French (français)

French is a Romance language spoken by about 265 million people in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada, Switzerland, Italy, the USA, Lebanon, French Guiana, north, west and central Africa, Madagascar, a number of islands in the Indian Ocean, Haiti and other Caribbean islands, Indochina, New Caledonia, the New Hebrides and the French Pacific Territories.

The French language is descended from Latin and first appeared in writing in 842 AD when it was used in the Strasbourg Oaths. Before then Latin was the language used for literature throughout Europe. During the 10th and 11th centuries, French appeared in a number of documents and religious writings, but French literature didn't start to take off until the late 12th / early 13th century. The first great work of French literature was the 'Chanson de Roland' (Song of Roland), which was published in about 1200.

The French alphabet (l'alphabet français)
A a B b C c D d E e F f G g H h I i J j K k L l M m
[ɑ] [be] [se] [de] [ə] [ɛf] [ʒe] [aʃ] [i] [ʒi] [ka] [ɛl] [ɛm]
N n O o P p Q q R r S s T t U u V v W w X x Y y Z z
[ɛn] [o] [pe] [ky] [ɛʀ] [ɛs] [te] [y] [ve] [dubləve] [iks] [igʀɛk] [zɛd]

A recording of the French alphabet by Pascal Couteau

French pronunciation

French pronunciation

Canadian French

Here are some of the differences in the pronunciation of Canadian French.

Canadian French

Sample text

Tous les êtres humains naissent libres et égaux en dignité et en droits. Ils sont doués de raison et de conscience et doivent agir les uns envers les autres dans un esprit de fraternité


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Information about French | French phrases | French numbers | French idioms | French colours | French grammar | Tower of Babel in French | French links | My French learning experiences | French learning materials

Find French Tutors


Information about the French language

Online French lessons

Learn French with Rocket French | AL French Pro Online French Course | Learn French with FrenchPod101 | Learn French online | French learning software

Take your French to the next level with Bien Dire audio magazine

Find French Tutors, Teachers and Lesson Help

Learn French - Complete Course from Beginner's to Advanced levels

Apprendre l'anglais, l'espagnol, le français

French Electronic talking dictionaries

French Canadian Translation Services

More French-related links

Romance languages

Aragonese, Aranese, Aromanian, Asturian, Catalan, Corsican, French, Friulian, Galician, Gallo | Genoese, Guernésiais, Italian, Jèrriais, Ladino, Ladin, Latin, Lombard, Mirandese, Moldovan, Occitan, Piedmontese, Portuguese, Romanian, Romansh, Sardinian, Sicilian, Spanish, Venetian, Walloon

Other languages written with the Latin alphabet

Learn Chinese Characters with the Omniglot Chinese app | Language Jobs at
Hosted by Kualo