Languages of France


When we talk of the indigenous languages of France, what readily comes to mind is the French language. In this country, the government recognized French as the only official language. To date, they have refused to give any form of official recognition to other languages that are indigenous to France.

Attempts to modify the French constitution that will allow the minority languages to be recognized as an official language in France have met with a brick wall over the past couple of years. The other languages that are indigenous in France are referred to as Patios-it is a derogatory language.

Languages of France - Map of France

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Official Language of France

The official language, as declared earlier, is French (Français), and it is spoken by over 80,000,000. The popularity of French as an official language extends to the other 28 countries in the world. This language originated from the Indo-European family of languages, and it is a Romance language.

There are dialects in the French Language, and it includes the following: Acadian French, Belgian French, Louisiana French, Quebec French, and Swiss-French, to mention just a few of them.

Read also: Languages of Canada

Other Spoken Languages of France

Let us now take a look at some of the popular native languages that are spoken in France today:

  1. Breton (Brezhoneg) Language
  2. Alsatian (Elsässerditsch) Language
  3. French Flemish (Fransch vlaemsch) Language
  4. Lorraine Franconian Plàtt Language
  5. Langues d’oïl Language
  6. Occitan Language
  7. Catalan (Català) Language
  8. Franco-Provençal (Francoprovençâl) Language
  9. Gallo Italic Language
  10. Corsican (Corsu) Languages
  11. Basque (Euskara) Language

Breton (Brezhoneg) Language

This language was imported to France by the Britons during the middle age era. This language passed through some turbulent times because it was regarded as a high and mighty language the Breton language was banned in schools, and children were punished for speaking the language around the mid-20th century.

Many of the surviving speakers of this language are over the age of 60. However, efforts are ongoing to revive this language. The dialects include: Leoneg, Tregerieg, Kerneveg, and Gwenedeg.

language of french - Breton language

Alsatian (Elsässerditsch) Language

This Alsatian (Elsässerditsch) is the local dialect that is spoken in the French region of Alsace. Alsatian is the second most popular regional Language in France, and it is spoken by over 548,000.

It belongs to a Germanic language family that has a very strong French influence. So there is this confusion of mistaking this dialect with Alsatian French; these are two separate entities.

French Flemish (Fransch vlaemsch) Language

The number of speakers of this dialect is not more than 60,000. The origin of this native language can be traced to 892 AD. The language is spoken near the border of Flanders in France, which became part of the French territory in the 17th century.

Lorraine Franconian Plàtt Language

This dialect is also spoken in France. When you get to the Moselle département in Lorraine, this is the language that you will hear from the locals. There are about 400,000 speakers of this dialect in France today. This group of dialects of West Central German extraction is also known as Moselle Franconian.

Langues d’oïl Language

This is the language of the locals that you will find in northern and central France. This dialect belonged to the Gallo-Romance group. The following dialects are included in this group:

  • Berrichon
  • Bourguignon-Morvandiau
  • Champenois or Campanois
  • Franc-Comtois
  • French
  • Gallo
  • Lorrain
  • Norman
  • Picard also is known as Chtimi
  • Poitevin and Saintongeais
  • Walloon
  • Angevin
  • Manceau
  • Mayennais
  • Romande

Occitan Language

This language is spoken in southern France, with about 610 speakers of the dialect in France. This dialect is often compared to Catalan, and it has a co-official status with the Catalan dialect in Catalonia in Spain. This dialect is one of the endangered languages in Spain because its speakers are older.

The poet Frédéric Mistral made great efforts to revive this language in the 19th century to create a standardized written version. He was greatly successful in his efforts, and it earned him global recognition with an award of the Nobel Prize for his works in 1904.

Catalan (Català) Language

Catalan is a dialect that is spoken in the Roussillon area of France. There are over 9.5 million speakers of dialect in France. This dialect is named after Catalonia, the northeastern region of Spain and the adjourning parts of France. This region was ceded to France by Spain in the 1659 treaty of Pyrenees.

Franco-Provençal (Francoprovençâl) Language

The speakers of this language number well over 140,000. There are several dialects of this language, and it is one dialect that is very close to the French Language. There is no standard orthography for this dialect, which is responsible for a decline in the number of speakers of this language.

The locals now prefer the French language over this dialect, and now the dialect is one of the endangered languages of France. The following dialects are included:

  • Vivaroalpenc
  • Auvergnat
  • Gascon
  • Languedocien
  • Limousin
  • Nissart (Niçois or Niçart)
  • Provençal

Gallo Italic Language

The Gallo Italic language is one of the local dialects that is going into extinction in present-day France. Though we still have speakers in present-day France, it is gradually going into oblivion. The speakers now prefer the Italian language to this local dialect.

Corsican (Corsu) Languages

We have about 200,000 speakers of this Language in France. The dialect is spoken in Corsica. However, the use of French vocabulary is fast eroding the use of this language. As a result, there are no more monolingual speakers of this language today in this region.

Basque (Euskara) Language

The Basque is one of the isolated dialects that still exists in France. This dialect has no connection to any languages of France. We have the standard dialect and the Navarrese–Lapurdian, and Zuberoan dialects that are all spoken in France.

The Influence of Large Immigrant Communities

Globalization has an impact on the languages of France. We also have several other languages spoken in France by large immigrant communities that we have not included in the list above.

For example, we have the Berber, Arabic, Italian, Portuguese, English, Polish, Turkish, Vietnamese, and German and several other immigrants who have imported their English versions to France. It is now part of the local languages of France.

Conclusion – Languages of France

Several languages can be found in France. However, the French language is the only officially recognized language in France. Let’s hope that other indigenous languages of France come into full life again.


  • Are there dialects in the French language?

    There are dialects in the French Language, and it includes the following: Acadian French, Belgian French, Louisiana French, Quebec French, and Swiss-French, to mention just a few of them.

  • What languages are spoken in France, other than French?

    Breton (Brezhoneg) Language
    Alsatian (Elsässerditsch) Language
    French Flemish (Fransch vlaemsch) Language
    Lorraine Franconian Plàtt Language
    Langues d’oïl Language
    Occitan Language
    Catalan (Català) Language
    Franco-Provençal (Francoprovençâl) Language
    Gallo Italic Language
    Corsican (Corsu) Languages
    Basque (Euskara) Language

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top 3 languages spoken in France?

The top 3 languages of France are French, English, and German. French is the official language of France and is spoken by the majority of the population, while English and German are commonly used as second languages.

How many languages are spoken in France?

Apart from French, there are several regional languages of France, including Breton, Occitan, Basque, Alsatian, and Corsican. There are also immigrant languages such as Arabic, Portuguese, and Italian that are spoken by some communities.

What is Paris first language?

French is the first language of Paris, as it is the official language of France. Paris is the capital city of France, and French is spoken by the vast majority of its inhabitants. However, due to its status as a global city, many other languages are also spoken in Paris, such as English, Spanish, and Arabic.