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Why Study French

The rich cultural traditions of France are well known: French poetry and painting, film and philosophy, fashion and food are famous throughout the world. But French is also language of politics and diplomacy, science and technology, commerce and travel throughout the world. An official language in 29 countries and an administrative/cultural language in 9 more, French is the second most widespread language in the world after English. French is already the sixth most-spoken language in the world, with an estimated 274 million speakers, a number expected to double by 2025.

Beyond the beauties, intellectual challenges, and just plain fun of language study itself, then, studying French opens a world that extends from the Caribbean to Southeast Asia, Quebec to Casablanca, Senegal to Switzerland. Study abroad opportunities abound. And here at Northwestern, you can enjoy courses (in French and in English!) on topics ranging from medieval epic to New Wave cinema, from the thought of Derrida and Foucault to contemporary African novels, from the Haitian Revolution to the radical politics of the 60s.