What writing system(s) does this language use?
French uses the Latin alphabet just as English does, with the addition of several accent marks that are not used in English: the acute accent or accent aigu (é), the grave accent or accent grave (è), and the circumflex accent or accent circonflexe (ê). There is also a diacritical mark called a cedilla or cédille, which is placed under the letter c (ç) to give it a soft pronunciation (like an "s" sound) in certain situations where it would otherwise be pronounced hard (like a "k").
How many people speak this language?
There are 110 million people who can speak French natively. But there are 300 million French speakers total, which means that 190 million people decided to learn the language as adults! This is because there is a lot of interesting literature in French. French is also a language often used in diplomacy.
Where is this language spoken?
As you probably already figured out, French was first spoken in France. Four of France's neighbors — Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Monaco — also use French as one of their official languages. And because of colonization, French is spoken in Canada (the majority in Québec), Louisiana, Africa, and other places around the world.
colonization — to send people to govern and live in another country that may involve conquering or fighting local inhabitants. Because England colonized North America, people in the United States and Canada speak English.
What is the history of this language?
French evolved from the Latin language, just like Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian. It was first used by the Franks, a people who lived in what we now call France. In the 1600s, French people came to Canada and settled in the area we now call Québec. Some French people (who were expelled from Canada) also settled in Louisiana, which was named in honor of King Louis XIV of France. Louisiana is now a state of the United States. In the 1800s, France conquered large parts of northern, western, and central Africa, mostly in the Sahara desert. As France took over ruling these territories and their populations, they established French as the language of instruction in schools, and as the official language of the government. Over time, French became the second native language of many African people, although local languages are still used most often in the home. Although France no longer rules these former colonies, they still use French in daily life.
- Victor Hugo (1802 – 1885), Les Misérables
- Alexandre Dumas (1802 – 1870), Les Trois Mousquetaires (The Three Musketeers)
- Jules Verne (1828 – 1905), Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea)
- Francois Marie Arouet, better known as Voltaire (1694 – 1778), Zadig ou la Destinée (Zadig, or The Book of Fate)
- Gaston Leroux (1868 – 1927), Le Fantôme de l'Opéra (The Phantom of the Opera)
What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?
|Les salutations||L'e salutasio||Greetings|
|Bonne nuit||Bon nwee||Good night|
|Quoi de neuf ?||kwa de nehf ?||What's up?|
|Pas grand-chose.||Pa gron shoz||Not much.|
|Au revoir.||O rehvwahr||Good-bye.|
|À demain.||A deuhma||See you tomorrow.|
|À tout à l'heure.||A tu ta lehrr||See you!|
|À bientôt.||A biantoe||See you soon.|
|Phrases de base||Fraz de bas||Basic phrases|
|Parlez-vous anglais ?||parlay-voo Z anglay ?||Do you speak English?|
|Où sont les toilettes ?||oo sohn ley twalet ?||Where is the bathroom?|
|Plus lentement, s'il vous plaît.||Ploo lontemon, sil voo play.||(Speak) slower please.|
|J'aime . . .||j'em . . .||I like . . .|
|Je n'aime pas . . .||Juh n'em pa . . .||I don't like . . .|
|Je m'appelle. . .||Juh map'el . . .||My name is. . .|
|Comment vous appelles-vous ?||Comon voo Z ap'el voo ?||What is your name? (formal)|
|Comment t'appelles-tu ?||Comon tap'el tu ?||What is your name? (informal)|
What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?
Petit Papa Noël
|Petit Papa Noël||Little Santa Claus|
|Quand tu descendras du ciel||When you come down from the sky|
|Avec des jouets par milliers||With toys in the thousands|
|N'oublie pas mes petits souliers||Don't forget my little shoes|
|Mais avant de partir||But before leaving|
|Il faudra bien te couvrir||It will be necessary to cover you|
|Dehors tu vas avoir si froid||Outside you will be so cold|
|C'est un peu à cause de moi||It's a little because of me|
|Il était une Dame Tartine||There once was a Dame Tartine (tartine is a kind of sandwich)|
|Dans un beau palais de beurre frais.||Who lived in a beautiful palace of fresh butter.|
|La muraille était de praline,||The walls were made of praline,|
|Le parquet était de croquets,||The floors were of croquettes,|
|La chambre à coucher||The bedroom|
|De crème de lait,||Of fresh cream,|
|Le lit de biscuit,||The bed, a biscuit,|
|Les rideaux d'anis.||And curtains of aniseed.|
|Frère Jacques, Frère Jacques||Brother James, Brother James.|
|Dormez-vous, Dormez-vous?||Are you sleeping, are you sleeping?|
|Sonnez les matines, Sonnez les matines.||Morning bells are ringing, morning bells are ringing.|
|Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong.||Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong.|
This song can be sung as a 'round', which is when one person or group starts the song, and when they arrive at the end of the first verse, the second person or group begins.
- "French language." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 31 Mar 2006, 16:33 UTC. 2 Apr 2006, 06:51 .
- French Wikibook
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