In 1794, a survey revealed that just 11% of Franceâ€™s population were native French speakers. By 1880, that number had risen to a mere 20%. Today, 86% of people living in France have French as their first language.
Dialects and other languages make up the rest:
- 65% – Occitan (e.g. Gascon and ProvenÃ§al)
- 10% – OÃ¯l (e.g. Picard and Poitevin-Saintongeais)
- 15% – German and German dialects (e.g. Alsatian and Lorraine)
- 55% – Arabic
Plus Basque, Breton, Catalan, Corsican, and Franco-ProvenÃ§al.
Despite what the rest of the world seems to think, a high proportion of we French can actually speak at least one other (non-French) language, with 34% of us speaking English well enough to hold a conversation!
While the French language may be directly descended from Latin, as a people, like the British, our genetic makeup is nevertheless rich in diversity, more diverse than most of Europe, actually, and it shows in our faces and our coloring. Celts, Gauls, Romans, Franks, Basques, and Vikings â€“ weâ€™re a weird and wonderful mixture!0