what language family is french

What language Family is French?

(Last Updated On: May 19, 2022)

French Language

The French language, the world’s most influential language, is regarded as the most spoken language globally and can be heard in countries as far-flung as Canada, Africa, and various islands throughout the South Pacific. Also, after English, the French language is the second most common language in Canada, and both are considered official languages at the federal level.

Since the 17th century, the French language has been the language of diplomacy and culture in the west and is the official national language of France. Today, it is estimated that there will be approximately 500 million french speakers by 2025. But where did it come from? What language family does the French language belong to? And what other languages are related to it? Keep reading to find out!

Where does the French language fit in?

The common languages of Europe, particularly those in Western and Central Europe, belong to a larger group known as the Indo-European language family. This particular language family is not only spoken across many countries but also branched out into different subgroups over time.

These include Germanic, Romance, Slavic, and Celtic languages. Languages belonging to these groups are still being used today; however, they have evolved since their original creation. For example, Latin has grown into several Romance languages such as Spanish and Italian; Germanic was broken down into English, Dutch and Swedish; Slavic was divided into Russian and Polish; while Celtic led to Irish Gaelic. There are more than two thousand distinct dialects that fall under these groups!

The French language belongs to the Romance branch of Indo-European languages. For your information, the Edict of Villers-Cotterets (1539) established Francien as the sole official language. This was in contrast to Latin, popularized as a written form. The standard French language was introduced to replace the local french dialect. However, it did not become widely used in all regions until the late 19th century.

By the start of the 21st century, the French language was declared the official language in more than 25 countries. Even in the United States, French is the most commonly taught foreign language in schools after Spanish. On linguistic grounds, Sardinian (not the language of an independent nation since the 14th century) and Occitan (the medieval Provençal) are usually regarded as languages rather than dialects. Many Romance dialects literally or virtually ceased to be spoken in the 20th century. Other Latina inscriptions show marked differences from Roman Latin, for which there is, however, little evidence before the end of the 3rd century BCE.

language family french

It is possible that, apart from isolated pockets, the language was then replaced by Croatian and, to a lesser extent, by Venetian (a dialect of Italian). French also survived in isolated pockets along the[70]Gulf Coast of what was previously FrenchLower Louisiana, such as Aston Louis Island, Alabama, and DeLisle, Mississippi(the latter only being discovered by linguists in the 1990s), but these varieties are severely endangered or presumed extinct.CaribbeanFrench is one of two official languages in Haiti, alongside Haitian Creole.

By the early 1800s, Parisian French had become the primary language of the aristocracy in France. Although 18th-century Canadian French was regarded as exceptionally “pure” by metropolitan commentators, it began to diverge from Parisian French after 1760 as a consequence of its isolation from the metropolis and of the ever-stronger influence of English.


European French speaking nations are usually divided into two significant dialects, which, in turn, subsume many regional varieties. One example of a type of African French that is difficult to understand for European French speakers.

  • Langue d’oil
    Northern and central varieties of French, including what is today Belgium. One of the dialects of langue d’oil was françien which was spoken in Île de France. It became the basis of standard French. However, it did not become dominant in all of France, even after becoming a primary international language of culture and diplomacy.
  • Langue d’oc
    Southern varieties of French, including dialects of Switzerland and the Val d’Aosta in Italy, are closely linked to Catalan.


All French Canadian varieties differ from Standard French in pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar. Canadian French is usually divided into three types:

  • Québécois spoken in Québec. It is spoken by an overwhelming majority of Canadian francophones.
  • Franco-Ontarians have spoken in Ontario, Western Canada, Labrador, and New England. It is considered to be a very conservative dialect of French.
  • Acadiens have spoken by the Acadians in some parts of the Canadian Maritimes.


Africa has the largest population of French speakers in the world. African French varieties are spoken in 31 African countries, with the number of first- and second-language speakers exceeding 100 million. All African French varieties differ from Standard French in pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar. They are usually divided into several groups.

  • Varieties of French spoken in Western, Central, and East Africa with an estimated 75 million first and second language speakers;
  • Varieties of French, known as Maghreb French, are spoken in Northwest Africa with an estimated 36 million first and second language speakers;
  • Varieties of French spoken in the Indian Ocean (Réunion, Mauritius, and Seychelles), with an estimated 1.6 million first and second language speakers.

Southeast Asia

 Regions of French colonization

French was the official language of the colony of French Indochina, which included present-day Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. It is still the administrative language in Laos and Cambodia, although its influence has waned in recent years. [44] In colonial Vietnam, the elite mostly spoke French, while many servants who worked in French households spoke a French pidgin known as “Tai Bii” (now extinct).

After the end of French rule, South Vietnam continued to use French in administration, education, and commerce. [45] After the Fall of Saigon and the opening of Vietnam’s unified economy, French as a foreign language was gradually replaced by English. French, however, retains its colonial heritage, being a second language for the elderly and the elite; it is now being revived in higher education and continues to be the diplomatic language in Vietnam. All three countries are official members of the OIF[46].


In India, French is spoken in Pondicherry due to past French rule.


A sizable French-speaking community is also present in Israel, primarily among the communities of French Jews in Israel, Moroccan Jews in Israel, and Lebanese Jews. Many secondary schools offer French as a foreign language.


Like Lebanon, Syria was also a mandated area of ​​the French League of Nations until 1943. Still, today the group of French-speaking citizens is primarily limited to some members of the elite and middle class.

Oceania and Australia

French is the official language on the Pacific island of Vanuatu, where 45% of the population can speak French. In New Caledonia, 97% of the population can speak, read and write French, while only 1% do not speak French. In French Polynesia, 95% of the population can speak, read and write French, while only 1.5% do not speak French. In Wallis and Futuna, 78% of the population can speak, read and write French, while 17% do not speak French.


The grammar of French is historically based on the grammar of Latin. As a result, it shares many features with other Romance languages.

french language origina history

French and English Belong To

English belongs to the West Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. It evolved from the common language spoken by the Anglo, Saxon, and Jute tribes who immigrated from the European mainland to Great Britain in ancient times and spread to all parts of the world through British colonial activities.

French belongs to the Romance language family of the Indo-European language family, which includes Central Romance (French, Italian, Sardinia dialect, Catalunya, etc.), Western Romance (Spanish, Portuguese, etc.) and Eastern Romance (Romanian, etc.). It is one of the Romance languages ​​with the most significant number of French speakers after Spanish.

English and German are both Germanic languages, but English has a wide range of applications, which leads to continuous simplification because the simpler it is, the more conducive to circulation. Therefore, the grammar of English is much simpler than that of German.

But as the world’s first language in schools, there must be a disadvantage in that the pronunciation is not regular. Unlike German and French, a letter has one or several fixed sounds in any word. The irregular pronunciation is why the vocabulary of various languages ​​is constantly absorbed in the process of communication. Latin is the mother tongue of German and English. It is rarely used as a spoken language now, but many people in Europe still learn it because they have learned the grammar of Latin.

Latin America is called Latin America because they speak the Latin family. At first, they were all harassed by the two teeth. Because the two teeth thought North America was barren land, they did not go north. Later, the British came to North America. I believe it is called Latin America and Latin America. The two teeth are closely related.

Regional Accents

In some areas of the country near French-speaking Quebec, it is the language more commonly taught. PhonologyDental/AlveolarPalatal/PostalveolarVelar/UvularNasalmnɲŋStopvoicelessptkvoicedbdɡFricativevoicelessfsʃʁvoicedvzʒApproximantljlabialɥw Vowel phonemes in French expressions. Although there are many French regional accents, foreign learners normally use only one variety of the language.There are a maximum of 17 vowels in French, not all of which are used in every dialect: /a/, /ɑ/, /e/, /ɛ/, /ɛː/, /ə/, /i/, /o/, /ɔ/, /y/, /u/, /œ/, /ø/, plus the nasalized vowels /ɑ̃/, /ɛ̃/, /ɔ̃/ and /œ̃/. To simplify the learning for you, this article first introduces an overview of close and extended family members in French, then clarifies some of the common misconceptions and differences between the English and French expressions.

Alphabet French is written with the 26 letters of the basic Latin script, with four diacritics appearing on vowels (circumflex accent, acute accent, grave acute accent, diaeresis) and the cedilla appearing. In “ç.”

French does not have a particular word for a step-sibling. The dictionary would say un beau-frère and une belle-soeur or un demi-frère and une demi-soeur (the same as a half-brother or half-sister). Still, in everyday French, you might use a phrase like quasi frère or quasi soeur (almost brother, almost sister) or explain your relationship using your stepparent.

structure french language

Other Family Terms

Masculine Feminine
French English French English
Un aîné Older or oldest brother

The first-born son

Une aînée Older or oldest sister

The first-born daughter

Un cadet A younger brother

The second-born son

Une cadette A younger sister

The second-born daughter

Le benjamin The youngest child in a family La Benjamine The youngest child in a family


Special Family Terms

  • Un aîné / une aînée can refer to an older brother/sister, the oldest brother/sister, or the first-born son/daughter.
  • Un cadet / une cadette can refer to a younger brother/sister or the second-born son/daughter in a family.
  • Le benjamin / la benjamine is the youngest child in a family.
romance language french

The Romance Language

French belongs to the Romance language family of the Indo-European language family; English belongs to the West Germanic branch of the Germanic language family of the Indo-European language family; they come from the same language family in terms of linguistic classification, but due to the proximity of Britain and France and various historical reasons, they have some words.

It is very similar. It is not as good as the root of English amiable (amiable, friendly) is ami, and the word friend in French is ami (masculine, feminine is amie), which is formed by the blending of English and French. Another example, The English word homogeneous (exact nature, same kind), comes from the French homogénéité.

Romance languages are a group of languages that descend from Vulgar Latin. These tongues include Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Catalan, Romanian, and French. Romance languages. All of them are national languages that make up a big chunk of languages today—the most widely spoken first language in Europe and Southern Africa is Spanish.

Given their reach and prevalence across so many corners of our world, it’s no surprise that Romance tongues are among the most common languages worldwide: more than 6 percent of all people on Earth speak one of these Romance varieties as their native tongue.

One study analyzing the degree of differentiation of Romance languages in comparison to Latin estimated that among the languages analyzed, French has the most significant distance from Latin. Lexical similarity is 89% with Italian, 80% with Sardinian, 78% with Rhaeto-Romance, and 75% with Romanian, Spanish and Portuguese. NumeralsThe French counting system is partially vigesimal: twenty is used as a base number in the names of numbers from 70 to 99.

Classifications that are not based on family trees usually involve ranking languages according to the degree of differentiation rather than grouping them; thus, if the Romance languages are compared with Latin, it is seen that by most measures, Sardinian and Italian are least differentiated and French most.

The Germanic Languages

Of all modern languages, Germanic is spoken by most people: nearly 400 million. English and its close relatives are Germanic or Anglo-Frisian languages, but about a dozen other spoken languages fall under that umbrella. The most well-known of these are Dutch and Afrikaans. To a lesser extent, Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish also belong to Germanic.

Where Does English Fit In?

English isn’t just a Germanic tongue. It shares similarities with other languages part of a language family known as Indo-European. This includes Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, and German (as well as many others). These languages have borrowed from each other for thousands of years, so it’s difficult to pinpoint precisely where English falls within its group.

Which language is French most similar to?

The French language belongs to the Latin language family. Although it has many influences, it was initially developed from “Vulgar Latin,” which was the daily language of the Roman Empire. The French language is therefore closely related to many languages that the Roman Empire controlled around 2000 years ago. Thus, the closest languages to French, which are all Latin-based, are:

  • Catalan
  • Italian
  • Spanish
  • Portuguese

The French language is most closely related to Latin languages because of the historical trends and influences, including how they were derived. The French language is unique because of its history with Germanic influences, which allows it to share similarities with these languages.

English is the language of business and communication, with French being an element of social distinction, chosen for its emotional value. Actual usage of French varies depending on the region and social status.

French is the native language of about 23% of the Swiss population and is spoken by 50%. Along with Luxembourgish and German, French is one of the three official languages of Luxembourg, where it is generally the preferred language of business and the different public administrations. To that number may be added the not-inconsiderable number of Romance creole speakers (a creole is a simplified or pidgin form of a language that has become the native language of a community) scattered around the world.

Are French and English in the same language family?

Let’s first take a look at how English and French language originated. It’s not surprising that the languages come from different sub-groups within the Indo-European language family: Lower Germanic (English) and Romance (French). These languages have very different origins. English is a West Germanic language, and French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family.

French and English are not the same; they belong to Latin and English-German families. However, some words are spelled the same, but the pronunciation is different. There are also different intonations. French is like a small stream, and there will be no big ups and downs. There are N kinds of states, but the common ones are only direct statements, etc. Then there are some collocations. Japanese is an easy entry, and the more you learn, the more difficult it is. It is much simpler than the Chinese. The sound and shape are one, and the combination is one-word .thanks!

The two languages have many similarities. English is regarded as the language of business and communication. French, on the other hand, is a social distinction that has been chosen for its emotional appeal. The actual usage of French will vary depending on where you live and your social status.

The genealogical classification of fellow world languages

A genealogical variety of languages ​​is a grouping of the world’s languages based on family ties based on a common origin from an alleged proto-language.

Indo-European family.

Slavic group.

East Slavic subgroup:

  • Russian
  • Belorussian
  • Ukrainian

West Slavic subgroup:

  • Polish
  • Slovak
  • Czech
  • Lusatian
  • Kashubian
  • Polabian

South Slavic subgroup:

  • Bulgarian
  • Serbian
  • Croatian
  • Macedonian
  • Slovenian
  • Old Church Slavonic*

Baltic group:

  • Lithuanian
  • Latvian
  • Prussian*

German group:

North German subgroup:

  • Danish
  • Swedish
  • Norwegian
  • Icelandic

West German subgroup:

  • English
  • Deutsch
  • Dutch (Dutch)
  • Yiddish

East German subgroup:

  • Gothic*

Roman group:

  • French
  • Spanish
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Moldavian
  • Romanian
  • Romansh
  • Latin*

Celtic Group:

  • Irish
  • Scottish
  • Welsh
  • Breton
  • Gallic*

Albanian group:

  • Albanian

Greek Group

Greek group:

  • Modern Greek

Ancient Greek*

  • Indian group:
  • Hindi
  • Urdu
  • Gypsy
  • Sanskrit*

Iranian group:

  • Persian (Farsi)
  • Pashto (Afghan)
  • Kurdish
  • Tajik
  • Scythian*

Armenian group:

  • Armenian

Caucasian family:

  • Georgian
  • Adyghe
  • Abkhazian
  • Chechen

Afro-Asian (Semitic-Hamitic) family:

  • Arab
  • Hebrew
  • Ancient Egyptian*

Basque (outside families).

Sino-Tibetan family:

  • Chinese

Ural family.

Finno-Ugric group:

  • Hungarian
  • Finnish
  • Estonian
  • Karelian
  • Mari
  • Udmurt
  • Mordovian

Samoyed group:

  • Nenets

Altai family.

Turkic group:

  • Turkish
  • Kyrgyz
  • Uzbek
  • Azerbaijani
  • Yakut
  • Turkmen
  • Kazakh
  • Tatar

Mongolian group:

  • Mongolian

Languages ​​of the Far East:

  • Japanese
  • Korean

Niger-Congo family:

  • Bantu
  • Zulu

Paleo Asian family:

  • Chukchi
  • Eskimo

What is a language branch?

A language family is a group of languages descended from the same parent or common ancestral languages. A language family is a group of languages that share significant similarities in phonology and morphology. Subdivisions within a language family are known as “branches.” English is part of the Indo-European language family. It also includes most major European languages.

French as Administrative Language

French continues to be an administrative language in Laos and Cambodia, although its influence has waned in recent decades.

Promotion of French Language

On March 20, 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron announced in Paris that France will strengthen the promotion of French on a global scale and plans to make French the third largest language in the world by 2050. France plans to increase the number of French speakers worldwide to over 700 million by 2050, up from 274 million today. To achieve this goal, France will focus on strengthening the promotion of the French in Africa.

The new strategy to strengthen the promotion of French includes three parts: encouraging “learning” in French, “spreading” in French, and “creating” in French, covering more than 30 specific measures such as strengthening the training of French teaching staff and strengthening the export of French cultural industries.

  • Retrieved 24 November 2020.United Nations.”World Population Prospects: The 2019 Revision”(XLSX).


What is the French acute accent?

The acute accent, or accent aigu, can only be used on the letter E in French. It’s called e accent aigu or just é, pronounced [e] with the accent (more or less like “ay”). The acute accent transforms the vowel’s sound to [e], as represented by the latter.

Is French the language of business?

Yes, we can say that with English, French is the language of business. For many years, French was the “world language” for commerce and diplomacy. It is still an official language of the United Nations, NATO, the World Trade Organization, and the International Olympic Committee. Assuring that your organization communicates in French means, you’re in good company!

When was French the international language of business?

French replaced Latin as the most prominent language of diplomacy and international affairs in the 17th century (lingua franca).

Why is French the most important language?

French is a language that reflects France’s rich cultural and historical heritage and the Francophonie worldwide. It is an international diplomatic language, a worldwide corporate language, and a top internet language, indicating French’s expanding prominence.

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