Discover French Speaking African countries to learn French from Francophone cultures


Learning French extends far beyond sharing a café with a native French speaker in the charming streets of Paris, you can speak french and learn French in many different ways.  French language is the main language through the entire francophonie...


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Angélique Kidjo - 40 ans de carrière au festival de Marne ©Flair Production

Learning French extends far beyond sharing a café with a native French speaker in the charming streets of Paris, you can speak french and learn French in many different ways.  French language is the main language through the entire francophonie.

Get TV5MondeUSA today to take your French learning to the next level with a variety of Francophone programming touching on many cultural aspects of the rich French African world.

You can learn French and improve all the foundational French grammar, French verb conjugations, French songs you have started to learn by discovering French language and some of his subtleties from French speakers in the francophone countries of Africa. In the vast continent of Africa, a myriad of countries embrace French as an official language, contributing to their diverse array of Francophone cultures. For French learners in the United States seeking a deeper immersion and stronger understanding of the  French language, exploring these African nations and how they culturally integrate French as an important part of their national identity can offer a unique French language linguistic opportunity and favor a more robust, well-rounded journey to speak French.  French learners should seek to cover all possible cultural and linguistic angles to learn French in a more efficient manner.


Stay connected and stream these top, francophone programs on TV5MONDEplus:

Enjoy a special performance from Grammy Award-winning diva from Benin, Angélique Kidjo and binge watch seasons 1 and 2 of the Senegalese political drama, Wara. Plus, discover the historical legacies of the greatest kingdoms in Africa before colonization in the docuseries, African Empires and witness the art of story-telling with animated African folk tales in Contes Africaines.


French Speaking in Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire):

Situated along the West African coast, Ivory Coast is a lively Francophone country with a rich linguistic and cultural heritage, offering a valuable experience for those interested in exploring the intricacies of the French language. While French serves as the official language, locals seamlessly incorporate Ivorian expressions into their daily conversations, adding a distinctive cultural touch. French learners exploring Ivory Coast not only improve their language skills but also gain insights into unique expressions that shape communication in this dynamic society.

Delving deeper into the cultural nuances, phrases like "Nous sommes ensemble" go beyond language lessons; they embody the ingrained spirit of unity and camaraderie among the Ivorian people. This expression serves as a cultural window, providing a glimpse into the closely-knit social fabric of Ivory Coast. In day-to-day interactions, it emphasizes the importance of togetherness and mutual support within communities.

Moreover, the phrase "Ça va chauffer" ("It's going to heat up") holds a distinct cultural significance in Ivory Coast. Beyond its literal translation, this expression conveys a sense of anticipation and excitement. In Ivorian culture, it often refers to the upcoming vibrancy of social events, signaling a time of increased activity and spirited engagement. For instance, locals might use this expression to convey the lively atmosphere expected at a community gathering, reflecting the dynamic nature of Ivorian social life.

To encapsulate life's unpredictable moments in Ivory Coast, a phrase like "C'est la jungle" ("It's the jungle") can be culturally resonant. This expression, infused with Ivorian context, captures the idea that life can be unpredictable and challenging, much like navigating a dense jungle. For instance, when facing unexpected difficulties or uncertainties, locals may use this phrase to convey the inherent wildness of life.


French Speaking in Senegal (Sénégal):


Senegal, recognized for its rich history and diverse landscapes, beckons those interested in honing their French language skills. As the official language, French seamlessly coexists with local languages like Wolof, shaping a distinct linguistic environment within the broader Francophonie. Navigating Senegal provides French learners with an opportunity to engage in a dynamic linguistic blend where French and indigenous languages naturally interact.

In Senegal, using French extends beyond linguistic practice; it acts as a cultural bridge, connecting the nation to its African French heritage.

For instance, the commonly used French expression "C'est pas grave", "Yàlla nga def" in Wolof ("It's not a problem") illustrates this interaction between French and indigenous languages. Cette expression symbolizes the complex interaction between French and indigenous languages, highlighting Senegal's unique position within the Francophonie. This linguistic amalgamation is not just a means of communication; it symbolizes the cultural diversity ingrained in Senegal's language context, enriching the experience for those learning French.

Furthermore, the frequently used Senegalese phrase "Doomi réew", which translates to "Bonjour" in French, which means "Good morning." if you say it before noon transcends a conventional greeting; it encapsulates the cultural warmth woven into everyday interactions. Engaging in dialogue, French speakers actively contribute to a dynamic linguistic landscape where the official language and local expressions coexist harmoniously. This linguistic symbiosis not only mirrors Senegal's dedication to preserving its cultural identity but also underscores its role within the broader African French-speaking community.

The linguistic dynamics in Senegal unveil the fluid interaction between French and indigenous languages, showcasing the nation's commitment to both its linguistic heritage and its position within the African Francophonie. As French learners delve into Senegal's linguistic ambiance, they not only refine their language skills but also gain a profound understanding of the cultural significance associated with being a French speaker in this diverse and historically rich West African nation.


French Speaking in Cameroon (Cameroun):

Positioned in Central Africa, Cameroon showcases a rich fusion of cultures and languages. With both French and English as official languages, the country provides a diverse linguistic landscape for learners. One commonly used Cameroonian French expression is "Nous sommes ensemble," reflecting the importance of unity and togetherness in the local culture. French learners in Cameroon will also come across everyday phrases like "Comment ça va?" ("How is it?") and "Ça va?" ("How are you?"), which mirror the warm and amicable nature of Cameroonian social interactions.

In Cameroon, the phrase "Nous sommes ensemble" extends beyond a mere expression; it embodies a cultural value of community and shared connection. This particular phrase often finds its way into conversations, emphasizing the communal spirit that holds significance in Cameroonian society. As French learners engage with this expression, they not only refine their language skills but also gain a nuanced understanding of the social fabric that binds communities in Cameroon.

Furthermore, the common greetings "Comment ça va?" and "Ça va?" go beyond linguistic formality. These phrases reveal the friendly and hospitable nature embedded in Cameroonian culture. The use of such expressions reflects a genuine interest in the well-being of others, fostering a sense of openness and camaraderie. For French learners, these everyday interactions serve as windows into the cultural values that shape social dynamics in Cameroon.

As learners navigate the linguistic landscape of Cameroonian French, they not only absorb language intricacies but also become acquainted with the cultural subtleties that define communication in this diverse nation. Each expression offers a glimpse into the cultural richness of Cameroonian French, allowing learners to appreciate and integrate the societal values that underpin daily conversations.


French Speaking in Gabon (Gabon):

Positioned along the equator, Gabon stands as a Francophone nation where French holds the status of the official language. Gabonese French provides learners with a unique linguistic experience, unveiling expressions deeply rooted in the local culture. One distinctive phrase is "Ça va couper," translating to "It's going to cut." In the context of Gabonese culture, this expression is commonly employed to signal an imminent and sudden change. Whether referring to a shift in plans, unexpected events, or a swift alteration in circumstances, "Ça va couper" captures the dynamic and adaptive nature of language in Gabon.

Furthermore, commonplace expressions such as "Comment ça va?" ("How are you?") and "Bien sûr" ("Of course") contribute to the rich tapestry of everyday conversations in Gabon. The phrase "Comment ça va?" extends beyond a mere greeting; it serves as an invitation for meaningful dialogue, reflecting the Gabonese people's emphasis on personal connections and well-being. "Bien sûr," on the other hand, finds its place in affirmations and agreements, portraying a sense of assurance and positivity in Gabonese communication.

As learners engage with these expressions, they not only enhance their French language skills but also gain cultural insights into the nuanced ways Gabonese people communicate. The use of these phrases reflects the warmth and adaptability characteristic of Gabonese culture, where language serves as a dynamic tool for expressing everyday experiences and fostering connections within the community.


French Speaking Burkina Faso (Burkina Faso):

Situated in the heart of West Africa, Burkina Faso proudly stands as a Francophone nation adorned with a rich cultural heritage. Among the distinctive local expressions, "Quoi de neuf?" emerges as a captivating greeting, seamlessly translating to "What's up?" This colloquial salutation is more than a mere exchange; it encapsulates the essence of Burkinabé warmth and conviviality, emphasizing the significance of interpersonal bonds in Burkina Faso's cultural milieu.

In the tapestry of expressions encountered by French learners navigating Burkina Faso, familiar phrases like "C'est la vie" ("That's life") and "Ça va bien" ("I'm doing well") seamlessly interweave with colloquial and formal nuances. Beyond linguistic conventions, these expressions serve as cultural signposts, reflecting the resilient spirit and optimistic outlook deeply ingrained in Burkinabé culture. "C'est la vie" embodies a philosophical approach that embraces life's nuances with a positive mindset, while "Ça va bien" extends an invitation for individuals to share their well-being, fostering a sense of community and mutual consideration.

As learners delve into these expressions, they not only refine their proficiency in the French language but also gain profound cultural insights into the nuanced art of communication in Burkina Faso. Each phrase contributes to the symphony of daily interactions, where language becomes a conduit for expressing shared experiences and cultivating a strong sense of community within Burkina Faso's diverse and culturally rich landscape.


French Speaking in Niger (Niger):

Niger, located in West Africa, unfolds as a captivating Francophone destination adorned with a rich cultural blend. Among the distinctive linguistic expressions, the phrase "Bismillah" resonates prominently, translating to "Au nom de Dieu" in French and "In the name of God" in English. This Arabic expression encapsulates the cultural intertwining of Arabic and French influences in Nigerien daily life, offering a glimpse into the diverse linguistic landscape.

The coalescence of Arabic and French reflects not only a linguistic fusion but also a harmonious coexistence of cultural influences. As French learners engage with the language, they encounter expressions that go beyond conventional greetings. Alongside "Comment ça va?" ("How are you?") and "Ça va bien" ("I'm doing well"), they delve into the nuanced subtleties of everyday conversations, each phrase reflecting a cultural depth shaped by historical connections and shared traditions.

In the midst of Niger's linguistic panorama, learners may encounter the phrase "Inch'Allah," an expression denoting "God willing" in English and "Si Dieu le veut" in French. This phrase, deeply ingrained in Nigerien discourse, adds a tangible layer to the French learning experience. It extends beyond a mere expression, becoming a cultural bridge that connects learners to the everyday hopes, uncertainties, and aspirations of the local population. Mastering these nuanced expressions not only enhances language proficiency but also provides a unique window into the cultural richness of Niger, making the French learning journey truly immersive and rewarding.

French Speaking in Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa):

Central Africa embraces the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a vibrant Francophone nation steeped in cultural diversity. Amidst the linguistic fusion, the phrase "Mbote na yo" emerges, translating to "Bonjour" in French and "Hello" in English. This Lingala expression exemplifies the seamless integration of French with local languages, providing French learners with a nuanced linguistic encounter. It speaks to the cultural tapestry woven from the threads of both French and indigenous languages.

The presence of expressions like "Parle-nous" ("Speak to us") in Lingala illustrates the dynamic linguistic environment, where French not only coexists but collaborates with indigenous languages. This collaboration extends beyond mere communication; it becomes a gateway for learners to explore the cultural depth embedded in everyday expressions. Alongside phrases such as "Ça va?" ("How are you?") and "Merci beaucoup" ("Thank you very much"), learners traverse the linguistic nuances of Congolese French, gaining insights into the diverse linguistic landscape.

Amid the linguistic mosaic, French learners might also encounter the phrase "Pole na ngai," meaning "Excuse me" in Lingala. This expression adds a practical dimension to the learning journey, offering a polite and culturally resonant way to navigate social interactions. Mastering these expressions not only enhances language proficiency but also provides learners with a profound connection to the rich cultural heritage of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, making the exploration of Congolese French a rewarding and immersive experience.


French Speaking in Togo (Togo):

Togo, situated in West Africa, stands as a proud Francophone nation, and within its linguistic landscape lies a treasure trove of expressions reflecting cultural nuances. Amidst these, the phrase "Akpe na wo" emerges, translating to "Merci beaucoup" in French and "Thank you very much" in English. This Ewe expression encapsulates the warmth of Togolese gratitude, adding a vibrant thread to the cultural fabric woven by French and indigenous languages.

Expressions like "Ça va aller" ("It will be okay") resonate not just as linguistic constructs but as mirrors reflecting the resilience and optimism deeply rooted in Togolese culture. French learners in Togo embark on a journey that goes beyond language proficiency, delving into the profound cultural insights embedded in everyday expressions. In addition to familiar phrases like "C'est la vie" ("That's life") and "Bien sûr" ("Of course"), learners encounter the distinctive Togolese expression "Tchekpo mi," meaning "Let's work" in English and "Travaillons" in French. This phrase, often heard in the bustling markets and communities, embodies the industrious spirit woven into the daily fabric of Togolese life.

The linguistic experience in Togo, enriched by these expressions, becomes a cultural expedition, allowing French learners not only to refine their language skills but also to immerse themselves in the vibrant tapestry of Togolese traditions. Mastering these expressions is more than a linguistic achievement; it is a key to unlocking the cultural intricacies and dynamic spirit of Togo, making the journey of learning French in this West African nation uniquely enriching.


French Speaking in Comoros (Comores):

In the Indian Ocean archipelago of Comoros, language takes on a diverse character with a mix of French and Arabic expressions. Amidst this linguistic fusion, the phrase "Barak allah oufik" stands out, expressing gratitude with an Arabic touch, equivalent to saying "Merci beaucoup" in French.

Within Comorian conversations, the phrase "Viens à la table" ("Come to the table") carries a cultural weight, inviting shared meals where French seamlessly merges with local traditions. Another phrase, "Pole pole" ("Slowly slowly"), paints a picture of the unhurried pace that permeates daily life, adding a laid-back feel to conversations. Comorian expressions like "Ce n'est pas grave" ("It's not serious") embody resilience and a particular outlook, contributing nuanced layers to language interactions.

It's important to acknowledge the unique linguistic environment where people may speak French, Arabic, or both, maintaining the individuality of each language. This linguistic diversity not only shapes daily communication but also offers French learners a dynamic experience, providing a window into the rich cultural identity of Comoros through the fusion of French and local expressions.


Question and Answers based on commonly asked questions from our French learners around the world:

How many countries speak French?

There are 29 countries in the world where French is spoken, collectively known as Francophone countries.

What countries were French?


The countries we explored, characterized as Francophone nations, hold historical ties to French colonization in Africa. During the colonial era, which began in the late 19th century, France established its presence in various regions of Africa. The colonization process involved the imposition of French as the official language, contributing to the linguistic and cultural legacy observed in these nations.

  1. Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire):

    • French colonization began in the late 19th century, and Ivory Coast became part of French West Africa.
    • Ivory Coast gained independence on August 7, 1960, and French retained its status as the official language.
  2. Senegal:

    • Senegal was part of French West Africa during the colonial period.
    • Senegal gained independence on April 4, 1960, and French continued as the official language.
  3. Madagascar:

    • Madagascar was a French colony from 1896 until it gained independence on June 26, 1960.
    • Despite gaining independence, French maintained its influence, contributing to the nation's bilingual status.
  4. Cameroon:

    • Cameroon was a German colony before World War I, and after the war, it was divided between France and Britain.
    • The French-administered part gained independence on January 1, 1960, with French remaining an official language.
  5. Gabon:

    • Gabon was part of French Equatorial Africa during the colonial era.
    • Gabon gained independence on August 17, 1960, with French continuing as the official language.
  6. Burkina Faso:

    • Formerly known as Upper Volta, Burkina Faso was under French rule until it gained independence on August 5, 1960.
    • French retained its status as the official language.
  7. Niger:

    • Niger was part of French West Africa during the colonial period.
    • Niger gained independence on August 3, 1960, and French remained the official language.
  8. Comoros:

    • Comoros was a French colony until it gained independence on July 6, 1975.
    • French, along with Comorian and Arabic, continues to be one of the official languages.


Is French a country? Yes or no?

No, French is not a country. French is a language spoken in various countries worldwide.


Which country is a French country?


The term "French countries" primarily refers to nations that were once part of the French colonial empire but have since gained independence. The countries mentioned – Ivory Coast, Senegal, Madagascar, Cameroon, Gabon, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Comoros – were previously under French colonization, and French continues to be an official language due to historical ties. It is crucial to note that these nations are sovereign entities and are not considered part of France.

On the other hand, France has several overseas territories, known as "Territoires d'Outre-Mer" (Overseas Territories), which are integral parts of the French Republic. These territories are directly governed by France and are considered an integral part of the French nation. A few examples include:

1. French Guiana (Guyane):
   - Located in South America, French Guiana is an overseas department and region of France. It shares borders with Brazil and Suriname.

2. Guadeloupe:
   - An archipelago in the Caribbean, Guadeloupe is an overseas department and region of France.

3. Martinique:
   - Situated in the Caribbean, Martinique is an overseas department and region of France.

4. Reunion (La Réunion):
   - Located in the Indian Ocean, Reunion is an overseas department and region of France.

These overseas territories are governed by French law, and residents are French citizens. Unlike the sovereign nations mentioned earlier, these territories are considered an integral part of the French state, reflecting a different political status. Therefore, when discussing "French countries," it is essential to distinguish between independent sovereign nations and overseas territories governed directly by France.


What are 10 French words?

For French learners embarking on a journey to Francophone Africa, acquiring practical vocabulary is essential. Here are 10 commonly used French words that will prove invaluable, especially for those looking to travel to French-speaking African countries:

1. Bonjour: (Hello) - A universal greeting to start your interactions on a positive note.
2. Merci: (Thank you) - Express gratitude and courtesy in various situations.

3. S'il vous plaît: (Please) - Polite and indispensable when making requests or seeking assistance.

4. Excusez-moi: (Excuse me) - Useful for getting someone's attention or navigating crowded spaces.

5. Oui: (Yes) - A straightforward affirmation for agreement or acknowledgment.

6. Non: (No) - Essential for expressing negation or disagreement.

7. Comment ça va?: (How are you?) - A common greeting that shows genuine interest in someone's well-being.

8. Où est...?: (Where is...?) - Handy for asking directions when exploring new places.

9. L'addition, s'il vous plaît: (The bill, please) - Useful in restaurants when you're ready to settle your bill.

10. Au revoir: (Goodbye) - A polite way to bid farewell and conclude your interactions.

Mastering these words will enhance your communication skills and make your journey through Francophone Africa more enriching and enjoyable.


Is Italy a Francophone country?

No, Italy is not a Francophone country. Francophone countries are those where French is an official language, and Italy is not included in this list.


What is French speaking called?

The term for speaking French is referred to as "Francophone." Francophone countries are those where French is spoken, contributing to a unique linguistic and cultural blend.


How can I practice French speaking?

To practice French speaking, immerse yourself in the cultures of Francophone countries. Engage with locals, use language learning apps, and participate in language exchange programs.  And most importantly, subscribe to TV5MondeUSA!


Is French an easy language to speak?

The ease of learning French varies, but exploring diverse expressions and cultural nuances in Francophone African countries, as detailed in our article, can make the learning process engaging and enjoyable.

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