A language of Belgium

Alternate Names

600,000 (Salminen 2007), decreasing. Active speakers may only be 300,000 (Salminen 2007). Few monolinguals.


Hainaut, Liège, Namur, Walloon Brabant provinces; Luxembourg province: Bastogne, Marche-en-Famenne, and Neufchâteau municipalities.

Language Status

6b (Threatened). Statutory language of provincial identity in Wallonia (1990, Valmy Feaux Decree of 14 Dec).


Central Walloon, Eastern Walloon, Western Walloon, Southern Walloon. Developed between the 8th and 12th centuries from remnants of Latin brought to the region by Roman soldiers, merchants, and settlers. Eastern subdialect considered the most difficult to understand.

Language Use

Many native authors. Used in theaters. An indigenous language recognized in Belgium since 1990. Usage began decreasing in the 20th century, but Walloon is increasingly recognized as valuable for informal purposes. More rural use than urban. Not used in schools. Some young people, all adults. Many children learn the language but many are likely to shift entirely to French [fra] (Salminen 2007).

Language Development

Newspapers. Periodicals. Radio. TV. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible portions: 1934.


Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Also spoken in Luxembourg until recently. It is or was spoken in parts of northern France, and in Green Bay, Wisconsin, United States.

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