The Francophonie is the population that speak French. The term designates the ensemble of people, organisations and governments that share the use of French on a daily basis and as administrative language, teaching language or chosen language. The term was coined by Onésime Reclus in 1880 and became important as part of the conceptual rethinking of cultures and geography in the late 20th century.[1]

Map showing the member states of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (in blue and green). This map does not exactly represent the francophone space, as it is a political organisation.
Proportion of French-speakers (including L2-speakers) by country in 2022 according to the OIF
  1–9% Francophone
  10–19% Francophone
  20–29% Francophone
  30–39% Francophone
  40–49% Francophone
  50%+ Francophone


Francophonie, francophonie and francophone space are syntagmatic. This expression is relevant to countries which speak French as their national language, may it be as a mother language or a secondary language.

These expressions are sometimes misunderstood or misused by English speakers. They can be synonymous but most of the time they are complementary.

  • "francophonie", with a small "f", refers to populations and people who speak French for communication or/and in their daily lives.[2]
  • "Francophonie", with a capital "F", can be defined as referring to the governments, governmental and non-governmental organisations or governing officials that share the use of French in their work and exchange.[2]
  • "Francophone space", "Francosphere" represents not only a linguistic or geographic reality, but also a cultural entity: for example describing any individual who identifies with one of the francophone cultures, may it be Slavic, Latin, Creole, North American or Oceanian for example.[3][4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Alexander B. Murphy, "Placing Louisiana in the Francophone World: Opportunities and Challenges" Archived 10 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine, published in Atlantic Studies, Volume 5, Issue 3, 2008; Special Issue: New Orleans in the Atlantic World, II, accessed 7 April 2013
  2. ^ a b "Qu'est-ce que la Francophonie ? - Organisation internationale de la Francophonie".
  3. ^ "Données et statistiques sur la langue française - Organisation internationale de la Francophonie".
  4. ^ L'année francophone internationale, Québec, ACCT, 1994