French Placement Test: Click here to find out which level class to take.

French is spoken on five continents by over 300 million speakers, and is classified as the fifth language in the world when including second language speakers. Geopolitically, it is the world’s second official language: the Organisation International de la Francophonie (OIF), created in 1970, has 80 member states of which over 30 have French as an official language. Furthermore, French is an official working language of international organizations including the UN, UNESCO, NATO, and the IOC. French is also cited as the language most often required or requested for international jobs by the US State Department and, according to the OIF, French is the fourth most important language of the Internet.

A world leader in technology and scientific research, France is the home of the Minitel (precursor to www online services), the TGV or Train à Grande Vitesse (one of the fastest trains in the world), the Institut Pasteur (a leader in medical research which first isolated the AIDS virus), and Airbus (one of the world’s principal aerospace engineering firms). France is also a major research partner in the field of high energy physics, and shares with French-speaking Switzerland the CERN complex, the world’s most sophisticated atom smasher.

France has important commercial ties to the US, with over 200 French companies active in Florida. France is the 9th largest trading partner for the US, while the US is France’s top trading partner outside of Europe. French is also an official language of Canada, the US’s largest trading partner. Mastery of French thus leads to many opportunities in international business.

Alongside its modern achievements, France is well known for its luxury products such as perfumes, wines, and designer fashions, as well as its cultural icons including many authors, actors, film makers, singers, and painters, of which the French are very proud. Knowledge of the French language, along with its rich cultural heritage, can therefore be important assets to any business relationship involving the French.

The Importance of French

For more information on the importance of studying French, please consider watching the "The World Speaks French" video series, highlighting all of the global business benefits that it can provide. Additionally, please visit the article "A French Company in Every State" to understand how prevalent French is in the whole world.


To receive more information about majoring in French and Francophone Studies, minoring in French Language and Culture, or pursuing a Professional Certificate in French Language and Culture, or questions about specific courses in French, please contact the Department of Modern Languages at 305-348-2851 or any of the instructors below.