Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Franco-phony?

Even though the news got somewhat unnoticed, yesterday was also The International Day of Francophonie.
If you don't know what 'Francophonie' is, well here's a short definition: "it designates the community of people and countries using French. It is also an international organisation of French-speaking countries and governments. 49 states and governments are members of the organisation". (dont' kid yourself, French is the sole major language of only a few of them!)
Francophonie is also a term used to "designate the geographical area where French is spoken".

Superfrenchie (the epitome of French 'defense' blog... sometimes lacking too much distance and humor for my taste ) has this to say:
  • French, along with English, is one of the only 2 languages spoken on all continents.
  • French is the most studied language in the world after English, and is the 9th most used language in the world.
  • 175 million people in the world speak French. 110 million speak it as their only language and 65 million as a secondary language.
  • French is the official language of 29 countries.
  • 11% of Africans speak French. That’s a larger number than the number of French speakers in Europe.
  • There are more than 700,000 French speakers in the United States.
  • English makes up 45% of Internet pages, for than German (7%), and French (5%). 90% of all world languages are not represented on the Internet.
Personally, I am not a big fan of Francophonie, but I'll keep it at that for now....

NOTE1: One recent stepback for Francophonie:
Algeria decided to close 42 French-language schools because they have failed to teach mainly in Arabic. The decision by Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika`s government was made on grounds of 'linguistic deviation,' and is a blow to France`s effort to keep French as a second language in its former colonies, reports The Times of London. The decision was criticized by Algerian parents in the French media, the report said. Publicly the French government said the decision was an internal matter of Algeria. Privately, however, it sees it as bowing to pressure from hard-line Islamists, the report said. Officials also felt the move might be in response to the government`s resentment of the critical French-language press.
Algerian civil rights activist Mouloud Brahimi told Le Parisien the school closure 'is part of a worrying phenomenon, which is leading Muslim countries to turn in on themselves.' (source)

NOTE2: By the way did you know that Francophonie has its own flag:

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