French (français, pronounced [fʁɑ̃sɛ]) is today spoken around the world by 76 million people as a native language, and by about 280 million people as a second or third language, with significant speakers in 54 countries. Most native speakers of the language live in France, where the language originated, Canada, Belgium and Switzerland.
French is a descendant of the Latin language of the Roman Empire, as are languages such as Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Catalan and Romanian. Its development was also influenced by the native Celtic languages of Roman Gaul and by the Germanic language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders.
It is an official language in 31 countries, most of which form what is called in French La Francophonie, the community of French-speaking nations. It is an official language of all United Nations agencies and a large number of international organizations.