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AlmondFacialBar
993443.  Thu May 02, 2013 1:00 pm Reply with quote

I <3 Brussels to bits, but find that the city's official bilingual status, plus probably the large number of immigrants from Francophone countries means that French is taking over from the traditional Flemish. I even noticed the difference between the late Nineties when I lived there and 2011 when I was there on holidays. What it boils down to - and I'd love to learn why - is that yer average native speaker of French, be they French, Belgian, Swiss, Congolese or Quebecois, is far less likely to bother with learning a second language than yer average native speaker of Flemish.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar


Last edited by AlmondFacialBar on Thu May 02, 2013 1:08 pm; edited 1 time in total

 
'yorz
993444.  Thu May 02, 2013 1:06 pm Reply with quote

Can somebody explain why the Brits keep saying 'French and Flemish' in stead of Walloon and Flemish?
Walloon has its own words as does Flemish, which distinguish them from French and Dutch respectively.

 
Spud McLaren
993446.  Thu May 02, 2013 1:49 pm Reply with quote

Simply because we're taught that there is a Flemish part of Belgium, and a French part. If nobody sets you straight, you don't know you might be wrong.

 
Leith
993447.  Thu May 02, 2013 2:01 pm Reply with quote

I was taught that the non-Flemish population of Belgium were Walloons but that they spoke French.

Interestingly, Wikipedia describes Walloon as a more-or-less dead language that used to be spoken in Belgium before it was replaced by the markedly different Belgian French.

 
Leith
993450.  Thu May 02, 2013 2:14 pm Reply with quote

AlmondFacialBar wrote:
What it boils down to - and I'd love to learn why - is that yer average native speaker of French, be they French, Belgian, Swiss, Congolese or Quebecois, is far less likely to bother with learning a second language than yer average native speaker of Flemish.


I'd imagine it's because being able to speak only Flemish severely limits the range of people you can converse with in a way that speaking only French doesn't*.

* and English even less so.

 
AlmondFacialBar
993451.  Thu May 02, 2013 2:22 pm Reply with quote

German is the most spoken first language in Europe, yet we all learn at least two other languages in school and feel vaguely embarrassed about fellow countrypeople with bad English. That can't be it, so.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
'yorz
993453.  Thu May 02, 2013 2:32 pm Reply with quote

Leith wrote:
I was taught that the non-Flemish population of Belgium were Walloons but that they spoke French.

Interestingly, Wikipedia describes Walloon as a more-or-less dead language that used to be spoken in Belgium before it was replaced by the markedly different Belgian French.


I fraternised a lot with French folk who lived in Brussels, as well as with North Africans, who were taught the President's French as second language, so to speak.
They were all slightly dismissive of the Walloons' claim to speak French. And my own experience with Flemish is that it depended on which Flemish town/region I found myself, whether I managed to understand it. But in general for me Walloon was easier to follow than Flemish, which pissed the Flemish off big time of course when they found out I was Dutch.

Again - that is all a few decades ago. Things might well have changed.

 
suze
993463.  Thu May 02, 2013 4:31 pm Reply with quote

As you'd expect, a lot of language study goes on in Belgium. One of the things that gets studied is whether or not the two languages are Belgium are moving towards the standard forms of the languages.

That is to say, is Vlaams becoming more like the Dutch of Amsterdam; is Wallon becoming more like the French of Paris? In a word, the answer to both questions is "yes" - but Vlaams is evolving itself out of existence more quickly.

But all the same, 'yorz makes a fair point - we ought really to refer to the languages of Belgium either as Flemish and Walloon, or as Dutch and French.

Spud quite rightly says that British tradition has been to speak of Flemish and French, but maybe it's time for that to change. And the Belgians would actually like it to change. The Belgian Constitution has three definitive texts, and here is what they say on the matter of language:

La Constitution Belge identifies the languages as française and néerlandaise.

De Belgische Grondwet identifies the languages as Nederlandse and Franse.

Die Verfassung Belgiens identifies the languages as französisch and niederländisch.

Pretty clear then. We shouldn't be saying "Flemish".

 
'yorz
993468.  Thu May 02, 2013 4:46 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
But all the same, 'yorz makes a fair point - we ought really to refer to the languages of Belgium either as Flemish and Walloon, or as Dutch and French.


NO! Flemish is very similar to Dutch, but has very much its own words and expressions, grammar rules etc.

When you say 'Dutch', is that the Queen (sorry, King)'s Dutch? There are dialects all over the place.
Vlaams would sound more similar to Brabants or Limburgs (the southern parts) than to Fries, or Gronings, Drents or Twents (Tukkers).
I'd stick to Flemish and Walloon.

 
Sadurian Mike
993551.  Fri May 03, 2013 6:05 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
But all the same, 'yorz makes a fair point - we ought really to refer to the languages of Belgium either as Flemish and Walloon,...


Who's going to take seriously a language with a name that sounds like an inflated whale?

 
'yorz
993554.  Fri May 03, 2013 6:11 am Reply with quote

The sad thing was during my time there that it was blatantly obvious that those who spoke French were quite derisory about the Walloons insisting they spoke French, too.

 
Jenny
993624.  Fri May 03, 2013 10:43 am Reply with quote

Sadly we will only be in Brussels for a very short time - a few hours at most.

Most of the time we will be in Brugge, but we do have a day in Gent booked, as I have a friend who lives there so we're meeting her for dinner. She works during the day, so we thought we might go early and do some touristing around Gent.

 
krollo
994320.  Mon May 06, 2013 2:45 pm Reply with quote

Johnny Galecki, actor of Leonard Hofstadter PhD on The Big Bang Theory, was born in Belgium.

That is all.

 
Fien
1048483.  Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:15 pm Reply with quote

A Belgian movie: The Broken Circle Breakdown has a nomination for the oscar for non-english movie.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-25757345

 
AlmondFacialBar
1048512.  Thu Jan 16, 2014 5:03 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
But the first time I went to Brugge, the husband - as he wasn't yet - addressed a barman in French and was utterly ignored. When I addressed the same barman in English, he wanted to be my new best friend.


I find that when everything else fails Low Saxon will still do the trick, even though Vlaamse is strictly speaking Low Franconian. You'll end up looking st each other a bit strangely, but still be mutually intelligible enough not to set off a diplomatic crisis.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 

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