It wasn’t so long ago that some were suggesting French was on the way out as a powerful world language. One writer pointed out how French language-dominant areas are spread out around the world and have little to do with each other, and that French imperialism of yesteryear has fueled anti-French sentiment inplaces the language has long been used. But now, as France 24 reports, a new study suggests that French will be the world’s most spoken language within 40 years.
The study, which was done by French investment bank Natixis, projects that there will be 750 million French speakers, due to the fact that it is thelanguage of areas with population booms, “particularly sub-Saharan Africa.” As The Local points out, that would mean more than triple the current population of 220 million French speakers would populate the world.
The study has its detractors. Forbes questions Natixis’ methodology, writing, “…it counts as French-speakers all the inhabitants of countries where French is an official language, which probably won’t be the case.” The Local notes that in an interview with Challenges, Observatory of the French Language head Alexandre Wolff said, “This concerns 32 states where French is the official language and here the projections are indeed impressive, but they do not take into account the coexistence of languages, which is the reality in many countries.” He also said that English will remain the most used language by 2050.