The 5 Official French-Speaking Countries of Europe


When lots of Americans think about French, they envision the Eiffel Tower, baguettes, and trips on the French Riviera. As a main language in 29 nations, French is an international language. You can discover among the over 300 million French speakers on every continent, consisting of a French research study station in Antarctica.

Europe has the 2nd greatest concentration of French speakers on the planet. The continent with the greatest is Africa. Europe boasts 68 million native Francophones and an approximated 80 million speakers amount to. It assists that speaking 2 or more languages prevails on the continent.

Every part of the world where French is spoken has its own dialect formed by the regional culture, history, and other languages spoken close by. These dialects are basic and equally intelligible French is comprehended in many of the Francophone world, finding out the qualities of other dialects will assist you communicate with residents while taking a trip and value the appeal and range of the language.

Rosetta Stone can assist you broaden your French horizons into Europe and beyond with appealing lessons and finding out tools. Find out more about French-speaking nations in Europe listed below orjump right into a Rosetta Stone lesson

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Which nations in Europe speak French?

French is the 2nd most commonly spoken native language in the European Union, and France isn’t the only nation in Europe where French is a main language. In numerous nations, it holds the status of co-official language together with others. In each French-speaking nation, the regional culture and affects of other languages spoken in the location shape the dialect. Francophone nations in Europe consist of:

  • French (obviously)
  • Belgium
  • Switzerland
  • Luxembourg
  • Monaco

Out of these nations, French is the sole main language in 2 of them: France and Monaco. In the rest, French shares the bestow several other languages:

  • Belgium: French, Dutch
  • Switzerland: French, Italian, German
  • Luxembourg: French, German, Luxembourgish

These nations reveal that linguistic borders aren’t as stiff as the verge on a map!

Differences in French throughout Europe

Let’s have a look at how French achieved main language status in different nations, recognize the languages that share this difference, and check out the distinctions in between each dialect and basic French.



The birth place of the French language is, obviously, France. Like all Romance languages, French developed from Vulgar Latin, which is what linguists call casual Latin dialects spoken in the Roman Empire. The Celtic languages of Northern Gaul and the Germanic languages spoken by the armies that got into after the Roman Empire likewise affected early French.

The “basic” French dialect taught in a lot of scholastic settings and mostly spoken in Paris is called Metropolitan French. Producing this basic took a great deal of effort over centuries, consisting of developing L’académie Française in the 17th century as a governing body of the language and intentional policies in the 19th century to eliminate minority and local languages. The academy continues to govern the French language as it alters and grows today. Spelling reform and gender neutral language are 2 present disputes on the future of French.

Metropolitan French is not the only dialect spoken in l’hexagone ( a typical French term utilized to explain France). Meridional French, likewise called Franctican, is a local dialect spoken in the south of France, a lot of plainly in Marseille, Avignon, and Toulouse. Thanks to the impact of Occitan, a historical local language, some vowel noises are more nasal and the e at the end of some words is noticable. If you’re brand-new to French, these 100+ basic phrases are a fantastic location to begin.



Belgium is a culturally and linguistically varied nation. At the time of its self-reliance, French was commonly utilized for literature, culture, and the arts. Lots of legislators proposed that it must be the recently independent nation’s sole main language, however Dutch speakers pressed back on this choice.

Today, the 2 dominant languages in Belgium are Dutch and french. The previous is mostly spoken in the Wallonia area, which surrounds France. The latter is mostly spoken in the Flemish area, which surrounds the Netherlands. The majority of Francophone Belgians can comprehend Metropolitan French,

  • . Pronunciation distinctions consist of:
  • Clearer vowel pronunciation
  • The W is pronounced with a V noise, comparable to the German pronunciation of the letter
  • Many individuals explain the Belgian accent as more nasal than Metropolitan French

In some areas, Belgian French speakers utilize a more guttural R noise. The outcome is someplace in between a Spanish “erre” and a rhotic R The vocabulary distinctions that are probably to come up in life are the Belgian streamlined number system and changing pouvoir with savoir While Metropolitan French utilizes soixante-dix for 70 and quatre-vingt for 90, Belgians utilize much less mathematics with septante and huitante.

This can be a big relief for French students, given that numbers can be difficult! Savoir ( to understand, to understand how) is a typical verb in all French dialects, however it’s a lot more typical in Belgium. In Belgian French, the verb is regularly utilized when other dialects would utilize pouvoir ( can, to be able to).

” Tu sais me passer le sel?” would sound weird to a Parisian. Naturally they understand how to pass the salt. To a Belgian Francophone, it suggests “can you pass me the salt?” Linguists think this peculiarity originates from an old requirement that altered in France, however hung on in Belgium. Here are a couple of other significant

Belgicismes :
Belgian French Word English Meaning
A tantôt! See you quickly!
Je te dis quoi I’ll let you understand
Un GSM A cellular phone
Je te sonne I’ll call you
Faire la file To line up/stand in line
Un bic A pen Le déjeuner Breakfast,
le petit-déjeuner in basic French Le dîner Lunch or mid-day meal,
le déjeuner in basic French Le souper Dinner or dinner,

le dîner

in basic FrenchSwiss French Switzerland

  • Switzerland is a multilingual nation whose culture has actually been formed by the Alps and the nations that surround it. The nation’s 3 dominant languages are French, German, and Italian. 22 percent of the Swiss population speaks French as a mother tongue.
  • pronunciation is just a little various from Metropolitan French. The distinctions that do exist consist of:
  • Clearer pronunciation of word endings
  • Swiss Francophones typically speak more gradually and articulate more plainly than speakers of other French dialects Syllable tension in some words and rhythm of some sentences is various from French spoken in other areas Slight distinction in between brief and long vowel noises. mettre ( to put) and maître ( instructor) sound the exact same in Metropolitan French, however various in Swiss French Many German loanwords have actually crossed into Swiss French. Here are a couple of examples: Swiss French Word Original German Word English Meaning Une action Aktion advertising project Le foehn der Föhn hairdryer Poutzer Putzen

    To tidy

    Mutr Mutter
    mom Vatr
    dad Swiss Francophones utilize the exact same streamlined number system and words for meals as Belgians. Here are some other Swiss-French words and expressions to understand:
    Swiss French word English Meaning
    Adieu Hello/Goodbye
    While Standard French utilizes this word just when biding farewell to somebody you do not prepare to see once again, the Swiss usage it more like the Italian “ciao” Un bancomat
    An ATM Bonnard
    Nice (casual) Une bonne-main
    A tip/gratuity Ça joue?
    Does that work? Un cornet A plastic shopping bag Sans autre
    No issue Santé! Bless you!


    You’re welcome! (reduced kind of

    À votre service


    Un natel

    A cellular phone Luxembourg Luxembourg is a little nation that surrounds Belgium, France, and Germany. The land that is now called Luxembourg had actually been owned by much of its surrounding powers before ending up being independent in 1815. This history is shown in their multilingual society. Though their main language is Luxembourgish, German and french are both commonly spoken. French is the main language of Luxembourg’s legislature and French, German, and Luxembourgish are all utilized for administrative functions. At the time when the nation was established, French speakers had prominent status in politics. That status continues to form what settings the language is utilized in though the demographics in the nation have actually altered. Though just 16 percent of locals declare French as their native language, 98 percent speak it at a high level. Most of Luxembourg’s individuals can speak 2 or more languages conversationally. School kids are taught in Luxembourgish initially, then German, then French. By secondary school, a lot of direction remains in French. The French spoken in Luxembourg is better to Metropolitan French than the Swiss and belgian dialects, however the little vocabulary and pronunciation distinctions that do exist originated from the German impact. Some would explain the Luxembourg Francophone accent as clearer and more Germanic than French accents. Luxembourgish, in turn, is affected by German and french. Basic German is its closest contemporary relative– so close that there is some argument amongst linguists if it’s its own language or a West Central German dialect. However, French words like merci ( thank you), pardon ( excuse me),



    ( fridge),



    ( truck) have actually crossed over. There are even Luxembourgish substance words that are half German and half French. They call the primary meal of a meal the “Haaptplat” from the German word “haat” (primary) and the French word fun, immersive environment plat immediate pronunciation feedback( meal).


Monaco is a microstate situated in the French Riviera. It’s best called a location for the rich that avoid in between beachfront residential or commercial property and the Monte Carlo Casino. French is its main language. (*) At 28 percent of the population, French nationals are the bulk in Monaco, making Monacan residents a minority in their own nation. Rich French nationals typically transfer to Monaco to make the most of their low tax rates. Italian is likewise a typical mother tongue. Monaco does not have its own French dialect, however they consult with a Southern French accent. (*) It’s worth keeping in mind that France was not constantly the dominant language of Monaco. Before France annexed the area in 1893, locals spoke Monégasque, a dialect of Ligurian. It almost passed away out in the 1920s before the federal government made a point to protect it in the years that followed. Today, native Monégasque speakers are unusual, however lots of locals of Monaco speak it as a 2nd language. (*) Explore French-speaking nations and beyond with Rosetta Stone(*) Whether you’re interested in discovering more about chocolate making in Belgium or snowboarding down the slopes in Switzerland, French can assist you take advantage of your journeys in France and beyond! (*) Rosetta Stone can assist you find out French intuitively– without the dull memorization. Discover in a (*) all while getting (*) within every lesson!(*) Written by Luca Harsh(*)


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