Is French the language of the future?
No one can deny that nowadays English is the language to know, whether you’re on your way to a business meeting or a trip to any foreign country. But according to a recent study released by the investment bank Natixis, English reigning hegemony will soon be over. Indeed, the most-spoken language of 2050 appears to be… French!
Yet French is only the 6th language of the world right now –after Mandarin, English, Hindi, Spanish and Arabic. But as Africa’s population is booming, the latest projection is that French will be spoken by 750 million people by 2050. Meanwhile, the share of English speakers in the world will be declining.
However, not everyone agrees with this study. “In reality English will remain the most used language in the world by 2050,” said Alexandre Wolff, from the Observatory of the French Language. “This [study] concerns 32 states where French is the official language and here the projections are indeed impressive, but they do not take into account the coexistence of languages, which is the reality in many countries,” he said.
And as we look at the world’s fastest growing countries, those with the current highest population growth rates also have English as an official language, including South Sudan, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
So it is safe to say that even though the study released by Natixis might be somewhat questionable, French is still growing all around the world. It remains an official language in many international institutions, from the UN to the European Union. All we can do now is wait and see which language, between French, English and Mandarin, will win the title of the world’s most important language.