Those of us who are English speakers, and have learned, or are learning the French language are too often called to defend it's relative value. Relative value can have many variants, because it is calculated from different statistical resources or at different times. Since the value of all languages as core to learning is being challenged, I  feel compelled to offer a list showing how French is ranked for a variety of functions, a variety of places. In all but six I have named a source, with the knowledge that sources I have not seen may show a different rank. The collection establishes, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that French is a useful language, worthy of being studied to the point of mastery.  The ranking statements are in no particular order:

More English words were derived from French (Anglo-Norman, etc.) than from any other language.

French is always in the top 5 for target language in translation (multiple sources)

Official in 29 independent countries and spoken on 5 continents, it is geographically the most widely used language other than English.

French is the language of the 3rd largest international television station in the world (TV-5)   55 million viewers.

French is a category 1 language in difficulty to learn for Anglophones: easiest kind generally considered 3rd easiest language to learn

With 16 lauriates, France ranks number one for Nobel Prizes in Literature.


Kinshasa (DRC) is the world's largest French-speaking city, Africa's 2nd largest city, population over 10,200,000.

Here is a good overall article about the status of French:

The status of French in the world (France Diplomatie)

French is now the fifth most spoken world language and growing—thanks to Africans (QUARTZ 10/18/18)

same (World Economic Forum, 2018)

By 2050, there will be 700 million French speakers, ranking it 2nd or 1st in the world

The Easiest Languages for English Speakers to Learn - French is 3rd (GO Overseas, 10/11/17)

One of the most frequent official languages for international organizations

List of international organizations which have French as an official language (Wikipedia) - extensive, but not exhaustive (89)

Category:International organizations based in France (list Wikipedia)

French is an official language of 23 African countries (widely spoken in 31)

How many people truly speak French in Africa?  Quora (130 million, making it 3rd most spoken)

French ranks 2nd as a native language in the European Union

French is the 2nd foreign language in the EU after English (status of English is erroding)

World Economic Forum ranks French 3rd among "Power Languages"

French ranked 4th of top ten languages for International Affairs Students

2nd among the "10 Most Requested Languages for Translation Services"

What Are the Most Requested Languages for Translation? (tied for 2nd)

For Books, French is the most translated language in the US, before German and Spanish

For Books, French is the second most translated language in the world, after English.

3rd for  number of articles in Wikipedia

6th in content languages for web sites.

The number of French-language accounts on Twitter ranks third

Facebook languages after US English: Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, UK English, French

French ranked 6th for content language of web sites

French is the 3rd used language on blogs

French is 2nd among The App Store's Top 5 Languages


France is the second largest producer of video games in the world

6th internet language for number of sites visited by month (2014 OIF report)

3rd language on (2014 OIF report)

Google Trends - French, the most searched for language in Mexico, and it shares 1st with Spanish in the UK

French is the 2nd most studied second language in the world

French is the 2nd most popular second language

New study puts French in 3rd place in the world for business

    same study - number of French spekers grew by 7% and those studyibg French by 6% between 2010 and 2014

In US 3rd foreign language for jobs in the US (after Spanish and Mandarin)

[French is the third most spoken second language in the US]

France has the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal figures

France was the 8th biggest of U.S. trade partners in 2017 (U.S. Census Bureau)

3 of the 15 biggest US trade partners in 2017 were countries where French is an important official language (U.s. Censuse Bureau)

US News & World Report names France 9th overall in a ranking based on " Adventure, Citizenship, Cultural Influence, Entrepreneurship, Heritage, Movers, Open for Business, Power, Quality of Life"

World's Top Nationalities Revealed: France Is No. 1, U.S. Ranks 27 (Forbes, 4/26/18)

These countries are the most attractive for foreign workers .World Economic Forum ranks France no. 3 (2018)

In 13 of the 50 fastest-growing economies of the world, French is an official language

French is the 2nd business language of the European zone after English

French is one of three filing languages at the European Patent Office

French ranked several years ago the sixth most widely spoken language in the world

Le français serait la troisième langue du monde, selon une nouvelle étude

French ranks second among the world's official second languages

French is the most commonly spoken language other than English or Spanish in 11 states of the US

Today French ranks second as the world's diplomatic language, a testimony to the French government's past efforts.

French is third for the non-English language most spoken at home

French is the third most important language for business, after English and Chinese? language magazine (6/12/16)

5e langue mondiale (2014 OIF report) 6th by other sources

4th internet language for number of users (2014 OIF report)

It is the second official language of international organizations (International Journal of Development and Management Review)

English and French are the 2 permanent official languages of the Olympics

French is one of 4 official languages of FIFA

France has won the FIFA World cup twice (one of six teams to have wone more than once)

French is foundational to and number one in use in ballet

French is one of three procedural languages of the European Union

One of the working languages of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

French ranks 2nd as the language of Nobel Laureats in Literature

The British Council said French was number 3 among languages needed for the UK

French is ranked the 2nd most influential language in the world (many references)

French is #3 - Power Language Index (2016, multi-criteria study), by Kai L. Chan, PhD

French is the international language of cooking, fashion, theatre, the visual arts, dance and architecture.

In US public library collections, French is the most common language other than English and Spanish in public library collections in 32 of the 50 states.

French is one of 5 official languages of the FIFA World Cup

France is the number one tourist destination in the world (multiple sources)

According to Baby Name Wizard founder Laura Wattenberg, French names are deemed the sexiest for women

A CNN poll makes French the 2nd sexiest accent in the world

BRITONS believe French is the world's sexiest language, a new study reveals.

French is the sexiest, according to a New York Daily News poll

La France, 4ème pays d’accueil des étudiants étrangers

"French – The Most Global Language?"

Jason Gower, "Infographic: The Economic Power of the World’s Most Spoken Languages" (French is 2nd)

Language skills for an international career: Top 6 of the most important languages (2016)

FRANCE is the world's best nationality according to new data (Express, 4/20/18)

[French is ranked fourth in number of literary translation]

[Grenoble, France named world's 5th most innovative city]

[On Twitter accounts for national leaders, French is third, with 25 accounts]

[France ranks 2nd in Europe 28 for the percentage of students in general upper secondary education who learn 2 or more froeign languages]

France ranked world's top cultural trendsetter (The Local, 1/20/16).

    They cite a 2016 a study released at the World Economic Forum.

These are the most powerful languages in the world (World Economic Forum 12/2/16).

    French ranked third.

Foreign Service Institute Language Difficulty Rankings

    Ranks French in category 1: easiest languages to learn (575-600 hours for their proficiency goals)

What is the most popular language in your country?

Outside of English, French is number one for foreign language learning in Mexico, number two in Spain, number three in Argentina, number two in Brazil, number two in Italy, number two in Germany, number two in the US, number two in the UK. in Ireland, French is number two behind Irish

Robert D. Peckham, PhD
Director, Globe-Gate Intercultural Web Project
University of Tennessee at Martin
Made in Tennessee to bring you the world