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Phonological history

* Oaths of Strasbourg * Ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts * Anglo-Norman

GRAMMAR

* Adverbs * Articles and determiners * Pronouns (personal )

* Verbs

* (conjugation * morphology )

ORTHOGRAPHY

* Alphabet * Reforms * Circumflex * Braille

PHONOLOGY

* Elision * Liaison * Aspirated h * Help:IPA for French

* v * t * e

FRENCH (_le français_ (_ listen ) or la langue française_ ) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family . It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire , as did all Romance languages. 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.

French is an official language in 29 countries , most of which are members of the _Organisation internationale de la Francophonie _ (OIF), the community of 84 countries which share the official use or teaching of French. It is spoken as a first language (in descending order of the highest number) in France , the Canadian provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick , the regions of Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium , western Switzerland , Monaco , certain other regions of Canada and the United States ( Louisiana and the northern parts of Maine , New Hampshire , and Vermont ), and by various communities elsewhere. In 2015, approximately 40% of the francophone population (including L2 and partial speakers) lived in Europe, 35% in sub-Saharan Africa, 15% in North Africa and the Middle East, 8% in the Americas, and 1% in Asia and Oceania.

French is the fourth-most widely spoken mother tongue in the European Union . Of Europeans who speak other languages natively, approximately one-fifth are able to speak French as a second language. French is the second most taught foreign language in the EU . As a result of French and Belgian colonialism from the 16th century onward, French was introduced to new territories in the Americas, Africa and Asia. Most second-language speakers reside in Francophone Africa , in particular Gabon , Algeria , Mauritius , Senegal and Ivory Coast . In 2015, French was estimated to have 77 to 110 million native speakers, and 190 million secondary speakers. Approximately 274 million people are able to speak the language. According to a demographic projection led by the Université Laval and the Réseau Démographie de l\'Agence universitaire de la francophonie , total French speakers will number approximately 500 million people in 2025 and 650 million people by 2050. The Organisation internationale de la Francophonie estimates 700 million by 2050, 80% of whom will be in Africa.

French has a long history as an international language of literature and scientific standards and is a primary or second language of many international organisations including the United Nations , the European Union , the North Atlantic Treaty Organization , the World Trade Organization , the International Olympic Committee , and the International Committee of the Red Cross . In 2011, _Bloomberg Businessweek _ ranked French the third most useful language for business, after English and Standard Mandarin Chinese .

CONTENTS

* 1 Geographic distribution

* 1.1 Europe * 1.2 Africa * 1.3 North and South America

* 1.4 Asia

* 1.4.1 Southeast Asia

* 1.5 Middle East

* 1.5.1 Lebanon * 1.5.2 Syria * 1.5.3 Israel * 1.5.4 United Arab Emirates and Qatar

* 1.6 Oceania and Australasia

* 2 Dialects

* 3 History

* 3.1 Old French * 3.2 Middle French * 3.3 Modern French

* 4 Current status and economic, cultural and institutional importance * 5 Phonology

* 6 Writing system

* 6.1 Alphabet * 6.2 Orthography

* 7 Grammar

* 7.1 Nouns

* 7.2 Verbs

* 7.2.1 Moods and Tense-Aspect Forms

* 7.2.1.1 Finite Moods

* 7.2.1.1.1 Indicative (Indicatif) * 7.2.1.1.2 Subjunctive (Subjonctif) * 7.2.1.1.3 Imperative (Imperatif) * 7.2.1.1.4 Conditional (Conditionnel)

* 7.2.1.2 Non-Finite Moods

* 7.2.1.2.1 Infinitive (Infinitif) * 7.2.1.2.2 Present Participle (Participe Présent) * 7.2.1.2.3 Past Participle (Participe Passé)

* 7.2.2 Voice

* 7.2.3 Syntax

* 7.2.3.1 Word Order

* 8 Vocabulary

* 8.1 Numerals

* 8.1.1 Units * 8.1.2 Tens * 8.1.3 Hundreds * 8.1.4 Scales

* 9 Words * 10 See also * 11 Notes and references * 12 Further reading

* 13 External links

* 13.1 Organizations * 13.2 Courses and tutorials * 13.3 Online dictionaries

* 13.4 Grammar

* 13.4.1 Verbs

* 13.5 Vocabulary

* 13.5.1 Numbers * 13.5.2 Books * 13.5.3 Articles

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION

Main article: Geographical distribution of French speakers

EUROPE

Knowledge of French in the European Union and candidate countries

Spoken by 12% of the European Union 's population, French is the fourth most widely spoken mother tongue in the EU after German, English and Italian; it is also the third-most widely known language of the Union after English and German (33% of the EU population report knowing how to speak English, 22% of Europeans understand German, 20% French).

Under the Constitution of France , French has been the official language of the Republic since 1992 (although the ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts made it mandatory for legal documents in 1539). France mandates the use of French in official government publications, public education except in specific cases (though these dispositions are often ignored) and legal contracts ; advertisements must bear a translation of foreign words.

In Belgium , French is the official language of Wallonia (excluding a part of the East Cantons , which are German-speaking ) and one of the two official languages—along with Dutch —of the Brussels-Capital Region , where it is spoken by the majority of the population often as their primary language.

French is one of the four official languages of Switzerland (along with German , Italian and 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 have bilingual status: for example, cities such as Biel/Bienne and cantons such as Valais , Fribourg and Berne . French is the native language of about 23% of the Swiss population, and is spoken by 50.4% of the population.

French is also an official language of Monaco and Luxembourg , as well as in the Aosta Valley region of Italy, while French dialects remain spoken by minorities on the Channel Islands . The language is taught as the primary second language in the German _länd_ of Saarland , with French being taught from pre-school and over 43% of citizens being able to speak French.

AFRICA

Main article: African French Countries usually considered part of Francophone Africa. Their population was 392 million in 2015 and it is forecast to reach 847 million in 2050. Countries sometimes considered as Francophone Africa Countries that are not Francophone but are Members or Observers of the OIF

A bulk 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 countries can speak French as either a 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 worldwide is expected to reach 700 million people in 2050. French is the fastest growing language on the continent (in terms of either official or foreign languages).

French is mostly a second language in Africa, but it has become a first language in some urban areas, such as the region of Abidjan , Ivory Coast and in Libreville , Gabon . There is not a single African French , but multiple forms that diverged through contact with various indigenous African languages .

Sub-Saharan Africa is the region where the French language is most likely to expand, because of the expansion of education and rapid population 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.

NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA

Further information: Languages of North America , Languages of South America , and Languages of the Caribbean _ The "arrêt" signs (French for "stop") are used in Canada while the English 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 , and both are official languages at the federal level. It is the first language of 9.5 million people or 29.4% and the second language for 2.07 million or 6.4% of the entire population of Canada. 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 4th-largest French-speaking city, by number of first language speakers. New Brunswick and Manitoba are the only officially bilingual provinces, though full bilingualism is enacted only in New Brunswick, where about one third of the population is Francophone. French is also an official language of all of the territories ( Northwest Territories , Nunavut , and Yukon ). Out of the three, Yukon has the most French speakers, comprising just under 4% of the population. Furthermore, while French is not an official language in Ontario , the French Language Services Act ensures that provincial services are to be available in the language. The Act applies to areas of the province where there are significant Francophone communities, namely Eastern Ontario and Northern Ontario . Elsewhere, sizable French-speaking minorities are found in southern Manitoba, Nova Scotia , and the Port au Port Peninsula in Newfoundland and Labrador , where the unique Newfoundland French dialect was historically spoken. Smaller pockets of French speakers exist in all other provinces. The city of Ottawa, the Canadian capital, is also effectively bilingual, as it is on the other side of a river from Quebec, opposite the major city of Gatineau, and is required to offer governmental services in French as well as English. French language spread in the United States. Counties marked in lighter pink are those where 6–12% of the population speaks French at home; medium pink, 12–18%; darker pink, over 18%. French-based creole languages are not included.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2011), French is the fourth most-spoken language in the United States after English , Spanish , and Chinese , when all forms of French are considered together and all dialects of Chinese are similarly combined. French remains the second most-spoken language 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 Creole French is excluded. New England French , essentially a variant of Canadian French , is spoken in parts of New England . Missouri French was historically spoken in Missouri and Illinois (formerly known as Upper Louisiana ), but is nearly extinct today.

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 70–80% of the country's population have Haitian Creole as their first language; the rest speak French as a first language. The second official language is the recently standardized Haitian Creole , which virtually the entire population of Haiti speaks. 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 the creole from the Lesser Antilles .

French is the official language of both French Guiana on the South American continent, and of Saint Pierre and Miquelon , an archipelago off the coast of Newfoundland in North America. Areas of French Colonization

ASIA

See also: Romance-speaking Asia § French in Asia

Southeast Asia

See also: French language in Vietnam , French language in Laos , and French language in Cambodia

French was the official language of the colony of French Indochina , comprising modern-day Vietnam , Laos , and Cambodia . It continues to be an administrative language in Laos and Cambodia, although its influence has waned in recent years. In colonial Vietnam, the elites primarily spoke French, while many servants who worked in French households spoke a French pidgin known as "Tây Bồi " (now extinct). After French rule ended, South Vietnam continued to use French in administration, education, and trade. Since the Fall of Saigon and the opening of a unified Vietnam's economy, French has gradually been effectively displaced as the main foreign language of choice by English. French nevertheless maintains its colonial legacy by being spoken as a second language by the elderly and elite populations and is presently being revived in higher education and continues to be a diplomatic language in Vietnam. All three countries are official members of the OIF.

MIDDLE EAST

Lebanon

See also: French language in Lebanon Town sign in Standard Arabic and French at the entrance of Rechmaya in Lebanon .

A former French colony, Lebanon designates Arabic as the sole official language, while a special law regulates cases when French can be publicly used. Article 11 of Lebanon's Constitution states that " Arabic is the official national language. A law determines the cases in which the French language is to be used". French language in Lebanon is widely used as a second language by the Lebanese people , and is taught in many schools as a secondary language along with Arabic and English. The language is also used on Lebanese pound bank notes, on road signs, on Lebanese license plates , and on official buildings (alongside Arabic).

Today, French and English are secondary languages of Lebanon , with about 40% of the population being Francophone and 40% Anglophone. The use of English is growing in the business and media environment. Out of about 900,000 students, about 500,000 are enrolled in Francophone schools, public or private, in which the teaching of mathematics and scientific subjects is provided in French. Actual usage of French varies depending on the region and social status. One third of high school students educated in French go on to pursue higher education in English-speaking institutions. English is the language of business and communication, with French being an element of social distinction, chosen for its emotional value. On social media, French was used on Facebook by just 10% of Lebanese in 2014, far behind English (78%).

Syria

Similarly to Lebanon, Syria was also a French League of Nations-mandate area until 1943, but the French language is largely extinct in the country and is only limited to some members of the elite and middle classes.

Israel

A significant French-speaking community is also present in Israel , primarily among the communities of French Jews in Israel , Moroccan Jews in Israel and Lebanese Jews . Many secondary schools offer French as a foreign language.

United Arab Emirates And Qatar

The UAE has the status in the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie as an observer state, and Qatar has the status in the organization as an associate state. However, in both countries French is not spoken by almost any of the general population or migrant workers, but spoken by a small minority of those who invest in Francophone countries or have other financial or family ties. Their entrance as observer and associate states respectively into the organisation was aided a good deal by their investments into the Organisation and France itself. A country's status as an observer state in the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie gives the country the right to send representatives to organization meetings and make formal requests to the organization but they do not have voting rights within the OIF. A country's status as an associate state also does not give a country voting abilities but associate states can discuss and review organization matters.

OCEANIA AND AUSTRALASIA

A 500- CFP franc (€4.20; US$5.65) banknote, used in French Polynesia , New Caledonia and Wallis and Futuna .

French is an official language of the Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu where 45% of the population can speak French. In the French special collectivity 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 1.5% have no knowledge of French. In the French collectivity of Wallis and Futuna , 78% of the population can speak, read and write French, whereas 17% have no knowledge of French.

DIALECTS

Main article: Dialects of the French language

* Acadian French * African French including sub-branch Maghreb French (North African French) * Aostan French * Belgian French * Cambodian French * Canadian French * Cajun French * Guianese French * Haitian French * Indian French * Jersey Legal French * Lao French * Louisiana French * Meridional French * Metropolitan French * Missouri French * New Caledonian French * Newfoundland French * New England French * Quebec French * South East Asian French * Swiss French * Vietnamese French * West Indian French

Dialects of the French language in the world

HISTORY

Main article: 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. The language's early forms include Old French and Middle French.

OLD FRENCH

Main article: Old French

The beginning of French in Gaul was greatly influenced by Germanic invasions into the country. These invasions had the greatest impact on the north part of the country and on the language there. A language divide began to grow across the country. The population in the north spoke langue d\'oïl while the population in the south spoke langue d\'oc . Langue d'oïl grew into what is known as Old French. The period of Old French spanned between the 8th and 14th centuries. Old French shared many characteristics with Latin. For example, Old French made use of all possible word orders just as Latin did.

MIDDLE FRENCH

Main article: Middle French

Within Old French many dialects emerged but the Francien dialect is one that not only continued but also thrived during the Middle French period (14th century-17th century). Modern French grew out of this Francien dialect. Grammatically, during the period of Middle French, noun declensions were lost and there began to be standardized rules. Robert Estienne published the first Latin-French dictionary, which included information about phonetics, etymology, and grammar. Politically, the Ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts (1539) named French the language of law.

MODERN FRENCH

During the 17th century, French replaced Latin as the most important language of diplomacy and international relations (lingua franca ) in the 17th century. It retained this role until approximately the middle of the 20th century, when it was replaced by English as the United States became the dominant global power following the Second World War . Stanley Meisler of the Los Angeles Times said that the fact that the Treaty of Versailles was also written in English as well as French was the "first diplomatic blow" against the language.

The Grand Siècle or the great century was a century where under the rule of powerful leaders such as Cardinal Richelieu and Louis XIV, France enjoyed a period of prosperity. In order to keep their absolute power or belief or divine rights, Richelieu established the Académie française to protect the French language. The Académie removed many words previously used that was unique to the provinces in France. Written and spoken French became more practical. One example of a change was the removal of the sound on the plural “s” silent was established. This was the attempt to make french less flowery and more acceptable in diplomacy rather than poetry. By 1714, French, which had become the primary language of the aristocracy. During the first World War I in 1914-1919, French became the language of international diplomacy pushing it towards modern speech.

CURRENT STATUS AND ECONOMIC, CULTURAL AND INSTITUTIONAL IMPORTANCE

French remains one of the most important diplomatic languages, with the language being one of the official languages of the United Nations , the European Union , NATO , the International Olympic Committee , the Council of Europe , the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development , Organization of American States , the Eurovision Song Contest , 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 , and Médecins du Monde . Given the demographic prospects of the French-speaking nations of Africa, _ Forbes _ released an article in 2014 which claimed that French "could be the language of the future".

French is a significant judicial language. It is one of the official languages of the main international and regional courts, tribunals, and dispute-settlement bodies such as the African Court on Human and Peoples\' Rights , the Caribbean Court of Justice , the Court of Justice for the Economic Community of West African States , the Inter-American Court of Human Rights , the International Court of Justice , the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia , International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda , the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea the International Criminal Court and the World Trade Organization Appellate Body . It is the sole internal working language of the Court of Justice of the European Union , and alongside English, one of the two working languages of the European Court of Human Rights .

In 1997, George Werber published in _Language Today_ a comprehensive academic study entitled "The World's 10 most influential languages". In his article, Werber ranked French as being the second – after English – most _influential_ language of the world, ahead of Spanish. His criteria were not solely the numbers of native speakers, but also included the number of secondary speakers (which tends to be specially high for French among fellow world languages ); the economic power of the countries using the language; the number of major areas in which the language is used; the number of countries using the language, and their respective population; and the linguistic prestige associated with the mastery of the language (Werber highlighted in particular that French benefits from a considerable linguistic prestige). In 2008, Werber reassessed his article, and concluded that his findings were still correct since "the situation among the top ten remains unchanged."

Knowledge of French is widely considered to be a crucial skill for business owners in the United Kingdom ; a 2014 study found that 50% of British managers considered French to be a valuable asset for their business, thus ranking French as the most-sought after foreign language there, ahead of German (49%) and Spanish (44%).

PHONOLOGY

Main article: French phonology

THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS IPA PHONETIC SYMBOLS. Without proper rendering support , you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA .

Although there are many French regional accents, foreign learners normally use only one variety of the language.

* There are a maximum of 17 vowels in French, not all of which are used in every dialect: /a/, /ɑ/, /e/, /ɛ/, /ɛː/, /ə/, /i/, /o/, /ɔ/, /y/, /u/, /œ/, /ø/, plus the nasalized vowels /ɑ̃/, /ɛ̃/, /ɔ̃/ and /œ̃/. In France, the vowels /ɑ/, /ɛː/ and /œ̃/ are tending to be replaced by /a/, /ɛ/ and /ɛ̃/ in many people's speech, but the distinction of /ɛ̃/ and /œ̃/ is present in Meridional French . In Quebec and Belgian French, the vowels /ɑ/, /ə/, /ɛː/ and /œ̃/ are present. * Voiced stops (i.e., /b, d, ɡ/) are typically produced fully voiced throughout. * Voiceless stops (i.e., /p, t, k/) are unaspirated. * Nasals: The velar nasal /ŋ/ can occur in final position in borrowed (usually English) words: _parking, camping, swing_. The palatal nasal /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 /f/~/v/, dental /s/~/z/, and palato-alveolar /ʃ/~/ʒ/. Notice that /s/~/z/ are dental, like the plosives /t/~/d/ and the nasal /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 _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 occurs in some dialects. * Lateral and central approximants: The lateral approximant /l/ is unvelarised in both onset (_lire_) and coda position (_il_). In the onset, the central approximants , , and each correspond to a high vowel, /u/, /y/, and /i/ respectively. There are a few minimal pairs where the approximant and corresponding vowel contrast, but there are also many cases where they are in free variation. Contrasts between /j/ and /i/ occur in final position as in /pɛj/ _paye_, "pay", vs. /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_, _p_ and _g,_ are normally silent. (A consonant is considered "final" when no vowel follows it even if one or more consonants follow it.) The final letters _f_, _k_, _q_, and _l_, however, are normally pronounced. The final C is sometimes pronounced like in BAC, SAC, ROC but can also be silent like in BLANC or ESTOMAC. The final _r_ is usually silent when it follows an _e_ in a word of two or more syllables, but it is pronounced in some words (_hiver_, _super_, _cancer_ etc.).

* When the following word begins with a vowel, however, a silent consonant _may_ once again be pronounced, to provide a _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 , 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 phrases 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 sound if the _l_ is preceded by the letter _i_.

* 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 ). 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_.

WRITING SYSTEM

ALPHABET

Main articles: French alphabet and French braille

French is written with the 26 letters of the basic Latin script , with four diacritics appearing on vowels (circumflex accent, acute accent , grave accent , diaeresis ) and the cedilla appearing in "ç".

There are two ligatures , "œ" and "æ", but they are not usually used now because of the French official keyboard. Yet, they cannot be changed for "oe" and "ae" in formal and literary texts. "æ" is sometimes replaced with "é" (from Latin loanwords, like "ténia" not "tænia").

ORTHOGRAPHY

Main articles: French orthography and Reforms of 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. Moreover, some conscious changes were made to restore Latin orthography (as with some English words such as "debt"):

* Old French _doit_ > French _doigt_ "finger" ( Latin _digitus_) * Old French _pie_ > French _pied_ "foot"

French is a morphophonemic language. While it contains 130 graphemes that denote only 36 phonemes , many of its spelling rules are likely due to a consistency in morphemic patterns such as adding suffixes and prefixes. Many given spellings of common morphemes usually lead to a predictable sound. In particular, a given vowel combination or diacritic generally leads to one phoneme. However, there is not a one to one correlation from a phoneme to its related grapheme, which can be seen in how _tomber, tombait,_ and _tombé_ all end with the /E/ phoneme. Additionally, there are many variations in the pronunciation of consonants at the end of words, demonstrated by how the _x_ in _paix_ is not pronounced though at the end of _Aix_ it is_._

As a result, it can be difficult to predict the spelling of a word based on the sound. Final consonants are generally silent, except when the following word begins with a vowel (see Liaison (French) ). For example, the following words end in a vowel sound: _pied_, _aller_, _les_, _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_.

French writing, as with any language, is affected by the spoken language. In Old French, the plural for _animal_ was _animals_. The /als/ sequence was unstable and was turned into a diphthong /aus/. This change was then reflected in the orthography: _animaus_. The _us_ ending, very common in Latin, was then abbreviated by copyists (monks) by the letter _x_, resulting in a written form _animax_. As the French language further evolved, the pronunciation of _au_ turned into /o/ so that the _u_ was reestablished in orthography for consistency, resulting in modern French _animaux_ (pronounced first /animos/ before the final /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 : _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. * Digraphs : French uses not only diacritics 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. * 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 and not . But gemination does occur between words. For example, _une info_ ("a news item" or "a piece of information") is pronounced , whereas _une nympho_ ("a nymphomaniac") is pronounced .

* Accents are used sometimes for pronunciation, sometimes to distinguish similar words, and sometimes based on etymology alone.

* Accents that affect pronunciation

* The acute accent (_l'accent aigu_) _é_ (e.g., _école_—school) means that the vowel is pronounced /e/ instead of the default /ə/. * The grave accent (_l'accent grave_) _è_ (e.g., _élève_—pupil) means that the vowel is pronounced /ɛ/ instead of the default /ə/. * The circumflex (_l'accent circonflexe_) _ê_ (e.g. _forêt_—forest) shows that an _e_ is pronounced /ɛ/ and that an _ô_ is pronounced /o/. In standard French, it also signifies a pronunciation of /ɑ/ for the letter _â_, but this differentiation is disappearing. In the mid-18th century, the circumflex was used in place of _s_ after a vowel, where that letter _s_ was not pronounced. Thus, _forest_ became _forêt_, _hospital_ became _hôpital_, and _hostel_ became _hôtel_. * The diaeresis (_le tréma_) (e.g., _naïf_—naive, _Noël_—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., _garçon_—boy) means that the letter _ç_ is pronounced /s/ in front of the back vowels _a_, _o_ and _u_ (_c_ is otherwise /k/ before a back vowel). _C_ is always pronounced /s/ in front of the front vowels _e_, _i_, and _y_, thus _ç_ is never found in front of front vowels.

* Accents with no pronunciation effect

* The circumflex does not affect the pronunciation of the letters _i_ or _u_, nor, in most dialects, _a_. 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, so the circumflex is put here to mark 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 disappears in 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" feminine singular) and the conjunction _ou_ ("or"), respectively.

Some proposals exist to simplify the existing writing system, but they still fail to gather interest.

In 1990, a reform accepted some changes to French orthography. At the time the proposed changes were considered to be suggestions. In 2016, schoolbooks in France began to use the newer recommended spellings, with instruction to teachers that both old and new spellings be deemed correct.

GRAMMAR

Main article: French grammar

French is a moderately inflected language. Nouns and most pronouns are inflected for number (singular or plural, though in most nouns the plural is pronounced the same as the singular even if spelt differently); adjectives , for number and gender (masculine or feminine) of their nouns; personal pronouns and a few other pronouns, for person , number, gender, and case ; and verbs , for tense , aspect , mood , and the person and number of their subjects . Case is primarily marked using word order and prepositions , while certain verb features are marked using auxiliary verbs .

French grammar shares several notable features with most other Romance languages, including

* the loss of Latin declensions * only two grammatical genders * the development of grammatical articles from Latin demonstratives * new tenses formed from auxiliaries

NOUNS

Every French noun is either masculine or feminine. Because French nouns are not inflected for gender, a noun's form cannot specify its gender. For nouns regarding the living, their grammatical genders often correspond to that which they refer to. For example, a male teacher is a "enseignant" while a female teacher is a "enseignante." However, plural nouns that refer to a group that includes both masculine and feminine entities are always masculine. So a group of two male teachers would be "enseignants." A group of two male teachers and two female teachers would still be "enseignants." In many situations, and in the case of "enseignant," both the singular and plural form of a noun are pronounced identically. The article used for singular nouns is different from that used for plural nouns and the article provides a distinguishing factor between the two in speech. For example, the singular "le professeur" or "la professeur(e)" (the male or female teacher, professor) can be distinguished from the plural "les professeurs" because "le," "la," and "les" are all pronounced differently. There are some situations where both the feminine and masculine form of a noun are the same and the article provides the only difference. For example, "le dentiste" refers to a male dentist while "la dentiste" refers to a female dentist.

VERBS

Main article: French Verbs

Moods And Tense-Aspect Forms

The French language consists of both finite and non-finite moods. The finite moods include the indicative mood (indicatif), the subjunctive mood (subjonctif), the imperative mood , (imperatif), and the conditional mood (conditionnel). The non-finite moods include the infinitive mood (infinitif), the present participle (participe présent), and the past participle (participe passé).

Finite Moods

Indicative (Indicatif)

The indicative mood makes use of eight different tense-aspect forms. These include the present (présent), the simple past (passé composé and passé simple ), the past imperfective (imparfait ), the pluperfect (plus-que-parfait ), the simple future (futur simple ), the future perfect (futur antérieur ), and the past perfect (passé antérieur). Some forms are less commonly used today. In today's spoken French, the passé composé is used while the passé simple is reserved for formal situations or for literary purposes. Similarly, the plus-que-parfait is used for speaking rather than the older passé antérieur seen in literary works.

Within the indicative mood, the passé composé, plus-que-parfait, futur antérieur, and passé antérieur all use auxiliary verbs in their forms.

INDICATIF

Présent Imparfait Passé Composé Passé Simple

Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural

1st Person j'aime nous aimons j'aimais nous aimions j'ai aimé nous avons aimé j'aimai nous aimâmes

2nd Person tu aimes vous aimez tu aimais vous aimiez tu as aimé vous avez aimé tu aimas vous aimâtes

3rd Person il/elle aime ils/elles aiment il/elle aimait ile/elles aimaient il/elle a aimé ils/elles ont aimé il/elle aima ils/ellesaimèrent

Futur Simple Futur Antérieur Plus-Que-Parfait Passé Antérieur

Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural

1st Person j'aimerai nous aimerons j'aurai aimé nous aurons aimé j'avais aimé nous avions aimé j'eus aimé nous eûmes aimé

2nd Person tu aimeras vous aimerez tu auras aimé vous aurez aimé tu avais aimé vous aviez aimé tu eus aimé vous eûtes aimé

3rd Person il/elle aimera ils/elles aimeront il/elle aura aimé ils/elles auront aimé il/elle avais aimé ils/elles avaient aimé il/elle eut aimé ils/elles eurent aimé

Subjunctive (Subjonctif)

The subjunctive mood only includes four of the tense-aspect forms found in the indicative: present (présent), simple past (passé composé), past imperfective (imparfait), and pluperfect (plus-que-parfait).

Within the subjunctive mood, the passé composé and plus-que-parfait use auxiliary verbs in their forms.

SUBJONCTIF

Présent Imparfait Passé Composé Plus-Que-Parfait

Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural

1st Person j'aime nous aimions j'aimasse nous aimassions j'aie aimé nous ayons aimé j'eusse aimé nous eussions aimé

2nd Person tu aimes vous aimiez tu aimasses vous aimassiez tu aies aimé vous ayez aimé tu eusses aimé vous eussiez aimé

3rd Person il/elle aime ils/elles aiment il/elle aimât ils/elles aimassent il/elle ait aimé ils/elles aient aimé il/elle eût aimé ils/elles eussent aimé

Imperative (Imperatif)

The imperative is used in the present tense (with the exception of a few instances where it is used in the perfect tense). The imperative is used to give commands to you (tu), we/us (nous), and plural you (vous).

IMPERATIF

Présent

Singular

1st Person aime

2nd Person aimons

3rd Person aimez

Conditional (Conditionnel)

The conditional makes use of the present (présent) and the past (passé).

The passé uses auxiliary verbs in its forms.

CONDITIONNEL

Présent Passé

Singular Plural Singular Plural

1st Person j'aimerais nous aimerions j'aurais aimé nous aurions aimé

2nd Person tu aimerais vous aimeriez tu aurais aimé vous auriez aimé

3rd Person il/elle aimerait ils/elles aimeraient il/elle aurait aimé ils/elles auraient aimé

Non-Finite Moods

Infinitive (Infinitif)

The infinitive can be used in both the present and the past.

INFINITIF

Présent Passé

aimer avoir aimé

Present Participle (Participe Présent)

The present participle uses the present tense but can also be found in the past.

PARTICIPE PRéSENT

Présent Passé

aimant ayant aimé

Past Participle (Participe Passé)

The past participle is found in the past.

PARTICIPE PASSé

aimé

Voice

French uses both the active voice and the passive voice . The active voice is unmarked while the passive voice is formed by using a form of verb "être," or "to be," and the past participle.

Example of the active voice:

* "Il aime le chien." _He loves the dog._ * "Sally a conduit la voiture." _Sally drove the car._

Example of the passive voice:

* "Le chien est amié par lui." _The dog is loved by him._ * "La voiture était conduite par Sally." _The car was driven by Sally._

Syntax

Word Order

French declarative word order is subject–verb–object although a pronoun object precedes the verb. Some types of sentences allow for or require different word orders, in particular inversion of the subject and verb like "Parlez-vous français?" when asking a question rather than just "Vous parlez français ?" Both questions mean the same thing; however, a rising inflection is always used on both of them whenever asking a question, especially on the second one. Specifically, the first translates into "Do you speak French?" while the second one is literally just "You speak French?" To avoid inversion while asking a question, 'Est-ce que' (literally 'is it that') may be placed in the beginning of the sentence. "Parlez-vous français ?" may become "Est-ce que vous parlez français ?" French also uses verb–object–subject (VOS) and object–subject–verb (OSV) word order. OSV word order is not used often and VOS is reserved for formal writings.

VOCABULARY

The majority of French words derive from Vulgar Latin or were constructed from Latin or 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: _frère_ / _fraternel_ from Latin _frater / fraternalis_ * finger: _doigt_ / _digital_ from Latin _digitus / digitalis_ * faith: _foi_ / _fidèle_ from Latin _fides / fidelis_ * eye: _œil_ / _oculaire_ from Latin _oculus / ocularis_

However a historical tendency to gallicise Latin roots can be identified, whereas English conversely leans towards a more direct incorporation of the Latin:

* _rayonnement_ / _radiation_ from Latin _radiatio_ * _éteindre_ / _extinguish_ from Latin _exstinguere_ * _noyau_ / _nucleus_ from Latin _nucleus_ * _ensoleillement_ / _insolation_ from Latin _insolatio_

There are also noun-noun and adjective-adjective pairs:

* thing/cause: _chose_ / _cause_ from Latin _causa_ * cold: _froid_ / _frigide_ from Latin _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.

More recently the linguistic policy of the French language academies of France and Quebec has been to provide French equivalents to (mainly English) imported words, either by using existing vocabulary, extending its meaning or deriving a new word according to French morphological rules. The result is often two (or more) co-existing terms for describing the same phenomenon, with varying rates of success for the French equivalent.

Root Languages for Words of Foreign Origin English (25.095%) Italian (16.833%) Germanic Languages (13.095%) Gallo-Romance Languages (11.452%) Arabic (5.119%) German (3.905%) Celtic Languages (3.810%) Spanish (3.810%) Dutch (3.643%) Persian and Sanskrit (2.667%) Native American Languages (2.405%) Asian Languages (2.119%) Afro-Asian Languages (1.333%) Slavic and Baltic Languages (1.310%) Basque (0.238%) Other Languages (3.429%)

* _mercatique_ / _marketing_ * _finance_ _fantôme_ / _shadow_ _banking_ * _bloc-notes_ / _notepad_ * _ailière_ / _wingsuit_ * _tiers-lieu_ / _coworking_

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 Greek and Latin learned words are not seen as foreign). About 25% (1,054) of these foreign words come from English and are fairly recent borrowings. The others are some 707 words from Italian , 550 from ancient Germanic languages , 481 from other Gallo- Romance languages , 215 from Arabic , 164 from German , 160 from Celtic languages , 159 from Spanish , 153 from Dutch , 112 from Persian and 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 and 144 (about 3%) from other languages.

One study analyzing the degree of differentiation of Romance languages in comparison to Latin estimated that among the languages analyzed French has the greatest distance from Latin. Lexical similarity is 89% with Italian, 80% with Sardinian, 78% with Rhaeto-Romance, and 75% with Romanian, Spanish and Portuguese.

NUMERALS

The French counting system is partially vigesimal : twenty (_vingt_) is used as a base number in the names of numbers from 80 to 99. The French word for _80_ is _quatre-vingts_, literally "four twenties", and the word for _75_ is _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 ) 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 , Aostan French and the French used in the Democratic Republic of the Congo , Rwanda and Burundi are different in this respect. In Belgium, Switzerland and in the Aosta Valley , 70 and 90 are _septante_ and _nonante_. In Switzerland, depending on the local dialect, 80 can be _quatre-vingts_ (Geneva, Neuchâtel, Jura) or _huitante_ (Vaud, Valais, Fribourg). _Octante_ had been used in Switzerland in the past, but is now considered archaic, while in the Aosta Valley 80 is _huitante_. In Belgium and in its former African colonies, however, _quatre-vingts_ is universally used.

French, like most European languages, uses 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_.

Units

Cardinal numbers in French, from 0 to 20, are as follows:

* Zéro: _zéro_ /ze.ʁo/ * One: _un_/_une_ /œ̃/ (m) ~ /yn/ (f) * Two: _deux_ /dø/ * Three: _trois_ /tʁwɑ/ * Four: _quatre_ /katʁ/ * Five: _cinq_ /sɛ̃k/ * Six: _six_ /sis/ * Seven: _sept_ /sɛt/ * Eight: _huit_ /ɥit/ * Nine: _neuf_ /nœf/ * Ten: _dix_ /dis/ * Eleven: _onze_ /ɔ̃z/ * Twelve: _douze_ /duz/ * Thirteen: _treize_ /tʁɛz/ * Fourteen: _quatorze_ /katɔʁz/ * Fifteen: _quinze_ /kɛ̃z/ * Sixteen: _seize_ /sɛz/ * Seventeen: _dix-sept_ /dissɛt/ * Eighteen: _dix-huit_ /diz‿ɥit/ * Nineteen: _dix-neuf_ /diznœf/ * Twenty: _vingt_ /vɛ̃/

After _Twenty_, numbers use base ten logic (_vingt et un_, _vingt-deux_, _vingt-trois_...)

Tens

Cardinal numbers in French, by tens from 10 to 100, are as follows:

* Ten: _dix_ /dis/ * Twenty: _vingt_ /vɛ̃/ * Thirty: _trente_ /tʁɑ̃t/ * Forty: _quarante_ /ka.ʁɑ̃t/ * Fifty: _cinquante_ /sɛ̃.kɑ̃t/ * Sixty: _soixante_ /swa.sɑ̃t/ * Seventy: _soixante-dix_ /swa.sɑ̃t.dis/ or _septante_ /sɛp.tɑ̃t/ * Eighty: _quatre-vingts_ /ka.tʁɘ.vɛ̃/, _huitante_ /ɥi.tɑ̃t/ or _octante_ /ɔk.tɑ̃t/ * Ninety: _quatre-vingt-dix_ /ka.tʁɘ.vɛ̃.dis/ or _nonante_ /nɔ.nɑ̃t/ * One hundred: _cent_ /sɑ̃(t)/

After _One hundred_, numbers use base ten logic (_cent dix_, _cent vingt_, _cent trente_...)

Hundreds

Cardinal numbers in French, by hundreds from 100 to 2000, are as follows:

* One hundred: _cent_ /sɑ̃(t)/ * Two hundred: _deux cents_ * Three hundred: _trois cents_, (Archaism: _quinze-vingts_) * Four hundred: _quatre cents_ * Five hundred: _cinq cents_ * Six hundred: _six cents_ * Seven hundred: _sept cents_ * Eight hundred: _huit cents_ * Nine hundred: _neuf cents_ * One thousand: _mille_ * One thousand one hundred: _onze cents_ or _mille cent_ * One thousand two hundred: _douze cents_ or _mille deux cents_ * One thousand three hundred: _treize cents_ or _mille trois cents_ * One thousand four hundred: _quatorze cents_ or _mille quatre cents_ * One thousand five hundred: _quinze cents_ or _mille cinq cents_ * One thousand six hundred: _seize cents_ or _mille six cents_ * One thousand seven hundred: _dix-sept cents_ or _mille sept cents_ * One thousand eight hundred: _dix-huit cents_ or _mille huit cents_ * One thousand nine hundred: _dix-neuf cents_ or _mille neuf cents_ * Two thousand: _deux mille_

After _deux mille_ (2000), only the second option is used (_deux mille cent_, _deux mille deux cents_, _deux mille trois cents_...)

The words _vingt_ and _cent_ take the plural -S only when they are the last word of the number: _quatre-vingts_ (eighty) and _quatre-vingt-un_ (eighty-one), _cinq cents_ (five hundred) and _cinq cent trente_ (five hundred and thirty). When a number using _vingt_ or _cent_ is used as an ordinal numeral adjective, the words _vingt_ or _cent_ stay unchanged.

Scales

Cardinal numbers in French, by exponentiation points, from 100 to 1020, are as follows:

* One: _un_/_une_ /œ̃/ (m) ~ /yn/ (f) * Ten: _dix_ /dis/ * One hundred: _cent_ /sɑ̃(t)/ * One thousand: _mille_ /mil/ * Ten thousand: _dix mille_ * Hundred thousand: _cent mille_ * One million: _un million_ /mi.ljɔ̃/ * Ten million: _dix millions_ * Hundred million: _cent millions_ * One billion: _un milliard_ * Ten billion: _dix milliards_ * Hundred billion: _cent milliards_ * One trillion: _un billion_ /bi.ljɔ̃/ * Ten trillion: _dix billions_ * Hundred trillion: _cent billions_ * One quadrillion: _un billiard_ * Ten quadrillion: _dix billiards_ * Hundred quadrillion: _cent billiards_ * One quintillion: _un trillion_ * Ten quintillion: _dix trillions_ * Hundred quintillion: _cent trillions_

NOTES

* ^ It has been suggested that _Nine_ and _New_ homophonographs are related and that it would be an unusual preservation of the octal number system speculated to be formerly used in proto-Indo-European language, though the evidence supporting this is slim. * ^ _Septante_ is used in Belgium and in Switzerland. Its use is dated in Eastern France and archaic elsewhere in France. * ^ _Huitante_ is used in Vaud, Valais, Fribourg, archaic in France. * ^ _Octante_ is used, but dated, in Romandie and in Southern France. Its use is archaic in other parts of France. * ^ _Nonante_ is used in Belgium, Switzerland and, dated, in Eastern France, archaic in other parts of France. * ^ Formerly singular of the now invariable _mille_, _mil_ is now only used in formal documents to write dates between _mil un_ (1001) and _mil neuf cent quatre-vingt-dix-neuf_ (1999). * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ While both styles are correct and concurrently used, numbers above _mille_ and under _deux mille_ are usually counted by hundreds from _onze cents_ up to _seize cent quatre-vingt-dix-neuf_ and are then indifferently counted both styles in informal language while the count by adding hundreds to one thousand, like in _mille cent_, _mille six cents_, is favoured in written language, especially in juridical, administrative and scientific works. * ^ _Nota Bene_ that English use the short scale while French use the long scale.

WORDS

_ THIS SECTION INCLUDES INLINE LINKS TO AUDIO FILES. If you have trouble playing the files, see Wikipedia Media help .

ENGLISH FRENCH QUEBEC ACCENT TOURAINE ACCENT

French Français_ (people) or _français_ (language) _

English Anglais_ (people) or _anglais_ (language) _

Yes Oui_ (_si_ when countering an assertion or a question expressed in the negative) _

No Non_ _

Hello! Bonjour !_ (formal) or _Salut !_ (informal) or "Allô" (Quebec French or when answering on the telephone)

_

Good evening! Bonsoir !_

_

Good night! Bonne nuit !_

_

Goodbye! Au revoir !_ _

Have a nice day! Bonne journée !_ _

Please/if you please S’il vous plaît_ (formal) or _S’il te plaît_ (informal) _

Thank you Merci_

_

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) or _Bienvenue_ (Quebec)

_

I am sorry Pardon_ or _Désolé_ or _Je suis désolé_ (if male) / _Je suis désolée_ (if female) or _Excuse-moi_ (informal) / _Excusez-moi_ (formal) / "Je regrette" _ / /

Who(m)? Qui ?_ _

What? Quoi ?_ (←informal; used as "What?" in English) or _Pardon ?_ (←formal; used the same as "Excuse me?" in English)

_

When? Quand ?_ _

Where? Où ?_

_

Why? Pourquoi ?_ _

What is your name? Comment vous appelez-vous ?_ (formal) or _Comment t’appelles-tu ?_ (informal) , _ ,

My name is... Je m'appelle..._

_

Which Quel/Quels(pl.)/Quelle(fem.)_

Because _Parce que_ / _Car_ _

Because of À cause de_

_

Therefore, so Donc_

_

Maybe Peut-être_ _

How? Comment ?_

_

How much? Combien ?_

_

I do not understand. Je ne comprends pas._ _

Yes, I understand. Oui, je comprends._ Except when responding to a negatively posed question, in which case _Si_ is used preferentially over _Oui_ _

I agree Je suis d’accord._ "D’accord" can be used without _je suis._

Help! _Au secours ! (à l’aide !)_ _

At what time...? À quelle heure...?_

Today _Aujourd'hui_

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 ?_

_

Do you speak English? Parlez-vous (l')anglais ? / Est-ce que vous parlez (l')anglais ?_ _

I do not speak French. Je ne parle pas français._

I do not know. _Je sais pas._ (syntax mistake and over-familiar ) _Je ne sais pas._ _Je ne sais._ (formal, rare)

I know. _Je sais._

I am thirsty. _J’ai soif._ (literally, "I have thirst")

I am hungry. _J’ai faim._ (literally, "I have hunger")

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._

(How) may I help you? / Do you need help? / _(Comment) puis-je vous aider ? Avez-vous besoin d'aide ?_

SEE ALSO

* French language and French-speaking world portal

* Alliance Française * Francophonie * Français fondamental * Francization * French language in the United States * French language in Canada * French AZERTY keyboard * French poetry * French proverbs * Language education * 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 German words of French origin * Official bilingualism in Canada * Francophobia * Francophilia * Varieties of French

NOTES AND REFERENCES

* ^ "Ethnologue: French". Retrieved 14 November 2016. * ^ http://www.thelocal.fr/20141106/french-speakers-world-language-english * ^ http://www.francophonie.org/Welcome-to-the-International.html Organisation internationale de la Francophonie * ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Standard French". _ Glottolog 2.7 _. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ "The status of French in the world". Retrieved 23 April 2015. * ^ _A_ _B_ European Commission (June 2012), "Europeans and their Languages" (PDF), _ Special Eurobarometer 386_, Europa , p. 5, archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-01-06, retrieved 7 September 2014 * ^ "Why Learn French". * ^ http://www.lefigaro.fr/langue-francaise/actu-des-mots/2017/02/25/37002-20170225ARTFIG00101-le-francais-est-la-deuxieme-langue-la-plus-etudiee-dans-l-union-europeenne.php * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ (in French) _La Francophonie dans le monde 2006–2007_ published by the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie . Nathan, Paris , 2007. In 2015, French was estimated to have about 110 million native speakers, and up to 300 million daily users worldwide * ^ _A_ _B_ "Qu\'est-ce que la Francophonie?". * ^ "The World\'s Most Widely Spoken Languages". Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. * ^ " French language is on the up, report reveals". * ^ "Agora: La francophonie de demain". Retrieved 13 June 2011. * ^ Lauerman, John (30 August 2011). "Mandarin Chinese Most Useful Business Language After English". _Bloomberg Business_. New York. Archived from the original on 29 March 2015. French, spoken by 68 million people worldwide and the official language of 27 countries, was ranked second . * ^ EUROPA, data for EU25, published before 2007 enlargement. * ^ "Language knowledge in Europe". * ^ Novoa, Cristina; Moghaddam, Fathali M. (2014). "Applied Perspectives: Policies for Managing Cultural Diversity". In Benet-Martínez, Verónica; Hong, Ying-Yi. _The Oxford Handbook of Multicultural Identity_. Oxford Library of Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 468. ISBN 978-0-19-979669-4 . LCCN 2014006430 . OCLC 871965715 . It is important to note, however, that not all countries have an official language. Until 1992, France had discouraged the use of regional languages ... in schools and businesses, but had stopped short of making an official language declaration. In 1992, the government ratified ... a constitutional amendment that made French the sole official language of the Republic ... * ^ Van Parijs, Philippe , Professor of economic and social ethics at the UCLouvain , Visiting Professor at Harvard University and the KULeuven . "Belgium\'s new linguistic challenge" (PDF). _KVS Express (supplement to newspaper De Morgen ) March–April 2006_: Article from original source (pdf 4.9 MB) pages 34–36 republished by the Belgian Federal Government Service (ministry) of Economy – Directorate–general Statistics Belgium. Archived from the original (pdf 0.7 MB) on 13 June 2007. Retrieved 5 May 2007. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link ) – The linguistic situation in Belgium (and in particular various estimates of the population speaking French and Dutch in Brussels) is discussed in detail. * ^ _Le français et les langues ... – Google Books_. Books.google.com. 1 January 2007. ISBN 978-2-87747-881-6 . Retrieved 10 September 2010. * ^ http://www.francetvinfo.fr/allemagne-le-francais-bientot-la-deuxieme-langue-officielle-de-la-sarre_587877.html * ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25834960 * ^ United Nations . "World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision" (XLS). Retrieved 2015-08-23. * ^ " French language growing, especially in Africa – Francophonie – RFI". Retrieved 2013-05-25. * ^ "Agora: La francophonie de demain". Retrieved 2011-06-13. * ^ "Bulletin de liaison du réseau démographie" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-06-14. * ^ (in French) _Le français à Abidjan : Pour une approche syntaxique du non-standard_ by Katja Ploog, CNRS Editions , Paris , 2002. * ^ _A_ _B_ "L’aménagement linguistique dans le monde". _CEFAN (Chaire pour le développement de la recherche sur la culture d’expression française en Amérique du Nord, Université Laval_ (in French). Jacques Leclerc. Retrieved May 19, 2013. * ^ (in French) "En Afrique, il est impossible de parler d\'une forme unique du français mais..." * ^ France-Diplomatie Archived 27 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine . "Furthermore, the demographic growth of Southern hemisphere countries leads us to anticipate a new increase in the overall number of French speakers." * ^ (in French) "Le français, langue en évolution. Dans beaucoup de pays francophones, surtout sur le continent africain, une proportion importante de la population ne parle pas couramment le français (même s\'il est souvent la langue officielle du pays). Ce qui signifie qu\'au fur et à mesure que les nouvelles générations vont à l\'école, le nombre de francophones augmente : on estime qu\'en 2015, ceux-ci seront deux fois plus nombreux qu\'aujourd\'hui." * ^ (in French) c) Le sabir franco-africain: "C'est la variété du français la plus fluctuante. Le sabir franco-africain est instable et hétérogène sous toutes ses formes. Il existe des énoncés où les mots sont français mais leur ordre reste celui de la langue africaine. En somme, autant les langues africaines sont envahies par les structures et les mots français, autant la langue française se métamorphose en Afrique, donnant naissance à plusieurs variétés." * ^ (in French) République centrafricaine: Il existe une autre variété de français, beaucoup plus répandue et plus permissive : le français local. C'est un français très influencé par les langues centrafricaines, surtout par le sango. Cette variété est parlée par les classes non instruites, qui n'ont pu terminer leur scolarité. Ils utilisent ce qu'ils connaissent du français avec des emprunts massifs aux langues locales. Cette variété peut causer des problèmes de compréhension avec les francophones des autres pays, car les interférences linguistiques, d'ordre lexical et sémantique, sont très importantes. (_One example of a variety of African French that is difficult to understand for European French speakers_). * ^ "What are the largest French-speaking cities in the world? Tourist Maker". Retrieved 2016-10-06. * ^ "Detailed Mother Tongue (186), Knowledge of Official Languages (5), Age Groups (17A) and Sex (3) (2006 Census)". 2.statcan.ca. December 7, 2010. Retrieved February 22, 2011. * ^ Language Use in the United States: 2011, American Community Survey Reports, Camille Ryan, Issued August 2013 * ^ U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000 Summary File 3 – Language Spoken at Home: 2000. * ^ Ammon, Ulrich; International Sociological Association (1989). _Status and Function of Languages and Language Varieties_. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 306–308. ISBN 0-89925-356-3 . Retrieved 14 November 2011. * ^ Ministère de l'Éducation nationale * ^ French Guiana History, Language and Culture at World Travel Guide * ^ Saint Pierre and Miquelon at CIA World Factbook * ^ French Declines in Indochina, as English Booms, _International Herald Tribune _, 16 October 1993: "In both Cambodia and Laos, French remains the official second language of government." * ^ "The role of English in Vietnam\'s foreign language policy: A brief history". _The role of English in Vietnam's foreign language policy: A brief history_. * ^ "84 ÉTATS ET GOUVERNEMENTS" (PDF). * ^ Prof. Dr. Axel Tschentscher, LL.M. "Article 11 of the Lebanese Constitution". Servat.unibe.ch. Retrieved 17 January 2013. * ^ OIF 2014 , p. 217. * ^ OIF 2014 , p. 218. * ^ OIF 2014 , p. 358. * ^ * ^ "La Francophonie grants observer status to Ontario". _CBC News_. Retrieved 2017-07-11. * ^ "Greece joins international Francophone body". _EURACTIV.com_. Retrieved 2017-07-11. * ^ Organisation internationale de la Francophonie . "Estimation du nombre de francophones dans le monde1" (PDF). Retrieved 3 October 2009. * ^ INSEE , Government of France . "P9-1 – Population de 14 ans et plus selon la connaissance du français, le sexe, par commune, "zone" et par province de résidence" (XLS) (in French). Retrieved 3 October 2009. * ^ Institut Statistique de Polynésie Française (ISPF). "Recensement 2012 – Langues : Chiffres clés" (in French). Archived from the original on 8 September 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2017. * ^ INSEE , Government of France . "Tableau Pop_06_1 : Population selon le sexe, la connaissance du français et l\'âge décennal" (XLS) (in French). Retrieved 3 October 2009. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ "French Literature". * ^ Check url= value (help ). _Britannica Academic, Encyclopædia Britannica_. * ^ Lahousse, Karen; Lamiroy, Béatrice (2012). " Word order in French, Spanish and Italian:A grammaticalization account". _Folia Linguistica_. 46 (2). ISSN 1614-7308 . doi :10.1515/flin.2012.014 . * ^ Victor, Joseph M. (1978). _Charles de Bovelles, 1479-1553: An Intellectual Biography_. Librairie Droz. p. 28. * ^ The World\'s 10 Most Influential Languages Archived 12 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine . _Top Languages_. Retrieved 11 April 2011. * ^ The French language today: a linguistic introduction_Google Books_ Retrieved 27 June 2011 * ^ Meisler, Stanley. "Seduction Still Works : French—a Language in Decline." _ Los Angeles Times _. March 1, 1986. p. 2. Retrieved on May 18, 2013. * ^ The French Ministry of Foreign affairs. "France-Diplomatie - Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development". _France Diplomatie :: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development_. * ^ Want To Know The Language Of The Future? The Data Suggests It Could Be...French, _ Forbes _, March 21, 2014 * ^ On the Linguistic Design of Multinational Courts—The French Capture, forthcoming in 14 INT’L J. CONST. L. (2016), Mathilde Cohen * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ The World\'s 10 most influential languages, George Werber, 1997, _Language Today_, retrieved on scribd.com * ^ Foreign languages \'shortfall\' for business, CBI says, Judith Burns, BBC News , 22 June 2014 * ^ "The contribution of morphological awareness to the spelling of morphemes and morphologically complex words in French". _rdcu.be_. Retrieved 2017-07-30. * ^ Brissaud, Catherine; Chevrot, Jean-Pierre. "The late acquisition of a major difficulty of French inflectional orthography: The homophonic /E/ verbal endings". _Writing Systems Research_. 3 (2): 129–144. doi :10.1093/wsr/wsr003 . * ^ (in French) Fonétik.fr writing system proposal. * ^ (in French) Ortofasil writing system proposal. * ^ (in French) Alfograf writing system proposal. * ^ (in French) Ortograf.net writing system proposal. * ^ "End of the circumflex? Changes in French spelling cause uproar". _BBC News_. 2016-02-05. Retrieved 2017-07-30. * ^ Lahousse, Karen; Lamiroy, Béatrice (2012). " Word order in French, Spanish and Italian:A grammaticalization account". _Folia Linguistica_. 46 (2). ISSN 1614-7308 . doi :10.1515/flin.2012.014 . * ^ Walter & Walter 1998. * ^ Walter & Walter 1998. * ^ Pei, Mario (1949). _Story of Language_. ISBN 03-9700-400-1 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Ethnologue report for language code:ita (Italy) – Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), 2005. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition. Dallas, Tex.: SIL International. Online version * ^ Brincat (2005) * ^ Einhorn, E. (1974). _Old French: A Concise Handbook_. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. p. 110. ISBN 0-521-09838-6 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Jean-Pierre Martin, _Description lexicale du français parlé en Vallée d'Aoste_, éd. Musumeci, Quart , 1984. * ^ "Septante, octante (huitante), nonante". _langue-fr.net_ (in French). . See also the English Wikipedia article on Welsh language , especially the section "Counting system" and its note on the influence of Celtic in the French counting system.

* ^ "Questions de langue: Nombres (écriture, lecture, accord)" (in French). Académie française . Archived from the original on 1 January 2015. Retrieved 15 November 2015. _Dans un souci de lisibilité, on sépare les milliers par une espace insécable dans les nombres exprimant une quantité :_ 1 000 m_,_ 342 234 euros_,_ 1 234 °C, etc. En revanche, dans les nombres ayant fonction de numérotage (pages, dates, articles de code), les chiffres ne sont jamais séparés : page 1254 of the 1992 edition, article 1246 of the Civil Code. La virgule (et non le point comme chez les anglo‑saxons) sépare la partie entière de la partie décimale : π vaut environ 3,14_ ;_ 14,5 est la moitié de 29_._ * ^ Winter, Werner (1991). "Some thoughts about Indo-European numerals". In Gvozdanović, Jadranka. _Indo-European numerals_. Trends in Linguistics. 57. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. pp. 13–14. ISBN 3-11-011322-8 . Retrieved 2013-06-09. * ^ "Questions de langue: ‘An deux mil’ ou ‘an deux mille’?" (in French). Académie française . Archived from the original on 1 January 2015. Retrieved 15 November 2015. _L’Académie n’admet (et ne privilégie) la variante_ mil _de_ mille_, dans les dates, que lorsque le numéral au singulier est suivi d’un ou plusieurs autres nombres._ * ^ _Lexique des règles typographiques en usage à l'imprimerie nationale_ (in French) (6th ed.). Paris: Imprimerie nationale . March 2011. p. 41. ISBN 978-2-7433-0482-9 . _Au-delà de mille, on compte habituellement : ↲ onze, douze, treize, quatorze, quinze, seize cents ↲ plutôt que : ↲ mille cent, mille deux cents, mille trois cents... ↲ mais on emploiera indifféremment : ↲ dix-sept cents ou mille sept cents..._

* ^ "Questions de langue: Nombres (écriture, lecture, accord)" (in French). Académie française . Archived from the original on 1 January 2015. Retrieved 15 November 2015. _Pour les dates (et les nombres en général) entre 1000 et 2000, il y a concurrence entre deux lectures :_ mille six cent trente‑cinq _ou_ seize cent trente‑cinq. Aucune de ces formes ne peut être considérée comme fautive. Cependant, dans l’usage courant, on dit plutôt onze cents_,_ douze cents_, etc. :_ onze cents francs_,_ seize cents euros_, tandis que dans la langue écrite, et notamment dans un texte juridique, administratif ou scientifique, on préférera les formes :_ mille cent_,_ mille deux cents_, etc._ * ^ "Questions de langue: Nombres (écriture, lecture, accord)" (in French). Académie française . Archived from the original on 1 January 2015. Retrieved 15 November 2015. Vingt et cent se terminent par un _s_ quand ils sont précédés d’un nombre qui les multiplie, mais ils restent invariables s’ils sont suivis d’un autre nombre ou de _mille_. On dira ainsi : _deux cents euros_ mais _deux cent vingt euros_ ; _quatre‑vingts hommes_ mais _quatre‑vingt‑deux hommes_. Ils restent également invariables lorsqu’ils sont employés comme adjectifs numéraux ordinaux : _page deux cent_ ; _page quatre‑vingt_ ; _l’an mille neuf cent_. En revanche, _vingt_ et _cent_ varient devant _millier_, _million_, _milliard_, qui sont des noms et non des adjectifs numéraux : _deux cents millions d’années_ ; _trois cents milliers d’habitants_. * ^ "Ne". _Dire, Ne pas dire_. Académie française. 3 November 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2014. _On néglige trop souvent de faire entendre l’adverbe ne, en faisant de pas l’unique marque de négation : Je veux pas, je sais pas. Cette habitude, répandue dans le langage parlé, est une véritable faute._ * ^ "Pas". _ Trésor de la langue française informatisé_. Analyse et traitement informatique de la langue française. Retrieved 30 May 2014. _− Pop. ou très fam. _

FURTHER READING

* Nadeau, Jen-Benoît, and Julie Barlow (2006). _The Story of French_. First U.S. ed. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-34183-0

EXTERNAL LINKS

Find more aboutFRENCH LANGUAGEat's sister projects

* _Definitions from Wiktionary * Media from Commons * Textbooks from Wikibooks * Travel guide from Wikivoyage * Learning resources from Wikiversity * Data from Wikidata

For a list of words relating to French language, see the FRENCH LANGUAGE_ category of words in Wiktionary , the free dictionary.

_ FRENCH EDITION _ of Wikipedia , the free encyclopedia

_ FRENCH EDITION _ of Wikisource , the free library

ORGANIZATIONS

* Fondation Alliance française: an international organization for the promotion of French language and culture (in French) * Agence de promotion

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