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French language facts

  • The French are feeling very protective about their language with laws banning the use of non-French words from official publications and websites. French equivalents for technological achievements are being introduced by official agencies… e-mail is 'un courrier électronique' or officially albeit unused 'un mél' and a keyboard is 'un clavier'.

  • Like Italian and Spanish Latin derives from a vulgarized form of Latin. Till today the languages share many similarities.

  • French is the second most frequently taught language in the world - after English.

Some characteristics of French language

  • With its many silent letters French pronunciation can differ significantly from its spelling

  • Formal / informal address
    Deference and politeness is expressed by the switch between formal 'vous' (2nd person plural) and informal 'tú' (2nd person singular).

  • Inflection, declination and grammatical gender are important features of French grammar

  • French features 5 diacritical (accent) marks: accent aigu ´ (acute accent), accent grave ` (grave accent), accent circonflexe ˆ (circonflex), accent tréma ¨(dieresis or umlaut) and cedille ¸ (cedilla, only with letter 'c')
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