Let’s Celebrate French Language Day and Embrace Francophonie

Liberté, égalité, fraternité” – rarely has a saying like this famous motto from the French Revolution been more adequate than today: the day the World celebrates, once again, the international French Language Day.

When has this expression, usually ascribed to the French statesman Maximilien Robespierre, been more appropriate than in the current moment of international upheaval that we are living in today, with wars and crisis all over the world and millions experiencing on a daily basis that “liberty, equality, fraternity” may after all be nothing more than wishful thinking?

But let’s not ponder too much and celebrate Francophonie instead. After all, French is spoken by more than 350 million people in the world and is the official language in 27 countries. Who has never fallen in love with the paintings of Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, or Paul Cézanne; the music of Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel or Hector Berlioz; the voices of Édith Piaf, Charles Aznavour, or Serge Gainsbourg; the writings of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Alexandre Dumas, or Jules Verne; the beauty and brilliance of Brigitte Bardot, Gérard Depardieu, Catherine Deneuve, Alain Delon, Juliette Binoche, or Jean-Paul Belmondo; or even the prowess of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Zinédine Zidane, Michel Platini, or Astérix? There is an almost seemingly inexhaustible source of French culture and heritage that is second to none.

The United Nations started to commemorate French Language Day every year on March 20, 2010, to “celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six official languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish) throughout the Organization”. This date traces back to the founding, in 1970, of the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF), a group whose 77 member-states share a common tongue and which aims to promote the French language and cultural diversity.

French Language Day has been celebrated annually and one of its key objectives is to promote linguistic diversity and multilingualism, values that are at the heart of the United Nations’ mission for peace, cooperation, and understanding among nations.

Moreover, French Language Day serves as an opportunity to reflect on the role of language in fostering inclusiveness and building bridges between people of different backgrounds. In an increasingly interconnected world, proficiency in multiple languages, including French, opens doors to new opportunities and facilitates cross-cultural understanding and cooperation.

We at TETRAEPIK are no strangers to building bridges and linguistic diversity and, therefore, embrace and honour Francophonie and all their native speakers, language enthusiasts or simply curious about the French language and its heritage. Make the most of this date and occasion to explore, learn, and celebrate the beauty of French.

Or, as the French poet and journalist Anatole France once wrote: “La langue française est une femme. Et cette femme est si belle, si fière, si modeste, si hardie, touchante, voluptueuse, chaste, noble, familière, folle, sage, qu’on l’aime de toute son âme, et qu’on n’est jamais tenté de lui être infidèle.” (“The French language is a woman. And this woman is so beautiful, so proud, so modest, so bold, touching, voluptuous, chaste, noble, familiar, mad, wise, that we love her with all our soul, and are never tempted to be unfaithful to her.”)


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