Metropolitan Connectivity 


Native name: français ()
ISO Code: fra
Est. L1 speakers: 76,000,000
Est. L2 speakers: 153,486,000
Est. total speakers: 229,486,000
(Co-)official in:
  1. European Union
  2. United Nations
  3. World Trade Organization


Though it has lost much ground to English over the past century or so, French continues to be one of the international languages par excellence, used as an official or co-official language in countless international and supra-national organizations – most importantly the United Nations and the European Union. Therefore, in diplomatic circles, knowledge of French is still very much de rigueur. To a somewhat lesser degree, the same also goes for "high society" circles on every continent. In addition to these points of pure prestige, speaking French will enable you to study, work, live, or do business in well over a dozen countries, most importantly in France (the world's seventh economy as of 2017), Belgium, and Québec (Canada). Professionally, the French language is extremely important in the fashion industry, as well as in hospitality, viticulture, interior design, and the humanities (particularly philosophy and social sciences). Finally, with French, you will have access to an astounding array of cultural riches, from literature to philosophy to music and film, in the native tongue of the creators.

Studying French

French Notes

Well-Known L2 (Non-Native) Speakers

  • Art, Sports, and Entertainment: Oliver Stone (director), Serena Williams (athlete), Hugh Grant (actor), Johnny Depp (actor), Marlon Brando (actor), Brad Cooper (actor), Jodie Foster (actress), Gwyneth Paltrow (actress), Anthony Bourdain (chef, TV personality), Diane Kruger (actress), Audrie Hepburn (actress), Emma Thompson (actress), Kirk Douglas (actor), John Malkovich (actor), Salvador Dalì (artist), Elle Macpherson (model), Elton John (musician), Pablo Picasso (artist), Peggy Guggenheim (socialite)
  • Literature: Ernest Hemingway (writer), A.J. Liebling (journalist, writer), Adam Gopnik (journalist, writer), Gertrude Stein (writer), Vladimir Nabokov (writer)
  • Politics: Tony Blair, Mitt Romney, Stephen Harper, John Kerry
  • Science: Eve Marder (neuroscientist)

Where French Is Spoken