiatus]]). The missing vowel is replaced by an apostrophe. (e.g. ''je ai'' is instead pronounced and spelled → ''j'ai''). This gives, for example, the same pronunciation for ''l'homme qu'il a vu'' ("the man whom he saw") and ''l'homme qui l'a vu'' ("the man who saw him"). However, for Belgian French the sentences are pronounced differently; in the first sentence the syllable break is as "qu'il-a", while the second breaks as "qui-l'a". It can also be noted that, in [[Quebec French]], the second example (''l'homme qui l'a vu'') is more emphasized on ''l'a vu''. === Alphabet === {{Main|French alphabet}} French is written with the 26 letters of the [[Latin alphabet]], with four diacritics appearing on vowels ([[circumflex]] accent, [[acute accent]], [[grave accent]], [[Umlaut (diacritic)|diaeresis]]) and the [[cedilla]] appearing in ⟨ç⟩. There are two [[ligature (typography)|ligature]]s, ⟨œ⟩ and ⟨æ⟩. ===Orthography=== {{Main|French orthography}} French spelling, like English spelling, tends to preserve obsolete pronunciation rules. This is mainly due to extreme phonetic changes since the Old French period, without a corresponding change in spelling (see [[French language#Vocabulary|Vocabulary]] below). Moreover, some conscious changes were made to restore Latin orthography: * Old French ''doit'' > French ''doigt'' "finger" (Latin ''digitus'') * Old French ''pie'' > French ''pied'' "foot" (Latin ''pes'' (stem: ''ped-'')) As a result, it can be difficult to predict the spelling of a word based on the sound alone. Final consonants are generally silent, except when the following word begins with a vowel. For example, all of these words end in a vowel sound: ''pied'', ''aller'', ''les'', ''{{lang|fr|finit}}'', ''beaux''. The same words followed by a vowel, however, may sound the consonants, as they do in these examples: ''beaux-arts'', ''les amis'', ''pied-à-terre''. On the other hand, a given spelling will usually lead to a predictable sound, and the [[Académie française]] works hard to enforce and update this correspondence.{{Citation needed|date=February 2010}} In particular, a given vowel combination or diacritic predictably leads to one phoneme. French writing, as with any language, is affected by the spoken language. In Old French, the plural for ''animal'' was ''animals''. The {{IPA|/als/}} sequence was unstable and was turned into a diphthong {{IPA|/aus/}}. This change was then reflected in the orthography: ''animaus''. The ''us'' ending, very common in Latin, was then abbreviated by copists monks by the letter ''x'', resulting in a written form ''animax''. As the French language further evolved, the pronunciation of ''au'' turned into {{IPA|/o/}} so that the ''u'' was reestablished in orthography for consistency, resulting in modern French ''animaux'' (pronounced first {{IPA|/animos/}} before the final {{IPA|/s/}} was dropped in contemporary French). The same is true for ''cheval'' pluralized as ''chevaux'' and many others. In addition, ''castel'' pl. ''castels'' became ''château'' pl. ''châteaux'' * [[Nasal vowel|Nasal]]: ''[[n]]'' and ''m''. When ''n'' or ''m'' follows a vowel or diphthong, the ''n'' or ''m'' becomes silent and causes the preceding vowel to become nasalized (i.e. pronounced with the soft palate extended downward so as to allow part of the air to leave through the nostrils). Exceptions are when the ''n'' or ''m'' is doubled, or immediately followed by a vowel. The prefixes ''en-'' and ''em-'' are always nasalized. The rules are more complex than this but may vary between dialects. * [[digraph (orthography)|Digraphs]]: French uses not only [[diacritic]]s to specify its large range of vowel sounds and [[diphthongs]], but also specific combinations of vowels, sometimes with following consonants, to show which sound is intended. * [[Consonant length|Gemination]]: Within words, double consonants are generally not pronounced as geminates in modern French (but geminates can be heard in the cinema or TV news from as recently as the 1970s, and in very refined elocution they may still occur). For example, ''illusion'' is pronounced {{IPA|[ilyzjɔ̃]}} and not {{IPA|[ilːyzjɔ̃]}}. But gemination does occur between words. For example, ''une info'' ("a news item" or "a piece of information") is pronounced {{IPA|[ynɛ̃fo]}}, whereas ''une nympho'' ("a nymphomaniac") is pronounced {{IPA|[ynːɛ̃fo]}}. * [[Diacritic|Accents]] are used sometimes for pronunciation, sometimes to distinguish similar words, and sometimes for etymology alone. ** Accents that affect pronunciation *** The [[acute accent]] (''l'accent aigu''), ''é'' (e.g. '''''é'''cole''—school), means that the vowel is pronounced {{IPA|/e/}} instead of the default {{IPA|/ə/}}. *** The [[grave accent]] (''l'accent grave''), ''è'' (e.g. ''él'''è'''ve''—pupil) means that the vowel is pronounced {{IPA|/ɛ/}} instead of the default {{IPA|/ə/}}. *** The [[circumflex]] (''l'accent circonflexe'') ''ê'' (e.g. ''for'''ê'''t''—forest) shows that an ''e'' is pronounced {{IPA|/ɛ/}} and that an ''ô'' is pronounced {{IPA|/o/}}. In standard French, it also signifies a pronunciation of {{IPA|/ɑ/}} for the letter ''â'', but this differentiation is disappearing. In the late 19th century, the circumflex was used in place of ''s'' after a vowel, where that letter ''s'' was not to be pronounced. Thus, ''forest'' became ''forêt'' and ''hospital'' became'' hôpital''. *** The [[Umlaut (diacritic)|diaeresis]] (''le tréma'') (e.g. ''na'''ï'''f'' – naive, ''No'''ë'''l'' – Christmas) as in English, specifies that this vowel is pronounced separately from the preceding one, not combined, and is not a [[schwa]]. *** The [[cedilla]] (''la cédille'') ''ç'' (e.g. ''gar'''ç'''on''—boy) means that the letter ''ç'' is pronounced {{IPA|/s/}} in front of the hard vowels ''a'', ''o'' and ''u'' (''c'' is otherwise {{IPA|/k/}} before a hard vowel). ''C'' is always pronounced {{IPA|/s/}} in front of the soft vowels ''e'', ''i'', and ''y'', thus ''ç'' is never found in front of soft vowels. ** Accents with no pronunciation effect *** The circumflex does not affect the pronunciation of the letters ''i'' or ''u'', and in most dialects, ''a'' as well. It usually indicates that an ''s'' came after it long ago, as in ''île'' (''isle'', compare with English ''island''). The explanation is that some words share the same orthography, and the circumflex is put here to spot the difference between the two words. For example, ''dites'' (you say) / ''dîtes'' (you said), or even ''du'' (of the) / ''dû'' (past for the verb ''devoir'' = must, have to, owe; in this case, the circumflex splits at the plural and the feminine). *** All other accents are used only to distinguish similar words, as in the case of distinguishing the adverbs ''là'' and ''où'' ("there", "where") from the article ''la'' ("the" fem. sing.) and the conjunction ''ou'' ("or") respectively. Some proposals exist to simplify the existing writing system, but they still fail to gather interest. ==Grammar== {{Main|French grammar}} French grammar shares several notable features with most other Romance languages, including: * the loss of Latin's [[declension]]s * only two [[grammatical gender]]s * the development of grammatical [[article (grammar)|article]]s from Latin [[demonstrative]]s * new [[Grammatical tense|tenses]] formed from auxiliaries French declarative word order is [[subject–verb–object]], although if the object is a pronoun, it precedes the verb. Some types of sentences allow for or require different word orders, in particular [[inversion (linguistics)|inversion]] of the subject and verb. ==Vocabulary== The majority of French words derive from [[Vulgar Latin]] or were constructed from [[Latin]] or [[Ancient Greek|Greek]] roots. In many cases a single etymological root appears in French in a "popular" or native form, inherited from Vulgar Latin, and a learned form, borrowed later from [[Classical Latin]]. The following pairs consist of a native noun and a learned adjective: * brother: ''[[wikt:frère|frère]]'' / ''[[wikt:fraternel|fraternel]]'' < from Latin ''[[wikt:frater|frater]]'' * finger: ''[[wikt:doigt|doigt]]'' / ''[[wikt:digital|digital]]'' < from Latin ''[[wikt:digitum|digitum]]'' * faith: ''[[wikt:foi|foi]]'' / ''[[wikt:fidèle|fidèle]]'' < from Latin ''[[wikt:fidem|fidem]]'' * eye: ''[[wikt:œil|œil]]'' / ''[[wikt:oculaire|oculaire]]'' < from Latin ''[[wikt:oculum|oculum]]'' There are also noun-noun and adjective-adjective pairs: * thing/cause: ''[[wikt:chose|chose]]'' / ''[[wikt:cause|cause]]'' < from Latin ''[[wikt:causa|causa]]'' * cold: ''[[wikt:froid|froid]]'' / ''[[wikt:frigide|frigide]]'' < from Latin ''[[wikt:frigidum|frigidum]]'' It can be difficult to identify the Latin source of native French words, because in the evolution from [[Vulgar Latin]], unstressed syllables were severely reduced and the remaining vowels and consonants underwent significant modifications. It is estimated that 12% (4,200) of common French words found in a typical [[dictionary]] such as the ''[[Petit Larousse]]'' or ''Micro-Robert Plus'' (35,000 words) are of foreign origin (where [[Ancient Greek|Greek]] and [[Latin language|Latin]] learned words are not seen as foreign). About 25% (1,054) of these foreign words come from [[English language|English]] and are fairly recent borrowings. The others are some 707 words from [[Italian language|Italian]], 550 from ancient [[Germanic languages]], 481 from other [[Gallo-Romance languages]], 215 from [[Arabic language|Arabic]], 164 from [[German language|German]], 160 from [[Celtic languages]], 159 from [[Spanish language|Spanish]], 153 from [[Dutch language|Dutch]], 112 from [[Persian language|Persian]] and [[Sanskrit language|Sanskrit]], 101 from [[Native American languages]], 89 from other [[Asian languages]], 56 from other [[Afro-Asiatic languages]], 55 from [[Slavic languages]] and [[Baltic languages]], 10 from [[Basque language|Basque]] and 144 (about 3%) from other languages. ===Numerals=== The French counting system is partially [[vigesimal]]: [[20 (number)|twenty]] (''{{lang|fr|vingt}}'') is used as a base number in the names of numbers from 60 to 99. The French word for ''80'' is ''{{lang|fr|quatre-vingts}}'', literally "four twenties", and the word for ''75'' is ''{{lang|fr|soixante-quinze}}'', literally "sixty-fifteen". This reform arose after the [[French Revolution]] to unify the different counting systems (mostly vigesimal near the coast, because of Celtic (via [[Breton language|Breton]]) and Viking influences). This system is comparable to the archaic English use of ''score'', as in "fourscore and seven" (87), or "threescore and ten" (70). In Old French (during the [[Middle Ages]]), all numbers from 30 to 99 could be said in either base 10 or base 20, e.g. ''vint et doze'' (twenty and twelve) for 32, ''dous vinz et diz'' (two twenties and ten) for 50, ''uitante'' for 80, or ''nonante'' for 90. [[Belgian French]], [[Swiss French]] and the French used in the [[Democratic Republic of the Congo]], [[Rwanda]] and [[Burundi]] are different in this respect. In Belgium and Switzerland 70 and 90 are ''{{lang|fr|septante}}'' and ''{{lang|fr|nonante}}''. In Switzerland, depending on the local dialect, 80 can be ''{{lang|fr|quatre-vingts}}'' (Geneva, Neuchâtel, Jura) or ''{{lang|fr|huitante}}'' (Vaud, Valais, Fribourg). ''Octante'' had been used in Switzerland in the past, but is now considered archaic. In Belgium and in its former African colonies, however, ''quatre-vingts'' is universally used. It should also be noted that French, like most European languages, uses a [[Full stop#Mathematical usage|period]] (also called a full stop) or a space to separate thousands where English uses a comma or (more recently) a space. The comma is used in French numbers as a decimal point: 2,5 = ''deux virgule cinq''. Cardinal numbers in French from 1 to 20 are as follows: * One: ''[[wikt:un|un]]''/''[[wikt:une|une]]'' {{IPA|/œ̃/}} or {{IPA|/ɛ̃/}} (m) ~ {{IPA|/yn/}} (f) * Two: ''[[wikt:deux|deux]]'' {{IPA|/dø/}} * Three: ''[[wikt:trois|trois]]'' {{IPA|/tʁwa/}} * Four: ''[[wikt:quatre|quatre]]'' {{IPA|/katʁ/}} * Five: ''[[wikt:cinq|cinq]]'' {{IPA|/sɛ̃k/}} * Six: ''[[wikt:six|six]]'' {{IPA|/sis/}} * Seven: ''[[wikt:sept|sept]]'' {{IPA|/sɛt/}} * Eight: ''[[wikt:huit|huit]]'' {{IPA|/ɥit/}} * Nine: ''[[wikt:neuf|neuf]]'' {{IPA|/nœf/}} * Ten: ''[[wikt:dix|dix]]'' {{IPA|/dis/}} * Eleven: ''[[wikt:onze|onze]]'' {{IPA|/ɔ̃z/}} * Twelve: ''[[wikt:douze|douze]]'' {{IPA|/duz/}} * Thirteen: ''[[wikt:treize|treize]]'' {{IPA|/tʁɛz/}} * Fourteen: ''[[wikt:quatorze|quatorze]]'' {{IPA|/katɔʁz/}} * Fifteen: ''[[wikt:quinze|quinze]]'' {{IPA|/kɛ̃z/}} * Sixteen: ''[[wikt:seize|seize]]'' {{IPA|/sɛz/}} * Seventeen: ''[[wikt:dix-sept|dix-sept]]'' {{IPA|/dissɛt/}} * Eighteen: ''[[wikt:dix-huit|dix-huit]]'' {{IPA|/diz‿ɥit/}} * Nineteen: ''[[wikt:dix-neuf|dix-neuf]]'' {{IPA|/diznœf/}} * Twenty: ''[[wikt:vingt|vingt]]'' {{IPA|/vɛ̃/}} ==Examples== {{Inline audio|section}} The "Canadian" audio samples here are not necessarily from speakers of Quebec French, which has distinct regional pronunciations of certain words. {| class="wikitable" |- ![[English language|English]] || French || Canadian accent || Northern French accent |- | |French || ''Français'' || {{Audio-IPA|francais.ogg|/fʀɑ̃sɛ/|help=no}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|françaisF.ogg|/fʁɑ̃sɛ/}} |- | |[[English language|English]] || ''Anglais'' || {{Audio-IPA|anglais.ogg|/ɑ̃ɡlɛ/|help=no}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|AnglaisF.ogg|/ɑ̃ɡlɛ/}} |- | |Yes || ''Oui'' (''si'' when countering an assertion or a question expressed in the negative) || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|oui.ogg|/wi/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|ouiF.ogg|/wi/}} |- | |No || ''Non'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|non.ogg|/nɔ̃/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|nonF.ogg|/nɔ̃/}} |- | |Hello! || ''Bonjour !'' (formal) or ''Salut !'' (informal) or "Allô" (Canada or when answering on the telephone) || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|bonjour.ogg|/bɔ̃ʒuːʀ/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|bonjourF.ogg|/bɔ̃ʒuʁ/}} |- | |Good evening! || ''Bonsoir !'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|bonsoir.ogg|/bɔ̃swɑːʀ/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|bonsoirF.ogg|/bɔ̃swaːʁ/}} |- | |Good night! || ''Bonne nuit !'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|bonne_nuit.ogg|/bɔnnɥi/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|Bonne_nuitF.ogg|/bɔnnɥi/}} |- | |Goodbye! || ''Au revoir !'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|au_revoir.ogg|/ɔʀvwɑːʀ/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|au_revoirF.ogg|/ɔʁvwaːʀ/}} |- | |Have a nice day! || ''Bonne journée !'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|bonne_journee.ogg|/bɔnʒuʀne/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|bonne_journéeF.ogg|/bɔnʒuʁne/}} |- | |Please/if you please || ''S’il vous plaît'' (formal) or ''S’il te plaît'' (informal) || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|s_il_vous_plait.ogg|/sɪlvuplɛ/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|s'il_vous_plaitF.ogg|/silvuplɛ/}} |- | |Thank you || ''Merci'' || {{IPA|/mɛʀsi/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|merciF.ogg|/mɛʁsi/}} |- | |You are welcome || ''De rien'' (informal) or ''Ce n’est rien'' (informal) ("it is nothing") or ''Je vous en prie'' (formal) or ''Je t’en prie'' (informal) || || {{IPA|/dəʁiɛ̃/}} |- | |I am sorry || ''Pardon'' or ''Je suis désolé'' (if male) / ''Je suis désolée'' (if female) or ''Excuse-moi'' (informal) / ''Excusez-moi'' (formal) / "Je regrette" || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|pardon.ogg|/paʁdɔ̃/}} / {{Audio-IPA|help=no|desole.ogg|/dezɔle/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|pardonF.ogg|/paʁdɔ̃/}} / {{Audio-IPA|help=no|désoléF.ogg|/dezɔle/}} |- | |Who? || ''Qui ?'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|qui.ogg|/ki/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|quiF.ogg|/ki/}} |- | |What? || ''Quoi ?'' (←informal; used as "What?" in English)) or ''Comment ?'' (←formal; used the same as "Pardon me?" in English) || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|quoi.ogg|/kwa/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|quoiF.ogg|/kwa/}} |- | |When? || ''Quand ?'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|quand.ogg|/kɑ̃/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|quandF.ogg|/kɑ̃/}} |- | |Where? || ''Où ?'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|ou_french.ogg|/u/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|où.ogg|/u/}} |- | |Why? || ''Pourquoi ?'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|pourquoi.ogg|/puʀkwa/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|pourquoiF.ogg|/puʁkwɑ/}} |- | |What is your name? || ''Comment vous appelez-vous ?'' (formal) or ''Comment t’appelles-tu ?'' (informal) || || {{IPA|/kɔmɑ̃ vuz‿aple vu/}}, {{IPA|/kɔmɑ̃ tapɛl ty/}} |- | |Because || ''Parce que'' / ''Car'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|parce_que.ogg|/paʀsᵊkə/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|parcequeF.ogg|/paʁskǝ/}} |- | |Because of || ''à cause de'' |- | |Therefore || ''Donc'' || {{IPA|/dɔ̃k/}} || {{IPA|/dɔ̃k/}} |- | |How? || ''Comment ?'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|comment.ogg|/kɔmɑ̃/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|commentF.ogg|/kɔmɑ̃/}} |- | |How much? || ''Combien ?'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|combien.ogg|/kɔ̃bjɛ̃/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|combienF.ogg|/kɔ̃bjɛ̃/}} |- | |I do not understand. || ''Je ne comprends pas.'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|je_ne_comprends_pas.ogg|/ʒə nə kɔ̃pʀɑ̃ pɑ/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|je_ne_comprends_pasF.ogg|/ʒə nə kɔ̃pʁɑ̃ pa/}} |- | |Yes, I understand. || ''Oui, je comprends.'' Except when responding to a negatively posed question, in which case ''Si'' is used preferentially over ''Oui'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|oui_je_comprends.ogg|/wi ʒə kɔ̃pʀɑ̃/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|Oui,_je_comprendF.ogg|/wi, ʒə kɔ̃pʁɑ̃/}} |- | |I agree || ''Je suis d’accord.'' D’accord can be used without ''je suis''. |- | |Help! || ''Au secours ! (à l’aide !)'' || {{IPA|/o səkuʀ/}} || {{IPA|/o səkuːʁ/}} |- | |Can you help me please? || ''Pouvez-vous m’aider s’il vous plaît ?'' / ''Pourriez-vous m’aider s’il vous plaît ?'' (formal) or ''Peux-tu m’aider s’il te plaît ?'' / ''Pourrais-tu m’aider s’il te plaît'' (informal) || |- | |Where are the toilets? || ''Où sont les toilettes ?'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|ou_sont_les_toilettes.ogg|/u sɔ̃ le twalɛt/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|où_sont_les_toilettes.ogg|/u sɔ̃ le twalɛt/}} |- | |Do you speak English? || ''Parlez-vous anglais ?'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|parlez-vous_anglais.ogg|/paʀle vu ɑ̃ɡlɛ/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|parlez-vous_anglaisF.ogg|/paʁle vu ɑ̃ɡlɛ/}} |- | |I do not speak French. || ''Je ne parle pas français.'' || {{IPA|/ʒə nə paʀlə pɑ fʀɑ̃sɛ/}} || {{IPA|/ʒə nə paʁl pa fʁɑ̃sɛ/}} |- | |I do not know. || ''Je ne sais pas.'' || || {{IPA|/ʒə (nə) se pa/}} |- | |I know. || ''Je sais.'' || || {{IPA|/ʒə sɛ/}} |- | |I am thirsty. || ''J’ai soif.'' (literally, "I have thirst") || || {{IPA|/ʒɛ swaf/}} |- | |I am hungry. || ''J’ai faim.'' (literally, "I have hunger") || || {{IPA|/ʒɛ fɛ̃/}} |- | |How are you? / How are things going? / How is everything? || ''Comment allez-vous?'' (formal) or ''Ça va?'' / ''Comment ça va ?'' (informal) || || |- | |I am (very) well / Things are going (very) well // Everything is (very) well || ''Je vais (très) bien'' (formal) or ''Ça va (très) bien.'' / ''Tout va (très) bien'' (informal) || || |- | |I am (very) bad / Things are (very) bad / Everything is (very) bad || ''Je vais (très) mal'' (formal) or ''Ça va (très) mal'' / ''Tout va (très) mal'' (informal) || || |- | |I am all right/so-so / Everything is all right/so-so || ''Assez bien'' or ''Ça va comme ci, comme ça'' or simply ''Ça va.''. (Sometimes said: « Couci, couça. », informal: "bof") i.e. « Comme ci, comme ça. ») || || |- | |I am fine. || ''Ça va bien.'' || || {{IPA|/sa va bjɛ̃/}} |} ==See also== {{Portal box|French language and French-speaking world}} * [[Académie française]] * [http://www.fle.fr/ Agency for promoting French as a foreign language] * [[Alliance française]] * [http://www.alliancefr.org/ Alliance française Paris Ile-de-France] * [[Francophonie]] * [[Francization]] * [[French language in Canada]] * [[French language in the United States]] * [[French proverbs]] * [[French-based creole languages]] * [[History of French]] * [[List of countries where French is an official language]] * [[List of English words of French origin]] * [[List of French loanwords in Persian]] * [[List of French words and phrases used by English speakers]] * [[List of pseudo-French words adapted to English]] * [[Louchébem]] * [[Office québécois de la langue française]] * [[Quebec French]] * [[Reforms of French orthography]] * [[Varieties of French]] * [[Verlan]] {{-}} ==External links== {{Wiktionary cat}} {{Wiktionary|French}} {{Wikiversity}} {{InterWiki|code=fr}} {{WikisourceWiki|code=fr}} {{Commons category|French language}} {{Wikibooks|French}} *[http://www.fondation-alliancefr.org/ Fondation Alliance française] *[http://www.alliancefr.org/en/ Alliance française Paris Ile-de-France] *[http://www.english.rfi.fr/africa/20100319-french-language-growing-especially-africa French is spreading, especially in Africa] Radio France Internationale in English (19 March 2010) ===Courses and tutorials=== * [http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/french/ Learn French] ''[[BBC]]'' * [http://us.translation-vocabulary.com/fr-french French Vocabulary Wiki with Exercises] ''[[Vocabulary Wiki]]'' * [http://www.jump-gate.com/languages/french/ French Language Course] (oldest online language course) * [http://www.jefrench.com/basic-french-lessons Learn French] JeFrench * [http://www.laits.utexas.edu/fi/ français interactif] ''[[University of Texas at Austin]]'' * [http://www.laits.utexas.edu/tex/ Tex's French Grammar] ''[[University of Texas at Austin]]'' * [http://www.fle.fr/ French Language Schools in France Directory] * [http://french.about.com/ Learn French at About] (including French gestures) * [http://www.targetlanguage.co.uk/ Learn French at Target Language] (Ab initio) * [http://www.wiki-babel.org/en/Portal:French French language portal at WikiBabel] * [http://www.fsi-language-courses.org/Content.php?page=French USA Foreign Service Institute French basic course] * [http://www.frenchtutorial.com/standard/ The French Tutorial] * [http://funnyaccents.com/common-french-phrases/ Common French Phrases] ===Online dictionaries=== {{For|unilingual dictionaries|fr:Dictionnaire}} * [http://frenchprofessor.org/english-french-dictionaries.htm Comprehensive list of the French dictionaries] ===Vocabulary=== *[[:wikt:Appendix:French Swadesh list|Swadesh list in English and French]] *[http://www.dudziak.com/verbs.php A Two-Page PDF Reference Guide of the 681 Most Common French/English Verbs]{{Dead link|date=February 2011}} {{Navboxes | list = {{France topics}} {{Official UN languages}} {{Official EU languages}} {{Official CA languages}} {{Languages of Quebec}} {{Working languages of the African Union}} {{Official languages of South America}} {{Romance languages}} {{Latin Union}} }} {{Use dmy dates|date=October 2010}} {{pp-move-indef}}{{French language}} '''French''' ({{lang|fr|''français''}}, {{IPA-fr|fʁɑ̃ˈsɛ|IPA}}, or {{lang|fr|''La langue française''}},{{IPA-fr|la lɑ̃ɡ fʁɑ̃ˈsɛz|IPA}} ) is a [[Romance language]] spoken as a first language in [[France]], the [[Romandy#French|Romandy]] region in [[Switzerland]], [[Wallonia]] and [[Brussels]] in [[Belgium]], [[Monaco]], the regions of [[Quebec]] and [[Acadia]] in [[Canada]], and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts of the world, the largest numbers of which reside in [[African French|Francophone Africa]]. In Africa, French is most commonly spoken in [[Gabon]] (where 80% reports fluency) [[Mauritius]] (78%), [[Algeria]] (75%) and [[Côte d'Ivoire]] (70%). French is estimated as having between 70 million and 110 million native speakers and 190 million second language speakers. French is the second-most studied foreign language in the world, after [[English Language|English]]. French is a descendant of the spoken [[Latin]] language of the [[Roman Empire]], as are languages such as [[Italian language|Italian]], [[Portuguese language|Portuguese]], [[Spanish language|Spanish]], [[Romanian language|Romanian]], [[Sardinian language|Sardinian]] and [[Catalan language|Catalan]]. Its closest relatives however are the other [[langues d'oïl]] and [[French-based creole languages]]. Its development was also influenced by the native [[Celtic languages]] of Roman [[Gaul]] and by the ([[Germanic languages|Germanic]]) [[Old Frankish|Frankish]] language of the post-Roman [[Franks|Frankish]] invaders. It is an [[official language]] in [[List of countries where French is an official language|29 countries]], most of which form what is called, in French, ''la [[francophonie]]'', the community of French-speaking countries. It is an official language of all [[United Nations]] agencies and a [[List of international organisations which have French as an official language|large number of international organizations]]. According to the [[European Union]], 129 million, or twenty-six percent of the Union's total population speak French, of whom 65 million are native speakers and 69 million are second-language or foreign language speakers, thus making French the third language in the European Union that people state they are most able to speak, after [[English language|English]] and [[German language|German]]. Twenty-percent of non-Francophone Europeans know how to speak French, totaling roughly 145.6 million people in Europe alone. George Weber, author of "Top Languages: The World's 10 most influential Languages," said that until a century before 1996, French had a global dominance similar to that now occupied by English. He said "[n]obody could pass for educated without the ability to speak French" and "However, French dominance was never so complete as its rival's is now for the simple reason that 100 years ago large parts of the world were not yet connected to rest as they are all today. In Mongolia it was sufficient to speak Mongolian, in Madagascar Malagasy could get you anywhere. Globalisation had not been heard of then." As a result of extensive colonial ambitions of [[French colonial empire|France]] and [[Belgian colonial empire|Belgium]] (at that time governed by a French-speaking elite), between the 17th and 20th centuries, French was introduced to the Americas, Africa, Polynesia, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean. According to a demographic projection led by the [[Université Laval]] and the [[Agence universitaire de la Francophonie|Réseau Démographie de l'Agence universitaire de la francophonie]], French will be represented by approximately 500 million people in 2025 and by 650 million people, or approximately seven-percent of the world's population in 2050. {{TOC limit|limit=3}} === Europe === {{Reference necessary|French is the fourth-most widely spoken mother tongue in the [[European Union]].|date=August 2011}} It is also the third-most widely understood language in the EU, after English and German, and is one of the three [[working language]]s of the [[European Commission]], again, along with English and German. ====Legal status in France==== {{See also|Toubon Law|Languages of France}} According to the [[Constitution of France]], French has been the official language since 1992 (although previous legal texts have made it official since 1539, see [[ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts]]). [[France]] mandates the use of French in official government publications, public [[education]] except in specific cases (though these dispositions are often ignored) and legal [[contract]]s; [[advertisement]]s must bear a translation of foreign words. In addition to French, there are also a variety of regional languages and dialects. France has signed the European Charter for Regional Languages, but has not ratified it since that would go against its 1958 Constitution. ====Switzerland==== {{See|Languages of Switzerland|Swiss French|Romandie}} French is one of the four official languages of [[Switzerland]] (along with [[German language|German]], [[Italian language|Italian]] and [[Romansh language|Romansh]]) and is spoken in the western part of Switzerland called ''[[Romandie]]'', of which [[Geneva]] is the largest city. The language divisions in Switzerland do not coincide with political subdivisions and some [[Cantons of Switzerland|cantons]] have bilingual status for example, cities such Biel/Bienne or cantons such as Valais-Fribourg-Berne. French is the native language of about 30% of the Swiss population and is spoken by 50.4% of the population. Most of Swiss French is mutually compatible with the standard French spoken in France, but it is often used with small differences, such as those involving numbers after 69 and slight differences in other vocabulary terms. ====Belgium==== {{See|Languages of Belgium|Belgian French}} [[File:Brussels signs.jpg|thumb|200px|left|[[Bilingual]] signs in [[Brussels]].]] In [[Belgium]], French is the official language of [[Wallonia]] (excluding a part of the [[East Cantons]], which are [[German language|German-speaking]]) and one of the two official languages—along with [[Dutch language|Dutch]]—of the [[Brussels-Capital Region]], where it is spoken by the majority of the population, though often not as their primary language. French and German are not official languages nor recognized minority languages in the [[Flemish Region]], although along borders with the Walloon and Brussels-Capital regions, there are a dozen [[municipalities with language facilities]] for French speakers. A mirror situation exists for the Walloon Region with respect to the Dutch and German languages. In total, native French speakers make up about 40% of the country's population, while the remaining 60% speak Dutch as a first language. Of the latter, 59% claim French as a second or third language, meaning that about three quarters of the Belgian population can speak French. ====Monaco and Andorra==== {{See|Languages of Monaco|Languages of Andorra}} Although [[Monégasque language|Monégasque]] is the national language of the [[Principality of Monaco]], French is the only official language, and French nationals make up some 47% of the population. [[Catalan language|Catalan]] is the only official language of [[Andorra]]; however, French is commonly used because of the proximity to France and the fact that France is, with the Urgel's Bishop, part of the government. French nationals make up 7% of the population. [[File:Knowledge French EU map.svg|right|thumb|Knowledge of French in the [[European Union]] and candidate countries (Note that around 40% of Belgium's population are native French speakers, totalling 88% of the country's population.)]] ====Luxembourg==== {{See|Languages of Luxembourg|Multilingualism in Luxembourg}} French is one of three official languages of [[Luxembourg|the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg]], alongside [[German language|German]] and [[Lëtzebuergesch|Luxembourgish]], the natively spoken language of Luxembourg. French is primarily used for administrative purposes by the government, and is also the language used to converse with foreigners. Luxembourg's education system is trilingual: the first years of primary school are in Luxembourgish, before changing to German; while in secondary school, the language of instruction changes to French. ====Italy==== {{See|Languages of Italy}} French is also an official language in the small region of [[Aosta Valley]], [[Italy]]. Though most non-Italophone people in the region speak [[Franco-Provençal language|Franco-Provençal]], they use standard French to write. That is because the international recognition of Franco-Provençal as a separate language (as opposed to a dialect or patois of French) was quite recent. ====The United Kingdom and the Channel Islands==== {{See|Languages of Jersey|Languages of Guernsey|Languages of the United Kingdom}} French is a large minority language and immigrant [[Languages of the United Kingdom|language in the United Kingdom]], with over 300,000 French-born people in the UK. It is also the most popular foreign language. French is spoken and understood by 23% of the UK population. [[Modern English|Modern]] and [[Middle English]] reflect a mixture of [[Oïl languages|Oïl]] and [[Old English]] lexicons after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, when a Norman-speaking aristocracy took control of a population whose mother tongue was Germanic in origin. As a result of the intertwined histories of England and continental possessions of the English Crown many formal and legal words from Modern English have French roots. Thus whilst words such as ''buy'' and ''sell'' are of Germanic origin, ''purchase'' and ''vend'' are from [[Old French]]. French is an official language in both [[Jersey]] and [[Guernsey]]. Both use French to some degree, mostly in an administrative or ceremonial capacity. [[Jersey Legal French]] is the standardized variety used in Jersey. However, [[Norman language|Norman]] (in its local forms, [[Guernésiais]] and [[Jèrriais]]) is the historical [[vernacular]] of the islands. ==== Canada ==== {{See also|Canadian French|French language in Canada|Spoken languages of Canada|Official bilingualism in Canada}} [[File:Arret.jpg|right|thumb|The [[Stop sign|"arrêt" signs]] (French for "stop") are used in [[Quebec]] while the international ''stop,'' which is also a valid French word, is used in France as well as other French-speaking countries and regions.]] French is the second most common language in [[Canada]], after [[English language|English]], and both are official languages at the federal level. French is the sole official language in the province of [[Quebec]], being the mother tongue for some 7 million people, or almost 80.1% (2006 Census) of the Province. About 95.0% of the people of Quebec speak French as either their first or second language, and for some as their third language. Quebec is also home to the city of [[Montreal]], which is the world's second largest French speaking city, by number of first language speakers. [[New Brunswick]], where about a third of the population is francophone, is the only officially bilingual province. Portions of [[Eastern Ontario]], [[Northeastern Ontario]], [[Nova Scotia]], [[Newfoundland and Labrador]], [[Alberta]] and [[Manitoba]] have sizable French minorities, and many provinces provide service in French for its linguistic minorities. Smaller pockets of French speakers exist in all other provinces. About 9,487,500 of Canadians speak French as their first language, or around 30% of the country, with 2,065,300 constituting secondary speakers. Due to the increased bilingual school programs and French Immersion Classes in English Canada, the portion of Canadians proficient in French has risen significantly in the past two decades, and is still rising. The difference between French spoken in [[Quebec]] and French spoken in France is similar in degree to that between American and British English. In [[Quebec]], where the majority of [[French Canadian|French-speaking Canadians]] live, the [[Office québécois de la langue française]] ({{lang-en|Quebec Board of the French language}}) regulates [[Quebec French]] and ensures the [[Charter of the French Language]] (Bill 101 & 104) is respected. The [[Office québécois de la langue française]] determined that "stop" is a valid French word; however, it is observed that [[stop sign]]s reading "ARRÊT" predominate in French-speaking areas, and "STOP" can be found in majority English-speaking areas. ==== Haiti ==== French is one of Haiti's two official languages. It is the principal language of writing, school instruction, and administrative use. It is spoken by all educated Haitians and is used in the business sector. It is also used in ceremonial events such as weddings, graduations and church masses. About 10-15% of the country's population have French as their first language; the rest speak it as a secondary language in varying degrees of proficiency from basic level to fluent. The second official language is the recently standardized [[Haitian Creole]] which is spoken by virtually the entire population of Haiti. Haitian Creole is one of the [[French-based creole languages]], drawing the large majority of its vocabulary from French, with influences from West African languages, as well as several European languages. Haitian Creole is closely related to Louisiana Creole and all other French creoles. ====French overseas departments and territories in the Americas==== French is also the official language in France's overseas departments and territories of [[French Guiana]], [[Guadeloupe]], [[Martinique]], [[Saint Barthélemy]], [[Saint Martin (France)|St. Martin]] and [[Saint-Pierre et Miquelon]]. ====United States==== {{main|French in the United States}} {{see also|Cajun French|Louisiana Creole French|Acadian French|Missouri French}} [[File:French in the United States.png|thumb|left|French language spread in the United States. Counties marked in yellow are those where 6–12% of the population speak French at home; brown, 12–18%; red, over 18%. [[French-based creole languages]] are not included.]] French is the fourth most-spoken language in the United States, after [[English language|English]], [[Spanish language|Spanish]] and [[Chinese language|Chinese]], and the second most-spoken in the states of [[Louisiana]], [[Maine]], [[Vermont]] and [[New Hampshire]]. Louisiana is home to many distinct dialects, collectively known as [[Louisiana French]]. [[Cajun French]] has the largest number of speakers, mostly living in [[Acadiana]]. According to the 2000 United States Census, there are over 194,000 people in Louisiana who speak French at home, the most of any state if [[Louisiana Creole French|Creole French]] is excluded. [[Acadian French]] is spoken in the northern parts of [[New England]] (particularly [[Maine]]) where it is known as New England French. [[Missouri French]] was historically spoken in [[Missouri]] and [[Illinois]] (formerly known as [[Upper Louisiana]]), but is nearly extinct today. ====Brazil==== The French language was spoken in Brazil for a brief period during the colonial attempts of [[France Antarctique]] and [[Equinoctial France|France Ecquinociale]]. Also, the language was used by the community of French immigrants and expatriates in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and by the Brazilian public education system. Today the [[Karipuna]] indigenous community (nearly 30,000 people) of [[Amapá]] in North Brazil speaks a French creole, the [[Lanc-Patuá]], possibly related to the [[French Guiana Creole]]. ===Africa=== {{Main|African French|Maghreb French}} [[File:Yoff-Tonghor.jpg|thumb|300px|Supermarket sign in French in [[Dakar]], [[Senegal]].]] [[File:Francophone Africa.svg|thumb|right|300px|{{legend|#006BA8|Countries usually considered as Francophone Africa. These countries had a population of 349 million in 2011. Their population is projected to reach between 710 million and 729 million in 2050.}} {{legend|#00AAE2|Countries sometimes considered as Francophone Africa}}{{legend|#008080|Countries that are not Francophone but are Members or Observers of the [[Organisation internationale de la Francophonie|OIF]]}}]] A majority of the world's French-speaking population lives in Africa. According to the 2007 report by the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, an estimated 115 million African people spread across 31 Francophone African countries can speak French as either a [[first language|first]] or a [[second language]]. This number does not include the people living in non-Francophone African countries who have learned French as a foreign language. Due to the rise of French in Africa, the total French-speaking population is expected to reach 700 million people in 2050. French is mostly a second language in Africa, but it has become a first language in some areas, such as the region of [[Abidjan]], [[Côte d'Ivoire]] and in [[Libreville]], [[Gabon]]. The classification of French as a second language in Francophone Africa is debatable because it is often the only language spoken and written in schools, administrations, radio, TV and the Internet. This prevalence of French is noticeable in popular music, in which French is often mixed with the language of the song. It is not possible to speak of a single form of [[African French]], but rather of diverse forms of African French which have developed because of the contact with many indigenous [[African languages]]. In fact, the term African French is a misnomer, as forms are different from country to country, and the root of the French spoken in a particular country depends on its former colonial empire. French spoken in the Benin, for example, is closer to that spoken in France than to French spoken in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is rooted in Belgian French. In the territories of the [[Indian Ocean]], the French language is often spoken alongside French-derived creole languages, the major exception being [[Madagascar]]. There, a Malayo-Polynesian language ([[Malagasy language|Malagasy]]) is spoken alongside French. [[Sub-Saharan Africa]] is the region where the French language is most likely to expand, because of the expansion of education and rapid demographic growth. It is also where the language has evolved the most in recent years. Some vernacular forms of French in Africa can be difficult to understand for French speakers from other countries, but written forms of the language are very closely related to those of the rest of the French-speaking world. French is an official language in many African countries, most of them former French or [[Belgian colonial empire|Belgian colonies]]: In addition, French is an administrative language and commonly used, though not on an official basis, in [[Mauritius]] and in the [[Maghreb]] states: (see also [[languages of Algeria#French|languages of Algeria]]) (see also [[languages of Mauritania#French|languages of Mauritania]]) (see also [[languages of Morocco]]) (see also [[languages of Tunisia]]) ====Algeria==== Most urban Algerians have some working knowledge of French, and a high (though unknown) percentage speak it fluently. However, because of the country's colonial past, the predominance of French has long been politically fraught. Numerous reforms have been implemented in recent decades to improve the status of [[Arabic language|Arabic]] in relation to French, especially in education. For this reason, although Algeria is certainly one of the most Francophone countries in the world outside of France, and has perhaps the largest number of French speakers, it does not participate in the Francophonie association. ====Egypt==== [[File:Rue Champollion in Alexandria.JPG|thumb|right|250px|Bilingual Arabic-French street sign in Alexandria, Egypt.]] The [[official language]] in [[Egypt]] is [[literary Arabic]], and it is mandatory in all schools. The most used second languages in Egypt are English and French, which are learned by some elements of the Egyptian upper and upper-middle classes; most Egyptians will mostly learn English and French in addition to Arabic. Private schools have either English or French as the main language of instruction. Egypt participates in the [[Francophonie]]. There are two French-speaking universities in the country, the [[Université Française d'Égypte]] and the [[Senghor University|Université Senghor]]. ====French overseas departments and territories in Africa==== French is also the official language of [[Mayotte]] and [[Réunion]], two [[Overseas departments and territories of France|overseas territories]] of France located in the southwest Indian Ocean. ==== Lebanon & Syria & Israel ==== [[File:1000 Lebanese pound reverse.jpg|thumb|right|A [[Lebanon|Lebanese]] "mille livres" (thousand-pound) bank note]] [[Arabic]] is the official language of [[Lebanon]], where a special law regulates the use of French. French is considered a second language by the [[Lebanese people]] and is used on bank notes (along with Arabic) and on official buildings. French is widely used by the Lebanese, especially for administrative purposes, and is taught in many schools as a secondary language along with Arabic and English. ''See further [[Lebanon#Language|languages of Lebanon]]''. As in Lebanon, French was official in [[Syria]] until 1943. In contrast to the situation in Lebanon, the French language is less used, but it is still spoken to some degree by educated groups, both in the élite and in the middle-class. ''See further [[Syria#Languages|languages of Syria]]''. There are also a significant number of native and second-language French-speakers in [[Israel]] who trace their origins to the francocized Jewish communities of North Africa, ''(see [[Maghrebi Jews]])'' and Romania. Today, about 10% of Israelis speak French, taught in the numerous French schools run by the French government and Catholic orders. ''See further: [[languages of Israel]]''. ====Southeast Asia==== French is an administrative language in [[Laos]] and [[Cambodia]], although its influence has waned in recent years. In colonial [[Vietnam]], the elites spoke French, and many who worked for the French spoke a French creole known as "[[Tây Bồi]]" (now extinct). The language was also spoken by the elite in the leased territory [[Guangzhouwan]] in southern [[China]]. (See also: [[French Indochina]]) ====India==== French has [[de-jure]] official status in the Indian [[Union Territory]] of [[Pondicherry]], along with the regional languages [[Tamil language|Tamil]] and [[Telugu language|Telugu]]. Some students of Tamil Nadu opt for French as their second or third language (usually behind [[English language|English]] and [[Tamil language|Tamil]]). According to the [[French Institute of Pondicherry]], French is however "''very little spoken''" in Pondicherry. French is commonly taught as a third language in secondary schools in most cities of [[Maharashtra]], including [[Mumbai]] (Bombay), as part of the preparation for secondary school (X-SSC) and higher secondary school (XII-HSC) certificate examinations. Certain high-profile schools affiliated with the [[CBSE]] in the [[National Capital Region (India)|NCR]] offer French as an option as early as grade 4. French is also taught in schools in [[Chandannagar]] (a former French colony in [[West Bengal]]). Students also have the option of having French as an additional subject in the secondary school (WBBSE) and higher secondary school (WBCHSE) certificate examinations. Nevertheless, French is taught throughout India as an optional foreign language and is a very popular subject among students. {{See also|French India}} ===Oceania/Australasia=== French is an official language of the [[Pacific Island]] nation of [[Vanuatu]] where 45% of the population can speak French. In the French territory of [[New Caledonia]], 97% of the population can speak, read and write French, whereas only 1% have no knowledge of French. In [[French Polynesia]], 95% of the population can speak, read and write French, whereas only 2% have no knowledge of French. In the French territory of [[Wallis and Futuna]], 78% of the population can speak, read and write French, whereas 17% have no knowledge of French. ==Dialects== [[File:Dialects of the french language.png|500px|thumb|Dialects of the french language in the world]] {{Main|Dialects of the French language}} ==History== {{Main|History of French}} French is a Romance language (meaning that it is descended primarily from [[Vulgar Latin]]) that evolved out of the Gallo-Romance dialects spoken in northern France. === Current situation === French was the most important language of diplomacy and international relations from the 17th century to the beginning of the 20th century. English has taken over that role since then. French remains one of the most important diplomatic languages, with the language being one of the working languages of [[NATO]], the [[International Olympic Committee]], the [[UN Secretariat]], the [[Council of Europe]], the [[International Court of Justice]], the [[Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development]], [[European Commission]], the [[European Space Agency]], [[World Trade Organisation]] and the [[North American Free Trade Agreement]]. It is also a working language in [[nonprofit organisations]] such as the [[Red Cross]], [[Amnesty International]], [[Médecins sans Frontières]], or [[Médecins du Monde]]. Speaking French is a requirement for some careers in fashion, cuisine, art and literature. ==Phonology== {{Main|French phonology}} {{IPA notice}} Although there are many French regional accents, foreign learners normally study only one version of the language, which has no commonly used special name. * There are 16 vowels in French, not all of which are used in every dialect: {{IPA|/a/, /ɑ/, /e/, /ɛ/, /ə/, /i/, /o/, /ɔ/, /y/, /u/, /œ/, /ø/,}} plus the nasalized vowels {{IPA|/ɑ̃/, /ɛ̃/, /ɔ̃/}} and {{IPA|/œ̃/}}. In France, the vowels {{IPA|/ɑ/}} and {{IPA|/œ̃/}} are tending to be replaced by {{IPA|/a/}} and {{IPA|/ɛ̃/}} in many people's speech. * Voiced stops (i.e. {{IPA|/b d ɡ/}}) are typically produced fully voiced throughout. * Voiceless stops (i.e. {{IPA|/p t k/}}) are unaspirated. * Nasals: The velar nasal {{IPA|/ŋ/}} can occur in final position in borrowed (usually English) words: ''parking, camping, swing''. The palatal nasal {{IPA|/ɲ/}} can occur in word initial position (e.g. gnon), but it is most frequently found in intervocalic, onset position or word-finally (e.g. ''montagne''). * Fricatives: French has three pairs of homorganic fricatives distinguished by voicing, i.e. labiodental {{IPA|/f/~/v/}}, dental {{IPA|/s/~/z/}}, and palato-alveolar {{IPA|/ʃ/~/ʒ/}}. Notice that {{IPA|/s/~/z/}} are dental, like the plosives {{IPA|/t/~/d/}}, and the nasal {{IPA|/n/}}. * French has one rhotic whose pronunciation varies considerably among speakers and phonetic contexts. In general it is described as a [[voiced uvular fricative]] as in {{IPA|[ʁu]}} ''roue'', "wheel" . Vowels are often lengthened before this segment. It can be reduced to an approximant, particularly in final position (e.g. ''fort'') or reduced to zero in some word-final positions. For other speakers, a uvular trill is also common, and an apical trill {{IPA|[r]}} occurs in some dialects. * Lateral and central approximants: The lateral approximant {{IPA|/l/}} is unvelarised in both onset (''lire'') and coda position (''il''). In the onset, the central approximants {{IPA|[w]}}, {{IPA|[ɥ]}}, and {{IPA|[j]}} each correspond to a high vowel, {{IPA|/u/}}, {{IPA|/y/}}, and {{IPA|/i/}} respectively. There are a few [[minimal pair]]s where the approximant and corresponding vowel contrast, but there are also many cases where they are in free variation. Contrasts between {{IPA|/j/}} and {{IPA|/i/}} occur in final position as in {{IPA|/pɛj/}} ''paye'', "pay", vs. {{IPA|/pɛi/}} ''pays'', "country". French pronunciation follows strict rules based on spelling, but French spelling is often based more on history than phonology. The rules for pronunciation vary between dialects, but the standard rules are: * final consonants: Final single consonants, in particular ''s'', ''x'', ''z'', ''t'', ''d'', ''n'', ''g'' and ''m'', are normally silent. (A consonant is considered "final" when no vowel follows it even if one or more consonants follow it.) The final letters ''c'', ''f'', ''k'', ''q'' and ''l'', however, are normally pronounced. The final ''r'' is usually silent when it follows an ''e'' in a word of two or more syllables, but is pronounced in other cases. The ''t'' is pronounced when it follows a ''c''. ** When the following word begins with a vowel, however, a silent consonant ''may'' once again be pronounced, to provide a ''[[liaison (linguistics)|liaison]]'' or "link" between the two words. Some liaisons are ''mandatory'', for example the ''s'' in ''les amants'' or ''vous avez''; some are ''optional'', depending on [[dialect]] and [[register (linguistics)|register]], for example the first ''s'' in ''deux cents euros'' or ''euros irlandais''; and some are ''forbidden'', for example the ''s'' in ''beaucoup d'hommes aiment''. The ''t'' of ''et'' is never pronounced and the silent final consonant of a noun is only pronounced in the plural and in [[set phrase]]s like ''pied-à-terre''. ** Doubling a final ''n'' and adding a silent ''e'' at the end of a word (e.g. ''chien'' → ''chienne'') makes it clearly pronounced. Doubling a final ''l'' and adding a silent ''e'' (e.g. ''gentil'' → ''gentille'') adds a [j] sound if the ''l'' is preceded by the letter ''i''. * [[elision (French)|elision]] or vowel dropping: Some monosyllabic function words ending in ''a'' or ''e'', such as ''je'' and ''que'', drop their final vowel when placed before a word that begins with a vowel sound (thus avoiding a [[hiatus (linguistics)|hiatus]]). The missing vowel is replaced by an apostrophe. (e.g. ''je ai'' is instead pronounced and spelled → ''j'ai''). This gives, for example, the same pronunciation for ''l'homme qu'il a vu'' ("the man whom he saw") and ''l'homme qui l'a vu'' ("the man who saw him"). However, for Belgian French the sentences are pronounced differently; in the first sentence the syllable break is as "qu'il-a", while the second breaks as "qui-l'a". It can also be noted that, in [[Quebec French]], the second example (''l'homme qui l'a vu'') is more emphasized on ''l'a vu''. === Alphabet === {{Main|French alphabet}} French is written with the 26 letters of the [[Latin alphabet]], with four diacritics appearing on vowels ([[circumflex]] accent, [[acute accent]], [[grave accent]], [[Umlaut (diacritic)|diaeresis]]) and the [[cedilla]] appearing in ⟨ç⟩. There are two [[ligature (typography)|ligature]]s, ⟨œ⟩ and ⟨æ⟩. ===Orthography=== {{Main|French orthography}} French spelling, like English spelling, tends to preserve obsolete pronunciation rules. This is mainly due to extreme phonetic changes since the Old French period, without a corresponding change in spelling (see [[French language#Vocabulary|Vocabulary]] below). Moreover, some conscious changes were made to restore Latin orthography: * Old French ''doit'' > French ''doigt'' "finger" (Latin ''digitus'') * Old French ''pie'' > French ''pied'' "foot" (Latin ''pes'' (stem: ''ped-'')) As a result, it can be difficult to predict the spelling of a word based on the sound alone. Final consonants are generally silent, except when the following word begins with a vowel. For example, all of these words end in a vowel sound: ''pied'', ''aller'', ''les'', ''{{lang|fr|finit}}'', ''beaux''. The same words followed by a vowel, however, may sound the consonants, as they do in these examples: ''beaux-arts'', ''les amis'', ''pied-à-terre''. On the other hand, a given spelling will usually lead to a predictable sound, and the [[Académie française]] works hard to enforce and update this correspondence.{{Citation needed|date=February 2010}} In particular, a given vowel combination or diacritic predictably leads to one phoneme. French writing, as with any language, is affected by the spoken language. In Old French, the plural for ''animal'' was ''animals''. The {{IPA|/als/}} sequence was unstable and was turned into a diphthong {{IPA|/aus/}}. This change was then reflected in the orthography: ''animaus''. The ''us'' ending, very common in Latin, was then abbreviated by copists monks by the letter ''x'', resulting in a written form ''animax''. As the French language further evolved, the pronunciation of ''au'' turned into {{IPA|/o/}} so that the ''u'' was reestablished in orthography for consistency, resulting in modern French ''animaux'' (pronounced first {{IPA|/animos/}} before the final {{IPA|/s/}} was dropped in contemporary French). The same is true for ''cheval'' pluralized as ''chevaux'' and many others. In addition, ''castel'' pl. ''castels'' became ''château'' pl. ''châteaux'' * [[Nasal vowel|Nasal]]: ''[[n]]'' and ''m''. When ''n'' or ''m'' follows a vowel or diphthong, the ''n'' or ''m'' becomes silent and causes the preceding vowel to become nasalized (i.e. pronounced with the soft palate extended downward so as to allow part of the air to leave through the nostrils). Exceptions are when the ''n'' or ''m'' is doubled, or immediately followed by a vowel. The prefixes ''en-'' and ''em-'' are always nasalized. The rules are more complex than this but may vary between dialects. * [[digraph (orthography)|Digraphs]]: French uses not only [[diacritic]]s to specify its large range of vowel sounds and [[diphthongs]], but also specific combinations of vowels, sometimes with following consonants, to show which sound is intended. * [[Consonant length|Gemination]]: Within words, double consonants are generally not pronounced as geminates in modern French (but geminates can be heard in the cinema or TV news from as recently as the 1970s, and in very refined elocution they may still occur). For example, ''illusion'' is pronounced {{IPA|[ilyzjɔ̃]}} and not {{IPA|[ilːyzjɔ̃]}}. But gemination does occur between words. For example, ''une info'' ("a news item" or "a piece of information") is pronounced {{IPA|[ynɛ̃fo]}}, whereas ''une nympho'' ("a nymphomaniac") is pronounced {{IPA|[ynːɛ̃fo]}}. * [[Diacritic|Accents]] are used sometimes for pronunciation, sometimes to distinguish similar words, and sometimes for etymology alone. ** Accents that affect pronunciation *** The [[acute accent]] (''l'accent aigu''), ''é'' (e.g. '''''é'''cole''—school), means that the vowel is pronounced {{IPA|/e/}} instead of the default {{IPA|/ə/}}. *** The [[grave accent]] (''l'accent grave''), ''è'' (e.g. ''él'''è'''ve''—pupil) means that the vowel is pronounced {{IPA|/ɛ/}} instead of the default {{IPA|/ə/}}. *** The [[circumflex]] (''l'accent circonflexe'') ''ê'' (e.g. ''for'''ê'''t''—forest) shows that an ''e'' is pronounced {{IPA|/ɛ/}} and that an ''ô'' is pronounced {{IPA|/o/}}. In standard French, it also signifies a pronunciation of {{IPA|/ɑ/}} for the letter ''â'', but this differentiation is disappearing. In the late 19th century, the circumflex was used in place of ''s'' after a vowel, where that letter ''s'' was not to be pronounced. Thus, ''forest'' became ''forêt'' and ''hospital'' became'' hôpital''. *** The [[Umlaut (diacritic)|diaeresis]] (''le tréma'') (e.g. ''na'''ï'''f'' – naive, ''No'''ë'''l'' – Christmas) as in English, specifies that this vowel is pronounced separately from the preceding one, not combined, and is not a [[schwa]]. *** The [[cedilla]] (''la cédille'') ''ç'' (e.g. ''gar'''ç'''on''—boy) means that the letter ''ç'' is pronounced {{IPA|/s/}} in front of the hard vowels ''a'', ''o'' and ''u'' (''c'' is otherwise {{IPA|/k/}} before a hard vowel). ''C'' is always pronounced {{IPA|/s/}} in front of the soft vowels ''e'', ''i'', and ''y'', thus ''ç'' is never found in front of soft vowels. ** Accents with no pronunciation effect *** The circumflex does not affect the pronunciation of the letters ''i'' or ''u'', and in most dialects, ''a'' as well. It usually indicates that an ''s'' came after it long ago, as in ''île'' (''isle'', compare with English ''island''). The explanation is that some words share the same orthography, and the circumflex is put here to spot the difference between the two words. For example, ''dites'' (you say) / ''dîtes'' (you said), or even ''du'' (of the) / ''dû'' (past for the verb ''devoir'' = must, have to, owe; in this case, the circumflex splits at the plural and the feminine). *** All other accents are used only to distinguish similar words, as in the case of distinguishing the adverbs ''là'' and ''où'' ("there", "where") from the article ''la'' ("the" fem. sing.) and the conjunction ''ou'' ("or") respectively. Some proposals exist to simplify the existing writing system, but they still fail to gather interest. ==Grammar== {{Main|French grammar}} French grammar shares several notable features with most other Romance languages, including: * the loss of Latin's [[declension]]s * only two [[grammatical gender]]s * the development of grammatical [[article (grammar)|article]]s from Latin [[demonstrative]]s * new [[Grammatical tense|tenses]] formed from auxiliaries French declarative word order is [[subject–verb–object]], although if the object is a pronoun, it precedes the verb. Some types of sentences allow for or require different word orders, in particular [[inversion (linguistics)|inversion]] of the subject and verb. ==Vocabulary== The majority of French words derive from [[Vulgar Latin]] or were constructed from [[Latin]] or [[Ancient Greek|Greek]] roots. In many cases a single etymological root appears in French in a "popular" or native form, inherited from Vulgar Latin, and a learned form, borrowed later from [[Classical Latin]]. The following pairs consist of a native noun and a learned adjective: * brother: ''[[wikt:frère|frère]]'' / ''[[wikt:fraternel|fraternel]]'' < from Latin ''[[wikt:frater|frater]]'' * finger: ''[[wikt:doigt|doigt]]'' / ''[[wikt:digital|digital]]'' < from Latin ''[[wikt:digitum|digitum]]'' * faith: ''[[wikt:foi|foi]]'' / ''[[wikt:fidèle|fidèle]]'' < from Latin ''[[wikt:fidem|fidem]]'' * eye: ''[[wikt:œil|œil]]'' / ''[[wikt:oculaire|oculaire]]'' < from Latin ''[[wikt:oculum|oculum]]'' There are also noun-noun and adjective-adjective pairs: * thing/cause: ''[[wikt:chose|chose]]'' / ''[[wikt:cause|cause]]'' < from Latin ''[[wikt:causa|causa]]'' * cold: ''[[wikt:froid|froid]]'' / ''[[wikt:frigide|frigide]]'' < from Latin ''[[wikt:frigidum|frigidum]]'' It can be difficult to identify the Latin source of native French words, because in the evolution from [[Vulgar Latin]], unstressed syllables were severely reduced and the remaining vowels and consonants underwent significant modifications. It is estimated that 12% (4,200) of common French words found in a typical [[dictionary]] such as the ''[[Petit Larousse]]'' or ''Micro-Robert Plus'' (35,000 words) are of foreign origin (where [[Ancient Greek|Greek]] and [[Latin language|Latin]] learned words are not seen as foreign). About 25% (1,054) of these foreign words come from [[English language|English]] and are fairly recent borrowings. The others are some 707 words from [[Italian language|Italian]], 550 from ancient [[Germanic languages]], 481 from other [[Gallo-Romance languages]], 215 from [[Arabic language|Arabic]], 164 from [[German language|German]], 160 from [[Celtic languages]], 159 from [[Spanish language|Spanish]], 153 from [[Dutch language|Dutch]], 112 from [[Persian language|Persian]] and [[Sanskrit language|Sanskrit]], 101 from [[Native American languages]], 89 from other [[Asian languages]], 56 from other [[Afro-Asiatic languages]], 55 from [[Slavic languages]] and [[Baltic languages]], 10 from [[Basque language|Basque]] and 144 (about 3%) from other languages. ===Numerals=== The French counting system is partially [[vigesimal]]: [[20 (number)|twenty]] (''{{lang|fr|vingt}}'') is used as a base number in the names of numbers from 60 to 99. The French word for ''80'' is ''{{lang|fr|quatre-vingts}}'', literally "four twenties", and the word for ''75'' is ''{{lang|fr|soixante-quinze}}'', literally "sixty-fifteen". This reform arose after the [[French Revolution]] to unify the different counting systems (mostly vigesimal near the coast, because of Celtic (via [[Breton language|Breton]]) and Viking influences). This system is comparable to the archaic English use of ''score'', as in "fourscore and seven" (87), or "threescore and ten" (70). In Old French (during the [[Middle Ages]]), all numbers from 30 to 99 could be said in either base 10 or base 20, e.g. ''vint et doze'' (twenty and twelve) for 32, ''dous vinz et diz'' (two twenties and ten) for 50, ''uitante'' for 80, or ''nonante'' for 90. [[Belgian French]], [[Swiss French]] and the French used in the [[Democratic Republic of the Congo]], [[Rwanda]] and [[Burundi]] are different in this respect. In Belgium and Switzerland 70 and 90 are ''{{lang|fr|septante}}'' and ''{{lang|fr|nonante}}''. In Switzerland, depending on the local dialect, 80 can be ''{{lang|fr|quatre-vingts}}'' (Geneva, Neuchâtel, Jura) or ''{{lang|fr|huitante}}'' (Vaud, Valais, Fribourg). ''Octante'' had been used in Switzerland in the past, but is now considered archaic. In Belgium and in its former African colonies, however, ''quatre-vingts'' is universally used. It should also be noted that French, like most European languages, uses a [[Full stop#Mathematical usage|period]] (also called a full stop) or a space to separate thousands where English uses a comma or (more recently) a space. The comma is used in French numbers as a decimal point: 2,5 = ''deux virgule cinq''. Cardinal numbers in French from 1 to 20 are as follows: * One: ''[[wikt:un|un]]''/''[[wikt:une|une]]'' {{IPA|/œ̃/}} or {{IPA|/ɛ̃/}} (m) ~ {{IPA|/yn/}} (f) * Two: ''[[wikt:deux|deux]]'' {{IPA|/dø/}} * Three: ''[[wikt:trois|trois]]'' {{IPA|/tʁwa/}} * Four: ''[[wikt:quatre|quatre]]'' {{IPA|/katʁ/}} * Five: ''[[wikt:cinq|cinq]]'' {{IPA|/sɛ̃k/}} * Six: ''[[wikt:six|six]]'' {{IPA|/sis/}} * Seven: ''[[wikt:sept|sept]]'' {{IPA|/sɛt/}} * Eight: ''[[wikt:huit|huit]]'' {{IPA|/ɥit/}} * Nine: ''[[wikt:neuf|neuf]]'' {{IPA|/nœf/}} * Ten: ''[[wikt:dix|dix]]'' {{IPA|/dis/}} * Eleven: ''[[wikt:onze|onze]]'' {{IPA|/ɔ̃z/}} * Twelve: ''[[wikt:douze|douze]]'' {{IPA|/duz/}} * Thirteen: ''[[wikt:treize|treize]]'' {{IPA|/tʁɛz/}} * Fourteen: ''[[wikt:quatorze|quatorze]]'' {{IPA|/katɔʁz/}} * Fifteen: ''[[wikt:quinze|quinze]]'' {{IPA|/kɛ̃z/}} * Sixteen: ''[[wikt:seize|seize]]'' {{IPA|/sɛz/}} * Seventeen: ''[[wikt:dix-sept|dix-sept]]'' {{IPA|/dissɛt/}} * Eighteen: ''[[wikt:dix-huit|dix-huit]]'' {{IPA|/diz‿ɥit/}} * Nineteen: ''[[wikt:dix-neuf|dix-neuf]]'' {{IPA|/diznœf/}} * Twenty: ''[[wikt:vingt|vingt]]'' {{IPA|/vɛ̃/}} ==Examples== {{Inline audio|section}} The "Canadian" audio samples here are not necessarily from speakers of Quebec French, which has distinct regional pronunciations of certain words. {| class="wikitable" |- ![[English language|English]] || French || Canadian accent || Northern French accent |- | |French || ''Français'' || {{Audio-IPA|francais.ogg|/fʀɑ̃sɛ/|help=no}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|françaisF.ogg|/fʁɑ̃sɛ/}} |- | |[[English language|English]] || ''Anglais'' || {{Audio-IPA|anglais.ogg|/ɑ̃ɡlɛ/|help=no}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|AnglaisF.ogg|/ɑ̃ɡlɛ/}} |- | |Yes || ''Oui'' (''si'' when countering an assertion or a question expressed in the negative) || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|oui.ogg|/wi/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|ouiF.ogg|/wi/}} |- | |No || ''Non'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|non.ogg|/nɔ̃/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|nonF.ogg|/nɔ̃/}} |- | |Hello! || ''Bonjour !'' (formal) or ''Salut !'' (informal) or "Allô" (Canada or when answering on the telephone) || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|bonjour.ogg|/bɔ̃ʒuːʀ/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|bonjourF.ogg|/bɔ̃ʒuʁ/}} |- | |Good evening! || ''Bonsoir !'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|bonsoir.ogg|/bɔ̃swɑːʀ/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|bonsoirF.ogg|/bɔ̃swaːʁ/}} |- | |Good night! || ''Bonne nuit !'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|bonne_nuit.ogg|/bɔnnɥi/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|Bonne_nuitF.ogg|/bɔnnɥi/}} |- | |Goodbye! || ''Au revoir !'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|au_revoir.ogg|/ɔʀvwɑːʀ/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|au_revoirF.ogg|/ɔʁvwaːʀ/}} |- | |Have a nice day! || ''Bonne journée !'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|bonne_journee.ogg|/bɔnʒuʀne/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|bonne_journéeF.ogg|/bɔnʒuʁne/}} |- | |Please/if you please || ''S’il vous plaît'' (formal) or ''S’il te plaît'' (informal) || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|s_il_vous_plait.ogg|/sɪlvuplɛ/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|s'il_vous_plaitF.ogg|/silvuplɛ/}} |- | |Thank you || ''Merci'' || {{IPA|/mɛʀsi/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|merciF.ogg|/mɛʁsi/}} |- | |You are welcome || ''De rien'' (informal) or ''Ce n’est rien'' (informal) ("it is nothing") or ''Je vous en prie'' (formal) or ''Je t’en prie'' (informal) || || {{IPA|/dəʁiɛ̃/}} |- | |I am sorry || ''Pardon'' or ''Je suis désolé'' (if male) / ''Je suis désolée'' (if female) or ''Excuse-moi'' (informal) / ''Excusez-moi'' (formal) / "Je regrette" || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|pardon.ogg|/paʁdɔ̃/}} / {{Audio-IPA|help=no|desole.ogg|/dezɔle/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|pardonF.ogg|/paʁdɔ̃/}} / {{Audio-IPA|help=no|désoléF.ogg|/dezɔle/}} |- | |Who? || ''Qui ?'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|qui.ogg|/ki/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|quiF.ogg|/ki/}} |- | |What? || ''Quoi ?'' (←informal; used as "What?" in English)) or ''Comment ?'' (←formal; used the same as "Pardon me?" in English) || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|quoi.ogg|/kwa/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|quoiF.ogg|/kwa/}} |- | |When? || ''Quand ?'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|quand.ogg|/kɑ̃/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|quandF.ogg|/kɑ̃/}} |- | |Where? || ''Où ?'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|ou_french.ogg|/u/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|où.ogg|/u/}} |- | |Why? || ''Pourquoi ?'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|pourquoi.ogg|/puʀkwa/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|pourquoiF.ogg|/puʁkwɑ/}} |- | |What is your name? || ''Comment vous appelez-vous ?'' (formal) or ''Comment t’appelles-tu ?'' (informal) || || {{IPA|/kɔmɑ̃ vuz‿aple vu/}}, {{IPA|/kɔmɑ̃ tapɛl ty/}} |- | |Because || ''Parce que'' / ''Car'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|parce_que.ogg|/paʀsᵊkə/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|parcequeF.ogg|/paʁskǝ/}} |- | |Because of || ''à cause de'' |- | |Therefore || ''Donc'' || {{IPA|/dɔ̃k/}} || {{IPA|/dɔ̃k/}} |- | |How? || ''Comment ?'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|comment.ogg|/kɔmɑ̃/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|commentF.ogg|/kɔmɑ̃/}} |- | |How much? || ''Combien ?'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|combien.ogg|/kɔ̃bjɛ̃/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|combienF.ogg|/kɔ̃bjɛ̃/}} |- | |I do not understand. || ''Je ne comprends pas.'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|je_ne_comprends_pas.ogg|/ʒə nə kɔ̃pʀɑ̃ pɑ/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|je_ne_comprends_pasF.ogg|/ʒə nə kɔ̃pʁɑ̃ pa/}} |- | |Yes, I understand. || ''Oui, je comprends.'' Except when responding to a negatively posed question, in which case ''Si'' is used preferentially over ''Oui'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|oui_je_comprends.ogg|/wi ʒə kɔ̃pʀɑ̃/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|Oui,_je_comprendF.ogg|/wi, ʒə kɔ̃pʁɑ̃/}} |- | |I agree || ''Je suis d’accord.'' D’accord can be used without ''je suis''. |- | |Help! || ''Au secours ! (à l’aide !)'' || {{IPA|/o səkuʀ/}} || {{IPA|/o səkuːʁ/}} |- | |Can you help me please? || ''Pouvez-vous m’aider s’il vous plaît ?'' / ''Pourriez-vous m’aider s’il vous plaît ?'' (formal) or ''Peux-tu m’aider s’il te plaît ?'' / ''Pourrais-tu m’aider s’il te plaît'' (informal) || |- | |Where are the toilets? || ''Où sont les toilettes ?'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|ou_sont_les_toilettes.ogg|/u sɔ̃ le twalɛt/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|où_sont_les_toilettes.ogg|/u sɔ̃ le twalɛt/}} |- | |Do you speak English? || ''Parlez-vous anglais ?'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|parlez-vous_anglais.ogg|/paʀle vu ɑ̃ɡlɛ/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|parlez-vous_anglaisF.ogg|/paʁle vu ɑ̃ɡlɛ/}} |- | |I do not speak French. || ''Je ne parle pas français.'' || {{IPA|/ʒə nə paʀlə pɑ fʀɑ̃sɛ/}} || {{IPA|/ʒə nə paʁl pa fʁɑ̃sɛ/}} |- | |I do not know. || ''Je ne sais pas.'' || || {{IPA|/ʒə (nə) se pa/}} |- | |I know. || ''Je sais.'' || || {{IPA|/ʒə sɛ/}} |- | |I am thirsty. || ''J’ai soif.'' (literally, "I have thirst") || || {{IPA|/ʒɛ swaf/}} |- | |I am hungry. || ''J’ai faim.'' (literally, "I have hunger") || || {{IPA|/ʒɛ fɛ̃/}} |- | |How are you? / How are things going? / How is everything? || ''Comment allez-vous?'' (formal) or ''Ça va?'' / ''Comment ça va ?'' (informal) || || |- | |I am (very) well / Things are going (very) well // Everything is (very) well || ''Je vais (très) bien'' (formal) or ''Ça va (très) bien.'' / ''Tout va (très) bien'' (informal) || || |- | |I am (very) bad / Things are (very) bad / Everything is (very) bad || ''Je vais (très) mal'' (formal) or ''Ça va (très) mal'' / ''Tout va (très) mal'' (informal) || || |- | |I am all right/so-so / Everything is all right/so-so || ''Assez bien'' or ''Ça va comme ci, comme ça'' or simply ''Ça va.''. (Sometimes said: « Couci, couça. », informal: "bof") i.e. « Comme ci, comme ça. ») || || |- | |I am fine. || ''Ça va bien.'' || || {{IPA|/sa va bjɛ̃/}} |} ==See also== {{Portal box|French language and French-speaking world}} * [[Académie française]] * [http://www.fle.fr/ Agency for promoting French as a foreign language] * [[Alliance française]] * [http://www.alliancefr.org/ Alliance française Paris Ile-de-France] * [[Francophonie]] * [[Francization]] * [[French language in Canada]] * [[French language in the United States]] * [[French proverbs]] * [[French-based creole languages]] * [[History of French]] * [[List of countries where French is an official language]] * [[List of English words of French origin]] * [[List of French loanwords in Persian]] * [[List of French words and phrases used by English speakers]] * [[List of pseudo-French words adapted to English]] * [[Louchébem]] * [[Office québécois de la langue française]] * [[Quebec French]] * [[Reforms of French orthography]] * [[Varieties of French]] * [[Verlan]] {{-}} ==External links== {{Wiktionary cat}} {{Wiktionary|French}} {{Wikiversity}} {{InterWiki|code=fr}} {{WikisourceWiki|code=fr}} {{Commons category|French language}} {{Wikibooks|French}} *[http://www.fondation-alliancefr.org/ Fondation Alliance française] *[http://www.alliancefr.org/en/ Alliance française Paris Ile-de-France] *[http://www.english.rfi.fr/africa/20100319-french-language-growing-especially-africa French is spreading, especially in Africa] Radio France Internationale in English (19 March 2010) ===Courses and tutorials=== * [http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/french/ Learn French] ''[[BBC]]'' * [http://us.translation-vocabulary.com/fr-french French Vocabulary Wiki with Exercises] ''[[Vocabulary Wiki]]'' * [http://www.jump-gate.com/languages/french/ French Language Course] (oldest online language course) * [http://www.jefrench.com/basic-french-lessons Learn French] JeFrench * [http://www.laits.utexas.edu/fi/ français interactif] ''[[University of Texas at Austin]]'' * [http://www.laits.utexas.edu/tex/ Tex's French Grammar] ''[[University of Texas at Austin]]'' * [http://www.fle.fr/ French Language Schools in France Directory] * [http://french.about.com/ Learn French at About] (including French gestures) * [http://www.targetlanguage.co.uk/ Learn French at Target Language] (Ab initio) * [http://www.wiki-babel.org/en/Portal:French French language portal at WikiBabel] * [http://www.fsi-language-courses.org/Content.php?page=French USA Foreign Service Institute French basic course] * [http://www.frenchtutorial.com/standard/ The French Tutorial] * [http://funnyaccents.com/common-french-phrases/ Common French Phrases] ===Online dictionaries=== {{For|unilingual dictionaries|fr:Dictionnaire}} * [http://frenchprofessor.org/english-french-dictionaries.htm Comprehensive list of the French dictionaries] ===Vocabulary=== *[[:wikt:Appendix:French Swadesh list|Swadesh list in English and French]] *[http://www.dudziak.com/verbs.php A Two-Page PDF Reference Guide of the 681 Most Common French/English Verbs]{{Dead link|date=February 2011}} {{Navboxes | list = {{France topics}} {{Official UN languages}} {{Official EU languages}} {{Official CA languages}} {{Languages of Quebec}} {{Working languages of the African Union}} {{Official languages of South America}} {{Romance languages}} {{Latin Union}} }} {{Use dmy dates|date=October 2010}} {{pp-move-indef}}{{French language}} '''French''' ({{lang|fr|''français''}}, {{IPA-fr|fʁɑ̃ˈsɛ|IPA}}, or {{lang|fr|''La langue française''}},{{IPA-fr|la lɑ̃ɡ fʁɑ̃ˈsɛz|IPA}} ) is a [[Romance language]] spoken as a first language in [[France]], the [[Romandy#French|Romandy]] region in [[Switzerland]], [[Wallonia]] and [[Brussels]] in [[Belgium]], [[Monaco]], the regions of [[Quebec]] and [[Acadia]] in [[Canada]], and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts of the world, the largest numbers of which reside in [[African French|Francophone Africa]]. In Africa, French is most commonly spoken in [[Gabon]] (where 80% reports fluency) [[Mauritius]] (78%), [[Algeria]] (75%) and [[Côte d'Ivoire]] (70%). French is estimated as having between 70 million and 110 million native speakers and 190 million second language speakers. French is the second-most studied foreign language in the world, after [[English Language|English]]. French is a descendant of the spoken [[Latin]] language of the [[Roman Empire]], as are languages such as [[Italian language|Italian]], [[Portuguese language|Portuguese]], [[Spanish language|Spanish]], [[Romanian language|Romanian]], [[Sardinian language|Sardinian]] and [[Catalan language|Catalan]]. Its closest relatives however are the other [[langues d'oïl]] and [[French-based creole languages]]. Its development was also influenced by the native [[Celtic languages]] of Roman [[Gaul]] and by the ([[Germanic languages|Germanic]]) [[Old Frankish|Frankish]] language of the post-Roman [[Franks|Frankish]] invaders. It is an [[official language]] in [[List of countries where French is an official language|29 countries]], most of which form what is called, in French, ''la [[francophonie]]'', the community of French-speaking countries. It is an official language of all [[United Nations]] agencies and a [[List of international organisations which have French as an official language|large number of international organizations]]. According to the [[European Union]], 129 million, or twenty-six percent of the Union's total population speak French, of whom 65 million are native speakers and 69 million are second-language or foreign language speakers, thus making French the third language in the European Union that people state they are most able to speak, after [[English language|English]] and [[German language|German]]. Twenty-percent of non-Francophone Europeans know how to speak French, totaling roughly 145.6 million people in Europe alone. George Weber, author of "Top Languages: The World's 10 most influential Languages," said that until a century before 1996, French had a global dominance similar to that now occupied by English. He said "[n]obody could pass for educated without the ability to speak French" and "However, French dominance was never so complete as its rival's is now for the simple reason that 100 years ago large parts of the world were not yet connected to rest as they are all today. In Mongolia it was sufficient to speak Mongolian, in Madagascar Malagasy could get you anywhere. Globalisation had not been heard of then." As a result of extensive colonial ambitions of [[French colonial empire|France]] and [[Belgian colonial empire|Belgium]] (at that time governed by a French-speaking elite), between the 17th and 20th centuries, French was introduced to the Americas, Africa, Polynesia, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean. According to a demographic projection led by the [[Université Laval]] and the [[Agence universitaire de la Francophonie|Réseau Démographie de l'Agence universitaire de la francophonie]], French will be represented by approximately 500 million people in 2025 and by 650 million people, or approximately seven-percent of the world's population in 2050. {{TOC limit|limit=3}} === Europe === {{Reference necessary|French is the fourth-most widely spoken mother tongue in the [[European Union]].|date=August 2011}} It is also the third-most widely understood language in the EU, after English and German, and is one of the three [[working language]]s of the [[European Commission]], again, along with English and German. ====Legal status in France==== {{See also|Toubon Law|Languages of France}} According to the [[Constitution of France]], French has been the official language since 1992 (although previous legal texts have made it official since 1539, see [[ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts]]). [[France]] mandates the use of French in official government publications, public [[education]] except in specific cases (though these dispositions are often ignored) and legal [[contract]]s; [[advertisement]]s must bear a translation of foreign words. In addition to French, there are also a variety of regional languages and dialects. France has signed the European Charter for Regional Languages, but has not ratified it since that would go against its 1958 Constitution. ====Switzerland==== {{See|Languages of Switzerland|Swiss French|Romandie}} French is one of the four official languages of [[Switzerland]] (along with [[German language|German]], [[Italian language|Italian]] and [[Romansh language|Romansh]]) and is spoken in the western part of Switzerland called ''[[Romandie]]'', of which [[Geneva]] is the largest city. The language divisions in Switzerland do not coincide with political subdivisions and some [[Cantons of Switzerland|cantons]] have bilingual status for example, cities such Biel/Bienne or cantons such as Valais-Fribourg-Berne. French is the native language of about 30% of the Swiss population and is spoken by 50.4% of the population. Most of Swiss French is mutually compatible with the standard French spoken in France, but it is often used with small differences, such as those involving numbers after 69 and slight differences in other vocabulary terms. ====Belgium==== {{See|Languages of Belgium|Belgian French}} [[File:Brussels signs.jpg|thumb|200px|left|[[Bilingual]] signs in [[Brussels]].]] In [[Belgium]], French is the official language of [[Wallonia]] (excluding a part of the [[East Cantons]], which are [[German language|German-speaking]]) and one of the two official languages—along with [[Dutch language|Dutch]]—of the [[Brussels-Capital Region]], where it is spoken by the majority of the population, though often not as their primary language. French and German are not official languages nor recognized minority languages in the [[Flemish Region]], although along borders with the Walloon and Brussels-Capital regions, there are a dozen [[municipalities with language facilities]] for French speakers. A mirror situation exists for the Walloon Region with respect to the Dutch and German languages. In total, native French speakers make up about 40% of the country's population, while the remaining 60% speak Dutch as a first language. Of the latter, 59% claim French as a second or third language, meaning that about three quarters of the Belgian population can speak French. ====Monaco and Andorra==== {{See|Languages of Monaco|Languages of Andorra}} Although [[Monégasque language|Monégasque]] is the national language of the [[Principality of Monaco]], French is the only official language, and French nationals make up some 47% of the population. [[Catalan language|Catalan]] is the only official language of [[Andorra]]; however, French is commonly used because of the proximity to France and the fact that France is, with the Urgel's Bishop, part of the government. French nationals make up 7% of the population. [[File:Knowledge French EU map.svg|right|thumb|Knowledge of French in the [[European Union]] and candidate countries (Note that around 40% of Belgium's population are native French speakers, totalling 88% of the country's population.)]] ====Luxembourg==== {{See|Languages of Luxembourg|Multilingualism in Luxembourg}} French is one of three official languages of [[Luxembourg|the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg]], alongside [[German language|German]] and [[Lëtzebuergesch|Luxembourgish]], the natively spoken language of Luxembourg. French is primarily used for administrative purposes by the government, and is also the language used to converse with foreigners. Luxembourg's education system is trilingual: the first years of primary school are in Luxembourgish, before changing to German; while in secondary school, the language of instruction changes to French. ====Italy==== {{See|Languages of Italy}} French is also an official language in the small region of [[Aosta Valley]], [[Italy]]. Though most non-Italophone people in the region speak [[Franco-Provençal language|Franco-Provençal]], they use standard French to write. That is because the international recognition of Franco-Provençal as a separate language (as opposed to a dialect or patois of French) was quite recent. ====The United Kingdom and the Channel Islands==== {{See|Languages of Jersey|Languages of Guernsey|Languages of the United Kingdom}} French is a large minority language and immigrant [[Languages of the United Kingdom|language in the United Kingdom]], with over 300,000 French-born people in the UK. It is also the most popular foreign language. French is spoken and understood by 23% of the UK population. [[Modern English|Modern]] and [[Middle English]] reflect a mixture of [[Oïl languages|Oïl]] and [[Old English]] lexicons after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, when a Norman-speaking aristocracy took control of a population whose mother tongue was Germanic in origin. As a result of the intertwined histories of England and continental possessions of the English Crown many formal and legal words from Modern English have French roots. Thus whilst words such as ''buy'' and ''sell'' are of Germanic origin, ''purchase'' and ''vend'' are from [[Old French]]. French is an official language in both [[Jersey]] and [[Guernsey]]. Both use French to some degree, mostly in an administrative or ceremonial capacity. [[Jersey Legal French]] is the standardized variety used in Jersey. However, [[Norman language|Norman]] (in its local forms, [[Guernésiais]] and [[Jèrriais]]) is the historical [[vernacular]] of the islands. ==== Canada ==== {{See also|Canadian French|French language in Canada|Spoken languages of Canada|Official bilingualism in Canada}} [[File:Arret.jpg|right|thumb|The [[Stop sign|"arrêt" signs]] (French for "stop") are used in [[Quebec]] while the international ''stop,'' which is also a valid French word, is used in France as well as other French-speaking countries and regions.]] French is the second most common language in [[Canada]], after [[English language|English]], and both are official languages at the federal level. French is the sole official language in the province of [[Quebec]], being the mother tongue for some 7 million people, or almost 80.1% (2006 Census) of the Province. About 95.0% of the people of Quebec speak French as either their first or second language, and for some as their third language. Quebec is also home to the city of [[Montreal]], which is the world's second largest French speaking city, by number of first language speakers. [[New Brunswick]], where about a third of the population is francophone, is the only officially bilingual province. Portions of [[Eastern Ontario]], [[Northeastern Ontario]], [[Nova Scotia]], [[Newfoundland and Labrador]], [[Alberta]] and [[Manitoba]] have sizable French minorities, and many provinces provide service in French for its linguistic minorities. Smaller pockets of French speakers exist in all other provinces. About 9,487,500 of Canadians speak French as their first language, or around 30% of the country, with 2,065,300 constituting secondary speakers. Due to the increased bilingual school programs and French Immersion Classes in English Canada, the portion of Canadians proficient in French has risen significantly in the past two decades, and is still rising. The difference between French spoken in [[Quebec]] and French spoken in France is similar in degree to that between American and British English. In [[Quebec]], where the majority of [[French Canadian|French-speaking Canadians]] live, the [[Office québécois de la langue française]] ({{lang-en|Quebec Board of the French language}}) regulates [[Quebec French]] and ensures the [[Charter of the French Language]] (Bill 101 & 104) is respected. The [[Office québécois de la langue française]] determined that "stop" is a valid French word; however, it is observed that [[stop sign]]s reading "ARRÊT" predominate in French-speaking areas, and "STOP" can be found in majority English-speaking areas. ==== Haiti ==== French is one of Haiti's two official languages. It is the principal language of writing, school instruction, and administrative use. It is spoken by all educated Haitians and is used in the business sector. It is also used in ceremonial events such as weddings, graduations and church masses. About 10-15% of the country's population have French as their first language; the rest speak it as a secondary language in varying degrees of proficiency from basic level to fluent. The second official language is the recently standardized [[Haitian Creole]] which is spoken by virtually the entire population of Haiti. Haitian Creole is one of the [[French-based creole languages]], drawing the large majority of its vocabulary from French, with influences from West African languages, as well as several European languages. Haitian Creole is closely related to Louisiana Creole and all other French creoles. ====French overseas departments and territories in the Americas==== French is also the official language in France's overseas departments and territories of [[French Guiana]], [[Guadeloupe]], [[Martinique]], [[Saint Barthélemy]], [[Saint Martin (France)|St. Martin]] and [[Saint-Pierre et Miquelon]]. ====United States==== {{main|French in the United States}} {{see also|Cajun French|Louisiana Creole French|Acadian French|Missouri French}} [[File:French in the United States.png|thumb|left|French language spread in the United States. Counties marked in yellow are those where 6–12% of the population speak French at home; brown, 12–18%; red, over 18%. [[French-based creole languages]] are not included.]] French is the fourth most-spoken language in the United States, after [[English language|English]], [[Spanish language|Spanish]] and [[Chinese language|Chinese]], and the second most-spoken in the states of [[Louisiana]], [[Maine]], [[Vermont]] and [[New Hampshire]]. Louisiana is home to many distinct dialects, collectively known as [[Louisiana French]]. [[Cajun French]] has the largest number of speakers, mostly living in [[Acadiana]]. According to the 2000 United States Census, there are over 194,000 people in Louisiana who speak French at home, the most of any state if [[Louisiana Creole French|Creole French]] is excluded. [[Acadian French]] is spoken in the northern parts of [[New England]] (particularly [[Maine]]) where it is known as New England French. [[Missouri French]] was historically spoken in [[Missouri]] and [[Illinois]] (formerly known as [[Upper Louisiana]]), but is nearly extinct today. ====Brazil==== The French language was spoken in Brazil for a brief period during the colonial attempts of [[France Antarctique]] and [[Equinoctial France|France Ecquinociale]]. Also, the language was used by the community of French immigrants and expatriates in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and by the Brazilian public education system. Today the [[Karipuna]] indigenous community (nearly 30,000 people) of [[Amapá]] in North Brazil speaks a French creole, the [[Lanc-Patuá]], possibly related to the [[French Guiana Creole]]. ===Africa=== {{Main|African French|Maghreb French}} [[File:Yoff-Tonghor.jpg|thumb|300px|Supermarket sign in French in [[Dakar]], [[Senegal]].]] [[File:Francophone Africa.svg|thumb|right|300px|{{legend|#006BA8|Countries usually considered as Francophone Africa. These countries had a population of 349 million in 2011. Their population is projected to reach between 710 million and 729 million in 2050.}} {{legend|#00AAE2|Countries sometimes considered as Francophone Africa}}{{legend|#008080|Countries that are not Francophone but are Members or Observers of the [[Organisation internationale de la Francophonie|OIF]]}}]] A majority of the world's French-speaking population lives in Africa. According to the 2007 report by the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, an estimated 115 million African people spread across 31 Francophone African countries can speak French as either a [[first language|first]] or a [[second language]]. This number does not include the people living in non-Francophone African countries who have learned French as a foreign language. Due to the rise of French in Africa, the total French-speaking population is expected to reach 700 million people in 2050. French is mostly a second language in Africa, but it has become a first language in some areas, such as the region of [[Abidjan]], [[Côte d'Ivoire]] and in [[Libreville]], [[Gabon]]. The classification of French as a second language in Francophone Africa is debatable because it is often the only language spoken and written in schools, administrations, radio, TV and the Internet. This prevalence of French is noticeable in popular music, in which French is often mixed with the language of the song. It is not possible to speak of a single form of [[African French]], but rather of diverse forms of African French which have developed because of the contact with many indigenous [[African languages]]. In fact, the term African French is a misnomer, as forms are different from country to country, and the root of the French spoken in a particular country depends on its former colonial empire. French spoken in the Benin, for example, is closer to that spoken in France than to French spoken in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is rooted in Belgian French. In the territories of the [[Indian Ocean]], the French language is often spoken alongside French-derived creole languages, the major exception being [[Madagascar]]. There, a Malayo-Polynesian language ([[Malagasy language|Malagasy]]) is spoken alongside French. [[Sub-Saharan Africa]] is the region where the French language is most likely to expand, because of the expansion of education and rapid demographic growth. It is also where the language has evolved the most in recent years. Some vernacular forms of French in Africa can be difficult to understand for French speakers from other countries, but written forms of the language are very closely related to those of the rest of the French-speaking world. French is an official language in many African countries, most of them former French or [[Belgian colonial empire|Belgian colonies]]: In addition, French is an administrative language and commonly used, though not on an official basis, in [[Mauritius]] and in the [[Maghreb]] states: (see also [[languages of Algeria#French|languages of Algeria]]) (see also [[languages of Mauritania#French|languages of Mauritania]]) (see also [[languages of Morocco]]) (see also [[languages of Tunisia]]) ====Algeria==== Most urban Algerians have some working knowledge of French, and a high (though unknown) percentage speak it fluently. However, because of the country's colonial past, the predominance of French has long been politically fraught. Numerous reforms have been implemented in recent decades to improve the status of [[Arabic language|Arabic]] in relation to French, especially in education. For this reason, although Algeria is certainly one of the most Francophone countries in the world outside of France, and has perhaps the largest number of French speakers, it does not participate in the Francophonie association. ====Egypt==== [[File:Rue Champollion in Alexandria.JPG|thumb|right|250px|Bilingual Arabic-French street sign in Alexandria, Egypt.]] The [[official language]] in [[Egypt]] is [[literary Arabic]], and it is mandatory in all schools. The most used second languages in Egypt are English and French, which are learned by some elements of the Egyptian upper and upper-middle classes; most Egyptians will mostly learn English and French in addition to Arabic. Private schools have either English or French as the main language of instruction. Egypt participates in the [[Francophonie]]. There are two French-speaking universities in the country, the [[Université Française d'Égypte]] and the [[Senghor University|Université Senghor]]. ====French overseas departments and territories in Africa==== French is also the official language of [[Mayotte]] and [[Réunion]], two [[Overseas departments and territories of France|overseas territories]] of France located in the southwest Indian Ocean. ==== Lebanon & Syria & Israel ==== [[File:1000 Lebanese pound reverse.jpg|thumb|right|A [[Lebanon|Lebanese]] "mille livres" (thousand-pound) bank note]] [[Arabic]] is the official language of [[Lebanon]], where a special law regulates the use of French. French is considered a second language by the [[Lebanese people]] and is used on bank notes (along with Arabic) and on official buildings. French is widely used by the Lebanese, especially for administrative purposes, and is taught in many schools as a secondary language along with Arabic and English. ''See further [[Lebanon#Language|languages of Lebanon]]''. As in Lebanon, French was official in [[Syria]] until 1943. In contrast to the situation in Lebanon, the French language is less used, but it is still spoken to some degree by educated groups, both in the élite and in the middle-class. ''See further [[Syria#Languages|languages of Syria]]''. There are also a significant number of native and second-language French-speakers in [[Israel]] who trace their origins to the francocized Jewish communities of North Africa, ''(see [[Maghrebi Jews]])'' and Romania. Today, about 10% of Israelis speak French, taught in the numerous French schools run by the French government and Catholic orders. ''See further: [[languages of Israel]]''. ====Southeast Asia==== French is an administrative language in [[Laos]] and [[Cambodia]], although its influence has waned in recent years. In colonial [[Vietnam]], the elites spoke French, and many who worked for the French spoke a French creole known as "[[Tây Bồi]]" (now extinct). The language was also spoken by the elite in the leased territory [[Guangzhouwan]] in southern [[China]]. (See also: [[French Indochina]]) ====India==== French has [[de-jure]] official status in the Indian [[Union Territory]] of [[Pondicherry]], along with the regional languages [[Tamil language|Tamil]] and [[Telugu language|Telugu]]. Some students of Tamil Nadu opt for French as their second or third language (usually behind [[English language|English]] and [[Tamil language|Tamil]]). According to the [[French Institute of Pondicherry]], French is however "''very little spoken''" in Pondicherry. French is commonly taught as a third language in secondary schools in most cities of [[Maharashtra]], including [[Mumbai]] (Bombay), as part of the preparation for secondary school (X-SSC) and higher secondary school (XII-HSC) certificate examinations. Certain high-profile schools affiliated with the [[CBSE]] in the [[National Capital Region (India)|NCR]] offer French as an option as early as grade 4. French is also taught in schools in [[Chandannagar]] (a former French colony in [[West Bengal]]). Students also have the option of having French as an additional subject in the secondary school (WBBSE) and higher secondary school (WBCHSE) certificate examinations. Nevertheless, French is taught throughout India as an optional foreign language and is a very popular subject among students. {{See also|French India}} ===Oceania/Australasia=== French is an official language of the [[Pacific Island]] nation of [[Vanuatu]] where 45% of the population can speak French. In the French territory of [[New Caledonia]], 97% of the population can speak, read and write French, whereas only 1% have no knowledge of French. In [[French Polynesia]], 95% of the population can speak, read and write French, whereas only 2% have no knowledge of French. In the French territory of [[Wallis and Futuna]], 78% of the population can speak, read and write French, whereas 17% have no knowledge of French. ==Dialects== [[File:Dialects of the french language.png|500px|thumb|Dialects of the french language in the world]] {{Main|Dialects of the French language}} ==History== {{Main|History of French}} French is a Romance language (meaning that it is descended primarily from [[Vulgar Latin]]) that evolved out of the Gallo-Romance dialects spoken in northern France. === Current situation === French was the most important language of diplomacy and international relations from the 17th century to the beginning of the 20th century. English has taken over that role since then. French remains one of the most important diplomatic languages, with the language being one of the working languages of [[NATO]], the [[International Olympic Committee]], the [[UN Secretariat]], the [[Council of Europe]], the [[International Court of Justice]], the [[Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development]], [[European Commission]], the [[European Space Agency]], [[World Trade Organisation]] and the [[North American Free Trade Agreement]]. It is also a working language in [[nonprofit organisations]] such as the [[Red Cross]], [[Amnesty International]], [[Médecins sans Frontières]], or [[Médecins du Monde]]. Speaking French is a requirement for some careers in fashion, cuisine, art and literature. ==Phonology== {{Main|French phonology}} {{IPA notice}} Although there are many French regional accents, foreign learners normally study only one version of the language, which has no commonly used special name. * There are 16 vowels in French, not all of which are used in every dialect: {{IPA|/a/, /ɑ/, /e/, /ɛ/, /ə/, /i/, /o/, /ɔ/, /y/, /u/, /œ/, /ø/,}} plus the nasalized vowels {{IPA|/ɑ̃/, /ɛ̃/, /ɔ̃/}} and {{IPA|/œ̃/}}. In France, the vowels {{IPA|/ɑ/}} and {{IPA|/œ̃/}} are tending to be replaced by {{IPA|/a/}} and {{IPA|/ɛ̃/}} in many people's speech. * Voiced stops (i.e. {{IPA|/b d ɡ/}}) are typically produced fully voiced throughout. * Voiceless stops (i.e. {{IPA|/p t k/}}) are unaspirated. * Nasals: The velar nasal {{IPA|/ŋ/}} can occur in final position in borrowed (usually English) words: ''parking, camping, swing''. The palatal nasal {{IPA|/ɲ/}} can occur in word initial position (e.g. gnon), but it is most frequently found in intervocalic, onset position or word-finally (e.g. ''montagne''). * Fricatives: French has three pairs of homorganic fricatives distinguished by voicing, i.e. labiodental {{IPA|/f/~/v/}}, dental {{IPA|/s/~/z/}}, and palato-alveolar {{IPA|/ʃ/~/ʒ/}}. Notice that {{IPA|/s/~/z/}} are dental, like the plosives {{IPA|/t/~/d/}}, and the nasal {{IPA|/n/}}. * French has one rhotic whose pronunciation varies considerably among speakers and phonetic contexts. In general it is described as a [[voiced uvular fricative]] as in {{IPA|[ʁu]}} ''roue'', "wheel" . Vowels are often lengthened before this segment. It can be reduced to an approximant, particularly in final position (e.g. ''fort'') or reduced to zero in some word-final positions. For other speakers, a uvular trill is also common, and an apical trill {{IPA|[r]}} occurs in some dialects. * Lateral and central approximants: The lateral approximant {{IPA|/l/}} is unvelarised in both onset (''lire'') and coda position (''il''). In the onset, the central approximants {{IPA|[w]}}, {{IPA|[ɥ]}}, and {{IPA|[j]}} each correspond to a high vowel, {{IPA|/u/}}, {{IPA|/y/}}, and {{IPA|/i/}} respectively. There are a few [[minimal pair]]s where the approximant and corresponding vowel contrast, but there are also many cases where they are in free variation. Contrasts between {{IPA|/j/}} and {{IPA|/i/}} occur in final position as in {{IPA|/pɛj/}} ''paye'', "pay", vs. {{IPA|/pɛi/}} ''pays'', "country". French pronunciation follows strict rules based on spelling, but French spelling is often based more on history than phonology. The rules for pronunciation vary between dialects, but the standard rules are: * final consonants: Final single consonants, in particular ''s'', ''x'', ''z'', ''t'', ''d'', ''n'', ''g'' and ''m'', are normally silent. (A consonant is considered "final" when no vowel follows it even if one or more consonants follow it.) The final letters ''c'', ''f'', ''k'', ''q'' and ''l'', however, are normally pronounced. The final ''r'' is usually silent when it follows an ''e'' in a word of two or more syllables, but is pronounced in other cases. The ''t'' is pronounced when it follows a ''c''. ** When the following word begins with a vowel, however, a silent consonant ''may'' once again be pronounced, to provide a ''[[liaison (linguistics)|liaison]]'' or "link" between the two words. Some liaisons are ''mandatory'', for example the ''s'' in ''les amants'' or ''vous avez''; some are ''optional'', depending on [[dialect]] and [[register (linguistics)|register]], for example the first ''s'' in ''deux cents euros'' or ''euros irlandais''; and some are ''forbidden'', for example the ''s'' in ''beaucoup d'hommes aiment''. The ''t'' of ''et'' is never pronounced and the silent final consonant of a noun is only pronounced in the plural and in [[set phrase]]s like ''pied-à-terre''. ** Doubling a final ''n'' and adding a silent ''e'' at the end of a word (e.g. ''chien'' → ''chienne'') makes it clearly pronounced. Doubling a final ''l'' and adding a silent ''e'' (e.g. ''gentil'' → ''gentille'') adds a [j] sound if the ''l'' is preceded by the letter ''i''. * [[elision (French)|elision]] or vowel dropping: Some monosyllabic function words ending in ''a'' or ''e'', such as ''je'' and ''que'', drop their final vowel when placed before a word that begins with a vowel sound (thus avoiding a [[hiatus (linguistics)|hiatus]]). The missing vowel is replaced by an apostrophe. (e.g. ''je ai'' is instead pronounced and spelled → ''j'ai''). This gives, for example, the same pronunciation for ''l'homme qu'il a vu'' ("the man whom he saw") and ''l'homme qui l'a vu'' ("the man who saw him"). However, for Belgian French the sentences are pronounced differently; in the first sentence the syllable break is as "qu'il-a", while the second breaks as "qui-l'a". It can also be noted that, in [[Quebec French]], the second example (''l'homme qui l'a vu'') is more emphasized on ''l'a vu''. === Alphabet === {{Main|French alphabet}} French is written with the 26 letters of the [[Latin alphabet]], with four diacritics appearing on vowels ([[circumflex]] accent, [[acute accent]], [[grave accent]], [[Umlaut (diacritic)|diaeresis]]) and the [[cedilla]] appearing in ⟨ç⟩. There are two [[ligature (typography)|ligature]]s, ⟨œ⟩ and ⟨æ⟩. ===Orthography=== {{Main|French orthography}} French spelling, like English spelling, tends to preserve obsolete pronunciation rules. This is mainly due to extreme phonetic changes since the Old French period, without a corresponding change in spelling (see [[French language#Vocabulary|Vocabulary]] below). Moreover, some conscious changes were made to restore Latin orthography: * Old French ''doit'' > French ''doigt'' "finger" (Latin ''digitus'') * Old French ''pie'' > French ''pied'' "foot" (Latin ''pes'' (stem: ''ped-'')) As a result, it can be difficult to predict the spelling of a word based on the sound alone. Final consonants are generally silent, except when the following word begins with a vowel. For example, all of these words end in a vowel sound: ''pied'', ''aller'', ''les'', ''{{lang|fr|finit}}'', ''beaux''. The same words followed by a vowel, however, may sound the consonants, as they do in these examples: ''beaux-arts'', ''les amis'', ''pied-à-terre''. On the other hand, a given spelling will usually lead to a predictable sound, and the [[Académie française]] works hard to enforce and update this correspondence.{{Citation needed|date=February 2010}} In particular, a given vowel combination or diacritic predictably leads to one phoneme. French writing, as with any language, is affected by the spoken language. In Old French, the plural for ''animal'' was ''animals''. The {{IPA|/als/}} sequence was unstable and was turned into a diphthong {{IPA|/aus/}}. This change was then reflected in the orthography: ''animaus''. The ''us'' ending, very common in Latin, was then abbreviated by copists monks by the letter ''x'', resulting in a written form ''animax''. As the French language further evolved, the pronunciation of ''au'' turned into {{IPA|/o/}} so that the ''u'' was reestablished in orthography for consistency, resulting in modern French ''animaux'' (pronounced first {{IPA|/animos/}} before the final {{IPA|/s/}} was dropped in contemporary French). The same is true for ''cheval'' pluralized as ''chevaux'' and many others. In addition, ''castel'' pl. ''castels'' became ''château'' pl. ''châteaux'' * [[Nasal vowel|Nasal]]: ''[[n]]'' and ''m''. When ''n'' or ''m'' follows a vowel or diphthong, the ''n'' or ''m'' becomes silent and causes the preceding vowel to become nasalized (i.e. pronounced with the soft palate extended downward so as to allow part of the air to leave through the nostrils). Exceptions are when the ''n'' or ''m'' is doubled, or immediately followed by a vowel. The prefixes ''en-'' and ''em-'' are always nasalized. The rules are more complex than this but may vary between dialects. * [[digraph (orthography)|Digraphs]]: French uses not only [[diacritic]]s to specify its large range of vowel sounds and [[diphthongs]], but also specific combinations of vowels, sometimes with following consonants, to show which sound is intended. * [[Consonant length|Gemination]]: Within words, double consonants are generally not pronounced as geminates in modern French (but geminates can be heard in the cinema or TV news from as recently as the 1970s, and in very refined elocution they may still occur). For example, ''illusion'' is pronounced {{IPA|[ilyzjɔ̃]}} and not {{IPA|[ilːyzjɔ̃]}}. But gemination does occur between words. For example, ''une info'' ("a news item" or "a piece of information") is pronounced {{IPA|[ynɛ̃fo]}}, whereas ''une nympho'' ("a nymphomaniac") is pronounced {{IPA|[ynːɛ̃fo]}}. * [[Diacritic|Accents]] are used sometimes for pronunciation, sometimes to distinguish similar words, and sometimes for etymology alone. ** Accents that affect pronunciation *** The [[acute accent]] (''l'accent aigu''), ''é'' (e.g. '''''é'''cole''—school), means that the vowel is pronounced {{IPA|/e/}} instead of the default {{IPA|/ə/}}. *** The [[grave accent]] (''l'accent grave''), ''è'' (e.g. ''él'''è'''ve''—pupil) means that the vowel is pronounced {{IPA|/ɛ/}} instead of the default {{IPA|/ə/}}. *** The [[circumflex]] (''l'accent circonflexe'') ''ê'' (e.g. ''for'''ê'''t''—forest) shows that an ''e'' is pronounced {{IPA|/ɛ/}} and that an ''ô'' is pronounced {{IPA|/o/}}. In standard French, it also signifies a pronunciation of {{IPA|/ɑ/}} for the letter ''â'', but this differentiation is disappearing. In the late 19th century, the circumflex was used in place of ''s'' after a vowel, where that letter ''s'' was not to be pronounced. Thus, ''forest'' became ''forêt'' and ''hospital'' became'' hôpital''. *** The [[Umlaut (diacritic)|diaeresis]] (''le tréma'') (e.g. ''na'''ï'''f'' – naive, ''No'''ë'''l'' – Christmas) as in English, specifies that this vowel is pronounced separately from the preceding one, not combined, and is not a [[schwa]]. *** The [[cedilla]] (''la cédille'') ''ç'' (e.g. ''gar'''ç'''on''—boy) means that the letter ''ç'' is pronounced {{IPA|/s/}} in front of the hard vowels ''a'', ''o'' and ''u'' (''c'' is otherwise {{IPA|/k/}} before a hard vowel). ''C'' is always pronounced {{IPA|/s/}} in front of the soft vowels ''e'', ''i'', and ''y'', thus ''ç'' is never found in front of soft vowels. ** Accents with no pronunciation effect *** The circumflex does not affect the pronunciation of the letters ''i'' or ''u'', and in most dialects, ''a'' as well. It usually indicates that an ''s'' came after it long ago, as in ''île'' (''isle'', compare with English ''island''). The explanation is that some words share the same orthography, and the circumflex is put here to spot the difference between the two words. For example, ''dites'' (you say) / ''dîtes'' (you said), or even ''du'' (of the) / ''dû'' (past for the verb ''devoir'' = must, have to, owe; in this case, the circumflex splits at the plural and the feminine). *** All other accents are used only to distinguish similar words, as in the case of distinguishing the adverbs ''là'' and ''où'' ("there", "where") from the article ''la'' ("the" fem. sing.) and the conjunction ''ou'' ("or") respectively. Some proposals exist to simplify the existing writing system, but they still fail to gather interest. ==Grammar== {{Main|French grammar}} French grammar shares several notable features with most other Romance languages, including: * the loss of Latin's [[declension]]s * only two [[grammatical gender]]s * the development of grammatical [[article (grammar)|article]]s from Latin [[demonstrative]]s * new [[Grammatical tense|tenses]] formed from auxiliaries French declarative word order is [[subject–verb–object]], although if the object is a pronoun, it precedes the verb. Some types of sentences allow for or require different word orders, in particular [[inversion (linguistics)|inversion]] of the subject and verb. ==Vocabulary== The majority of French words derive from [[Vulgar Latin]] or were constructed from [[Latin]] or [[Ancient Greek|Greek]] roots. In many cases a single etymological root appears in French in a "popular" or native form, inherited from Vulgar Latin, and a learned form, borrowed later from [[Classical Latin]]. The following pairs consist of a native noun and a learned adjective: * brother: ''[[wikt:frère|frère]]'' / ''[[wikt:fraternel|fraternel]]'' < from Latin ''[[wikt:frater|frater]]'' * finger: ''[[wikt:doigt|doigt]]'' / ''[[wikt:digital|digital]]'' < from Latin ''[[wikt:digitum|digitum]]'' * faith: ''[[wikt:foi|foi]]'' / ''[[wikt:fidèle|fidèle]]'' < from Latin ''[[wikt:fidem|fidem]]'' * eye: ''[[wikt:œil|œil]]'' / ''[[wikt:oculaire|oculaire]]'' < from Latin ''[[wikt:oculum|oculum]]'' There are also noun-noun and adjective-adjective pairs: * thing/cause: ''[[wikt:chose|chose]]'' / ''[[wikt:cause|cause]]'' < from Latin ''[[wikt:causa|causa]]'' * cold: ''[[wikt:froid|froid]]'' / ''[[wikt:frigide|frigide]]'' < from Latin ''[[wikt:frigidum|frigidum]]'' It can be difficult to identify the Latin source of native French words, because in the evolution from [[Vulgar Latin]], unstressed syllables were severely reduced and the remaining vowels and consonants underwent significant modifications. It is estimated that 12% (4,200) of common French words found in a typical [[dictionary]] such as the ''[[Petit Larousse]]'' or ''Micro-Robert Plus'' (35,000 words) are of foreign origin (where [[Ancient Greek|Greek]] and [[Latin language|Latin]] learned words are not seen as foreign). About 25% (1,054) of these foreign words come from [[English language|English]] and are fairly recent borrowings. The others are some 707 words from [[Italian language|Italian]], 550 from ancient [[Germanic languages]], 481 from other [[Gallo-Romance languages]], 215 from [[Arabic language|Arabic]], 164 from [[German language|German]], 160 from [[Celtic languages]], 159 from [[Spanish language|Spanish]], 153 from [[Dutch language|Dutch]], 112 from [[Persian language|Persian]] and [[Sanskrit language|Sanskrit]], 101 from [[Native American languages]], 89 from other [[Asian languages]], 56 from other [[Afro-Asiatic languages]], 55 from [[Slavic languages]] and [[Baltic languages]], 10 from [[Basque language|Basque]] and 144 (about 3%) from other languages. ===Numerals=== The French counting system is partially [[vigesimal]]: [[20 (number)|twenty]] (''{{lang|fr|vingt}}'') is used as a base number in the names of numbers from 60 to 99. The French word for ''80'' is ''{{lang|fr|quatre-vingts}}'', literally "four twenties", and the word for ''75'' is ''{{lang|fr|soixante-quinze}}'', literally "sixty-fifteen". This reform arose after the [[French Revolution]] to unify the different counting systems (mostly vigesimal near the coast, because of Celtic (via [[Breton language|Breton]]) and Viking influences). This system is comparable to the archaic English use of ''score'', as in "fourscore and seven" (87), or "threescore and ten" (70). In Old French (during the [[Middle Ages]]), all numbers from 30 to 99 could be said in either base 10 or base 20, e.g. ''vint et doze'' (twenty and twelve) for 32, ''dous vinz et diz'' (two twenties and ten) for 50, ''uitante'' for 80, or ''nonante'' for 90. [[Belgian French]], [[Swiss French]] and the French used in the [[Democratic Republic of the Congo]], [[Rwanda]] and [[Burundi]] are different in this respect. In Belgium and Switzerland 70 and 90 are ''{{lang|fr|septante}}'' and ''{{lang|fr|nonante}}''. In Switzerland, depending on the local dialect, 80 can be ''{{lang|fr|quatre-vingts}}'' (Geneva, Neuchâtel, Jura) or ''{{lang|fr|huitante}}'' (Vaud, Valais, Fribourg). ''Octante'' had been used in Switzerland in the past, but is now considered archaic. In Belgium and in its former African colonies, however, ''quatre-vingts'' is universally used. It should also be noted that French, like most European languages, uses a [[Full stop#Mathematical usage|period]] (also called a full stop) or a space to separate thousands where English uses a comma or (more recently) a space. The comma is used in French numbers as a decimal point: 2,5 = ''deux virgule cinq''. Cardinal numbers in French from 1 to 20 are as follows: * One: ''[[wikt:un|un]]''/''[[wikt:une|une]]'' {{IPA|/œ̃/}} or {{IPA|/ɛ̃/}} (m) ~ {{IPA|/yn/}} (f) * Two: ''[[wikt:deux|deux]]'' {{IPA|/dø/}} * Three: ''[[wikt:trois|trois]]'' {{IPA|/tʁwa/}} * Four: ''[[wikt:quatre|quatre]]'' {{IPA|/katʁ/}} * Five: ''[[wikt:cinq|cinq]]'' {{IPA|/sɛ̃k/}} * Six: ''[[wikt:six|six]]'' {{IPA|/sis/}} * Seven: ''[[wikt:sept|sept]]'' {{IPA|/sɛt/}} * Eight: ''[[wikt:huit|huit]]'' {{IPA|/ɥit/}} * Nine: ''[[wikt:neuf|neuf]]'' {{IPA|/nœf/}} * Ten: ''[[wikt:dix|dix]]'' {{IPA|/dis/}} * Eleven: ''[[wikt:onze|onze]]'' {{IPA|/ɔ̃z/}} * Twelve: ''[[wikt:douze|douze]]'' {{IPA|/duz/}} * Thirteen: ''[[wikt:treize|treize]]'' {{IPA|/tʁɛz/}} * Fourteen: ''[[wikt:quatorze|quatorze]]'' {{IPA|/katɔʁz/}} * Fifteen: ''[[wikt:quinze|quinze]]'' {{IPA|/kɛ̃z/}} * Sixteen: ''[[wikt:seize|seize]]'' {{IPA|/sɛz/}} * Seventeen: ''[[wikt:dix-sept|dix-sept]]'' {{IPA|/dissɛt/}} * Eighteen: ''[[wikt:dix-huit|dix-huit]]'' {{IPA|/diz‿ɥit/}} * Nineteen: ''[[wikt:dix-neuf|dix-neuf]]'' {{IPA|/diznœf/}} * Twenty: ''[[wikt:vingt|vingt]]'' {{IPA|/vɛ̃/}} ==Examples== {{Inline audio|section}} The "Canadian" audio samples here are not necessarily from speakers of Quebec French, which has distinct regional pronunciations of certain words. {| class="wikitable" |- ![[English language|English]] || French || Canadian accent || Northern French accent |- | |French || ''Français'' || {{Audio-IPA|francais.ogg|/fʀɑ̃sɛ/|help=no}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|françaisF.ogg|/fʁɑ̃sɛ/}} |- | |[[English language|English]] || ''Anglais'' || {{Audio-IPA|anglais.ogg|/ɑ̃ɡlɛ/|help=no}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|AnglaisF.ogg|/ɑ̃ɡlɛ/}} |- | |Yes || ''Oui'' (''si'' when countering an assertion or a question expressed in the negative) || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|oui.ogg|/wi/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|ouiF.ogg|/wi/}} |- | |No || ''Non'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|non.ogg|/nɔ̃/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|nonF.ogg|/nɔ̃/}} |- | |Hello! || ''Bonjour !'' (formal) or ''Salut !'' (informal) or "Allô" (Canada or when answering on the telephone) || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|bonjour.ogg|/bɔ̃ʒuːʀ/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|bonjourF.ogg|/bɔ̃ʒuʁ/}} |- | |Good evening! || ''Bonsoir !'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|bonsoir.ogg|/bɔ̃swɑːʀ/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|bonsoirF.ogg|/bɔ̃swaːʁ/}} |- | |Good night! || ''Bonne nuit !'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|bonne_nuit.ogg|/bɔnnɥi/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|Bonne_nuitF.ogg|/bɔnnɥi/}} |- | |Goodbye! || ''Au revoir !'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|au_revoir.ogg|/ɔʀvwɑːʀ/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|au_revoirF.ogg|/ɔʁvwaːʀ/}} |- | |Have a nice day! || ''Bonne journée !'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|bonne_journee.ogg|/bɔnʒuʀne/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|bonne_journéeF.ogg|/bɔnʒuʁne/}} |- | |Please/if you please || ''S’il vous plaît'' (formal) or ''S’il te plaît'' (informal) || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|s_il_vous_plait.ogg|/sɪlvuplɛ/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|s'il_vous_plaitF.ogg|/silvuplɛ/}} |- | |Thank you || ''Merci'' || {{IPA|/mɛʀsi/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|merciF.ogg|/mɛʁsi/}} |- | |You are welcome || ''De rien'' (informal) or ''Ce n’est rien'' (informal) ("it is nothing") or ''Je vous en prie'' (formal) or ''Je t’en prie'' (informal) || || {{IPA|/dəʁiɛ̃/}} |- | |I am sorry || ''Pardon'' or ''Je suis désolé'' (if male) / ''Je suis désolée'' (if female) or ''Excuse-moi'' (informal) / ''Excusez-moi'' (formal) / "Je regrette" || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|pardon.ogg|/paʁdɔ̃/}} / {{Audio-IPA|help=no|desole.ogg|/dezɔle/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|pardonF.ogg|/paʁdɔ̃/}} / {{Audio-IPA|help=no|désoléF.ogg|/dezɔle/}} |- | |Who? || ''Qui ?'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|qui.ogg|/ki/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|quiF.ogg|/ki/}} |- | |What? || ''Quoi ?'' (←informal; used as "What?" in English)) or ''Comment ?'' (←formal; used the same as "Pardon me?" in English) || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|quoi.ogg|/kwa/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|quoiF.ogg|/kwa/}} |- | |When? || ''Quand ?'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|quand.ogg|/kɑ̃/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|quandF.ogg|/kɑ̃/}} |- | |Where? || ''Où ?'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|ou_french.ogg|/u/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|où.ogg|/u/}} |- | |Why? || ''Pourquoi ?'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|pourquoi.ogg|/puʀkwa/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|pourquoiF.ogg|/puʁkwɑ/}} |- | |What is your name? || ''Comment vous appelez-vous ?'' (formal) or ''Comment t’appelles-tu ?'' (informal) || || {{IPA|/kɔmɑ̃ vuz‿aple vu/}}, {{IPA|/kɔmɑ̃ tapɛl ty/}} |- | |Because || ''Parce que'' / ''Car'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|parce_que.ogg|/paʀsᵊkə/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|parcequeF.ogg|/paʁskǝ/}} |- | |Because of || ''à cause de'' |- | |Therefore || ''Donc'' || {{IPA|/dɔ̃k/}} || {{IPA|/dɔ̃k/}} |- | |How? || ''Comment ?'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|comment.ogg|/kɔmɑ̃/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|commentF.ogg|/kɔmɑ̃/}} |- | |How much? || ''Combien ?'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|combien.ogg|/kɔ̃bjɛ̃/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|combienF.ogg|/kɔ̃bjɛ̃/}} |- | |I do not understand. || ''Je ne comprends pas.'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|je_ne_comprends_pas.ogg|/ʒə nə kɔ̃pʀɑ̃ pɑ/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|je_ne_comprends_pasF.ogg|/ʒə nə kɔ̃pʁɑ̃ pa/}} |- | |Yes, I understand. || ''Oui, je comprends.'' Except when responding to a negatively posed question, in which case ''Si'' is used preferentially over ''Oui'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|oui_je_comprends.ogg|/wi ʒə kɔ̃pʀɑ̃/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|Oui,_je_comprendF.ogg|/wi, ʒə kɔ̃pʁɑ̃/}} |- | |I agree || ''Je suis d’accord.'' D’accord can be used without ''je suis''. |- | |Help! || ''Au secours ! (à l’aide !)'' || {{IPA|/o səkuʀ/}} || {{IPA|/o səkuːʁ/}} |- | |Can you help me please? || ''Pouvez-vous m’aider s’il vous plaît ?'' / ''Pourriez-vous m’aider s’il vous plaît ?'' (formal) or ''Peux-tu m’aider s’il te plaît ?'' / ''Pourrais-tu m’aider s’il te plaît'' (informal) || |- | |Where are the toilets? || ''Où sont les toilettes ?'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|ou_sont_les_toilettes.ogg|/u sɔ̃ le twalɛt/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|où_sont_les_toilettes.ogg|/u sɔ̃ le twalɛt/}} |- | |Do you speak English? || ''Parlez-vous anglais ?'' || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|parlez-vous_anglais.ogg|/paʀle vu ɑ̃ɡlɛ/}} || {{Audio-IPA|help=no|parlez-vous_anglaisF.ogg|/paʁle vu ɑ̃ɡlɛ/}} |- | |I do not speak French. || ''Je ne parle pas français.'' || {{IPA|/ʒə nə paʀlə pɑ fʀɑ̃sɛ/}} || {{IPA|/ʒə nə paʁl pa fʁɑ̃sɛ/}} |- | |I do not know. || ''Je ne sais pas.'' || || {{IPA|/ʒə (nə) se pa/}} |- | |I know. || ''Je sais.'' || || {{IPA|/ʒə sɛ/}} |- | |I am thirsty. || ''J’ai soif.'' (literally, "I have thirst") || || {{IPA|/ʒɛ swaf/}} |- | |I am hungry. || ''J’ai faim.'' (literally, "I have hunger") || || {{IPA|/ʒɛ fɛ̃/}} |- | |How are you? / How are things going? / How is everything? || ''Comment allez-vous?'' (formal) or ''Ça va?'' / ''Comment ça va ?'' (informal) || || |- | |I am (very) well / Things are going (very) well // Everything is (very) well || ''Je vais (très) bien'' (formal) or ''Ça va (très) bien.'' / ''Tout va (très) bien'' (informal) || || |- | |I am (very) bad / Things are (very) bad / Everything is (very) bad || ''Je vais (très) mal'' (formal) or ''Ça va (très) mal'' / ''Tout va (très) mal'' (informal) || || |- | |I am all right/so-so / Everything is all right/so-so || ''Assez bien'' or ''Ça va comme ci, comme ça'' or simply ''Ça va.''. (Sometimes said: « Couci, couça. », informal: "bof") i.e. « Comme ci, comme ça. ») || || |- | |I am fine. || ''Ça va bien.'' || || {{IPA|/sa va bjɛ̃/}} |} ==See also== {{Portal box|French language and French-speaking world}} * [[Académie française]] * [http://www.fle.fr/ Agency for promoting French as a foreign language] * [[Alliance française]] * [http://www.alliancefr.org/ Alliance française Paris Ile-de-France] * [[Francophonie]] * [[Francization]] * [[French language in Canada]] * [[French language in the United States]] * [[French proverbs]] * [[French-based creole languages]] * [[History of French]] * [[List of countries where French is an official language]] * [[List of English words of French origin]] * [[List of French loanwords in Persian]] * [[List of French words and phrases used by English speakers]] * [[List of pseudo-French words adapted to English]] * [[Louchébem]] * [[Office québécois de la langue française]] * [[Quebec French]] * [[Reforms of French orthography]] * [[Varieties of French]] * [[Verlan]] {{-}} ==External links== {{Wiktionary cat}} {{Wiktionary|French}} {{Wikiversity}} {{InterWiki|code=fr}} {{WikisourceWiki|code=fr}} {{Commons category|French language}} {{Wikibooks|French}} *[http://www.fondation-alliancefr.org/ Fondation Alliance française] *[http://www.alliancefr.org/en/ Alliance française Paris Ile-de-France] *[http://www.english.rfi.fr/africa/20100319-french-language-growing-especially-africa French is spreading, especially in Africa] Radio France Internationale in English (19 March 2010) ===Courses and tutorials=== * [http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/french/ Learn French] ''[[BBC]]'' * [http://us.translation-vocabulary.com/fr-french French Vocabulary Wiki with Exercises] ''[[Vocabulary Wiki]]'' * [http://www.jump-gate.com/languages/french/ French Language Course] (oldest online language course) * [http://www.jefrench.com/basic-french-lessons Learn French] JeFrench * [http://www.laits.utexas.edu/fi/ français interactif] ''[[University of Texas at Austin]]'' * [http://www.laits.utexas.edu/tex/ Tex's French Grammar] ''[[University of Texas at Austin]]'' * [http://www.fle.fr/ French Language Schools in France Directory] * [http://french.about.com/ Learn French at About] (including French gestures) * [http://www.targetlanguage.co.uk/ Learn French at Target Language] (Ab initio) * [http://www.wiki-babel.org/en/Portal:French French language portal at WikiBabel] * [http://www.fsi-language-courses.org/Content.php?page=French USA Foreign Service Institute French basic course] * [http://www.frenchtutorial.com/standard/ The French Tutorial] * [http://funnyaccents.com/common-french-phrases/ Common French Phrases] ===Online dictionaries=== {{For|unilingual dictionaries|fr:Dictionnaire}} * [http://frenchprofessor.org/english-french-dictionaries.htm Comprehensive list of the French dictionaries] ===Vocabulary=== *[[:wikt:Appendix:French Swadesh list|Swadesh list in English and French]] *[http://www.dudziak.com/verbs.php A Two-Page PDF Reference Guide of the 681 Most Common French/English Verbs]{{Dead link|date=February 2011}} {{Navboxes | list = {{France topics}} {{Official UN languages}} {{Official EU languages}} {{Official CA languages}} {{Languages of Quebec}} {{Working languages of the African Union}} {{Official languages of South America}} {{Romance languages}} {{Latin Union}} }} {{Use dmy dates|date=October 2010}}