French language in Lebanon
The use of French language is a legacy of the time of the French Crusades and France's historic ties to the region, including its League of Nations mandate over Lebanon following World War I; as of 2004, some 20% of the population used French on a daily basis.
Role and Purpose
"Arabic is the official national language. A law determines the cases in which the French language is to be used".
The majority of Lebanese people speak Lebanese Arabic, which is grouped in a larger category called Levantine Arabic, while Modern Standard Arabic is mostly used in magazines, newspapers, and formal broadcast media.
Lebanese Sign Language is the language of the deaf community. Almost 40% of Lebanese are considered francophone, and another 15% "partial francophone," and 70% of Lebanon's secondary schools use French as a second language of instruction. By comparison, English is used as a secondary language in 30% of Lebanon's secondary schools. The use of Arabic by Lebanon's educated youth is declining, as they usually prefer to speak in French and, to a lesser extent, English, which are seen as 'hipper'.
Attitudes toward French
French and English are secondary languages of Lebanon, with about 45% of the population being Francophone and 30% Anglophone. The use of English is growing in the business and media environment. Out of about 900,000 students, about 500,000 are enrolled in Francophone schools, public or private, in which the teaching of mathematics and scientific subjects is provided in French. Actual usage of French varies depending on the region and social status. One third of high school students educated in French go on to pursue higher education in English-speaking institutions. English is the language of business and communication, with French being an element of social distinction, chosen for its emotional value. On social media, French was used on Facebook by just 10% of Lebanese in 2014, far behind English (78%).
- France–Lebanon relations
- Geographical distribution of French speakers
- L'Orient-Le Jour
- French language
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