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Universal Declaration of Human Rights - Francoprovençal, Savoie


Anne-Marie Bimet

Francoprovençal, Savoie
Language Profile


In Hauteville-Gondon, department of Savoy, it is estimated that 20 (twenty) persons are still
speaking it. Until 1970 most of the adults were speaking patois together but were talking in french
to their children and the patois has been abandonned progressively.


This language is spoken in the territory of the early medieval kingdom of Burgundy, shared between eastern France, northern Italy and western Switzerland. In Italy, Francoprovençal is spoken in the Aosta Valley, in the southern valleys of the Massif du Grand Paradis, in the valley of Cenischia (provincia di Torino) and in the villages of Apulian Faeto and Celle di San Vito. In France, it is spoken in the Rhône-Alpes region and in some parts of the regions of Franche-Comté and Burgundy. In Switzerland, francoprovençaux patois were spoken throughout the currently Frenchspeaking part of Switzerland, with the exception of the canton of Jura. Today, these dialects are still used in some areas of the cantons of Valais and Fribourg. In the canton of Geneva, where the Francoprovençal patois disappeared as vernacular, it remained in the traditional anthem Cé qu'è lainô (meaning: whichever is higher) of the Republic and Canton of Geneva (Switzerland), which tells the story of the Escalade commemorating the victory of the City of Geneva against the Duke of Savoy in 1602.


This language, Francoprovençal, is also designated as Arpitan. The speakers of the local dialect call their language "patois". The origin of Francoprovençal is from a more classical Latin than the Latin spoken by the Gallo-romans in the territory of the future France, from which emerged two dialect groups: the langue d'oc and the langue d'oïl, from which belongs French. Thus Francoprovençal is not a bastardized French, it is a language by itself, like Catalan is.