14 Fun Facts About French

Other languages Aug 24, 2020

We all know that French is the language of love - French, la langue de l'amour. But do you know any interesting stories behind this romantic language?

If you don’t, let’s find out!💪

  1. The longest word in the French dictionary is anticonstitutionnellement which has 25 letters. It means unconstitutionally in English.
  2. The longest word of all is the full chemical name for thiamine with 49 letters. It is: aminométhylpyrimidinylhydroxyéthylméthythiazolium.
  3. French is the only language (besides English) that’s spoken in all the continents. 😳 (Much of west Africa is French-speaking, Canada in North America, French Guiana in South America, Vanuatu in Oceania)
  4. French is the official language of 29 countries: Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, the Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, France, Haiti, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Monaco, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Switzerland, Togo, and Vanuatu
  5. The longest French town name is Saint-Remy-en-Bouzemont-Saint-Genest-et-Isson 😵  It's situated in the Marne département, north eastern France.
  6. The shortest town name is Y. It is located in Somme, northern France.
  7. If you ever notice, there are some French words that have three letters “e" in a row. They are créée, agréée, dégréée. 👀
  8. The plural of oeil (eye) is yeux (eyes) and it is the only word in French that starts with a different letter when in plural.
  9. The least common letter in French is the ï (known as a trema) at a frequency of 0.005 percent.
  10. English is most heavily influenced by French and Latin, with an estimated 30% of English words are borrowed from French. Most of these words look the same and have the same meaning in both languages, such as banana/banane, tiger/tigre.
  11. French has more than a million words and 20,000 new ones are created every year 💥💥
  12. Kinshasha—Not Paris—is the World’s Largest French-Speaking City

Kinshasha, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has around 11 million residents and is one of the largest cities in the world. Recently, it surpassed Paris in population and became the largest francophone urban area in the world. French is used as the official language and is mostly used in schools and the government, while Lingala, a Bantu language, is mostly spoken on the streets.

13.   The word “salut” means both “hello” and “goodbye”.

14.   Lastly, here are some tongue-twisters for you to practice French. The last two are gibberish, but they show you how many French words can sound exactly the same while having different meanings. Enjoy!

  • “Un chasseur sachant chasser sait chasser sans son chien de chasse”! (A hunter who knows how to hunt knows how to hunt without his hunting dog)
  • “Les chaussettes de l’archiduchesse sont-elles sèches, archi-sèches“ ? (Are the Archduchess’ socks dry, very dry)
  • “Si six scies scient six cyprès, six cents scies scient six cent cypress” (If six saws saw six cypresses, six hundred saws saw six hundred cypresses). Check it out here.
  • Un ver vert verse une verre vers un verrier vers vingt heure (A green worm pours a glass towards a glassmaker towards the hour). Check it out here.