Tuesday, November 13, 2007



One of the last regional languages still in use

The dialect is used throughout the whole of Alsace as well is in part of the Moselle area.It is one of the most widely spoken regional languages in France. It is also a key aspect of the region's identity, being the result of Alsace's turbulent history. Unlike several decades ago, today you won't find any Alsatian under the age of 60 unable to speak French, as the French language became compulsory at school after the liberation.Unfortunately, the transmission of the Alsatian language from one generation to another is in constant decline, particularly in urban areas.

A dialect which is clearly distinct from German

Although originally derived from Alemannic, the Alsatian dialect is clearly distinct from German.Firstly because this is above all a spoken language.Secondly, because Alsatian has not evolved in the same manner as German, having absorbed a number of words from the French language.Although spoken in a relatively limited area, the Alsatian dialect varies from place to place.

"French can not, do not want Prussian, Alsatian am"

Between 1918 and 1920, the French undertook massive purges of Alsatian and Lorrainer society and reimposed the French language in schools on a generation educated entirely in German. The infamous "commissions de triage" set up by the French state to cleanse border province society are now erase from collective memory...

A similar transfer occurred during the World War II conflict (1939-45) at the end of which the region was again ceded to France. Still today, however, two German language newspapers are published here. There is even still spoken here and there a German dialect Alsacien (Elsässisch), but it is vanishing after German dialect has been forbidden at scholl for decades.

1968 : half of the daily newspaper sold (DNA and L'Alsace) are still published in German

1991 : opening of the First bilingual Kindergarten (13 hours French/13 hours of German) in Alsace!

2005 : 10% of the Alsatian Children are in a bilingual kindergarten


The Frenchman, although not even mentioned in Strasbourg, language remains a perennial outside the regional capital. Dialect employing a mixture of french vocabulary and German, Alsatian is not so obvious to understand, especially since every village has a particular variant!


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