What is the Francophone World?
Francophone means French-speaking. The Francophone world is comprised of more than forty countries on five continents where French is commonly used in one of several ways:
Onésime Reclus, a French geographer who wanted to classify people according to language, coined the word francophone in the nineteenth century. The term never really caught on until the 1960s when Léopold Sédar Senghor, first president of Sénégal, and one of the founders of the Négritude, or black pride, movement used it consistently. The word is now universally recognized in French.
Worldwide there are more than 150 million francophones. Two of every three francophones in the world today live outside of France, and that proportion is likely to continue to increase.
In the United States French is an official language in one state (Louisiana) and is still an important minority language in several others (New England in particular). In Wisconsin, French was a common language in many homes as recently as 50 years ago. A French Belgian dialect, called Walloon, is still spoken by several thousand people in Northeast Wisconsin. Francophones are an important part of Wisconsin's past and present.
The following is a list of countries, islands and territories where French is an important language of communication:
St Pierre et Miquelon Islands (France)
United States (Official in Louisiana)
Caribbean and South America
Dominica (Dominique in French)
Guiana (France, Guyane in French)
St. Lucia (Ste. Lucie In French)
Italy (Val d'Aoste)
Central African Republic (Centrafrique)
Democratic Republic of Congo (ex Zaïre)
Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire)
Zaïre (Dem. Rep. of Congo as of 5/97)
Comoro Islands (Comores)
Mauricius (Ile Maurice)
Reunion Island (Réunion)(France)
Seychelle Islands (Séchelles)
French Polynesia (Polynésie) including Tahiti
New Caledonia (Nouvelle Calédonie)
Wallis and Futuna (Wallis et Futuna)
Vanuatu (formerly Nouvelles-Hébrides)
Asia and Middle East
India (Inde) esp. Pondichéry province
Kampuchea (Cambodia/ Cambodge)