Walloon (Walon) is a Romance leid which wis spoken as a primary leid in lairge portions (70 %) o the Walloon Region o Belgium an some villages o northren Fraunce (near Givet) til the middle o the 20t century. It belangs tae the langue d'oïl language family, whose maist prominent member is the French leid. The historical backgrund o its formation wis the territorial extension since 980 o the Principality o Liège tae the sooth an wast.

Native taeBelgium, Fraunce, Unitit States
RegionEurope (Walloon Region (federal region),
Unitit States (Wisconsin)
Native speakers
est. 1,120,000 (1998)
Leid codes
ISO 639-1wa
ISO 639-2wln
ISO 639-3wln

Despite its rich leeteratur, beginnin anonymously in the 16t century, an wi weill-kent authors since 1756 (see the paragraph Literature), the uise o Walloon haes decreasit mairkedly since Fraunce's annexation o Wallonie in 1795. This period definitively establishit French as the leid o social promotion, far mair nor it wis afore.[1] Although Belgium gainit its independence in 1830, French haed been established as the primary leid o instruction in muckle o the kintra. Efter Warld War I, public schules providit French-speakin education tae aw bairns, inducin a denigration o Walloon, especially when accompanit bi offeecial orders in 1952 tae punish its uise in schools. Subsequently, sin the middle o the 20t century, generational transmission o the leid haes decreasit, resulting in Walloon's amaist becomin a deid leid. Today it is scarcely spoken amang yunger fowk.

Numerous associations, especially theatre companies, are wirkin tae keep the leid alive. On a government level, Walloon is offeecially recognisit as a langue régionale endogène (regional indigenous leid) (Décret Valmy Féaux, 14 o December 1990). Walloon haes an aa benefitit frae a continued corpus plannin process. The "Feller system" (1900) regularized transcription o the different accents. Since the 1990s, a common orthography wis establishit, which alloued lairge-scale publications, such as the Walloon Wikipedia.

Walloon is mair distinct as a leid than Belgian French, which differs frae the French spoken in Fraunce ae in some minor points o vocabulary an pronunciation.


  1. "It seems the revolutionaries themsels consider the fact French was enough close to the Walloon language sse as no tae manage Wallonia as Brittany, Corsica, Alsace or Flanders." (in French) "Le décret du 8 pluviôse An II (...) ne prévoit pas d'envoyer des instituteurs dans la Wallonie romane (contre l'avis de Grégoire qui souhaitait une campagne linguistique couvrant tout le territoire). Les révolutionnaires eux-mêmes semblent donc considérer que la proximité entre le français et le wallon est suffisamment grande pour ne pas traiter la Wallonie comme la Bretagne, la Corse, l'Alsace ou la Flandre." (in French) Astrid Von Busekist, Politique des langues et construction de l'État, Éd. Duculot, Gembloux, 1998, pp. 22−28