Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001
Welcome to the Self-Access Centre materials database
The SAC is here to provide you with opportunities to study French outside class time. If you need advice and guidance on what to study, you should talk to your class tutor, who will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and make recommendations on what to study.
A bit about the language
French (français) is a Romance language globally spoken as a mother tongue by about 110 million people. Around 190 million people speak French as a second language, and an additional 200 million speak it as an acquired foreign language. French speaking communities are present in 57 countries and territories. Most native speakers of the language live in France. The rest live essentially in Canada (particularly Quebec, but with speakers and dialects across Canada, especially in Ontario and New Brunswick), Belgium, (particularly Wallonia and Brussels), Switzerland (Geneva, Vaud, Neuchâtel, Jura and also Fribourg, Valais, Bern), French-speaking Africa (31 countries, including Cameroon, Gabon, Côte d'Ivoire), Luxembourg, Monaco, and certain parts of the U.S. states of Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Most second-language speakers of French live in Francophone Africa, arguably exceeding the number of native speakers. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the Francophone country with the largest population.
It is an official language in 28 countries, most of which form what is called, in French, La Francophonie, the community of French-speaking nations. It is an official language of all United Nations agencies and a large number of international organizations. According to a survey of the European Commission, French is the fourth-most widely spoken mother tongue in the European Union. It is also the third-most widely understood language in the EU In addition, prior to the mid 20th century, French served as the pre-eminent language of diplomacy among European and colonial powers as well as a lingua franca among the educated classes of Europe. As a result of France's extensive colonial ambitions between the 17th and 20th centuries, French was introduced to America, Africa, Polynesia, and the Caribbean.