FRENCH LANGUAGE DAY
On March 20, French Language Day explores the influences of the language as a culture, how it marks history and celebrates achievements. Around the world, the human race communicates in numerous languages.
Paris ne s’est pas fait en un jour! (French proverb translates to mean, “Paris was not made in a day!”)
Spoken in more than 25 countries, French developed from Latin between the 5th and 8th centuries. It is one of the primary romance languages spoken today. French, along with English, is spoken on all five continents. While it’s one language, there are many dialects. Spread out on these five continents are 275 million speakers all fluently speaking a diverse and colorful language influenced by their culture. From France to Canada, South Africa, and Louisiana, French dialects are as nuanced as the cuisine is from culture to culture.
HOW TO OBSERVE #FrenchLanguageDay
Brush up on your French or challenge yourself to learn a new language! If you’re fluent in the language, compare your French to the French spoken in another country or even region. How do the words vary? Or perhaps, do the meanings and usage change?
Some other ways to explore the French language include:
- Discover words in your native tongue derived from a French word.
- Watch a French-language film or listen to French music.
- Cook from a French translated cookbook. Many of the words in French cooking, while translated, still remain very French. Look up the correct pronunciations, meanings and learn them.
While you explore, share your discoveries using #FrenchLanguageDay to share on social media.
FRENCH LANGUAGE DAY HISTORY
In 2010, the United Nations named six language days in recognition of the six official languages of the U.N. and to bring attention to the history, culture, and achievements of each of the languages. The U.N. selected March 20 for French Language Day in honor of the 40th anniversary of the International Organization of La Francophonie.
The six days recognized include French Language Day on March 20, Chinese Language Day on April 20, English Language Day on April 23, Russian Language Day on June 6, Spanish Language Day on October 12, and Arabic Language Day on December 18. The U.N. also celebrates International Mother Language Day on February 21 and International Translation Day on September 30.