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French language

French
français
Pronunciation [fʁɑ̃sɛ]
Native to France, now worldwide
(See geographical distribution below)
Native speakers
80 million (2016)
274 million total speakers (2014)
Early forms
Latin (French alphabet)
French Braille
Signed French
(français signé)
Official status
Official language in



Numerous international organisations
Regulated by Académie française (French Academy)
Language codes
ISO 639-1 fr
ISO 639-2  (B)
 (T)
ISO 639-3
Glottolog stan1290
Linguasphere 51-AAA-i
New-Map-Francophone World.PNG
  Regions where French is the main language
  Regions where it is an official language
  Regions where it is a second language
  Regions where it is a minority language
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

French (le français [lə fʁɑ̃sɛ] or la langue française [la lɑ̃ɡ fʁɑ̃sɛz]) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did languages such as Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Romanian, Catalan and others. French has evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as "Francophone" in both English and French.


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