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Speak It Now, Or Let It Forever Be Forgotten

The Importance of French

French, unlike some think, is very important in the world, France, and other French-speaking countries.  One thing that I personally have heard is that no one near New York speaks French. Well, they got that pretty wrong.  Our largest border between another country and the US is actually NOT Mexico (amazingly thats new to some). It's CANADA, who our largest trading partner. In January alone, we traded with Canada for a total of 32.06 BILLION dollars, much more than China's 28.96 billion dollars in trade. French, in addition to English and the home country's language, is the language of the Olympics.  Spanish and Italian are not included. French is spoken in over 55 countries, and over 22 million people speak French.  It is second only to English, and many of them are first and second world countries. Our neighboring states, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire all have a significant French-speaking population. In Europe, French is spoken by 26% of the people, second only to English (as always) and German.  Also, a large portion of Africa speaks French.  Over 25 African countries have French as a first or second language.  Throughout the world, French is dominantly the most commonly learned second language, next to English (again). French also forms the basis of higher level English. Way bak when the William the Conquerer took control of England the common English folk used the common words from English but the French royalty that ruled and who controlled court and administration passed along the higher level words to the English. For the 300 years the French were there the languages got muddled and in fact the reason why old english died away was because the grammarians hardly cared of language because of all of the mixing of tongues. Therefore even though learning the basics of French can be difficult it gets easier as one learns the higher level words. Here are two links of French influence on English: 

Identical French and English words

French phrases and words used in English

English words with French origin

French-English cognates

Italian is spoken in a mere 5 COUNTRIES!  Spanish is spoken in only 22 COUNTRIES!  Even when you add the number of countries that speak Spanish and Italian together, then multiply the 27 by 2, you only have 54.  That is one less than the amount of countries that speak French.  Think about that.  You can add all of the Spanish- and Italian- speaking countries together, then double then number.  And you still wouldn't have as much as French.  Kings Park and all other school districts choosing this feat should reconsider their decision, look at the facts, and make up their minds.  What is more important?  Leading your students to a successful career?  Or giving them what is more helpful where they are right now?French is an official language of the United Nations, next to German and English. It is the only language of the great foundation "Doctors without Borders", that tries to bring help to less fortunate parts of the world. Other French Speaking organizations include:

African Union (AU)  (5)

Amnesty International  (4)

The 31-member Council of Europe  (2)

European Commission  (3)

Interpol  (4)

International Criminal Court  (2)

International Olympic Committee  (2)

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)  (2)

International Red Cross and Red Crescent  (3)

Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders)  (1)

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)  (3)

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)  (2)

Organization for Economic Cooperation + Development (OECD)  (2)

United Nations (UN)  (6)

World Health Organization (WHO)  (6)

World Trade Organization (WTO)  (3)

UNESCO (5)

The International Labor Bureau

The European Community

The Universal Postal Union

Union of International Associations (UIA) 

*Parentheses mean ammount of languages spoken including French*. 

 

 

Some Personal Experiences

Jillian-

I was at the Barnes & Noble in Huntington last year, doing some community service.  I was standing outside handing out flyers to help one of the other schools in the district.  No one came for a while, so I decided to lean against one of the pillars.  I ended up going over my French vocabulary, the words and phrases that we had learned that day in class.  A man walked up to me, and I offered him a flyer and explained what it was.  The man looked very confused by my explanation, and then I realized that he wasn't speaking English!  I apologized for my ignorance.  I then attempted to explain what I had said in English to the man.  He was content with my explanation, accepted the flyer, and then thanked me for translating.  He had said that his English was poor, and he felt that my speaking French had made a huge difference.  I had, of course, wondered if I had been practicing French allowed, when the man first walked up to me.  I was very confused, until I realized that there are hundreds of things that another language can be useful for.  For example, no one learns or teaches a language so the student can explain what the purpose of a flyer was to someone else.  But the fact that I knew how to speak some French had allowed me to communicate with this man.  I immediately ran inside, jumping up and down and screaming in French.  Before that day, I thought that this language and any other language would not be used until my later years, or never in my life.  But it was last year that I realized that French is really important to know, especially with our being good friends avec France et so close (both distance-wise and friendly-wise) avec Canada.

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