Learn French

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About French

This is the language as it is spoken in France. French is also an official language in 29 countries across five different continents. The majority of the world’s French speaking population lives in Africa where it is spoken mainly as a second language. Different French dialects have their own pronunciation, see uTalk French Canadian, but speaking one will broadly help you understand another. French is called a Romance language after the Romans because it evolved from Latin.

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Fun facts — French

  • In French ‘une baguette’ literally means ‘a stick’, so a magic wand (as in the story Harry Potter) translates as ‘une baguette magique’ and chopsticks as ‘les baguettes chinoises’.
  • If someone says 'la moutarde me monte au nez' - the mustard is going up my nose - it means they're getting angry.
  • In Maori, the aboriginal language of New Zealand, France is known as ‘wiwi’ from the French for yes, yes, ‘oui, oui’!
  • The Académie française, established in 1635, has the task of keeping an eye on the French language and making sure not too many English words sneak in. One example of its success has been to install 'ordinateur' and 'courriel' instead of the English 'computer' and 'e-mail'.

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