French Dialects and Accents around the World: An Overview

June 6, 2019

Just like any other language, French has also many dialects and varieties. There are more than 270 million speakers of the French language and among these, there are varying dialects and accents and we will give you a brief overview of them in this blog. Today, there are over 30 French-speaking countries in the world. If you are interested in learning the language, you can do so by taking up a French language course in Kolkata.

The Varieties of French Spoken

In France, the only spoken language is French. There are, however, other languages as well which are called ‘partois’, which are mostly regional dialects.The dialects that are spoken in the north of France are mostly the Standard French and are collectively called ‘Langues d’ oil’ which are a group of dialects belonging to the Gallo-Romance origin. On the other hand in the Southern part of France, Occitan dialects are spoken which belong to the Romance family of languages. The southern accents are mostly considered as softer in terms of tones and spoken sounds whereas the northern ones are harder. However, both of these dialects can be understood by the French people easily.

The Standard French is actually the Parisian French which is spoken in Paris and its surroundings.

French spoken in Canada

In Canada, French is the official language along with English. In Quebec, it is the official language and more than 90% people in Quebec speak French as either their first or second language. Overall more than 20% people in Canada speak French. Hence, if you learn the language by taking up a French language course in Kolkata, you can go to Quebec for higher studies or for taking up a job.

Some of the dialects in Canada include Quebecois in Quebec, Acadian spoken in the Canadian province of New Brunswick and Franco Ontarians in Ontario.

French spoken in Belgium and Switzerland

More than 40% of the population in Belgium speaks French; however, there is some difference in parts of the vocabulary and pronunciation as the dialect is also influenced by the Dutch language. Basically, the French that is spoken in Belgium is more or less similar to standard. Apart from this, more or less 25% of the population in Switzerland speaks French and just like the Belgian, Swiss French is identical to the Standard French.

French in Haiti and Louisiana

The Haitian Creole and French are two official languages of Haiti. In Haitian, there is another type of French called Caribbean French.

The Haitian Creole is a mixture of many African and European languages such as Portuguese and Spanish and is the most spoken French creole language in the world.

If you take up a French language course in Kolkata, you will be able to learn more about these creoles and dialects.

Regarding the Louisiana Creole, we will say that it is a French-based creole spoken by around 10,000 people. Since this has a small number of speakers, it can be considered as an endangered language.

French spoken in Africa

African French refers to the creoles and dialects of the language spoken by around 100 million people in Africa. It has 24 French-speaking countries and hence has the highest number of French speakers in the world.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, there are 212 dialects that exist but French remains the official language of the country along with four local languages. The French that is spoken in this country is very different from those spoken in North Africa and Europe.

French in India

In the erstwhile French-speaking colonies of Pondicherry, Mahe, Karaikal, Chandernagore,and others in India, a few people speak the language. However, one can note a good influence of the Dravidian languages like Tamil, etc. on the language. The French language course in Kolkata will give an overview of other dialects and accents too along with the history and evolution of the language along with other aspects that are necessary to learn as a student of French.

Posted by Harry Mike


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