French language factsheet

Written on 1 April, 2021


Over 275 million people around the world speak French. French is the Romance language of the Indo-European family and is the official language of France and is also spoken in Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, North Africa and West Africa.

Five interesting facts about the French language:

1. About 45% of modern English words are of French origin.

2. French is a Romance language which is derived from Latin, influenced over the centuries by the Celts, Romans and Vikings.

3. The French language has a large number of homophones – words having the same pronunciation but different spellings and meanings. That is why there are so many tongue twisters in French! Give this one a go – Si mon tonton tond ton tonton, ton tonton sera tondu (If my uncle shaves your uncle, your uncle will be shaved).

4. French is the official language of 29 countries.

5. Before French became the official language of France, they spoke Latin.

If you would like to work with a professional translation agency for the translation of your documents from French to English or English to French, please do get in touch with the award-winning team at Surrey Translation Bureau.

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