French is an official language in 33 countries, which makes it a useful language for Australians to learn whether travelling in Europe or elsewhere. It is a Romance language, related to Italian and Spanish, having descended from Latin. For centuries it has been used as an international language of commerce and diplomacy, and in literature and scientific endeavour. The high level of shared vocabulary between French and English facilitates comprehension for English speakers. French has a long history in Australian schools and universities, having first been taught in the 1880s. It is offered today at all levels of education across Australia and is the third most widely-studied language in schools.
Number of people in Australia who speak this language at home: 57,741 (ABS Census Data, 2011)
Language Category: European Languages
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