French official language
Based on the survey, French language has approximately 80 million native speakers, as well as 190 million secondary speakers, meaning that around 270 million people speak the language worldwide. It is an official language in 29 countries, with most of these being part of the community of French-speaking nations known as la francophonie. It is estimated that around 12 percent of the European Union's population speaks French as a mother tongue, making it the fourth most widely spoken European language. French-speaking countries are often described as being 'Francophone' and with approximately 60 million native speakers, France is officially recognized as the largest Francophone nation in the world. It is also the country where the language originated and is the nation most commonly associated with French. Interestingly, when focusing purely on native speakers, Canada is the second-largest French speaking country, with around 7 million people speaking it as their mother tongue. Belgium and Switzerland complete the top four, with somewhere in the region of 4 million native speakers in the former and 2 million in the latter.
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