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Home >> College of Liberal Arts and Sciences >> Humanities Division >> French
Why Study French?
French is one of the world's major international languages: it is spoken by over 200 million people in 43 countries, on 5 continents. French-speaking Africa is larger than the USA.
- Along with English, French is the official working language of the United Nations, UNESCO, NATO, CUSO, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Monetary Fund, the International Labour Bureau, and the International Olympic Committee.
- The prestige of French art, music, dance, fashion, cuisine and cinema makes French a culturally important foreign language. France is one of the most prolific producers of international films. Learning French would allow you to learn about, understand and appreciate all these aspects of French culture.
French literature is one of the richest and most influential of the modern European world. 16 Nobel Prizes of Literature were awarded to French or Francophone authors, the latest one in 2008 (JMG Le Clézio). Several well-known philosophers were also French, including Descartes, Pascal, Rousseau, Voltaire, Sartre, and Simone de Beauvoir. These authors' works are far more appreciated when read in the original language.
- French is also an inherent part of African and Caribbean culture.
- Approximately 45% of English vocabulary comes from French. As you learn French, you also enhance your grammar and vocabulary skills in English.
- A knowledge of French can open doors to graduate school, important research, and careers. American companies well established in France include: IBM, Microsoft, Mattel, Dow Chemical, Sara Lee, Ford, Coca-Cola, AT&T, Motorola, Steelcase, and Johnson & Johnson.
- France is the world's top tourist destination (60 million tourists yearly). Who doesn’t want to visit Paris one day? Wouldn’t it be nicer if you actually knew what you are ordering at the restaurant?
Modern Languages Department (503) 838-8245 | or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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