Home French Language From France to India: Forms of French Spoken Across the World

From France to India: Forms of French Spoken Across the World

From France to India: Forms of French Spoken Across the World


tall tower against blue sky, people walking in square below

Studying about several types of French will assist spherical out your information in regards to the language of affection.

In case you’re hoping to be taught French for a specific purpose—akin to journey, enterprise and even love—it will be helpful to tailor your studying to the French-speaking area you bear in mind.

Learn on for a quick historical past of the French language in addition to overviews of main French-speaking areas of the world: France, Belgium, Switzerland, Japanese Canada, Haiti, North Africa, the Congo and India.


A Transient Historical past of the French Language

Earlier than WWII, French was the lingua franca (most important language) in world politics, diplomacy, economics and tradition. This international dominance took French to a number of continents, which has made it an especially dynamic language.

Initially one among a number of native languages in France, French was spoken by the elites and royals residing within the Île-de-France Paris space. When these elites wished to exert their energy past Paris, they encountered linguistic boundaries. A royal decree gave official recognition and standing to the Parisian language with the intention to lengthen its affect all through the nation.

The French language actually gained prominence in France following the French Revolution within the late 1700s. Throughout this time, people who spoke regional languages had been severely punished, as the usage of French was meant to instill in residents a way of nationwide id and the values of the brand new French republic.

Because the language took over France, French audio system had been additionally organising communities round Europe in areas akin to modern-day Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg.

French additionally went abroad. The primary settlement of Francophones exterior of Europe was Nouvelle France (New France) in Japanese Canada within the 1500s, the place French stays the official language immediately.

Equally, as a result of French colonizers spent over a century on the African continent, French gained out on the expense of dozens of native African languages. Right now, it’s the language of administration and authorities in a number of African international locations. The truth is, nearly 60% of Francophones stay in Africa as of 2018.

French is the fifth-most spoken language on the earth, with over 300 million audio system. In case you’re a French language learner, you’ve most likely largely encountered “customary French,” which adheres to a francilien—a metropolitan Parisian accent.

Jaunts round Europe, North America, Africa and Asia, nevertheless, will expose you to different forms of French spoken on the earth immediately. So, let’s check out some main gamers in the Francophonie immediately.

French in France

When individuals consult with French from France, they normally imply the Parisian accent. Right here’s a video instance of some typical Parisian expressions:

Pay attention to these three specifically, since you’ll hear them in all places in Paris:

  • la meuf (the lady/chick)
  • le mec (the man/dude)
  • mais c’est énorme ! (it’s improbable!)

You’ll additionally discover two options of Parisian French: It’s quick and it’s very expressive. Some even say that it’s a bit excessive. Every little thing is génial, énorme, trop bien (nice, improbable, actually nice) and so forth!

Now try the identical Parisians, this time at work. In case you watch this video, you’ll instantly discover the intrusion of English phrases in on a regular basis work language:

  • la deadline (the deadline)
  • un suggestions (suggestions)
  • un brainstorm (a brainstorm)

However the French language in France is numerous and colourful! This video incorporates 28 completely different France-based French accents:

Within the southern French metropolis of Marseille, as an illustration, you may hear a basic Southern French accent, characterised by its distinctive tonality and open rhythmic intonation.

Marseillais, because it’s referred to as, can also be spoken in a short time and will be very troublesome for the untrained ear to know—for non-native and native French audio system alike!

This Marseillais is passionately expressing his opinion on the Parisians that come to Marseille and complain that it’s too scorching. Most of the phrases are mangés (have their ends lower off; actually “eaten”), and eh is added on the finish of many phrases.

French in Belgium

Round 45% of the Belgian inhabitants speaks French, which makes it a serious Francophone nation in Europe. As such, it has distinctive methods of talking the language. Listed here are 10 Belgian Francophone accents:

You seemingly observed instantly that Belgian French sounds firmer than the French of France. That is primarily as a result of affect of Dutch, additionally an official language of Belgium.

Maybe one of the crucial curious phrases in Belgian French is une chope, which implies “a beer” or “a drink,” whereas in Parisian French, the verb chopper means “to seize” or “to get.”

In case you look additional into the inconsistencies, you’ll discover another differing vocabulary and a separate counting system, amongst different issues.

Usually talking, although, the Belgian French accent is similar to the French accent of France, merely due to the 2 international locations’ proximity.

Swiss French

Shifting on to a different European nation, Switzerland is a polyglot’s heaven the place French, Italian and German are all official state languages.

Native Francophones comprise about 20% of the Swiss inhabitants. Much like the nation’s political stance on the earth, the Swiss French accent is sort of impartial. There’s not a lot of a marked distinction from Parisian French, and plenty of linguists declare that Swiss French is certainly customary French.

This episode of Straightforward French showcases typical French phrases utilized by the Swiss:

Past the accent, you’ll most likely additionally discover that Swiss Francophones have a tendency to talk a bit slower than their French counterparts, which makes Swiss French sound and really feel extra relaxed than different variations.

French in Japanese Canada

Now stopping in Francophone North America, we’ll begin with the primary French settlement on the continent, La Nouvelle France in Japanese Canada, primarily the province of Quebec.

As talked about in our temporary historical past above, the language has been spoken in Japanese Canada for the reason that early 1500s and is presently the mom tongue of about 95% of Quebec’s inhabitants, in addition to among the inhabitants of the bilingual province of New Brunswick on the Atlantic coast.

These Canadian variants of French don’t differ from their European counterparts in grammar or written expression, however do they ever on the spoken degree! Hearken to an instance right here:

Maybe essentially the most well-known and cited accent from Francophone America is that this, the Quebecois accent, presumably due to its nice and charming tonality. Linguists have stated that French from Quebec is a cultural treasure of kinds, as a result of it retains a lot of the syntax and phonetics of Previous French.

You’ll discover the affect of English in Quebecois French, as within the phrases:

  • blonde (girlfriend)
  • chum (boyfriend)
  • c’est cute (it’s cute)
  • c’est le enjoyable (it’s enjoyable)

An essential word is to by no means use the phrase meuf (lady) in Quebec as you’d in France, because it’s thought of fairly vulgar when referring to a feminine—higher to go for la fille as an alternative.

A barely completely different model of French is spoken within the coastal province of New Brunswick. Right here, two younger Acadians clarify the historical past of their language:

Acadian French has a marked Anglophone/English tonality, and sometimes the 2 languages are blended collectively.

French in Louisiana

Nonetheless in North America, there’s a notable French-speaking inhabitants within the US state of Louisiana. The French spoken there may be typically referred to as Cajun French.

Initially, there have been three most important dialects within the space: Acadian French, Colonial French and Louisiana Creole. The time period “Louisiana French” refers back to the modern-day dialect that grew out of the mixed Acadian and Colonial kinds, which you’ll be able to hear on this video:

Then again, Louisiana Creole is a mix of French and African languages. It’s very completely different from Parisian French and comes from Louisiana French as properly:

Many Louisiana Creole audio system are older, since younger individuals have a tendency to talk English, the dominant language.

The truth is, Louisiana Creole is an endangered language—it’s estimated that lower than 10,000 individuals communicate this creole immediately, and extra dramatic estimates say it’s seemingly lower than 7,000.

French in Haiti

Now it’s time to go to our southern Francophone buddies, les Haïtiens (the Haitians)!

French is the official language of Haiti, however when you ever go to the nation, you’ll discover that Haitian Creole—a mixture of African languages, Spanish, French and extra—is unquestionably the go-to language on the streets and elsewhere.

Right here’s a speech that was made on Haitian radio:

Hear these French influences?

Additionally generally known as Caribbean French, this language has comparable intonation to African French due to Haiti’s abundance of African languages and dialects. It’s price noting that it’s onerous to pinpoint such linguistic roots, nevertheless, as a result of historical past of slavery on the island.

In case you’re learning French, you gained’t be capable to perceive Haitian Creole utterly, however you’ll seemingly be capable to select the French vocabulary instantly.

And when you’re interested in Haitian Creole, listed here are the highest 20 phrases you’ll want for a visit to Haiti:

North African French

Talking of these African roots in Haitian French, let’s jump over to the African continent itself, the place French is an official language in additional than a dozen international locations.

It’s inconceivable to enter full element about African French on this publish, contemplating the sheer depth and variety, however we’ll begin by reviewing Maghreb, or North African French. It’s spoken in Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and even Egypt.

Right here’s a local Algerian lady discussing her nation in French:

Algeria, the largest nation on the African continent, is inextricably linked to France by a century of colonial rule.

The Algerian Conflict of Independence, fought in opposition to France, lasted for eight years (1954-1962). On account of this colonization, the French language has had main affect in Algeria and different North African international locations.

Maybe essentially the most important function of Maghreb French, although, is the impact of Arabic on its pronunciation, together with guttural phonetics and the usage of Arabic phrases in French sentences, and vice-versa.

French within the Congo

Introduced over by Belgian colonization, French in Central Africa is fairly completely different from that of Northern Africa, since Arabic isn’t spoken a lot within the central international locations.

For instance, the official language of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa is French, however it coexists with roughly 242 native languages… so that you wager some mixing goes to occur! Take a hear:

French sentences within the Congo naturally have a unique sort of circulate, and plenty of describe it as a bit uneven, or “lower brief,” if you’ll.

Together with Gabon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo really has one of many highest proportions of Francophones on the African continent.

French in India

For our final have a look at several types of French, we’ll head over to Asia.

Through the heyday of French colonization, France owned 5 colonies in India often called French India, largely in coastal areas of the east and south.

To this present day, the most important remaining affect of French India exists within the Puducherry space (as soon as referred to as Pondicherry), and it’s nonetheless an official language of the area. Right here’s an interview with a younger lady from Puducherry:

The French language there has had important affect from English and native languages like Tamil. For these dwelling within the area who select to be taught French, nevertheless, they could be taught by French expatriates, and subsequently develop extra of a regular French accent.

In case you’re , this highlight of Puducherry from France24 offers some extra element of French affect in India.

Why Study About Completely different Forms of French?

French accents, slang and manners of talking can change once we merely flip a nook or get off at a unique metro cease. If you wish to actually have a grasp on the language, being conscious of the several types of French is a necessity.

Possibly you need to transfer to Canada, or you’ve gotten Haitian buddies, otherwise you’re planning the last word ski trip in Switzerland—studying the French of that locale provides you with a a lot better expertise. It’ll endear you to the locals as properly!

So, French learners, right here’s my recommendation for you:

  • Grasp your fundamentals first. It’s okay to do that with customary French, even when that’s not your finish purpose. There are tons of sources on the market for studying primary French vocabulary and grammar, and also you’ll be capable to choose up on any dialect variations later.
  • Get some studying and listening apply in as early as attainable, too. You’ll be able to even do each on the identical time with immersive language studying applications.
  • FluentU, as an illustration, offers French movies made by and for native audio system, in addition to expert-vetted contextual subtitles, flashcards and different studying instruments that can assist you perceive—particularly if it’s a particular sort of French. FluentU is accessible on the internet and for iOS and Android gadgets.
  • When you’re assured in your French foundations, take into account tailoring your research to a specific sort of French. Specializing in Canadian French, Swiss French or one other variation might very properly be the next step towards fluency!


So, need to maintain exploring forms of French? Take a look at this video compilation on the Every day Movement web site.

À la prochaine fois les amis (till subsequent time buddies)!