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Why Learn Languages? - Why Learn French?

Practical Reasons:

28 countries have French as an official language.

French, along with English, is the official working language of

  • the United Nations
  • NATO
  • IOC (International Olympic Committee)
  • the International Red Cross

Scientific Reasons:

  • France is fourth in research among countries of the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (after Japan, Germany, and the US).
  • France is a major world research center in the field of high energy physics.
  • The French are a world leader in medical research: the AIDS virus was first isolated by French doctors.
  • The French are the world’s third manufacturers of electronics equipment.
  • The fastest train (TGV) is French.
  • France is the world’s third military power (after the US and Russia), and has the world’s second largest defense industry (i.e. exocet missiles, radar technology.)
  • France is the world’s second largest builder and exporter of civilian and military aircraft and helicopters (Airbus is the world’s second largest fleet of commercial airliners, and many of the US Coast Guard helicopters are made by A√©rospatiale in Toulouse.)
  • France has one of the most advanced systems of telecommunications in the world. Fiber optics were invented in France.

Academic Reasons:

  • Knowing French will improve your vocabulary in English, since over 40% of English vocabulary comes from French.
  • Learning a new language like French will also help develop your critical and creative thinking skills.
  • Proficiency in French will significantly improve your chances of being accepted to the university and to graduate school, since most American institutions require a reading knowledge of French or German. Thus knowing French can open the doors to graduate school and to important research.
  • French is the language of many great masterpieces of Literature and Philosophy, and France has won more Nobel Prizes for Literature than any other country. If you know French, you can enjoy works like Les Mis√©rables, The Three Musketeers and The Little Prince, as well as works by Descartes, Pascal, Rousseau, Voltaire and Sartre in the original.

Economic Reasons:

  • French is one of the two official languages of Canada, the U.S.’s largest trading partner
  • Between 1995 and 2001, exports from the U.S. to France increased by 57%, imports from France went up 72%.
  • France is the fourth largest economy in the world, after the U.S., Japan, and Germany.
  • Among foreign languages doing business with the U.S., France employs the third largest number of Americans (currently around 650,000).

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