French (franšais, French pronunciation: [fʀɑ̃se]) is a Romance language spoken around the world by around 128 million people as first or second language, and by about an extra 72 million people with limited language skills, with significant speakers in 54 countries. Most native speakers of the language live in France, where the language originated. Most of the rest live in Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, Francophone Africa, Luxembourg, and Monaco.
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 29 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. According to the European Union, 129 million (26% of the 497,198,740) people in 27 member states speak French, of which 65 million (12%) are native speakers and 69 million (14%) claim to speak it as a second language, which makes it the third most spoken second language in the Union, after English and German.