The UN has designated March 20 as French Language Day 2022. It is also International Francophonie Day as designated by the International Organization of La Francophonie.
French is the official language of 29 countries in 5 continents, with over 250 million speakers around the world (Ethnologue, 2022)! France and French-speaking countries play an active part in the world economy, accounting for 20% of world trade goods (Dincā et al., 2018).
It is also the second most-used language in diplomacy after English. It is an official language of the UN, the European Union, and the African Union. Alongside only English, it is an official language of the Olympic Games.
In addition, French is the second most-studied language in the world. It is one of the rare languages taught in the education system of every country. 125 million people study French around the world (French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, 2022). Would you like to be one of them?
MIT offers a French Studies Concentration, Minor, and Major with a rich array of language and culture classes as well as a range of interdisciplinary courses in SHASS. This spring Global Languages has a few new classes. Professor Bruno Perreau is teaching 21G.353 Understanding Contemporary French Politics. Cathy Culot is teaching an intermediate-level rotating topics class under 21G.312 Basic Themes in French Literature and Culture: A Tour of Belgium in 80 Days. And Isadora Nicholas is teaching an advanced-level rotating topics class, 21G.346 Topics in Modern French Literature and Culture: Masterpieces of French Cinema.
We are exciting to be relaunching the January Scholars in France program, which was on hiatus due to Covid. This year, the program will take place in June and will take a select number of MIT undergraduates to Paris for two weeks of cultural and linguistic immersion, all expenses paid. MISTI-France, MISTI-Belgium, MISTI-Switzerland and MISTI-Africa also provide MIT students with unique opportunities to study and participate in internships in French-speaking countries.
French was originally required of all MIT students when the Institute was first founded and it remains one of the most popular languages studied at MIT today.