Language - Walloon language

Language  >  Walloon language

Walloon language

Walloon (walon in Walloon) is a Romance language that is spoken in much of Wallonia in Belgium, in some villages of Northern France (near Givet) and in the northeast part of Wisconsin until the mid 20th century and in some parts of Canada. It belongs to the langue d'oïl language family, whose most prominent member is the French language. The historical background of its formation was the territorial extension since 980 of the Principality of Liège to the south and west.

Despite its rich literature, beginning anonymously in the 16th century and with well-known authors since 1756, the use of Walloon has decreased markedly since France's annexation of Wallonia in 1795. This period definitively established French as the language of social promotion, far more than it was before. After World War I, public schools provided French-speaking education to all children, inducing a denigration of Walloon, especially when accompanied by official orders in 1952 to punish its use in schools. Subsequently, since the middle of the 20th century, generational transmission of the language has decreased, resulting in Walloon almost becoming a dead language. Today it is scarcely spoken among younger people, with vast majority of its native speakers being the elderly (aged 65 and over). In 1996, the number of people with knowledge of the language was estimated at between 1 and 1.3 million.

Numerous associations, especially theatre companies, are working to keep the language alive. Formally recognized as a langue régionale endogène (regional indigenous language) of Belgium since 1990, Walloon has also benefited from a continued corpus planning process. The "Feller system" (1900) regularized transcription of the different accents. Since the 1990s, a common orthography was established (the Rifondou walon), which allowed large-scale publications, such as the Walloon Wikipedia officially in 2003. In 2004, a Walloon translation of a Tintin comic was released under the name L'èmerôde d'al Castafiore; in 2007 an album consisting of Gaston Lagaffe comic strips was published in Walloon.

Walloon is more distinct as a language than Belgian French, which differs from the French spoken in France only in some minor points of vocabulary and pronunciation.

Linguists had long classified Walloon as a dialect of French, which in turn is a langue d'oïl. Like French, it descended from Vulgar Latin. Arguing that a French-speaking person could not understand Walloon easily, especially in its eastern forms, Jules Feller (1859–1940) insisted that Walloon had an original "superior unity", which made it a language.

The phonological divisions of regional languages of southern Belgium were studied by the contemporary linguist E.B. Atwood. He defined the precise geographical repartition of the four chief dialects of Walloon. In addition, he defined them against the dialects of Picard, Lorrain and Champenois.

Since then, most linguists (among them Louis Remacle), and gradually also Walloon politicians, regard Walloon as a regional language, the first in importance in Wallonia. It is the only one to have originated from that part of Belgium. The eleventh edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica identified Walloon as the "northern-most Romance language".


Walloon language (English)  Lingua vallone (Italiano)  Waals (Nederlands)  Wallon (Français)  Wallonische Sprache (Deutsch)  Língua valona (Português)  Валлонский язык (Русский)  Idioma valón (Español)  Język waloński (Polski)  瓦隆语 (中文)  Vallonska (Svenska)  Limba valonă (Română)  ワロン語 (日本語)  Валлонська мова (Українська)  Валонски език (Български)  왈롱어 (한국어)  Valloni (Suomi)  Bahasa Walloon (Bahasa Indonesia)  Valonų kalba (Lietuvių)  Vallonsk (Dansk)  Valonština (Česky)  Valonca (Türkçe)  Валонски језик (Српски / Srpski)  Valónčina (Slovenčina)  Valonski jezik (Hrvatski)  ภาษาวัลลูน (ไทย)  Valoņu valoda (Latviešu)  Βαλλωνική γλώσσα (Ελληνικά)  Tiếng Wallon (Tiếng Việt)