Hi guys! Right, I missed a couple of days of the A to Z Challenge last week – oops! – but that doesn’t mean I’m out for the count! What it does mean is that I’m going to (obviously) post tomorrow and, if I have time, I’m hoping to get both my G and H posts up in one day so that I’m all caught up for Monday. The problem is (I say problem, but…) I’m running a half-marathon tomorrow so it’s much more likely I’ll get one post up and catch up some time next week.

Regardless, today’s post is F and the language we’re taking a quick look at is Francoprovençal!

Francoprovençal | A-Z of Endangered Languages | 学习Sprachen

Francoprovençal is a Gallo-Romance language spoken by between 100,000 (Moseley, 2010) and 137,000 (Lewis, 2016) people in western Switzerland, northern Italy, eastern and central France, and in some small areas in the Province of Foggia in Apulia, Italy.  The language is also called Patois by its speakers; the name Francoprovençal was given to the language in the 19th century by a man named G. I. Ascoli, as it appeared to share features with both the French and Provençal languages (Ager, 2016).

Francoprovençal can be seen in manuscripts dating from the 12th century but due to the relative isolation of groups of speakers, the language failing to gain as much cultural prestige as other, related languages (French, Italian, Occitan) and, finally, an edict that declared French the official language of France, Francoprovençal began to lose status and speakers (Wikipedia, 2016).

Today, although Francoprovençal appears to have a large number of speakers, it is still classified as endangered. One of the main problems is that although in Switzerland it is recognised as a minority language, there is not much incentive to save it (Kasstan, 2015). In France, Francoprovençal is recognised as a language of the country, but France has not ratified the 1992 European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, due to the fact that their language, constitutionally, is French. This means that Francoprovençal is in decline in France, even now.

However, there are organisations that have sprung up to help preserve and spread the language, especially as the current generation of native speakers is likely to be the last (Kasstan, 2015). There are some movements to teach the language to others, though these are still in a basic stage. Luckily, Francoprovençal appears to have some time left – so hopefully there will be enough steps taken to make the language safe again.


Ager, S., 2016. Franco-Provençal language, alphabet and pronunciation. Available from: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/francoprovencal.htm. [Accessed 09 April 2016].

Kasstan, J., 2015. What future for Francoprovençal? Available from: http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/opinion_what-future-for-francoproven%C3%A7al-/41754666 [Accessed 09 April 2016].

Lewis, M. Paul, Gary F. Simons, and Charles D. Fennig (eds.). 2016. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Nineteenth edition. Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Online version: http://www.ethnologue.com.

Moseley, C., ed., 2010. Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger. Paris: UNESCO Publishing. Online version: http://www.unesco.org/culture/en/endangeredlanguages/atlas.

Wikipedia, 2016. Franco-Provençal language. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franco-Proven%C3%A7al_language. [Accessed 09 April 2016].

Further Reading

Universitat Oberta de Catalunya: Franco-Provençal and French in the Aosta Valley, Italy (1997)

swissinfo.ch: Time takes its toll on old Swiss language (Slater, 2010)

Resources for Learning

arpitania.eu: Apprendre l’arpitan (FR)

Memrise: Basic Arpitan course


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