French in the world
• French is spoken as a native language in more than two dozen countries (by 72-79 million people and another 190 million secondary speakers) and it is the only language other than English spoken on five continents. Hence French and English are the only two global languages!
• French is the second most commonly taught second language in the world (after English).
• French is an official working language in dozens of international organizations, including the United Nations, International Olympic Committee, and International Red Cross.
• One example of the importance of French can be seen in a recent listing of international jobs (9/14/04) distributed by the US State Department: 130 required or preferred French, 57 a UN language (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish), 39 Spanish, 5 Arabic, 2 Portuguese, 3 Russian, 3 German, Italian 1, other 5.
• French is the lingua franca of culture, including art, cuisine, dance, and fashion. France has won more Nobel Prizes for literature than any other country in the world and it is one of the top producers of international films.
• French is the second most frequently used language on the internet.
• French is ranked the 2nd most influential language in the world.
French in Business, Science and Technology
• In 2003, the United States was France's leading investor, accounting for 25% of the new jobs created in France from foreign investment. There are 2,400 US companies in France generating 240,000 jobs. American companies with offices in France include IBM, Microsoft, Mattel, Dow Chemical, Sara Lee, Ford, Coca-Cola, AT&T, Motorola, Johnson & Johnson, Ford, Hewlett Packard and many more.
• France is the second leading investor in the United States: more than 3,000 French companies have subsidiaries in the US and generate some 700,000 jobs, including Mack Trucks, Zenith, RCA-Thomson, Bic, and Dannon.
• France is the fourth largest producer of automobiles in the world (Renault, Peugeot, Citroën) and the third largest exporter. In the Detroit Metropolitan Area there is a strong presence of French automotive supplier companies always recruiting qualified applicants with a knowledge of French.
• French is the foreign language spoken by our largest trading partner (Canada).
• France has the fourth largest economy in the world after the U.S., Japan and Germany.
• Seven of France's top ten exports to the U.S. are industrial or high technology products.
• The French are a world leader in medical research: the AIDS virus was first isolated by French doctors.
• The French are the world's third manufacturers of electronics equipment.
• France is the European leader in aerospace (Aérospatiale, Arianespace, Airbus...).
• The fastest train (TGV) is French.
• France is the world's third military power (after the US and Russia), and has the world's second largest defense industry (i.e. exocet missiles, radar technology).
• France is the world's largest manufacturer of television sets ( HDTV was invented in France).
• France is the world's leader in the production of luxury goods.
• France is a prime destination in world tourism.
French in English
• French has had an enormous impact on English. It is, in fact, the largest donor of foreign words in English
(over 20,000 English words have their origins in French). Unless your English vocabulary is much higher than average, learning French will greatly increase the number of English words you know.
• As years of foreign language study increase, math and verbal SAT scores increase. Foreign language study can help to increase problem-solving skills, memory, and self-discipline.