As most of you will know, the squire is much more efficient when it comes to orally communicating and no doubt why his percentage on Duolungo is higher than mine.  Duolingo is definitely worth using, and it has certainly helped us recognise words if a not a little bit of the oral communication.  Though to be fair we are novices in learning French.  Have you noticed the computer generated voice on Duolungo can sometimes be rather annoyingly fast and known to insight mutiny from its users?  So at this point, a book is always an alternative.

A few tidbits for you:

  • More than 130 million people speak French as their native language, and most of those are based in France. When travelling (and living) in France, you should also bear in mind that it is rich in minority languages and dialects as well. During the French Revolution, the French language was favoured over the different regional languages. The revolutionaries thought that the monarchists preferred regional languages because they “kept the masses uninformed”. Local languages started to be referred to as patois, a derogative term in its beginnings. Sometimes patois refers to non-Parisian French as well as regional languages.

What makes this area different from other departments in France?  It’s the Patois] language which is spoken in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais (where they call it Chtimi) and Picardie regions, and, some parts of Belgium as well. It is very close to French but sounds entirely different to it. It has no official recognition and is not taught in schools, so it is very rare for young and middle-aged people to speak it as their first language.

A good example of the peculiarities of the Chtimi dialect is the film Bienvenus chez les ch’tis (2008).

Picard is generally used informally and orally, so it has no standardised written version. Here’s a conversation in Chtimi, to get your linguistic juices flowing.

I hear the squire, making coffee – faire un café

That’s me for today – à plus tard

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