Talk:Belgian French

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Is the pronounciation of "Bruxelles" (the city of Brussels) as "Bru-sselles", rather than "Bruk-sselles", related to differences between French in France and French in Wallonia and Brussels? In Quebec, I have heard both pronounciations for the city name, even though Quebec French usually pronounces the "k" sound of x's elsewhere. --Liberlogos

I don't think so, or at least it's not a hard relationship. See the city of Auxerre in France: the french article fr:Auxerre explicitly states that its name is pronounced "ausserre". --FvdP 20:08, 5 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Thanks for your answer. What I'd like to know, though: is the "x" pronounced as "ss" a standard in Wallonia and Bruxelles? Is it used for other terms than city names? Is the "x" pronounciation ever heard for Bruxelles and if so, would it be seen as erroneous or curious? What about in France? Here, I do think both are used alternately. --Liberlogos 22:27, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)
The standard for Belgian French is "x" = "ks", the only exceptions I can think of are Bruxelles and Auxerre. Walloon may differ, I don't know. "ks" is sometimes pronounced for the x in Bruxelles, but not by most belgian people. It strikes me as only slightly curious (but i've met many french people so...). I suppose many French people say "ks" (ditto for belgian people and Auxerre I suppose.) I've heard Belgians say "ks" when speaking to french people to be sure they're understood. By the way, there's also a difference with "Anvers" (Antwerp) where Belgian people pronounce the final "s", and most French people don't. I guess there are other exceptions like that. --FvdP 19:31, 3 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Just a side note about Auxerre: as far as I know, pronouncing x as ss is standard for place names in Burgundy (though this is often ignored, especially for towns less known than Auxerre, or by speakers from outside of the region). Thus, Fixin is pronounced Fissin, etc. David.Monniaux 15:52, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
One more note about Auxerre/Bruxelles. It seems that the fact that French cities or villages like Auxerre, Fixin and some others are written with "x" while pronounced "ss" would be due to an habit in use in ancient Burgundy. Since the Dukes of Burgundundy at some point of time were also Duke of Brabant (and resided often in Brussels) has had for effect that the "x" has also been used for writting Bruxelles instead of Brusselles (that you find in Dutch, German and English a.o.). That practice remained even after the Dukes of Burgundy have lost the control over Brabant. At least this is the story that was stold to me more than 30 years ago by my French teacher. --Lebob-BE 23:02, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

Some of Man vyi's clarifications are good, but others change the intended meaning in wrong ways IMO:

He modified "Belgian French and standard French" -> "Belgian French and Parisian French": by "standard" I really meant "french as spoken in France", not only in Paris. "Parisian french" is too restrictive IMO. I'm leaving that "Parisian" for now, waiting for feedback.

He modified "the fact that Belgium was politically separated from France in (...) diminished the opportunities of vocabulary unification" -> "the fact that Belgium has been politically separate from France for (...) means that French authorities have had no powers to impose a standard language" : OK for "was->has been" but I disagree with "no powers to impose": this is not IMO a question of imposition, but of sharing of culture. French people moved mostly within France, not to (or from) Belgium; French conscripts went to the French army not the Belgian one; French pupils go to french schools separate from the belgian schools where belgian pupils go; and so forth. The part of imposition is IMO minimal with respect to less formal ways, and less voluntary ways to unify the language. -> reverting --FvdP 18:25, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for the explanation. I found the "diminished the opportunities..." passage unclear. As explained, it's much clearer. I've attempted to reword so that the meaning is more obvious - hope it's an improvement.
Indeed, it was imprecise. --FvdP
Yes standard French is a problem phrase - the problem being that there are several standard Frenches in the same way that there are several standard Englishes. Those of us from countries where France is an official language often have problems with the term standard French - whose standard? Metropolitan French is sometimes used, but is rather Francocentric. An academic I've worked with has used French of France to get round the problem - I've edited to put in this version, inelegant though it might be. How's that? Man vyi 18:53, Nov 25, 2004 (UTC)
when I read "the french of France" I suddenly have doubts whether such a beast exists... --FvdP 22:17, 26 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I don't see "diminished the probability of a unified standard language developing" as much better than "diminished the opportunities...". "probability" is not the right concept here, I like my "opportunities" better (in the sense that there were less reasons that the language unify). Perhaps with "chances" instead of "probabilities" ? The rest is OK. --FvdP 22:17, 26 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I like "chances". To my ear, "opportunities" suggests an intention, whereas "probability" or "chance" suggests simple blind historical development due to circumstances.
Yes, "French of France" poses the same kind of problem as "British English", but as a way to differentiate the French language as broadly used in France from other standards it's better than nothing (for the moment). Man vyi 08:21, Nov 27, 2004 (UTC)

Standard French, is this not that which is acceptable to the Academie Française ? Peter Horn 22:12, 4 July 2006 (UTC)



The expression huitante (80) may not be used in Belgian French, but what about octante? Peter Horn 22:12, 4 July 2006 (UTC)--Peter Horn 22:17, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Nope, Belgians use only quatre-vingts (but there is apparently an equivalent of huitante in Walloon: ûtante). Lesgles (talk) 06:12, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

In walloon, it's qwatre-vingt (pronounce "qw" as latin "qu")

Sorry, but there places in Belgium where 80 in Walloon is "ûtante", among others in the area of Malmedy. --Lebob-BE 13:40, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

It's 'Quatre vingt'.


What about patate? Is this an exampe of Flemish/German influence? It's certainly used a lot (being a staple of the diet) and is more common than pomme de terre. Likewise, cacahuete as in "buerre de cacahuete" as opposed to "pate d'arachide". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 17:37, 28 March 2006

Patate is a colloquialism for pomme de terre (potato), and as far as I know its use in Belgian French does not differ from other French-speaking regions. Cacahuète (peanut) is not Belgian French either, it's the word used for the seed, whereas arachide is used for the plant. Matthieu Houriet 04:04, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
And patate is not a Germanic word. It and its variants are used in various Indo-European languages though it's Amerindian in origin. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Arthurian Legend (talkcontribs) 23:35, 16 September 2007 (UTC)


Are you sure the word "Cokotteur" isn't derived from Dutch (Flemish) ?

In (Belgian) Dutch, the word "kot" has two meanings :

- small building, (garden) shed, small stable

- student room (the same meaning as in Belgian French)

I've always thought the second meaning was derived from the first. Hence, "Kot" being a Dutch word, "Cokotteur" is derived from Dutch. On the side : the adaptation by French speakers of the Dutch word "Kot" has his origins in the fact that the largest French speaking Belgian university until 1968 was situated in Louvain (Leuven), which is in the Dutch speaking part of Belgium. --LucVerhelst 20:52, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

In standard (Netherlands) Dutch, the word "kot" means small building (etc) exclusively. Using "kot" for a student room is Flemish, in standard Dutch it is simply "kamer" (room), although the plural "kamers" is often used, depending of the context.

The word "Belgisicism"[edit]

Is not uniquely used for Belgium French. It is used for Flemish words That arn't used in the Netherlands as well. Sometimes they are even the same. eg. patat, used in Flanders and Wolonia, in stead of Standard Dutch "Aardappel" or French "Pomme de tère", or "Shakosh" (I don't know how to write it, it is never written down) in stead of "handtas" or "sac a main".

Who kan look this out? 12:09, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

I added a note about this additional meaning of "Belgicism". But I think any description of the Dutch dialects belongs on a page like Flemish (linguistics). Lesgles (talk) 18:48, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

I think it would enrich the article to add a few examples of French Belgicism, one example is "à tantôt" which is actually incorrect but Belgicisms are in fact "incorrect" but they're widely used though they may not be taught at schools (well they might bring it up in class to show there are belgicisms and the word is used in the spoken language but you wont find it in text books). Another one I believe but am not sure is "journal parlé" for televised news instead of "journal télévisé" which is also incorrect but also I think a Belgicism. I know tons of them but can't come up on more right now, people are free to help me ofcourse. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Frostpunk (talkcontribs) 18:29, 20 October 2016 (UTC)

The expression "S'il vous plaît"[edit]

The article states "and the use of s'il vous plaît to mean voici". I'm not a Belgian French speaker so I won't edit it myself, but as far as I recall from my stays in Belgium, the expression "s'il vous plaît", in addition to the standard French meaning "please", would better be described as "je vous en prie" (you're welcome), typically following "merci" (thank you). Is that right? 01:32, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

As far as I understood it when I was in Belgium, it had two senses in addition to the normal meaning "please". The first use what you say when giving something to someone (="voici"). The second (which isn't mentioned in the article) is what you say when you don't understand what someone said (="pardon"). I haven't heard it as an equivalent of "je vous en prie", but we might have to check with a Belgian on this one. Lesgles (talk) 05:23, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree with both meanings above, though I still think "you're welcome" would be a third possible meaning, at least in some given contexts. In any case, a clarification from a Belgian French speaker would be helpful on this one. Matthieu Houriet 21:25, 22 March 2006 (UTC) (previously
As a Belgian French speaker, I can tell you that "s'il vous plaît" is never used after "merci". X

There something else too. The text says "and that are not of Walloon or Dutch origin". Well, IF "s'il vous plaît" is used for "voici", as the text says rigth now (I don't know that, but if), it would be a Dutch habbit; Dutch uses the word "alsjeblieft/alstublieft" (meaning litteraly "s'il vous plaît") also for "voici" (as in: giving something to someone). (Applies to both standard Dutch and Belgian Dutch of Flemmish.)

Nasal vowels in France[edit]

Are you sure that it's /ɛ̃/ and /œ̃/ that are merging in france and not /ã/ and /œ̃/? MissingNo 18:46, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Yes. [ɑ̃] is a back vowel, so I think it would be unlikely to merge with either [œ̃] or [ɛ̃], which are front vowels. The difference between [ɛ̃] and [œ̃], on the other hand is simply one of roundedness. The French phonology mentions a possible merger between [ɑ̃] and [ɔ̃], but I personally have heard no evidence of this. Lesgles (talk) 05:18, 22 March 2006 (UTC)


I don't think we should use the term Standard for the French of France. Continental is obviously out of the question. Metropolitan c'est trop francophile IMO. French French would get us in trouble with spell checkers? Is there a solution or am I just fretting over nothing?

I consider the Standard French to be the [Académie Française] French. Almost no french people actually speak it, as they all use regional slang.

W sound[edit]

I changed the word "usually" to "sometimes" in the section referring to W as being pronounced as a V in "standard" French. While there are very few words in French that start with a W (and most are taken directly from English, German, or Dutch), even fewer have the V sound. Most still have the W sound, as in English. (Wagon is an acceptable instance of the V sound.) My source is "Le Larousse de Poche." —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 01:47, 23 December 2006 (UTC).


Dejeuner folk-etymology was removed. Louis XIV woke up everyday at 8 and the adoption of "dejeuner" as lunch in France takes place a bit later. Arthurian Legend 23:31, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

The article states that in Belgium the word "déjeuner" is used in Belgium for "breakfast" this is correct however the word "petit déjeuner" or "petit déj" in a shortened form is also widely used throughout the french speaking population of Belgium — Preceding unsigned comment added by Frostpunk (talkcontribs) 18:24, 20 October 2016 (UTC)

Also writing déjeuner as déjeûner is archaic, I never even saw it spelled that way until I looked it up. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Frostpunk (talkcontribs) 18:34, 20 October 2016 (UTC)


Two centuries later, the Carolingian dynasty progressively took over the power from the Merovingian kings. 
They were based in Liege, just at the opposite end of Wallonia. 

Carolingians based in Liège? That suggests it was their capial, which AFAIK it never was, nor was Aachen, their official seat, ever part of the Bishopry of Liège.--Joostik (talk) 11:28, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

cognate? I do not think that word means what you think it means.[edit]

It doesn't look like a cognate. Is its literal meaning analogous? —Tamfang (talk) 06:11, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

une fois[edit]

In the article it says "Une fois" cannot really be translated in other languages; its function is to soften the meaning of the sentence. The English equivalent would be "Could you come here?" or "Why don't you come here?".

I do not fully agree with this. First of all, just like the Dutch "eens", in German the word "(ein)mal" exists and is used for exactly the same purpose and in the same fashion, so one cannot say it cannot really be translated into other languages, just not in all of them perhaps. In English, instead of "Could you come here?" it's more like "Come here a minute", I'd say. (talk) 23:47, 11 May 2011 (UTC)


In Belgian French, the word caisse is pronounced /kɛs/ ou /kɛːs/ ? Fête (talk) 01:19, 20 October 2012 (UTC)

'constrained to'[edit]

This expression isn't English - the correct phrase is 'confined to'. (talk) 13:47, 15 March 2016 (UTC)

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Vowel chart[edit]

The vowel chart contradicts the following statements. For instance, it does not distinguish /ɛ̃/ and /œ̃/ or /a/ and /ɑ/ despite stating that Belgian French still distinguishes these, as well as some of the long and short pairs. In fact, it seems the vowel chart actually represents the Parisian dialect.

-MToumbola (talk) 3:35, 27 May 2020 (UTC)