Indo-European > Italic > Romance > Italo-Western > Western > Gallo-Iberian > Gallo-Romance > Gallo-Rhaetian > Oïl

Spoken by: 68 millions according to, 2005

Official in: Congo-Kinshasa, France, Canada, Madagascar, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal, Mali, Rwanda, Belgium, Guinea, Chad, Haiti, Burundi, Benin, Switzerland, Togo, Central African Republic, Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Djibouti, Luxembourg, Vanuatu, Seychelles, Monaco

Spoken primarily in: France, Canada (esp. Québec), Belgium (esp. Wallonia & Brussels), Switzerland (esp. western), USA, Monaco

French belongs to the Romance languages, with other words it is a daughter language of Latin and a sister language to e.g. Spanish and Portuguese. The area where French is spoken was inhabited by the Gauls, a Celtic people, which to a great extent underwent language change to the form of Latin that was going to evolve as French. Not without leaving vocabulary traces behind. Later, the Germanic tribe of the Franks invaded the area, and even if also they changed their language, they had an influence on the language in terms of vocabulary, morphology and syntax. French developed from the dialects spoken in the north of what is now France, and spread from there. In 1634, Académie Française, an institution for the French language, was founded. In this period, French was the language of the European nobility, and you can still find lots of French loanwords in other European language, especially in culturally refined domains.