Lorraine Franconian

Lorraine Franconian
Lottrìnger Plàtt
Native toFrance
RegionMoselle
Native speakers
(c. 360,000 cited 1962)
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Regulated byNo official regulation
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Dialectes de Moselle.svg
Dialects of Moselle. Those in purple areas are lumped under the term "Lorraine Franconian" when spoken in France.
BlasonLorraine.svg
Part of the series on
Lorraine
Flag of Lorraine.svg
Flag of Lorraine since the 13th century
The language border around 1630.
Franconian languages area: Central Franconian dialects in green.

Lorraine Franconian (Lorraine Franconian: Plàtt, lothrìnger Plàtt; French: francique lorrain, platt lorrain; German: Lothringisch) is an ambiguous designation for dialects of West Central German (German: Westmitteldeutsch), a group of High German dialects spoken in the Moselle department of the former north-eastern French region of Lorraine (See Linguistic boundary of Moselle).

Description

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 dialect spoken in the valley of the river Nied (in Pays de Nied whose largest town is Boulay-Moselle), to distinguish it from the other two Franconian dialects spoken in Lorraine, Luxembourgish to the west and Rhine Franconian to the east.

In 1806 there were 218,662 speakers of Lorraine Franconian in Moselle and 41,795 speakers in Meurthe.[1]

In part from the ambiguity of the term, estimates of the number of speakers of Lorraine Franconian in France vary widely, ranging from 30,000[2] to 400,000[3] (which would make it the third most-spoken regional language in France, after Occitan and Alsatian).

The most reliable data comes from the Enquête famille carried out by INSEE (360,000 in the 1962 census) as part of the 1999 census, 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 is that of all adult men who used Franconian regularly when they were 5, less than 30% use (or used) the language regularly with their own children.[4]