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Page Index: French

Academic Information:

What is French?

People often wonder how many French speakers there are, but a definitive answer is not easy to find. In 1999, French was the 11th most common first language in the world, with 77 million first language speakers and another 51 million second language speakers, according to the Ethnologue Report.

French is the second most commonly-taught second language in the world (after English).

Career Information

Possible/Typical Job Titles

Typical Places of Employment

  • Airports
  • Government agencies
  • Public relations firms
  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Hotel chains
  • Consumer Affairs Office
  • Chambers of commerce
  • Vista
  • Investment firms
  • Foreign Service Dept.
  • United Nations
  • Fed. Communications
  • Air, bus, and rail lines
  • Peace Corps
  • News bureaus
  • Commerce Dept.
  • Visitors & convention bureaus
  • National Archives
  • Public service organizations
  • Agency of International Dvpmt.
  • Import/export companies
  • Education Dept.
  • Travel agencies
  • Civil Service Commission
  • Advertising dept. & agencies
  • Immigration & Nat. service
  • Banks/savings & commercialLibrary of Congress
  • Higher Education

Required Skills and Abilities

  • Teaching, explaining
  • Enlightening, guiding
  • Helping
  • Speaking to groups     
  • Reading/writing another language
  • Clarifying ideas     
  • Writing clearly
  • Understanding historical language change     
  • Explaining complex concepts
  • Reading critically     
  • Interpreting data
  • Evaluating information     
  • Evaluating evidence
  • Comparing translations interpretations     
  • Gathering information
  • Working with original sources in many fields   
  • Organizing materials/information
  • Summarizing ideas     
  • Compiling/recording data
  • Selecting & training
  • Informing, organizing
  • Solving problems, leading discussions
  • Evaluating results  
  • Collaborating as part of a team
  • Determining the needs of others   
  • Acknowledging value systems
  • Listening carefully     
  • Interviewing non-judgmentally
  • Designing instruments   
  • Reporting and editing
  • Establishing hypotheses     
  • Reading for content and structure
  • Working with research subjects   
  • Communicating between cultures
  • Understanding cultural diversity     
  • Assessing needs
  • Adapting to other cultures   
  • Weighing values

Alumni Resources

(Listed below are examples of SU Alumni and their Jobs in this major-For more alumni resources, go to Mentor Network)





Amanda Baker May 2006 Supreme Court of the United States Federal Police Officer
Andrew W. Hanson May 2003 Osprey Property Company Developement Manager
John Heath May 2005 KPMG LLP Senior Associate- IT Auditor

Related Links: Further Explore this Career Field

Professional Associations:

Foreign Language Associations (links to associations)

Modern Language Association

American Association for Applied Linguistics

American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages

Other Career-Relevant Links:

French Companies with a U.S. Presence
    Accor (hotels)
    Air France
    Air Liquide
    BNP Paribas (bank)
    Crédit Agricole (bank)
    Thomson, Inc. (RCA, General Electric)

American Companies with a Presence in France
    Bank of America
    Caterpillar (Construction)
    Cargill International
    Covance (Biotech/Pharmaceutical)
    Exxon Mobil Corporation
    Hewlett Packard
    Johnson & Johnson
    JP Morgan Chase

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