What are the three most important local languages spoken in France apart from French itself?
#101447. Asked by flem-ish. (Dec 04 08 10:35 AM)
According to a non-Internet-source (Graham Robb The Discovery of France) there are at least two million speakers of the various forms of Occitan.Alsatian has one and a half million speakers. Breton comes third with 500,000 speakers.|
Robb then still adds Corsican (280,000) Basque (80,000); Flemish (80,000).
Arabic is not even mentioned. So I wonder how realistic such languages counts are.
A lot depends on the way in which the counting take place. Many people claim to know a language which they don't really command. Often because of job opportunities.Or of social prestige.
My impression is that Wikipedia is broadly speaking right, but I don't think German dialects come first.
Anyway France does not seem to be so monolithically French as "Paris" would like to believe.http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/04/books/review/Weber-t.html
A report that was last updated on Sept. 30, 2008 shows that the most frequently spoken local dialects in France are Langue d’oc (2 million), Alsatian (900,000) and Breton (between 240,000 and 370,000).|
However, these are data from 1999 and secondly, they can be misleading if you just take the raw numbers. Langue d’oc may be first among the dialects, but that data was taken from 13-14 million inhabitants of the region. Alsatian was spoken by 900,000 of 1.7 million inhabitants -- more than half the population. In brief, the raw numbers underestimate the regional importance of a particular dialect. Also, only the “hexagon” was sampled and did not include the overseas territories of France (the hexagon being the mainland).
You are right in saying that the manner of sampling is critical, but also the statistical manipulation of the data can get you almost any result you want. In the table above, three dialects can be classified Germanic languages and thus bring up the total for that group (it still won’t be first, as Wiki claims).
Finally, France is just beginning to deal directly with immigrant groups and their languages. For a long time and by some convoluted logic, there were no “minority” groups and minority dialects in France with all French simply being French.
“En France, les expressions telles que minorités nationales, minorités historiques et langues minoritaires sont exclues du vocabulaire «politiquement correct» français et du discours officiel, mais l’expression langues régionales est d’usage courant, ce qui les différencie des «langues étrangères» et des «langues immigrantes». Officiellement, que le français n'est pas «la langue d'un groupe distinct des autres», mais celle de tous les multiples groupes qui vivent et parlent en France. Autrement dit, il n'y a pas de «minorités» en France, puisque tous les individus sont des Français.”
(In France, expressions like national minorities, historical minorities and minority languages are not “politically correct” and are not part of official discourse, rather “regional languages” is used to differentiate the latter from foreign and immigrant languages. Officially, French is not the language of a separate group, but that of many groups who live and speak in France. In other words, there are no minorities in France, since all individuals are French.)
Personally, I think that the Arabic and North African dialects (Berber in particular) have been vastly under counted.
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