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  1. Spanish is the most spoken language of South America with Portuguese a close second. Other official languages with substantial number of speakers are: Guaraní in Paraguay and Bolivia; Quechua in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia; Aymara in Peru and Bolivia

  2. English is the sole official language of the Commonwealth of Nations and of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). English is one of the official languages of the United Nations , the European Union , NAFTA , the African Union , the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation , the Caribbean Community , the Union of South American Nations , and many other international organisations.

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    Central America
  3. Latin America is a summary historical name of the countries of the American continent that have been under the influence of Spain, Portugal or France, and where Spanish, Portuguese or French are official languages. Geographically, Latin America encompasses most of South America, Central America, Mexico as well as some Caribbean islands.

    • How French Became The Official Language of France
    • French Dialects in Europe
    • French Travels to North America
    • The Differences Between Canadian French and European French
    • Regional French Dialects in Africa
    • Translating French For Audiences Around The World

    While millions of people speak French around the world, you’ll find many differences among the various countries. To understand why, you need to be familiar with the history of the language. French as we know it was once the exclusive language of the elites in Paris, where only three million of the 25 million French people spoke Parisian French as their native tongue. Most other regions of France had their own languages and dialects, making communication almost impossible. It wasn’t until after the French Revolution of 1789 did French kings decide to implement French as the official language. French soon spread to neighboring European countries, including Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg.

    European French can be broken up into two main dialects: 1. Langue d’o ï lis spoken in the northern and central regions, including Belgium. One of the langue d’o ï l dialects was françien, which was spoken in Île de France (Parisian region). This became the standard French that is taught today. 2. Langue d’ocis spoken mostly in the southern regions, including Switzerland.

    At the beginning of the 16th century, French traveled across the Atlantic to Eastern Canada. Of course, France once owned land in the United States that comprised 827,000 square miles west of the Mississippi River which was sold as part of the Louisiana Purchase for $15 million. You’ll still find a population of French and Creole speakers in Louisiana to this day in this region. French is also spoken in the Caribbean island of Haiti, which uses a mix of French and Haitian Creole.

    French is spoken by about 7.3 million Canadians today, with nearly 85% of them living in Québec. However, there are differences in pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar between the language spoken in Canada and Europe. The original French settlers arrived in Canada in the 17th and 18th centuries. Time and distance meant there was a natural isolation between the two countries. Changes in the language that occurred in Europe after that time didn’t always travel across the Atlantic. As a result, Canadian French has many older pronunciations and a noticeably different accent. In many cases, the feminine and masculine variants are switched. In Quèbec, they say une job versus un job in France. Canadian French also tends to be more informal, using “tu” in the place of the more formal “vous”. The order of words in a sentence may also be different.

    You’ll find the highest numbers of French speakers in Africa. In fact, an estimated 80% of Francophones will reside on the continent by the year 2050. There are many differences in French pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar from region to region as the speakers borrow heavily from the their own native African cultures. Many countries in northern Africa also borrow heavily from Arabic, which has influenced the vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar of French spoken in those regions. Many Arabic words are often used in French sentences and vice-versa. In central Africa, primarily the Democratic Republic of Congo, there is another type of French that was brought over by Belgium. While French is the official language in Congo, it coexists with some 242 other local languages.

    Translating a document to or from French for audiences across the globe is not always a simple matter. It takes professionals who understand the unique differences and regional influences that make up the French language in each country. At ALTA, our network of native-speaking French linguists can help communicate your message and services, while keeping the integrity of your brand intact no matter where it’s seen. We provide French translationsfor a wide array of industries and projects, including business, healthcare, legal, marketing, advertising, human resources, and technical fields. About Author Kristin Wallace Kristin Wallace is a USA Today Bestselling fiction author and advertising copywriter who is addicted to learning and writing about language, culture and art around the world. She lives and works in sunny Miami, Florida.

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    • Movement For Official Recognition
    • Countries That Recognize Sign Language as An Official Language
    • Countries with Partial Recognition

    Human right groups recognize and advocate the use of the sign language in equal status to spoken language and obligate countries to facilitate the use of the language to promote the linguistic identity of the deaf. The United Nations proclaimed September 23 the International Day of Sign Language. The world body acknowledges that the knowledge of sign language is vital to the development and growth of the deaf community. Of the 72 million deaf people in the world, only 2% have access to formal education, while less than 1% are in formal employment. The biggest challenge to the deaf community is stigmatization as people consider the disability a hindrance to one's ability to engage the duties and activities performed by ordinary people.

    Of the 41 countries recognize sign language as an official language, 26 are in Europe. The European Parliament approved the resolution requiring all member states to adopt sign language in an official capacity on June 17, 1988. The parliament issued another declaration with similar resolutions in 1998. Of the remaining countries, six are in South America, four are in Africa (Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe), two are in Oceania (Papua New Guinea and New Zealand), two are in Asia (South Korea and Japan), while Mexico is the only North American state. Sign language was approved to become South Africa's 12th official language.

    Several other countries recognize the sign language but not in an official capacity. The Canadian provinces of Ontario, Alberta, and Manitoba recognize American Sign Language as a minority language while Section Fourteen of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedomsgrants a deaf person the right to an interpreter. Australiarecognizes the Australian Sign Language as a community language, although it does not ensure the provision of services in the sign language. Thailandrecognizes the Thai Sign Language as "the national language of deaf people in Thailand." The country's Ministry of Education recognizes the same language as their first language of the deaf people in school. The United States does not identify any language whether signed or spoken as the official language, but some states recognize American Sign Languageas a foreign language while others recognize the sign language as a language of instruction in academic institutions. Some universities in the country accept the Amer...

  5. Spanish has no official recognition in the Central American nation of Belize, a Commonwealth realm where English is the official national language. However, the country shares land borders with Spanish-speaking Mexico and Guatemala and, per the 2010 Belizean census, Spanish is spoken by a sizable portion of the population; 30% claim Spanish as a mother tongue and about 50% of the population ...

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