10 Reasons to Study French
- You will find French speakers on all continents around the world. French is the native language of some 200 million people and is the second language of millions more. In Europe, it is spoken in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg. In the Americas, it is an official language of Canada and spoken in the Carribbean.
- It is the language of the well educated in parts of Southeast Asia, North Africa and much of Western and Central Africa. Being able to speak French is an asset for anyone interested in working in international organizations such as the Peace Corps.
- French is a key language in the European Union of twenty five nations, the world's largest economic entity with a population of 350 million and a gross national product larger than the United States.
French is also an official working language in the United Nations, UNESCO, NATO, the International Red Cross and international courts. Proficiency in French is a prerequisite for anyone planning on a career in international organizations.
- French is a language for learning other languages. It is a very good base for learning Romance languages (Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian) as well as English, since 50% of current English vocabulary is derived from French.
- French is a language of business. Today, American companies have over 2,000 subsidiaries in France, and French companies have over 600 subsidiaries in the United States. More than 800,000 jobs in the US require French. Major corporations with headquarters or subsidiaries in the United States and France include Du Pont, Hewlett-Packard, Xerox, Apple Computer, Michelin, Renault, Bic and many more.
- French is a language of technology and medicine. Dr. Luc Montagnier discovered HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The Chunnel under the English Channel, the TGV high speed trains, and the Concorde are only a few examples of recent French technological advances.
- French fashion designers, artists, writers, musicians, chefs and filmmakers have had a wide influence in the United States and the rest of the world. Learning French grants access to new horizons. One can delve into the worlds of fashion, art, cuisine and literature, just by saying 'Bonjour'. A French lesson is a journey into the world of fashion, gastronomy, the arts, literature and architecture.
- Impressionist painters like Monet, musicians like Ravel and Boulez, novelists like Flaubert and Camus have had an influence on world culture. Many recent American films like Three Men and a Baby or Point of No Return are remakes of French movies. Where would Julia Child be without French cuisine? Who hasn't heard of Christian Dior, Chanel, and Pierre Cardin?
- French is the language of influential, religious, and intellectual movements. Jean Calvin helped define Protestantism; Enlightment writers like Voltaire championed human rights; Simone de Beauvoir was a prominent feminist, and Michel Foucault was a founder of postmodernism.
- French is a language of tourism. France is the world's number-one tourist destination and attracts more than 70 million visitors a year. Quebec also offers a taste of Europe in North America. A little French makes it so much more enjoyable to visit Paris and all the regions of France. From the mild climes of the Côte d'Azur to the snow-capped peaks of the Alps.