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Lorraine Franconian

Lorraine Franconian

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Lorraine Franconian is a designation, in practice ambiguous, for dialect
The term dialect is used in two distinct ways, even by linguists. One usage refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors,...

s of West Central German
West Central German
West Central German belongs to the Central, High German dialect family in the German language. Its dialects are thoroughly Franconian including the following sub-families:* Central Franconian...

 , a group of High German
High German languages
The High German languages or the High German dialects are any of the varieties of standard German, Luxembourgish and Yiddish, as well as the local German dialects spoken in central and southern Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Luxembourg and in neighboring portions of Belgium and the...

 dialects spoken in the Moselle
Moselle is a department in the east of France named after the river Moselle.- History :Moselle is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790...

 département in the north-eastern French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 region of Lorraine
Lorraine (région)
Lorraine is one of the 27 régions of France. The administrative region has two cities of equal importance, Metz and Nancy. Metz is considered to be the official capital since that is where the regional parliament is situated...


The term Lorraine Franconian has multiple denotations. Some scholars use it to refer to the entire group of West Central German dialects spoken in the French Lorraine region. Others use it more narrowly to refer to the Moselle Franconian
Moselle Franconian
Moselle Franconian is a group of West Central German dialects, part of the Central Franconian language area.It is spoken in the southern Rhineland and along the course of the Moselle River, from the Siegerland in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia throughout western Rhineland-Palatinate and...

 dialect spoken in the valley of the river Nied
The Nied is a river in Lorraine, France, and Saarland, Germany, left tributary of the Saar River. It has two headstreams, the Nied allemande and the Nied française , that join in Condé-Northen....

 (in Pays du Nied, whose largest town is Bouzonville
Bouzonville is a commune in the Moselle department in Lorraine in north-eastern France.It lies from Metz and the same distance from Thionville.-History:...

), to distinguish it from the other two Franconian
Franconian languages
Franconian refers to a West Germanic dialect continuum spoken in the Rhineland, including Dutch at one end and all the transitional dialects between Dutch and standard German which do not fully participate in the High German consonant shift or German diphthongization of long vowels...

 dialects spoken in Lorraine, Luxembourgish
Luxembourgish language
Luxembourgish is a High German language spoken mainly in Luxembourg. About 320,000 people worldwide speak Luxembourgish.-Language family:...

 to the west and Rhine Franconian
Rhine Franconian
Rhine Franconian , or Rhenish Franconian, is a dialect family of West Central German. It comprises the German dialects spoken across the western regions of the states of Saarland, Rhineland-Palatinate, and Hesse in Germany...

 to the east.

In part due to the ambiguity of the term, estimations of the number of speakers of Lorraine Franconian in France vary widely, ranging from 30,000 to 400,000 (which would make it the 3rd most-spoken regional language in France, after Occitan and Alsatian
Alsatian language
Alsatian is a Low Alemannic German dialect spoken in most of Alsace, a region in eastern France which has passed between French and German control many times.-Language family:...


The most reliable data come from the Enquête famille carried out by INSEE
INSEE is the French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies. It collects and publishes information on the French economy and society, carrying out the periodic national census. Located in Paris, it is the French branch of Eurostat, European Statistical System...

 as part of the 1999 census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

, but they give a somewhat indirect picture of the current situation (see Languages in France for a discussion of this survey). Approximately 78,000 people were reported to speak Lorraine Franconian, but fewer than 50,000 passed basic knowledge of the language on to their children. Another statistic illustrating the same point: Of all adult men who used Franconian regularly at age 5, less than 30% use (or used) the language regularly with their own children.


  • http://www.cairn.info/article.php?ID_REVUE=HER&ID_NUMPUBLIE=HER_105&ID_ARTICLE=HER_105_0102 Auburtin, Éric. 2002. "Langues régionales et relations transfrontalières dans l’espace Saar-Lor-Lux". Hérodote 105, pp. 102—122.
  • http://www.ined.fr/fichier/t_publication/65/publi_pdf1_pop_et_soc_francais_376.pdf Héran, François, et al. 2002. "La dynamique des langues en France au fil du XXe siècle". Population et sociétés 376. Paris: Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED).
  • Hughes, Stephanie. 2005. Bilingualism in North-East France with specific reference to Rhenish Franconian spoken by Moselle Cross-border (or frontier) workers. In Preisler, Bent, et al., eds. The Consequences of Mobility: Linguistic and Sociocultural Contact Zones. Roskilde, Denmark: Roskilde Universitetscenter: Institut for Sprog og Kultur. ISBN 8773496510.
  • Kieffer, Jean-Louis. 2006. Le Platt Lorrain de poche. Assimil. ISBN 2-7005-0374-0

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