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Languages of France

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French Republic, République Francaise. 60,424,213. National or official language: French. Literacy rate: 99% (1991 WA). Also includes Adyghe, Algerian Spoken Arabic (660,000), Armenian (70,000), Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, Central Atlas Tamazight (150,000), Central Khmer (50,000), Chru, Giáy (100), Hmong Daw (10,000), Iu Mien (700), Judeo-Moroccan Arabic, Judeo-Tunisian Arabic, Kabuverdianu (8,000), Kabyle (537,000), Khmu (500), Kirmanjki, Lao, Laz, Lesser Antillean Creole French (150,000), Mandjak, Moroccan Spoken Arabic (492,700), Northern Kurdish, Standard German, Tachelhit, Tai Dam (1,000), Tai Dón, Tai Nüa, Tarifit, Tày, Tunisian Spoken Arabic (212,900), Turkish (135,000), Vietnamese (10,000), Western Cham (1,000), Western Farsi (40,000), Western Yiddish, Wolof (34,500), Yeniche. Information mainly from M. Stephens 1976; P. Blanchet 1986; B. Comrie 1987. Blind population: 43,000 (1982 WCE). Deaf population: 3,506,839. Deaf institutions: 99. The number of languages listed for France is 32. Of those, 29 are living languages, 1 is a second language without mother-tongue speakers, and 2 are extinct.

Living languages

Alemannisch

[gsw] 1,500,000 in France (1988 Hawkins in B. Comrie). Northeastern France, Alsace. Alternate names: Alemannic.  Dialects: Alsatian (Alsacien, Elsaessisch).  Classification: Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, German, Upper German, Alemannic 
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Auvergnat

[auv] 1,315,000 (2004). Auvergne; Haut-Auvergnat in Cantal and south of Haute-Loire; Bas-Auvergnat in the north of Haute-Loire and in Puy-de-Dome. Alternate names: Auvernhas, Auverne, Occitan.  Dialects: Haut-Auvergnat, Bas-Auvergnat. Highly fragmented dialect situation, with limited intelligibility between northern and southern varieties.  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Ibero-Romance, Oc 
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Basque, Navarro-Labourdin

[bqe] 67,500 (1991). Population includes 45,000 Labourdin, 22,500 Lower Navarro. Total Basque speakers in France estimated at 80,000. Ethnic population: 730,000 (1993 Johnstone). French-Spanish border, 800 square miles surrounding Bayonne, Labourd (Lapurdi), and Basse-Navarre departments. Alternate names: Navarro-Labourdin.  Dialects: Labourdin (Lapurdiera), Eastern Low Navarrese (Benaffarera, Bajo Navarro Oriental), Western Low Navarrese (Bajo Navarro Occidental). Navarro-Labourdin is diverse from other Basque dialects, and needs separate literature.  Classification: Basque 
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Basque, Souletin

[bsz] 8,700 (1991). French-Spanish border, 800 square miles surrounding Bayonne, Soule, Pyrénées Atlantiques Province. Alternate names: Souletin, Souletino, Suletino, Xiberoera, Zuberoera, Suberoan.  Dialects: Souletin is more diverse and speakers have difficulty understanding other varieties, especially for complex and abstract discourse. Separate literature desired and needed.  Classification: Basque 
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Breton

[bre] 500,000 in France (1989 ICDBL). 1,200,000 know Breton who do not regularly use it. Population total all countries: 532,722. Western Brittany, and dispersed in Eastern Brittany and Breton emigrant communities throughout the world. Also spoken in USA. Alternate names: Brezhoneg.  Dialects: Leonais, Tregorrois, Vannetais, Cornouaillais.  Classification: Indo-European, Celtic, Insular, Brythonic 
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Caló

[rmr] 21,580 in France (2000 WCD). Southern France. Alternate names: Gitano, Iberian Romani.  Dialects: Basque Calo, Catalonian Calo, Spanish Calo.  Classification: Mixed Language, Iberian-Romani 
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Catalan-Valencian-Balear

[cat] 100,000 in France (1996). Catalonian France. Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Ibero-Romance, East Iberian 
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Corsican

[cos] 341,000 in Corsica (2001 Johnstone and Mandryk). Population total all countries: 402,000. Corsica, Paris, Marseilles. Also spoken in Bolivia, Canada, Cuba, Italy, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela. Alternate names: Corsu, Corso, Corse, Corsi.  Dialects: Sartenais, Vico-Ajaccio, Northern Corsican (Cape Cors, Bastia), Venaco. Corsican is in the Tuscan group of Italian varieties. Southern Corsican is closer to Northern Sardinian or Gallurese than other Corsican dialects (R. A. Hall, Jr.). Lexical similarity 79% to 89% among dialects of Bastia, Venaco, Vico, and Sartene. Bonifacio on the southern tip of the island has 78% lexical similarity (highest) with Bastia at extreme north. Ajaccio dialect is central and prestigious.  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Southern, Corsican 
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Dutch

[nld] 80,000 in Westhoek. Westhoek in the northeast corner of France between the Artois Hills and the Belgium border. Classification: Indo-European, Germanic, West, Low Saxon-Low Franconian, Low Franconian 
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Esperanto

[epo] 200 to 2,000 (1996). Speakers in about 115 countries, used most widely in central and eastern Europe, China and other countries in eastern Asia, certain areas of South America, and southwest Asia. Alternate names: La Lingvo Internacia.  Classification: Artificial language 
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Franco-Provençal

[frp] Population total all countries: 77,000. Savoie, Fribourg, and Valais, southeastern France, near the Italian and Switzerland borders. Also spoken in Italy, Switzerland. Alternate names: Patois, Arpitan.  Dialects: Dauphinois, Lyonnais, Neuchatelais, Savoyard. Structurally separate language from Provençal, French, Piemontese, and Lombard (F. B. Agard). In Switzerland, every canton has its own dialect, with no standardization. Difficult intelligibility among the dialects, and especially with Fribourg.  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Gallo-Romance, Gallo-Rhaetian, Oïl, Southeastern 
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French

[fra] 51,000,000 in France. Population total all countries: 64,858,311. Also spoken in Algeria, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, French Guiana, French Polynesia, Gabon, Guadeloupe, Guinea, Haiti, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Martinique, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mayotte, Monaco, Morocco, New Caledonia, Niger, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Réunion, Rwanda, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Switzerland, Togo, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, USA, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna. Alternate names: Français.  Dialects: Standard French, Norman (Normand), Angevin, Berrichon, Bourbonnais, Bourguignon, Franc-Comtois, Gallo, Poitevin, Santongeais, Lorraine. Lexical similarity 89% with Italian, 80% with Sardinian, 78% with Rheto-Romance, 75% with Portuguese, Romanian, and Spanish, 29% with German, 27% with English.  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Gallo-Romance, Gallo-Rhaetian, Oïl, French 
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French Sign Language

[fsl] 50,000 to 100,000 primary users in France (1986 Gallaudet Univ.). 1,000 users of Marseille Sign Language (1975 Sallagooty). Southern FSL is used in Marseille, Toulon, La Ciotat, and Salon de Provence. Also used in Togo. Alternate names: Langue des Signes Française, LSF, FSL.  Dialects: Marseille Sign Language (Southern French Sign Language). Many sign languages have been influenced by this, but are not necessarily intelligible with it. Reported to be partially intelligible with sign languages from Austria, Czech Republic, and Italy, at least. Lexical similarity 43% with American Sign Language in an 872-wordlist.  Classification: Deaf sign language 
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Gascon

[gsc] 250,000 in France (1990 P. Blanchet). Population total all countries: 253,814. Ethnic population: 400,000 (1982) in the Béarn region of southern Gasconha, France; 51% speak Gascon, 70% understand it, 85% are in favor of saving it. Gascogne Province, from Médoc to the Pyrénées, from the Atlantic to the Catalan area. Béarnese is spoken by a strong majority in the Béarn. Also spoken in Spain. Alternate names: Occitan.  Dialects: Landais, Béarnais (Biarnese), Ariégeois, Aranese. Gascon, Languedocien, and Limousin are structurally separate languages (F.B. Agard). Gascon speakers have some comprehension of Provençal; some or limited comprehension of Languedocien (reports differ). Inherently intelligible with Aranese Gascon in Spain, which is a dialect.  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Ibero-Romance, Oc 
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Greek

[ell]  Cargese, Corsica. Dialects: Cargese.  Classification: Indo-European, Greek, Attic 
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Interlingua

[ina]   Alternate names: Interlingua de Iala.  Classification: Artificial language 
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Italian

[ita] 1,000,000 in France (1977 Voegelin and Voegelin).  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Italo-Dalmatian 
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Languedocien

[lnc] 5,000. Languedoc Province, from Montpellier to Toulouse, Bordeaux, Rodez, and Albi. Alternate names: Lengadoucian, Languedoc, Langadoc, Occitan, Occitani.  Dialects: Bas-Languedocien, Languedocien Moyen, Haut-Languedocien, Guyennais. A separate language from Provençal (P. Blanchet 1990). Gascon speakers have limited intelligibility of Languedocien.  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Ibero-Romance, Oc 
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Ligurian

[lij]  Bonifacio, Corsica, and between the Italian border and Monaco. Alternate names: Ligure.  Dialects: Genoese (Genoan, Genovese).  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Gallo-Romance, Gallo-Italian 
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Limousin

[lms] 10,000. Limousin Province. Haut-Limousin around Limoges, Guéret, and Nontron in Charente; Bas-Limousin around Correze and Périgord. Alternate names: Lemosin, Occitan.  Dialects: Haut-Limousin, Bas-Limousin. Limousin, Languedocien, and Gascon are structurally separate languages (F. B. Agard). Partially intelligible to Provençal. In the north of the province people use a transition dialect with certain Oïl (north French) features.  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Ibero-Romance, Oc 
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Luxembourgeois

[ltz] 40,000 in France (2001 J. Nousse). Spoken along the border with Germany and Luxemburg in the Moselle Department, Thionville, France. Alternate names: Frankish, Platt.  Classification: Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, German, Middle German, West Middle German, Moselle Franconian 
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Lyons Sign Language

[lsg]   Dialects: 250 miles from Paris, but difficult and little intelligibility of French Sign Language.  Classification: Deaf sign language 
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Picard

[pcd]  Most of the Region de Picardie (Amiens, Abbeville, Beauvais, St. Quentin), the Region Nord-Pas-de-Calais (Lille, Douai, Cambrai, Arras, Valenciennes, Boulogne sur Mer, Calais), except the Dunkerque District, and a little eastern zone (border with Picardie of the Region de Haute Normandie near Dieppe). Also spoken in Belgium. Alternate names: Rouchi, Chtimi.  Dialects: Ponthieu, Vimeu, Hainaut, Artois, Lillois, Boulonnais, Santerre, Calaisis, Cambresis, Vermandois, Amienois (Amies). All dialects, including those in Belgium, are inherently intelligible to speakers.  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Gallo-Romance, Gallo-Rhaetian, Oïl, French 
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Portuguese

[por] 750,000 in France (1989 National Geographic).  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Ibero-Romance, West Iberian, Portuguese-Galician 
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Provençal

[prv] 250,000 in France (1990 P. Blanchet). Population total all countries: 354,500. Southeastern France, province of Provence, south of Dauphiné, region of Nimes in Languedoc. Also spoken in Italy, Monaco. Alternate names: Prouvençau, Mistralien.  Dialects: Transalpin, Niçard (Niçois), Maritime Provençal (Marseillais, Toulonnais, Varois), Gavot (Alpin, Valeien, Gapian, Forcalquieren), Rhodanien (Nimois), Dauphinois (Dromois). Gascon, Languedocien, and Limousin are structurally separate languages (F. Agard). Provençal and Languedocien (Occitan) are separate languages (P. Blanchet 1990). No Provençal variety is universally accepted as the standard literary form. Niçard and Northern Gavot (Valeien and Gapian) are more difficult for other dialect speakers to understand.  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Ibero-Romance, Oc 
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Romani, Balkan

[rmn] 10,500 in France. Population includes 10,000 Arlija, 500 Dzambazi.  Dialects: Arlija, Dzambazi.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Romani, Balkan 
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Romani, Sinte

[rmo] 28,434 in France (2000 WCD).  Alternate names: Sinti, Rommanes, Tsigane.  Dialects: Manouche (Manuche, Manush).  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Romani, Northern 
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Romani, Vlax

[rmy] 10,000 in France. Population includes 8,000 Kalderash, 2,000 Lovari.  Alternate names: Romenes, Rom, Tsigane, Vlax.  Dialects: Kalderash, Lovari.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Romani, Vlax 
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Spanish

[spa]   Alternate names: Castillan.  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Ibero-Romance, West Iberian, Castilian 
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Vlaams

[vls] 10,000 in France (1984 Menheere, 1993 Evenhuis). Westhoek (French Flanders). Alternate names: Flamand, Flemish, Vlaemsch.  Dialects: Frans Vlaams (Vlaemsch).  Classification: Indo-European, Germanic, West, Low Saxon-Low Franconian, Low Franconian 
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Extinct languages

Shuadit

[sdt] Extinct. Department of Vaucluse in southern France, and city of Avignon. Alternate names: Shuadi, Judeo-Provençal, Judeo-Comtadine.  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Ibero-Romance, Oc 
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Zarphatic

[zrp] Extinct.  Alternate names: Judeo-French.  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Gallo-Romance, Gallo-Rhaetian, Oïl, French 
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