Walloon (walon)

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 at a glance

  • Native name: walon
  • Language family: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Western, Gallo-Romance, Oïl
  • Number of speakers: c. 600,000
  • Spoken in: southern Belgium, northern France, Luxembourg, USA
  • First written: 15th century
  • Writing system: Latin script
  • Status: recognized as an indigenous regional language in Belgium

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.

Walloon alphabet

Walloon alphabet

Walloon pronunciation

Walloon pronunciation

Download an alphabet chart for Walloon (Excel)

For a more complete description of Walloon pronunciation, see: http://users.skynet.be/lorint/croejh/node18.html

Sample text

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.

Hear a recording of this text


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)

Sample video in Walloon

Information about Walloon | Phrases | Numbers


Information about Walloon

L'Arsouye, cyber-gazette wallonne

Online Walloon dictionaries

Li waibe del croejhete walone (Online Walloon Grammar)

Romance languages

Aragonese, Aranese, Aromanian, Asturian, Catalan, Corsican, Dalmatian, Emilian-Romagnol, Extremaduran, Fala, Franco-Provençal, French, Friulian, Galician, Gallo, Gascon, Genoese, Guernésiais, Istro-Romanian, Istriot, Italian, Jèrriais, Ladino, Ladin, Ligurian, Lombard, Lorrain, Megleno-Romanian, Mirandese, Moldovan, Monégasque, Mozarabic, Neapolitan, Occitan, Occitan (Auvergnat), Occitan (Languedocien), Occitan (Limousin), Occitan (Provençal), Picard, Piedmontese, Portuguese, Romanian, Romansh, Sardinian, Sicilian, Spanish, Valencian, Venetian, Walloon

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 01.12.23


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