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French, a Romance language descended from Latin and also influenced by the Celtic languages of Roman Gaul and some Germanic languages, is the official language in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland, as well as being spoken widely throughout Canada, Africa and other former French colonies. The approximately 41 nations that use French as their official language are collectively known as La Francophonie, the community of French-speaking languages. Along with English, French is the most widely spoken language in the European Commission. There are approximately 115 to 500 million speakers of French worldwide, 65 to 119 million of which are native speakers.
Apart from the dozens of Frech dialects spoken across the world, there are also a number of French-derived languages, such as Haitian-Creole, Antillian Creole, Louisiana Creole French, Tay Boi (spoken in Vietnam), and numerous others.
French is written using the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet, along with five diacritics (the circumflex accent, accute accent, grave accent, diaeresis, and cedilla). Like English, French spelling tends to preserve obsolete pronunciation rules. This is primarily due to major changes in pronunciation during the Old French period without corresponding spelling changes.
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