Many languages evolved from the language of the Roman Empire, including Italian, Portuguese, and of course French. French was also heavily influenced by the languages of Roman Gaul and the Franks of the post Roman invaders. Its influence can be heard in the Creole version spoken predominantly in Haiti and other areas on five continents including southern Belgium, Western Switzerland, Monaco, Quebec, and some locations in Ontario. It is also widely spoken by the more educated populace of North Africa and Lebanon. In short, with close to 73 million speakers worldwide it is the second most popular language in the world, exceeded only by English.
French writing, which contains the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet, also has four accents which appear over vowels. The accents are acute, grave, circumflex, and diaeresis. Each differently affects the pronunciation of the attached vowel. Plurals were formerly defined by "s" at the end of the word but over a period of centuries the Latin ending of "us "was used and abbreviated by monks to the letter "x". Further evolution led to the "aux" suffix becoming most common.
Numerous attempts have been made to supplant the current writing system but to date none has been successful.
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