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Gallo-Romance languages

France, Northern Italy, San Marino, Monaco, Channel Islands, parts of Belgium and Switzerland
Linguistic classification: Indo-European
Glottolog: nort3208
Historical area of development for strict Gallo-Romance (Oïl languages and Arpitan).

The Gallo-Romance branch of the Romance languages includes sensu stricto the Oïl languages (French and its closest relatives such as Walloon) and the Franco-Provençal language (Arpitan). However, other definitions are far broader, variously encompassing the Rhaeto-Romance, Occitano-Romance, and Gallo-Italic languages.

The Gallo-Romance group includes:

Other language families which are sometimes included in the Gallo-Romance:

How far the Gallo-Romance languages spread varies a great deal depending on which languages are included in the group. Those included in its narrowest definition (i.e. the Langues d'oïl and Arpitan) were historically spoken in the north of France, parts of Flanders, Alsace, part of Lorraine, the Wallonia region of Belgium, the Channel Islands, parts of Switzerland, and northern Italy.

Today, a single Gallo-Romance language (French) dominates much of this geographic region (including the formerly non-Romance areas of France) and has also spread overseas.

At its broadest, the area also encompasses southern France, Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic islands in eastern Spain, and much of northern Italy.

The Gallo-Romance languages are generally considered the most innovative (least conservative) among the Romance languages. Northern France (the medieval area of the langue d'oïl, from which modern French developed) was the epicentre. Characteristic Gallo-Romance features generally developed earliest and appear in their most extreme manifestation in the langue d'oïl, gradually spreading out from there along riverways and roads. The earliest vernacular Romance writing occurred in Northern France, as the development of vernacular writing in a given area was forced by the almost total inability of Romance speakers to understand Classical Latin, still the vehicle of writing and culture.


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