FRENCH could be the world’s most-spoken language – overtaking both English and Mandarin – by 2050, a study has suggested.
French bank Nataxis predicts that the expansion of French in Sub-Saharan Africa means that 750 million people will speak the language in less than 40 years, compared to 220 million in 2010.
American magazine Forbes, however, has questioned the study, pointing out that Nataxis “counts as French-speakers all the inhabitants of countries where French is an official language” but is not necessarily universally spoken.
It argued that English will remain the unofficial global language.
But it conceded that, after years of decline, French - an official language in the UN, the European Union and the Olympics Committee - is now a “fast-growing, global language”.