There are 31 french speaking countries in Africa. Now, the French language in Africa is more than the legacy of the colonialists. The role of this language is very important throughout the continent.
French is still a popular and important language in many African countries. Prior to English, French was the standard language for literature, art, and diplomacy.
French administration conducted French-language education in its colonies. Because of various languages, French has become a lingua franca or common language in some parts of Africa. 29 African countries have French as a first or second or official language.
List of francophone countries in West Africa
Some of West African countries that speak French are:
Officially it is Republic of Senegal. Senegal's political and economic capital is Dakar, one of the biggest French-speaking cities in Africa. French is an official language of the country. Most people also use their ethnic languages.
Officially it is Republic of Mali. Eighth-largest country of Africa. Its capital is Bamako. French is the official language of the country. There are also 40 African native languages spoken in the country.
Officially it is Republic of Guinea. Formerly known as French Guinea or Guinea-Conakry. The capital is Conakry city. The official language of Guinea is French.
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Islamic Republic of Mauritania is the largest country in Africa. The capital is Nouakchott city. The predominantly spoken languages in Mauritania are Hassaniya Arabic and Pulaar, but French is widely used in the media and among educated classes.
5. Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
Official name is Republic of Côte d'Ivoire. It's political capital is Yamoussoukro but economic capital and largest city is the port city of Abidjan, official language is French.
6. Burkina Faso
Its capital is Ouagadougou. It is a multilingual country, 69 languages are spoken there. French is widespread, particularly in the north of the country.
Officially it is Togolese Republic. Its capital is Lomé city. There are 39 languages, but the official language is French.
Оfficially it is Republic of Benin. The capital is Porto-Novo. The official language of Benin is French, but such languages as Yoruba and Fon are also very popular.
Officially Republic of the Niger. The capital is Niamey city. French is the official language of the country.
French is the language of education in most of these counties. Of course, the language was in some way changed. But, apart from its accent, for example the Senegalese French tend to be quite close to standard French. In Cote d’Ivoire, people speak “broken” French with some sort of slang.
Let's maintain the history of francophone countries in West Africa
It all started from French West Africa. It was big federation of French colonies territories. The federation existed from 1895 to 1960, and Dakar was the capital of the federation.
During the long history of the interaction of French people with the people of Western Africa, French language became a means of communication not only between the colonialists and local population but the Africans themselves began to use French.
After the termination of the colonies existence, French did not lose its relevance in Africa. The language is still the most relevant and continues to develop.
Today Africa is the continent with the biggest number of French speakers in the world. In many areas, it has become the first official language, for example in Ivory Coast, Abidjan or Gabon. In Tunisia and Morocco French is considered as the language of the upper class. Every francophone African country has local peculiarities of the language.
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The variations of African French can be divided into four categories:
- The French language of West and Central Africa - 75 million of francophones people.
- Variation of the French language is spoken by Maghrebis and Berbers in Northwest Africa - 36 million of francophones people.
- Variation of French language spoken in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.
- Variation of French language spoken in Mauritius, Réunion, and Seychelles. There are 1.6 million of francophones people.
African French differ from standard French in terms of vocabulary and pronunciation, but the formal African French used in media, legal documents and education are based on standard French vocabulary.
The vocabulary of African French has three main features:
- The presence of words which do not exist in standard variant of the French language. There are the words from local languages.
- The usage of some words with meaning different from standard French.
- Presence of hyper-correction. It is popular among the educated and upper-class people of sub-Saharan Africa.
There are more than 5 . The language is quite popular all over the continent. The French language has played a very significant role in the development of the African countries.
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