Geographical distribution of French speakers
Overview of the geographical distribution of French speakers / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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French language became an international language in the Middle Ages, when the power of the Kingdom of France made it the second international language, alongside Latin. This status continued to grow into the 18th century, by which time French was the language of European diplomacy and international relations.
According to the 2022 report of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), 409 million people speak French. The OIF states that despite a decline in the number of learners of French in Europe, the overall number of speakers is rising, largely because of its presence in African countries: of the 212 million who use French daily, 54.7% are living in Africa. The OIF figures have been contested as being inflated due to the methodology used and its overly broad definition of the word francophone. According to the authors of a 2017 book on the world distribution of the French language, a credible estimate of the number of "francophones réels" (real francophones), that is, individuals who speak French on a daily basis either as their mother tongue or as a second language, would be around 130 million.