Regional languages in France 

Do you know that people speak specific regional languages in several regions of France, also more commonly called patois?

Although these regional languages are not considered official languages, they are taught in schools where the dialect is spoken. There are five major families of regional languages:

  • The regional languages of Roman origin, such as the “Langue d’oïl of Northern France (an example of which is Chti), Occitan in the south of France, and Catalan in the Eastern Pyrénées towards Spain.
  •  The regional languages of Germanic origin, like the Alsacien spoken in Alsace, the Platt in Lorraine, and the Flamand in the north of France towards Dunkirk. 
  • There is also Breton,” a regional language of Celtic origin spoken in Brittany. 
  •  The Basque,” which has no affiliation with other modern languages, is spoken in the Basque Country of southwestern of France. 
  • And finally, French Overseas, Créole,” although there are many variations of Créole across the French overseas departments.

All these regional languages and more languages have often been brought to France from border countries. Words and expressions were therefore borrowed from these countries and then used by the inhabitants of France.

As you see, in France, we do not only speak French! Discover more about regional languages by listening to our podcasts and following our publications on social media.

Learn about Les Régions de France on Culturethèque

You can learn more about the French regions from which these languages originated with a fun interactive game available on the AFSF Culturethèque e-library, discover culinary specialties, famous historical sites and other interesting facts relevant to each region. 

Did you know that the French national anthem La Marseillaise was written and sung for the first time in Strasbourg, the capital city of the Grand Est region?

You may already know about the famous June 6, 1944 WW2 allied beach landing invasion in the Normandy region but did you also know that the region’s culinary specialty is tarte aux pommes à la crème (apple cream pie)?

Most people think of wine when they hear about Bordeaux, the capital city of Nouvelle Aquitaine, but this region also features the largest language diversity with no less than 10 regional languages spoken!


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