The Francoprovençal domain extends in Piedmont, between the Sangone Valley and the Soana Valley, and throughout the territory of the Aosta Valley, with the exclusion of the three Walser colonies of the Lys Valley. Francoprovençal varieties are also historically spoken in Central and Eastern France and Western Switzerland.

The Francoprovençal minority is characterized by a strong diatopic variability, evident internal fragmentation, and varying degrees of vitality depending on the area. In the Valdostan context, the minority code shows intergenerational transmission that is not yet completely interrupted, with good vitality and diffusion. However, in Piedmont, despite several local realities which are more vital, in recent decades the patois has lost much of its traditional domains of use to the advantage of Piedmontese and, above all, Italian. The latter has conquered contexts that were once exclusive to the local variety. Currently, the number of speakers is around 40,000 (about 15-20% of the population), with higher percentages in Valle d’Aosta.

Francoprovençal is protected by the National Law 482 of 1999 and in Aosta Valley it has been employed for relevant poetic and theatrical productions since the mid-1800s. On the other hand, the varieties of Piedmont show a reduced use of writing and have developed significantly only since the 1980s.

ISO code: 639-3 frp

Further reading

  • Benedetto Mas, Paolo & Riccardo Regis (2022): Il francoprovenzale in Piemonte: appunti per un profilo sociolinguistico. In Dorothée Aquino-Weber & Maguelone Sauzet (eds.): La Suisse romande et ses patois. Autour de la place et du devenir des langues francoprovençale et oïlique. Neuchâtel: Alphil, pp. 165-183.
  • Favre, Saverio (2001): La Valle d’Aosta. In Manlio Cortelazzo et al. (eds.): I dialetti italiani. Storia, struttura, uso. Turin: UTET, pp. 139-150.
  • Raimondi, Gianmario & Paolo Benedetto Mas (2022): L’Atlas des Patois Valdôtains: sguardi incrociati/regards croisés. Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso.
  • Regis, Riccardo & Matteo Rivoira (in press): Il Piemonte e la Valle d’Aosta. Rome: Carocci.
  • Tuaillon, Gaston (2007): Le francoprovençal. Aosta: Musumeci.
  • Atlante Linguistico ed Etnografico del Piemonte Occidentale (ALEPO). Various authors, editors and publishing houses. The first volume, Presentazione e guida alla lettura, has been published in 2003.

Additional online resources