Franco-Provençal language

patouès, arpetan
Pronunciation[patuˈe, -tuˈɑ]; [ɑrpiˈtɑ̃, -pəˈt-]
Native toItaly, France, Switzerland
RegionAosta Valley, Piedmont, Foggia, Franche-Comté, Savoie, Bresse, Bugey, Dombes, Beaujolais, Dauphiné, Lyonnais, Forez, Romandie
Native speakers
140,000 (1998–2007)[1]
includes 70,000 in France (1971 census) [2] and 68,000 in Aosta Valley (2003 census)[3]
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
 Aosta Valley (protected by statute)[4]
Language codes
ISO 639-3frp
Map of the Franco-Provençal Language Area:
Dark Blue: Protected. — Medium Blue: General regions.
Light Blue: Historical transition zone.
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Franco-Provençal (also Francoprovençal, Arpitan, or Romand) is a dialect group within Gallo-Romance spoken in east-central France, western Switzerland, northwestern Italy, and in enclaves in the Province of Foggia in Apulia, Italy.

Franco-Provençal has several distinct dialects and is separate from but closely related to neighboring Romance dialects (the langues d'oïl and Occitan, Rhaeto-Romance, Lombard, Piedmontese).[7]

The designation Franco-Provençal (Franco-Provençal: francoprovençâl; French: francoprovençal; Italian: francoprovenzale) dates to the 19th century. Traditionally, the dialect group is also referred to as patois(patouès), and since the late 20th century as Arpitan (Franco-Provençal: arpetan; Italian: arpitano), and its areal as Arpitania.[8] The number of speakers of Franco-Provençal has been declining significantly. According to UNESCO (1995), Franco-Provençal is a "potentially endangered language" in Italy and an "endangered language" in Switzerland and France.

Formerly spoken throughout the territory of Savoy, Franco-Provençal speakers are now found in the Aosta Valley, an autonomous administrative division of Italy. The language is also spoken in alpine valleys in the Metropolitan City of Turin, two isolated towns (Faeto and Celle di San Vito) in the Province of Foggia, and rural areas of the Swiss Romandie.

It is one of the three Gallo-Romance language families of France and is officially recognized as a regional language of France, but its use is marginal. Organizations are attempting to preserve it through cultural events, education, scholarly research, and publishing. Aside from regional French dialects (the Langues d'oïl), it is the most closely related language to French.


Franco-Provençal's name would suggest it is a bridge dialect between French and the Provençal dialect of Occitan, but this is misleading. More precisely, Franco-Provençal is a separate Gallo-Romance language that transitions into the Oïl languages Morvandiau and Franc-Comtois to the northwest, into Romansh to the east, into the Gallo-Italic language Piemontese to the southeast, and finally into the Vivaro-Alpine dialect of Occitan to the southwest.

The philological classification for Franco-Provençal published by the Linguasphere Observatory (Dalby, 1999/2000, p. 402) follows:

Indo-European phylosector → Romanic phylozone → Italiano+Româneasca (Romance) set → Italiano+Româneasca chain → Romance-West net → Lyonnais+Valdôtain (Franco-Provençal) reference name. The Linguasphere Observatory language code for Franco-Provençal is 51-AAA-j

A philological classification for Franco-Provençal published by Stanford University (Ruhlen, 1987, pp. 325–326) is as follows:

Indo-Hittite → Indo-European → Italic → Latino-Faliscan → Romance → Continental → Western → Gallo-Iberian-Romance → Gallo-Romance → North → Franco-Provençal.
Other Languages
Afrikaans: Arpitaans
አማርኛ: አርፒታንኛ
arpetan: Arpetan
asturianu: Franco-provenzal
brezhoneg: Arpitaneg
Esperanto: Arpitana lingvo
français: Francoprovençal
Bahasa Indonesia: Bahasa Arpitan
íslenska: Arpitanska
kernowek: Arpitanek
lumbaart: Lengua arpitana
Bahasa Melayu: Bahasa Arpitan
Nederlands: Francoprovençaals
Nordfriisk: Frankoprowensaals
Patois: Aapiitan
Picard: Arpitan
sicilianu: Arpitanu
suomi: Arpitaani
Türkçe: Arpitanca