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Francization or Gallicization (and informally Frenchification) is a process of cultural assimilation that gives a Frenchmarker character to a word, an ethnicity or a person.

French Colonial Empire

French Neocolonialism

Francization of ethnic minorities in France

Francization is also a designator applied to a number of ethnic assimilation policies implemented by French authorities in the 19th and 20th century. These policies aimed at imposing or maintaining the dominance of French language and culture by encouraging or compelling people of other ethnic groups to adopt the French language and culture, and to develop a French identity.

The term can be applied to the Francization of the German-speaking inhabitants of Alsace-Lorrainemarker after this region was reannexed by France following the First World War, to the Flemings in French Flanders, or to the Occitans in Occitania, as well as to Breton, Catalan, Corsicans and Basque.

Francization in Quebec

The Government of Quebec has francization policies intended to establish French as the primary language of business and commerce. All businesses are required to provide written communications and schedules in French, and may not make knowledge of a language other than French a condition of hiring unless this is justified by the nature of the duties. Businesses with more than fifty employees are required to register with the Quebec Office of the French language in order to become eligible for a francization certificate, which is granted if the linguistic requirements are met. If not, employers are required to adopt a francization programme, which includes having employees, especially ones in managerial positions, who do not speak French or whose grasp of French is weak attend French-language training.

As part of the francization programme, the Quebec government provides free language courses for recent immigrants (from other countries or other provinces) who do not speak French or whose command of French is weak. The government also provides financial assistance for those who are unable to find employment due to being unable to speak French.

Another aspect of francization in Quebec regards the quality of the French used in Quebec. The Quebec Office of the French language has, since its formation, undertaken to discourage anglicisms and to promote high standards of French language education in schools.

Such francization programmes have been criticized as failures with the Montreal area becoming increasingly English-speaking and allophones continuing to favor English over French.

Rates of francization may be established for any group by comparing the number of people who usually speak French to the total number of people in the minority language group. See Calvin Veltman's Language Shift in the United States (1983) for a discussion.

Francization of Brussels

In the last two centuries, Brusselsmarker transformed from an exclusively Dutch-speaking city to a bilingual city with French as the majority language and lingua franca. The language shift began in the 18th century and accelerated as Belgiummarker became independent and Brussels expanded beyond its original city boundaries. From 1880 on, more and more Dutch-speaking people became bilingual, resulting in a rise of monolingual French-speakers after 1910. Halfway through the 20th century the number of monolingual French-speakers carried the day over the (mostly) bilingual Flemish inhabitants. Only since the 1960s, after the fixation of the Belgian language border and the socio-economic development of Flanders was in full effect, could Dutch stem the tide of increasing French use.

Francization of the language

There are many examples of Francization in history and popular culture:

The same exists for other languages, for example English, in which case objects or persons can be Anglicized.

See also


  1. Summary of the language of work and francization of business firms
  2. Information from the Quebec government
  3. Quebec Charter of the French language
  4. Quebec entry in Encarta. Archived 2009-10-31.
  5. [1] "Wallonie - Bruxelles", Le Service de la langue française, 19/05/1997
  6. [2] "Villes, identités et médias francophones: regards croisés Belgique, Suisse, Canada.", Université Laval, Québec
  7. "Thuis in gescheiden werelden" — De migratoire en sociale aspecten van verfransing te Brussel in het midden van de 19e eeuw", BTNG-RBHC, XXI, 1990, 3-4, pp. 383-412, Machteld de Metsenaere, Eerst aanwezend assistent en docent Vrije Universiteit Brussel

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