View Full Version : The Flemish in France: A Disappearing Minority

Monday, October 25th, 2004, 01:55 AM
Flemish is spoken in the north-west of France by an estimated population of 20,000 daily speakers and 40,000 occasional speakers. It is spoken alongside French, which is gradually replacing it for all purposes and in all areas of communication. It is a variety of Western Flemish that belongs to the Dutch sub-group of the German language family. The existence of Flemish in the area is evidence by its use in place names since the eighth century, in ninth-century commentaries and 13th century administrative documents.


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http://www.ingenta.com/isis/searching/Expand/ingenta?pub=infobike:/ /mm/jmmd/2002/00000023/F0020001/art00003

Thursday, November 17th, 2005, 11:08 PM
Dutch/Flemish in the North of France

Hugo Ryckeboer

Some of the oldest sources of the Dutch language originate from the north of France, where also a lot of place names and family names give evidence of the historical presence of Dutch in that region, although it was mostly called there Flemish. It was replaced there by old French in its Picard form from the 11th century onwards. The gradual transition of language and the corresponding moving up of the language border lasted for about a thousand years. That border did not coincide with political borders, e.g. betweenthe counties of Artesia and Flanders.After the annexation of greatparts of Flanders by Louis XIV in the 16th century a slow Frenchification of what is now the arrondisement of Dunkirk began. But Dutch continued to play its role as a cultural language until the French Revolution.

The legislation about language use in educationand administration hastened the Frenchification of the upper class in the 19th century,especially in the towns. But it was not earlier than the period between the two worldwars and mainly after the Second World War that the oral Flemish dialect was increasingly given up. As a result, its disappearance is imminent.

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