Why Study French?
Approximately 29% of the words in the English language come directly or indirectly from French. Immersive study of French provides an excellent way for young learners to grow their vocabularies organically.
There are 37 'francophone' countries (23 in Africa), in which French is either an official language (33 countries) or is spoken by at least one in five of the population. In essence, the study of French develops a person's knowledge of the culture from more locations around the globe than any other language.
Second languages studied in order of popularity in all countries of the world: English, French, Chinese, then German.
Since 2010, the numbers of those learning French as a world language have been increasing!
- UP 6% on average around the world!
- UP 7% in North Africa and the Middle East
- UP 44% in sub-Saharan Africa
- UP 4% in Asian and Oceania
- UP 2% in America and the Caribbean
Students who study French gain a competitive advantage when applying for internships or jobs requiring working knowledge of French.
French is the language spoken by our largest trading partner, Canada. The province of Quebec alone is the sixth largest trading partner of the United States with a value of trade in goods at approximately $78 billion. The U.S. accounts for 62% of foreign investment in Québec. Connecticut's yearly mechanical equipment exports to three Francophone countries (France, Canada, and Belgium) equaled $5 billion, while our exports to China equaled $1 billion.
In Connecticut, 25% of all 2015 export revenues came from countries where French is an important official language, and nearly 5,800 Connecticut companies are involved in exporting. France leads state exports largely because of demand from the French aerospace giant Airbus. The major Connecticut corporations that export to the three French markets above include Sikorsky, Westinghouse Electric / Nuclear, Pratt & Whitney, Mirion Technologies (Canberra), ABB, Hamilton-Sundstrand (of UTC), Henkel, and Kaman.
There is no substitute for conducting business with French speakers in their native language. Over 100,000 jobs in Connecticut depend on trade in Canada. French companies employ 500,000 Americans, and American companies employ 750,000 people in France. Longstanding alliances between French and American companies in numerous industries ensure a need for fluent French speakers for many years to come.
Because of the many countries in which French is spoken, it is still an international language of diplomacy. Along with English, it is the official working language of:
- the United Nations
- the International Monetary Fund
- the International Labor Bureau
- the International Olympic Committee
- the 47-member Council of Europe
- the European Community
- the International Red Cross
- the International Council of Sports Science and Physical Education
The need for Arabic speakers is steadily increasing. In many North African nations, French and Arabic co-exist as official languages. Whereas the dialects of Arabic vary widely, French is more standardized. Fluency in both languages is a highly desirable asset for people who wish to work for the U.S. State Department, international relief organizations, international commerce, and law.