French Language Day (March 20)

Did you know?

When most people think of French they think of France, but it’s actually Africa that has the most French speakers. There are an estimated 120 million Africans from 29 countries that speak the language alongside their indigenous languages.

French Language Day. Reading the title, there is no confusion about what the celebration is about. However, you might have some follow up questions, like how did French Language Day come about, and what do people do to celebrate it?


History of French Language Day


The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations with the aim of promoting world peace and security through international cooperation in education, arts, sciences and culture. With six official working languages within the organization, they desired to celebrate cultural diversity by setting aside a day to celebrate each of the languages. March 20th was chosen as French Language Day and has been celebrated ever since 2010. 


How to Celebrate French Language Day:


1. Try Learning Some French

Though it is impossible to learn an entire language in a day, dip your toes into French by learning some introductory phrases, such as “Salut c’est sympa de faire ta connaissance” (Hello, it’s nice to meet you.)

What is the Hardest Part About Learning French?


2. Explore French culture through T.V. shows, music, and activities. 

There’s no denying that the French language is a beautiful one. A long list of talented poets, writers, and artists are French and their works have lasted the test of time. Go to a museum to observe the paintings of Claude Monet, or listen to Claude Debussy’s enchanting piano compositions. 


3. Visit a French Restaurant

Get your taste buds involved with the culture by ordering traditional French dishes and desserts such as Boeuf Bourguignon, Bouillabaisse (fish soup), and Chocolate soufflé to name a few. 


Fun Facts about French Language Day:


  • French is the second most-used language in diplomacy after English. It is an official language of the UN, the European Union, and the African Union. Alongside only English, it is an official language of the Olympic Games.
  • The Oaths of Strasbourg is the oldest known document that uses Old French and it had varying dialects including Francien, a dialect that was used near Paris. For a more in depth history of how the French Language was created, click HERE. 
  • French-speaking countries play an active part in the world economy, accounting for 20% of world trade goods.


Taking it a Step Further:


If you’re interested in joining the over 250 million who speak French around the world, or you want your child to learn French, Cultural Bytes One-on-one classes are a great place to start. 

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