Image by Léonard Cotte

At the beginning of the 21st century, French was an official language of more than 25 countries. In France and Corsica about 60 million individuals use it as their first language, in Canada more than 7.3 million, in Belgium more than 3.9 million, in Switzerland (cantons of NeuchâtelVaudGenèveValaisFribourg) more than 1.8 million, in Monaco some 80,000, in Italy some 100,000, and in the United States (especially MaineNew Hampshire, and Vermont) some 1.3 million. Furthermore, more than 49 million Africans—in such countries as BeninBurkina FasoBurundiCameroon, the Central African RepublicChadCongo (Brazzaville)Congo (Kinshasa)Côte d’Ivoire, DjiboutiEquatorial GuineaGabonGuineaMadagascarMaliMauritaniaMoroccoNigerRwandaSenegalTogo, and Tunisia—use French as a first or second language, and millions of inhabitants of VietnamLaos, and Cambodia use it as their principal international language. Many creole French speakers too use standard French in formal situations.

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