Language Policies, Intercultural Antagonisms and Dialogue
Edited By Kamal Salhi
Richard Wakely - French in Belgium: Belgian French, French Belgium 167
RICHARD WAKELY French in Belgium: Belgian French, French Belgium There were early examples of Frenchlfrancien being used in both the Walloon and Flemish areas of the territory that is now Belgium, 1 i.e. the linguistic boundary has never stopped the use of French from spreading north.2 The oldest clzarte in French/francien was drawn up in Chievres (Hainaut) in 1194.3 As a written language and langue de culture, French was, of course, widely used early on in various parts of Europe. However, its use (for example by the Burgundian court) does not indicate that it was widely spoken in itsfrancien form: indeed, until schooling spread, Belgian languages were largely dialectal. The situation in the south was diglossic French [H(igh)]/Wallon or Picard [L(ow)], the latter being 'parlers romans du nord' ,4 while Flanders, having resisted an attempt by the Dutch King to make Dutch the official language in 1823, moved I shall use the terms 'Wallonie/Walloon' and 'Flanders/Flemish' in their modem meanings. referring to the two main halves of Belgium and their inhabitants. but excluding Brussels and the small German-speaking areas in the east. 'Wallonie' is a relatively recent coinage: historically both expressions had more restricted application within present-day Belgium (and 'Flanders' still includes an area of northern France). 2 See Sera De Vriendt and Pete Van de Craen, Bilingualism in Belgium: A History and an Appraisal. CLCS Occasional Paper 23 (Dublin: Trinity College, 1990); and Maurice Pi ron. 'Le fran~ais en Belgique'. in Gerald Antoine and Robert...
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