DID YOU KNOW...?
At the beginning of the French revolution, it is estimated that only one quarter of the population spoke French. In 1958, the French Constitution of the Fifth Republic guaranteed cooperation among those who shared French as a common language and, since the Constitutional Amendment Act was passed in 1992, French became the "language of the Republic".
There are more than three hundred dialects and languages in France
Specifically, there are 363 different dialects and languages throughout France, and they can be grouped into large regions:
- The Oïl languages in the north, including Walloon, Lorrain, Norman, Angevin, Picard, Berrichon, Bourbonnais, Franc-Comtois and even Champenois.
- The dialects of the Oc language, or Occitan, which include Gascon, Languedocien, Provençal, Lemosin, Auvergne and even whistled language, which enabled communication over long distances, which was extremely useful in this area of France, where communities were separated by dense forests.
- Franco-Provençal, or Arpitan, whose dialects include Bressan, Savoyard, Dauphinois, Jurassien and even Lyonnais.
- The German dialects, spoken mainly on the border with Germany, in the regions of Alsace and Lorraine.
- The Breton language, used by over 150,000 people in Brittany.
- Corsican, divided into two main dialects: the distant ancestor of modern Italian, known as Cismuntincu, and Pumuntincu.
- Flemish, spoken on the border with Belgium, as well as in the region of Flanders.
- Catalan, the language spoken on the border with Spain and recognised as a co-official language.
- Basque, the last language isolate (a language with no demonstrable genealogical relationship with other languages) present in Europe.
- Creole, the Amerind languages, the Hmongic languages, the New Caledonian languages, the Polynesian languages and the Mayotte languages, spoken in the overseas territories.
In order to preserve its rich heritage, France has incorporated some of the local languages into the public education system. Therefore, since 1951, the Deixonne Act has authorised the optional teaching of these regional languages in France. The first four languages to receive the corresponding authorisation were Basque, Breton, Catalan and Occitan. Later, Corsican, Tahitian, and four Oceanic languages were added to the list, followed by Gallo, Lorraine Franconian and Alsatian from 2006.
Due to the fast development of our culture, these languages are disappearing. Despite the fact that the majority of such languages have been classified as being seriously endangered and that France recognises that they are part of the country's heritage, they lack official status and recognition in legislation. In fact, the only languages that are not considered to be endangered are those used in border areas, which are protected in other countries, such as the case of Catalan and Flemish.