Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Becker, Shannon

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures


French language--Dialects--France; Linguistic minorities--France


The rise of the French language from dialect to standard has shared the same trajectory as the French nation. But to postulate "une nation, une langue" is to discount the survival of the various regional languages that exist within metropolitan France. Regional languages, in spite of claims otherwise, are alive, albeit not always well. This thesis will focus specifically on the Picard language spoken in northern France and southern Belgium. Picard and French can be described as collateral languages, sharing a common origin but developing differently into two distinct languages, each with its own unique morphological, syntactical, and lexical characteristics. Today, Picard, like the other twenty endogenous regional languages spoken within France, has no legal recognition. But in spite of the presence or absence of national linguistic policies either preventing or promoting the use of Picard, the language is not only surviving, but emerging. Using theories such as Einar Haugen's "ecology of language" and language planning model, and data from the Institut national de la statistique et des etudes economique (INSEE) this thesis will address who speaks Picard and where, what are the attitudes toward the language both by its users and by non-Picardisants, and the revitalization efforts that are not only preserving the language but also codifying it and expanding its use into new domains. These efforts have resulted in new categories of Picard speakers, an increase in the retransmission rate of Picard from parents to offspring, and a desire to preserve cultural identity through the Picard language. Although there are no published linguistic polices giving Picard legal status within France, the efforts of its speakers and supporters will ensure that Picard will not perish.


Advisors: Shannon Becker.||Committee members: Katharina Barbe; Matthew Smith.||Includes bibliographical references.||Includes maps.||Abstract in both English and French.


v, 71 pages




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