From Academic Kids

Franco-Provençal is a Romance language consisting of dialects that can be found in Italy (Valle d'Aosta, Piemonte, Calabria, Apulia), in Switzerland (cantons Fribourg, Valais, Vaud, Neuchâtel, Geneva, non-German speaking parts of Bern, but not Jura, where the dialects spoken are French) and in France (Dauphinois, Lyonnais, Savoy).

The language forms a linguistic sub-group of its own between the langue d'oïl and langue d'oc. The name Franco-Provençal was given to the group of dialects in the 19th century as they shared features of French and Provençal without belonging to either. Although the name of the language is well established, there is some dissatisfaction with the name, given that the distinguishing feature of Franco-Provençal is that it is neither French nor Provençal. The name Arpitan is sometimes used, as are, individually, the names of the various dialects (Savoyard, Lyonnais, etc.) It is now considered an endangered language.

Franco-Provençal is classified as a regional language of France.

Words of Franco-Provençal origin that may be found in English include:

|de:Franko-Provenzalische Sprache en:Franco-Provençal language pl:Język franko-prowansalski pt:Franco-Provençal wa:Francoprovinçå

Catégorie:Langue romane catégorie:Rhône-Alpes



'Arpitan, or francoprovençal constitutes one of the three great romance languages of France along with occitan (langue d'oc) and french (langue d'oïl). This languages has numerous local varieties. Its decline continues, but its use is maintained with a local accent and respective lexical forms. (swiss, savoyard, lyonnais, and dauphinois accents etc.)

The name "francoprovençal" is a term created by 19th century linguistics. It corresponds to a language which was spoken under the name of various dialects. In between the group of languages langues d'oïl (whence the appellation 'franco') and the group of langues d'oc, (whence the appellation 'provençal'), however it is not a mix of french and Occitan but rather constitutes a distinct romance linguistic group.

The original name of franco-provençal is used nonetheless without implying a union, in order to avoid confusion, and to underline the independence of francoprovençal (certain people perfer 'Arpitan' because of its connotations of being neither d'oil ni d'oc)

Domain of usage of Arpitan

Missing image
L'aire francoprovençale

The linguistic territory of francoprovençal is liminted, tout en les englobant, par les régions suivantes (dans le sens des aiguilles d'une montre)

in France

in switzerland

  • it covers the entire romand area with the exception of the northern frindge of the cantons of Jura where langues d'oil are spoken.

in Italy

  • its linguistic domain is the vallée d'Aoste (with the exception of the valley of Walser in Gressoney) . It also concerns the hights of vallées piémontaises with the following communities : Ala di Stura, Alpette, Balme, Cantoira, Carema (Carème), Castagnole Piemonte, Ceres, Ceresole Reale (Cérisoles), Chialamberto (Chalambert), Chianocco (Chanoux), Coassolo, Coazze, Corio, Frassinetto, Germagnano (St-Germain), Giaglione (Jaillons), Giaveno, Gravere (Gravière), Groscavallo, Ingria, Lanzo torinese (Lans), Lemie, Mattie, Meana di Susa, Mezzenile, Monastero di Lanzo, Noasca, Novalesa (Novalaise), Pessinetto, Pont Canavese, Ronco Canavese, Rubiana, Sparone, Susa (Suse), Traves, Usseglio (Ussel), Valgioie (Valjoie), Valprato Soana (Valpré), Vénaus, Viù (Vieu).

Les vallées plus méridionales du Piémont sont occitanes.

The relative rarity of a written corpus is due essencially to the decided « francisation » of the major urban and cultural centers in the francoprovençale region, among them Lyon, Geneva, and Grenoble.

Generally called a « patois », it was for a long time had a low social level, just as the other dozens of patois which comprise the linguistic wealth of France.

The disappearance of this languages is advanced in France and in switzerland (except, perhaps in the isolated areas of the the canton of Valais), although it may be maintained in n Val d'Aoste for political and historic reasons. Nonetheless, this « patois » (also called thus by the valdôtains themselves) is in considerable decline in Aoste and in the valley of Doire baltée ; it is more precariously maintained in the areas of the less cosmopolitan lateral vallies (Cogne, Champorcher, Valsavaranche…), where the idiom is participating in a certain revival, in the tradition of Émile Chanoux.


In 1873, the linguist Ascoli defined francoprovençal in these terms  : « J'appelle franco-provençal un type linguistique qui réunit, en plus de quelques caractères qui lui sont propre, d'autres caractères dont une partie lui est commune avec le français et dont une autre lui est commune avec le provençal, et qui ne provient pas d'une tardive confluence d'éléments divers, mais au contraire atteste de sa propre indépendance historique, peu différente de celle par lesquelles se distinguent entre eux les autres principaux types romans [I call franco-provencal a type of language which brings together, together with characteristics which are its own, some characteristics of which a part it has in common with french and the other part of which it has in common with provencal, and which is not due to a late confluence of diverse elements, but on the contrary attests to is own independent history, little differeent than those by which it distinguishes itself among the principal romance languages]». Historically it has to do with three quarters of the territories defined as making part of the ancient pre-roman Allobrogie.

These languaages are often attested since the 12th century, but are seldom written and remain above all an oral vehicle. In the 13th century with the abandonment of latin as a common language, appeared the first official texts which were acts of notaries and witnesses. There is however at least one long text from the 13th century written in francoprovençal lyonnais namely the Vie de sainte Béatrice d'Ornacieux by Marguerite d'Oingt from which here is an excerpt:

« § 112 : Quant vit co li diz vicayros que ay o coventavet fayre, ce alyet cela part et en ot mout de dongiers et de travayl, ancis que cil qui gardont lo lua d'Emuet li volissant layssyer co que il demandavet et que li evesques de Valenci o volit commandar. Totes veys yses com Deus o aveyt ordonat oy se fit. »

List of arpitan dialects


  • Certains textes valdôtains ont été collectés dans le recueil « Tobie de Brissogne » aux éditions Musumeci, Quart (AO).
  • « Manuel pratique de philologie romane » Pierre Bec (Ed. Picard, Paris 1971), ébauche, p. 357 et seq., a philological analysis of francoprovençal. The alpin dialects have been particularly studied by
  • « Atlas linguistique et ethnographique du Jura et des Alpes du nord » (ALJA), Gaston Tuaillon, co-auteur, avec Jean-Baptiste Marti (éditions du CNRS). Gaston Tuaillon is also the author of numerous articles and monographs (cf. savoyard).

Also see

Internal Links

External links

de:Franko-Provenzalische Sprache

fr:Arpitan pl:Język franko-prowansalski pt:Franco-Provençal wa:Francoprovinçå


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