Sunday, October 17, 2010
And it's all thanks to Africa. Some info from the article:
French is spoken by 220 million people throughout the world, according to a report by the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF) published on 12 October. More than half of these francophones live in Africa. This represents an increase of 20 million since 2007, when the population was 200 million. This growth is almost solely thanks to the African continent, which remains one of the last sanctuaries of the French language where 50% of the francophone population lives. This number is also an underestimation to a certain extent as it only includes those that understand, speak, read and write French, so those who can only speak it are not included.
According to the OIF, Africa could represent 85% of the French-speaking population by 2050, if the demographic growth does not cease and if literacy continues to progress through education.
The rest of the article goes on to mention that French is weakening in other parts of the world, particularly Europe.
As can be seen here, French is also vastly underrepresented on the internet with a penetration rate of just 17%. English is at 42%, Chinese is 33%, and Spanish is 37%, and French is actually the language in the top ten with the lowest penetration rate of all, even lower than Arabic at 19%.