French is an official language in three European Union countries — in France, Belgium and Luxemburg — where it is spoken by over 75 million people. But outside of Europe, it is an official language in dozens of countries, and hundreds of millions of people speak, read and write French fluently on a daily basis. Few people revere their language more than the French, and it is a matter of state policy to see to it that this wonderful language is preserved, respected and cherished. But every language is the product of many long years of slow development and French, which has existed now for more or less one thousand years, had to fight for its status with rival Celtic and Occitan during the Middle Ages. To this day, French has always had a very popular twin, “argot”.
Producer: Marijke van der Meer
Broadcast: September 26, 1991