Walloon is a Romance language spoken mainly in Wallonia (southern Belgium) and Brussels. It is also spoken in parts of northern France, Luxembourg and in Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA. In 2007 there were about 600,000 speakers of Walloon. In rural Wallonia it is thought that about 300,000 people actively use the language, and the majority of them are over 60 years old. The younger generations may understand the language, but few speak it regularly.
Walloon belongs to the langues d'oïl or oïl languages, a group of Gallo-Romance languages and dialects that includes standard French, and other languages spoken in northern France, southern Belgium and the Channel Islands. It is closely related to Champagneois and Picard.
Walloon began to appear as a distinct language between the 8th and 12th centuries and started to appear in writing in the early 15th century.
Since 1990 Walloon has been recognized as an indigenous regional language by the French Community in Belgium, the cultural authority in Wallonia. It can be studied in schools and there are evening classes in Walloon. It is also used in theatres and literature, and there are several magazines in Walloon.
For a more complete description of Walloon pronunciation, see: http://users.skynet.be/lorint/croejh/node18.html
Tos lès-omes vinèt-st-å monde lîbes, èt so-l'minme pîd po çou qu'ènn'èst d'leu dignité èt d'leus dreûts. I n'sont nin foû rêzon èt-z-ont-i leû consyince po zèls, çou qu'èlzès deût miner a s'kidûre onk' po l'ôte tot come dès frés.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
L'Arsouye, cyber-gazette wallonne
Online Walloon dictionaries
Li waibe del croejhete walone (Online Walloon Grammar)
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