French ( or ) is a Romance language, belonging to the Indo-European family. It descended from the spoken Latin language of the Roman Empire, as did languages such as Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Romanian, Catalan and others. Its closest relatives are the other langues d’oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France’s past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone. French is the second-most widespread language worldwide after English, being an official language in 29 countries, most of which are members of la francophonie, the community of French-speaking countries. It is spoken as a first language in France, southern Belgium, western Switzerland, Monaco, the provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick and some parts of Ontario in Canada, parts of the U.S. states of Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, among educated classes in North Africa, Haiti, French Polynesia and by various communities elsewhere. According to a survey of the European Commission, French is the fourth-most widely spoken mother tongue in the European Union. It is also the third-most widely understood language in the EU. As a result of French and Belgian colonialism from the 17th and 18th century onward, French was introduced to new territories in the Americas, Africa and Asia. Most second-language speakers reside in Francophone Africa, in particular Gabon, Algeria, Mauritius, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire. In 2007, French was estimated to have around 75 million native speakers; and including native speakers, there are around 338 million people that are able to speak it. According to a demographic projection led by the Université Laval and the Réseau Démographie de l’Agence universitaire de la francophonie, total French speakers will number approximately 500 million people in 2025 and 650 million people by 2050. In accordance with these forecasts, a report issued in 2014 by La Francophonie estimated that 274 million people speak French, either as a first or second language. French has a long history as an international language of commerce, diplomacy, literature, and scientific standards and is an official language of many international organisations including the United Nations, the European Union, NATO, the WTO and the ICRC. In 2011, French was deemed by Bloomberg Businessweek to be one of the top three most useful languages for business, after English and Chinese.