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Will French be the world’s most-spoken language by 2050?

AFP

If the consensus seems to be that France is in a bad mood these days, one thing might cheer the country’s citizens up: despite reports to the contrary, their language is alive and well.

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A recent study by French investment bank Natixis suggests that French could be the most-spoken language – ahead of even English and Mandarin – within 40 years.

That projection, which estimates 750 million French speakers by 2050, is based on the fact that the language is spoken in the fastest-growing areas of the world, particularly sub-Saharan Africa.

The methodology of the study has been disputed, notably by Forbes, since it counts all inhabitants of countries in which French is an official language as Francophone.

Still, the report comes as good news for defenders of the French tongue, which remains an official language of major international bodies like the UN, EU and Olympics Committee.

The Natixis report comes on the heels of a New York Times article about a French-language renaissance in New York – at least in public schools, where bilingual French-English curriculums are becoming increasingly common and popular.

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