French is the eleventh most widely-spoken language in the world.
It is the official language of 33 countries in the world and it is spoken in two of the G7 countries.
200 million people around the world understand, speak, read or write French and the language is the mother tongue of 75 million people.
French is the official language of postal services across the world and is one of the official languages of the International Red Cross.
French-speaking Africa represents an area larger than the USA.
French is the most widely taught second language after English and over 20,000 English words have their origins in French.
In terms of number of words, French is the second largest language after English.
In the humanities and the social sciences many of the most important writings have come from France.
Students and researchers who know French have access to these works for several years before they are translated into English. Many significant works are never translated and remain accessible only to those who know the language.
Historically France and the French language have had an enormous influence over American society.
France was the United States’ first ally.
French thought played a dominant role among the founders of the United States in the 18th century, and it continues to shape America today through the influence of such intellectual currents as post-structuralism and post-modernism.
In the humanities and the social sciences, many of the most important writings have come from France.
In addition, most graduate schools require knowledge of at least one foreign language, and French remains the most commonly used language after English.
One example of the importance of French can be seen in a recent listing of international jobs distributed by the US State Department: 125 required or preferred is French, 31 Spanish, 25 a UN language (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish), 10, Portuguese, 7 Arabic, 4 Russian, and 2 German.
Economically, France is Europe’s foremost investor abroad.
France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany have the lowest rates of inflation in the European Union.
This is an indicator of the health of these countries.
France is in fourth position in terms of world power and it does not have the debt problems facing many other major industrialized nations. (A positive sign for joint projects, business and scientific co-operations).
France is one of the world’s major foreign tourist destinations (60 million tourists a year).
France has the fourth largest economy in the world after the U.S., Japan and Germany.
They are the fourth largest producer of automobiles in the world (Renault, Peugeot and CitroÃ«n) and the third largest exporter.
France is also the second largest exporter of agricultural products in the world after the U.S.
They export more per capita than the Japanese and more than twice as much as the Americans. Overall, France is the fourth largest exporting nation of the world.
Of the various types of professional positions for which international organizations recruit, five required French, two Spanish, one Portuguese, and one Arabic, according to the fact sheet released by the UN Employment Information and Assistance Unit Bureau of International Organization Affairs U.S. Department of State, December 1, 2000.
The world invests in France: in 2003, France was the second largest destination of foreign investment in the world.
French companies employ approximately 500,000 Americans, and US companies employ nearly 600,000 people in France.
Among foreign countries doing business in the US, France employs the third largest number of Americans.
Science and Technology
o France will be the site of the world’s first nuclear fusion reactor, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor
o Seven of France’s top ten exports to the U.S. are industrial or high technology products.
o France is the fourth largest producer of automobiles in the world (Renault, Peugeot, CitroÃ«n) and the third largest exporter.
o France is fourth in research among countries of the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (after Japan, Germany, and the US).
o France is a major world research center in the field of high energy physics.
o The French are a world leader in medical research: the AIDS virus was first isolated by French doctors.
o The French are a leader in medical genetics (the Human Genome Project is located in Paris).
o The French are the world’s third manufacturers of electronics equipment.
o European leader in aerospace (AÃ©rospatiale, Arianespace, Airbus…).
o Most commercial satellites are put into space on French Ariane rockets.
o The fastest train (TGV) is French.
o The smart card was used on a large-scale basis in France.
o The ocean liner Queen Mary II was built in France.
o France is the world’s third military power (after the US and Russia), and has the world’s second largest defense industry i.e. exocet missiles, radar technology.)
o The French have nearly 15,000 troups on peace-keeping duties in 15 countries including Afghanistan, the Balkans, and the Ivory Coast.
o France is the world’s second largest builder and exporter of civilian and military aircraft and helicopters (Airbus is the world’s second largest fleet of commercial airliners, and many of the US Coast Guard helicopters are made by AÃ©rospatiale in Toulouse.)
o France has one of the most advanced systems of telecommunications in the world. Fiber optics were invented in France.
That is why the French language is one of the most useful languages in the whole world.
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