The Declining Linguistic Status of the French Language

Reference & EducationLanguage

  • Author Charlene Lacandazo
  • Published July 3, 2013
  • Word count 442

It is sad but true that many European language students tend to study Asian languages rather than learning some other European languages. One of the best examples of this situation is the continuous decline of British language students learning French, and the failure of any efforts encouraging them to study and learn the French language.

The number of language students taking up German, French and Spanish has declined during the last five years. However, many linguists believe that there is a consistent high number of language students learning the Mandarin language.

Although it is true that French is a rich and interesting language, it should be remembered that even if this language is full of history, it doesn’t mean that it is already an exemption to being endangered.

Moreover, due to the increase in popularity of the English language and the empowering Chinese market, the attitude and interest of the world towards the French language is being overshadowed and dominated by other major languages.

In addition, France may be a popular country for travel, however, people visiting France communicate in English, which encourages many French native speakers to learn the English language or other foreign languages, rather than enhancing and motivating foreign people to learn the French language.

As a matter of fact, the French language is in decline not only in France or African areas where French is their native language, but also all around the world. This is the case even in foreign countries, most especially in Asia, although there are still significant numbers of language students who wants to study and learn the French language. However, there is a massive difference of rates of language students who are still encouraged and interested to learn the French language as of the last two years.

So, does it mean that French should now firmly be put on the list of most endangered language?

Every language changes and develops over the years. Even if a particular language is popular and belongs to majority language family, this doesn’t ensure that it safe and protected from changing or losing. Just like any other languages, French may currently experience a crisis, but this issue can more easily be given an immediate solution than any other languages that are experiencing threats and the devastation of losing its own identity.

Due to the rich history of the French language, many foreign countries value the significance of this language. However, French native speakers should understand that they need to show foreign people that they really treasure their own language. Thus, encouraging tourists to somehow speak basic French phrases would help the French language stand firm again.

Charlene Lacandazo works for Rosetta Translation, a leading translation agency in London that specialises in French translation services.

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