Just like in other countries, the spoken accents in the different regions of France are different too. If learning the French language we should be aware of this. Let’s take a look at the different accents that are spoken by French people in the different areas of the country.
28 Regional Accents of France
There are actually as many as 28 different accents or dialects for the many different regions of France. They include the Alsatian, Lorrain, Champenois, Picard, Normand, Breton, Tourangeau, Orléanais, Berrichon, Paris, Burgundy, Marseille, Corsica, Lyon, Gascony and Languedoc dialects. It is difficult for someone who is not a native French-speaker to hear all the differences in how words are pronounced and in how the language is used, but they are there. It is not just the pronunciation because many different words and expressions get used in the different regions. The accents can make it hard for a learner to hear and understand what is being said, so getting a good knowledge of the various different French dialects of the country can be very useful, especially if you are travelling in France from one part to another.
Parisian French or Metropolitan French is the standard, and if you learn this form of the language you should be able to use it successfully in other regions of France, as well as in French-speaking countries in other parts of the world. Parisian French is the form spoken on mainstream French radio and TV stations. This form of French is regarded as the “proper” way to speak the language, and is taught in our French language school. However, Parisian French has absorbed many English words and added French definite and indefinite articles, such as “la deadline” and “ un brainstorm.” Also speakers of Parisian French tend to be very enthusiastic and use expressions like mais c’est énorme ! (“it’s fantastic”).
Occitan or Meriodonal French
Occitan or Meriodonal French is spoken in many regions in the south of the country and is made up of a number of dialects. Provençal, spoken in Provence is an example of one of the main Occitan dialects. Languedocien, Limousin and Gascon are some of the other regional dialects from the south of France.
Marseille is in the south of France and its dialect is known as Marseillais. It is spoken quickly and rhythmically and the endings of words are often dropped.
In the north of France the way French is spoken is very different to the south, and it is on the border of Belgium where as many as 45% of the population speak French. Belgian French is very similar to French spoken in the northern regions of France. Champenois is the language of the Champagne region which is on the border with Belgium. Picard is another dialect from the north of France.
One of the best ways to be perfectly fluent in French is to listen to how the people from all the regions of France speak, and then you would be more likely to understand what was being said wherever you were in the country.