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Language Contact and Email Address:

Pascale Hubert-Leibler


Welcome to the French program at Columbia!

French is second only to English for the number of countries where it has official status – 32 as opposed to 45. French is also the only language, with English, that is taught in every country of the world, with 100 million students and 2 million teachers – 20 % of whom are outside of francophone countries.

Kinshasa is the world’s second largest French speaking city, after Paris, and before Montreal and Brussels.

French is a working language of the UN and the EU as well as many other international organizations including Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, and the Red Cross. Two G-8 countries (France and Canada) are French-speaking countries.

The number of French speakers has tripled since 1945, largely since most former French colonies have kept French as their language of government, education and science.

French is the tenth most spoken language in the world, with 229 million speakers.

Of all the countries in the world, France is the most visited, with 75 million tourists each year.

About a third of basic English words come from French.

In the United States, French is the fourth most used language throughout the country (spoken by about 10 million American citizens). It is the second most taught, after Spanish.

The reach, breadth, and popularity of the French language is undeniable.  It is a language for poets and writers, for wine lovers and foodies. It is a language embraced by scholars, teachers, and students the world over, and it is spoken between world leaders in business, politics, and social justice.

And it is one of the most beautiful, musical languages the world has ever known.

French language courses will allow you to fulfill the language requirement at Columbia.

Please check the Columbia Directory of Classes for the latest information on classes and class times. Search for “French.”