Corsican is an endangered language

Endangered languages ​​in France

Endangered languages ​​are languages ​​that have few native speakers and are threatened with extinction. These languages ​​are usually spoken in a country's minority ethnic groups. While the decline in language has been observed throughout human history, the rate at which languages ​​are becoming extinct is alarming, caused by globalization, urbanization, and neo-colonialism. There are numerous languages ​​in France that have seen their respective numbers of native speakers decline, but some are recognized as genuinely endangered and have a real rate of extinction, despite the fact that the official language, French, is one of the most popular languages ​​in the world. The country's threatened languages ​​include Auvergnat, Gallo, Basque and Breton. Some of the endangered languages ​​like Basque and Auvergnat have fewer than 100,000 native speakers in the country.

Examples of endangered languages


Gallo is one of the critically endangered languages ​​in France. The language has an estimated 28,000 native speakers in the country who are concentrated in Brittany. Classified as a Gaulish language, Gallo has ancient Latin and Celtic roots, the history of which dates back to the 6thth Century CE.


Basque is another language threatened by France. While the world population of native Basque speakers is around 0.72 million, only 51,000 of the native speakers live in France. Years of political repression led to the decline of the Basque language. There has been a recent boom in the Basque Country around the world and in France the population of native speakers has slowly increased.


Another endangered language in France is Auvergnat, a language with only 80,000 native speakers in the country. The language originally spoken in Auvergne and made up of two sub-dialects; South and North Auvergnat. The Auvergne is one of the smallest regions in France and is characterized by mountain ranges with pastures.

Causes of decline

There are several factors that have contributed to a decline in the use of endangered languages ​​in France. First, French was introduced as an official language in the country as this directive prevented the use of some of the marginalized languages. The rapid urbanization that coincided with the Industrial Revolution brought people of different ethnic backgrounds together and therefore these people would avoid their ethnic languages ​​and use the lingua franca for communication instead. The emergence of globalization in the 20thth The 20th century has also seen the decline of marginalized languages ​​as people turn to international languages ​​such as English to communicate with foreigners.

Resuscitation exercises

There were intense resuscitation exercises used by local communities to prevent the languages ​​from becoming extinct. One measure was the publication of magazines in the endangered languages. The Breton language is a notable example as many publications have been written in the languages ​​since the early 20'sth Century including comics and dictionaries. The renaissance of the mother tongue in the 21st centuryst Over the century, young people have become interested in their mother tongue, increasing the use of some endangered languages ​​in France. Some languages ​​are also being integrated into the country's education system to promote them among the younger generation.

Endangered languages ​​in France

ranklanguagestatusAlso spoken
1AlemannicVulnerableGermany, Austria, Italy, Liechtenstein, Switzerland
2Alpine ProvençalDefinitely at riskItaly
3AuvergnatSeverely endangered
5BretonSeverely endangered
6BurgundySeverely endangered
7ChampenoisSeverely endangeredBelgium
8CorsicanDefinitely at riskItaly
9Franc ComtoisSeverely endangeredSwitzerland
10FrancoprovençalDefinitely at riskItaly, Switzerland
11GalloSeverely endangered
12GasconDefinitely at riskSpain
13LanguedocianSeverely endangered
14LiguriansDefinitely at riskItaly, Monaco
15Limousin languageSeverely endangered
16LorrainSeverely endangeredBelgium
17Moselle FranconianVulnerableGermany, Belgium, Luxembourg
18NormanSeverely endangered
19PicardSeverely endangeredBelgium
20Poitevin-SaintongeaisSeverely endangered
21ProvencalSeverely endangered
22Rhenish FranconianVulnerableGermany
23RomaniDefinitely at riskSeveral countries worldwide
24WalloonDefinitely at riskBelgium, Luxembourg
25West FlemishVulnerableBelgium, Netherlands
26YiddishDefinitely at riskSeveral countries worldwide

Author: Margarita Mason

Margarita Mason is a 25 year old journalist. Web fanatics. Entrepreneur. Certified coffee practitioner. Zombie evangelist. Creator. Devoted writer. Pop culture trailblazer.