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10 Unique Things About the French Language

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It takes years and years to master a language. Even when you’ve finally got it mastered, there’s still so much to learn! It’s easy to understand how intimidating learning a new language can be. French is no different. 

French is a beautiful language and is the spoken word in the city of love, Paris. However, the language can be confusing. Just like English, there’s no shortage of quirks in the French language. 

DayTranslations laid out some unique aspects to the French language; 

How many people actually speak French?

There are 80 million native French speakers and only roughly 65 million of them are actually from France. However, that’s not all – there are an additional 190 million who speak French as an additional language. In fact, French and English are the only two languages that are taught in every single country. 

Where is it spoken?

French is the official language of 29 countries! That’s only second to English. Did you know it was the official language of Switzerland? No matter where you land on the globe, if you don’t find someone who speaks English, you might be able to find someone who speaks French. 

There are almost 10 million French speakers in Canada, where both English and French are the native languages. Interestingly enough, French was actually the native language in England for more than 600 years. Today, 23% of the English population speaks French. 

What’s up with the numbers? 

Unfortunately for some, counting isn’t as easy as une, deux, trois… There’s some math involved. This language doesn’t have a very literal translation for the English words; seventy, eighty, or ninety. Instead, 70 turns out to be “soixante-dix” or seventy-ten and so on. They base the language on the “vigesimal system.” This means they base the latter half numbers on a base of 20, rather than 10 like English. 

Culture: An Essential Part of Learning Any Language

Most people know the basics of ballet are from France but did you know that it’s actually the official language of the art? Ballet is a historically French and originated in the 15th century

When it comes to slang, just like English, it can be hard to keep up with. Slang varies from region to region and from age to age. Contrary to popular belief, “Oh là là” isn’t used to express sensuality. It’s mostly used in a silly way to compliment someone but is also used to express disgust or disdain. 

A part of French slang is to invert the syllables of the words you’re saying such as “cimer” for Merci.

If you’re ready to start learning this beautiful language, check out Cudoo’s online French courses you can do right from the comfort of your own home!

What’s your favorite French quirk? Let us know in the comments!

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About the author

Mackenzie Xanthos

Mackenzie, our U.S. Marketing Associate, studied Journalism at Hofstra University. She's passionate about education, the French language, and mental health.

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