African French

African French
français africain
Tunis(js)8.jpg
French-language graffiti on Avenue Habib Bourguiba in Tunis, in March 2012. The graffiti says: "LONG LIVE TUNISIA (Vive la Tunisie), free and democratic".
RegionAfrica
Native speakers
141 million (2018)[1]
Early forms
Dialects
  • West African French
  • Maghreb French
  • Djibouti French
  • Indian Ocean French
  • Eastern African French
Latin (French alphabet)
French Braille
Official status
Official language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3
IETFfr-002
Francophone Africa.png
Francophone Africa. The countries coloured dark blue had a population of 442.1 million in 2020.[2] In 2050, their population is forecast to reach between 845 million[3] and 891 million.[4]
A man from Labé, Guinea, speaking Pular and West African French

African French (French: français africain) is the generic name of the varieties of the French language spoken by an estimated 141 million people in Africa in 2018,[1][5] spread across 34 countries and territories.[Note 1] This includes those who speak French as a first or second language in these 34 African countries and territories (dark and light blue on the map), but it does not include French speakers living in other African countries. Africa is thus the continent with the most French speakers in the world.[6][7] French arrived in Africa as a colonial language; these African French speakers are now a large part of the Francophonie.

In Africa, French is often spoken alongside indigenous languages, but in a number of urban areas (in particular in Central Africa and in the ports located on the Gulf of Guinea) it has become a first language, such as in the region of Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire,[8] in the urban areas of Douala and Yaoundé in Cameroon or in Libreville, Gabon. In some countries it is a first language among some classes of the population, such as in Tunisia, Morocco, Mauritania and Algeria, where French is a first language among the upper classes along with Arabic (many people in the upper classes are simultaneous bilinguals in Arabic/French), but only a second language among the general population.[citation needed]

In each of the francophone African countries, French is spoken with local variations in pronunciation and vocabulary.

  1. ^ a b Observatoire de la langue française de l’Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. "Estimation du nombre de francophones (2018)" (PDF). Retrieved 2020-11-24.
  2. ^ Population Reference Bureau. "2020 World Population Data Sheet - Population mid-2020". Retrieved 2020-11-24.
  3. ^ United Nations. "World Population Prospects: The 2019 Revision" (XLSX). Retrieved 2019-09-28.
  4. ^ Population Reference Bureau. "2020 World Population Data Sheet - Population mid-2050". Retrieved 2020-11-24.
  5. ^ Observatoire démographique et statistique de l'espace francophone (ODSEF). "Estimation des populations francophones dans le monde en 2018 - Sources et démarches méthodologiques" (PDF). Retrieved 2020-11-24.
  6. ^ Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF). "La langue française dans le monde" (PDF) (2019 ed.). p. 38. Retrieved 2020-11-24.
  7. ^ Chutel, Lynsey. "French is now the fifth most spoken world language and growing—thanks to Africans". Quartz Africa. Retrieved 2020-09-30.
  8. ^ (in French) Le français à Abidjan : Pour une approche syntaxique du non-standard by Katja Ploog, CNRS Editions, Paris, 2002


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