List French Speaking Countries

Valorie Delp
French sign

Can you list French speaking countries? Most people would get France and maybe a few countries in Africa or in the Caribbean, but French is an incredibly popular language spoken in over 53 countries. It is spoken by 118 million people as a native language, and by about 260 million more people as a second or third language.

A List of French Speaking Countries

Here is the list of all the countries where you are more than likely to hear a little French!

North America

  • Canada- Canada is a fully bilingual country and French and English are the official languages throughout Canada. However, you will hear French spoken almost exclusively in the areas of Québec and Acadia. (Acadia speaks a dialect of French.)
  • Haiti - Sharing the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic, Haiti declared its independence in 1804 (although it wasn't until later that other nations recognized them as such.) The official languages are French and Haitian Creole.

Europe

  • Belgium - French is one of three official languages in Belgium. French is spoken predominantly in the southern half of Belgium. While there are some differences in pronunciation and words, for the most part Belgian French is going to sound the same as a neutral French in France.
  • France - Of course most francophones live in France.
  • Luxembourg - This tiny European country that stands in the divide between Germany and France, is trilingual. Luxembourgish, German and French are all three official languages.
  • Monaco - Monaco is a tiny country completely enclosed by France. While it is an independent constitutional monarchy, France is responsible for its defense. The official language is solely French.
  • Switzerland - Living up to its neutral reputation, Switzerland boasts four official languages including French, Italian, German and Romansh.

Africa

  • Benin - French is the official language spoken in Benin. It was a colony of France until 1960, when it was granted full independence.
  • Burkina Faso - French is the official language of Burkina Faso, however, they also recognize a couple of regional dialects. They were granted full independence from France in 1960.
  • Burundi - French, is one of three official languages in Burundi. (Swahili and Kirundi are the other two official languages.) Burundi along with Rwanda formed the Belgian colony Ruanda-Urundi. In 1962, Burundi declared its independence from Belgium and called for Rwanda and Burundi to be separated. Burundi has been plagued with ethnic violence.
  • Cameroon - French and English are the official languages of Cameroon. After WWI, German-controlled Cameroon was divided between the English and French. However in the early 1960's both portions of Cameroon gained their independence and formed the United Republic of Cameroon.
  • Central African Republic - French and the African language of Sango are spoken here. The Central African Republic was formed when they gained their independence from France in 1958.
  • Chad-The official languages of Chad are French and Arabic, however, Chad is home to over 200 ethnic and linguistic groups.
  • The Comoros-The official languages of these African islands are Arabic and French. The Comoros consists of four islands and one of the islands, Moyette, is still considered an overseas territory of France.
  • Democratic Republic of Congo - French and the local language of Lingala are the official languages. The Democratic Republic of Congo was a Belgian colony.
  • Djibouti - This African country gained its independence from France in 1977. Its official languages are French and Arabic.
  • Gabon - Another country that was once part of French Equatorial Africa, the official language is French.
  • Guinea - Formerly known as French Guinea, this African country was the first to gain independence from France in 1958. French is the sole official language.
  • Côte d'Ivoire - Like many countries, the Côte d'Ivoire was a French colony and gained independence in 1960. It's official language is French.
  • Madagascar-This island nation is tri-lingual; its official languages including English, Malagasy as well as French. It is an autonomous nation within the French community.
  • Mali - Mali declared its independence from France in 1960. French is the sole official language of Mali.
  • Niger - Hausa and French are the two official languages of this African country. Similar to other African countries in the region, it was once a French colony and declared its independence from France in 1960.
  • Republic of Congo - While the official language of the Congo is French, the country does recognize other local languages and dialects.
  • Rwanda - You are likely to hear Kinyarwanda, French or English in the part of Africa.
  • Senegal - Although French is the official working language of Senegal, you are also likely to hear Wolof which is regionally recognized and spoken by 94% of the Senegalese.
  • Seychelles-This African island nation speaks both French and Seychellois Creole along with English.
  • Togo - Another country in Africa that gained its independence from France in 1960, French is the sole official language of Togo, although you'll likely hear a variety of tribal dialects.

South Pacific

  • French Polynesia- Tahiti, and several other islands of French Polynesia, use French as an official language, alongside Tahitian.
  • Vanuatu - Vanuatu is a South Pacific island where French is an official language, along with Bislama and English.
  • New Caledonia- Although it could become an independent state in the near future, this South Pacific island is still part of the French Republic, and still uses French as its official language.
  • Iles de Hoorn- Two French islands: Wallis & Futuna and Alofi make up this pair that are still part of France and use French as an official language.

Other Countries Where You Might Hear French

While French has no official status, the following countries have been in some way, shape, or form, been influenced by France and consequently you are likely to hear at least some French spoken in these countries as well:

  • Albania (Europe)
  • Algeria (Africa)
  • Andorra (Europe)
  • Bulgaria (Europe)
  • Cambodia (Asia)
  • Cape Verde (Archipelago off west coast of Africa)
  • Dominica (Caribbean)
  • Egypt (Africa)
  • Equatorial Guinea (Africa)
  • Greece (Europe)
  • Guinea-Bissau (Africa)
  • Laos (Asia)
  • Lebanon (Middle East)
  • Morocco (Africa)
  • Macedonia (Europe)
  • Mauritania (Mauritania)
  • Mauritius (Island off African coast)
  • Moldova (Europe)
  • Romania (Europe)
  • Saint-Lucia (Carribean)
  • Sao-Tomé et Principe (Island off of African coast)
  • Tunisia (Africa)
  • Vietnam (Asia)

As you can see by this list, the French have exerted influence far and wide throughout the world. It is one of the most popular languages spoken. .

List French Speaking Countries