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Meridional French
français méridional
Native toOccitania
Early forms
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Meridional French (French: français méridional), also referred to as Francitan (a portmanteau of français and occitan), is the regional variant of the French language spoken in the area of Marseille, Avignon and Toulouse. It is influenced by the Occitan language.

There are speakers of Meridional French in all generations, but the accent is most marked among the elderly, who often speak Occitan as their first language.


The phonology, morphology, syntax and lexicon of Occitan have all influenced Meridional French, but the phonological effects are perhaps the most salient by producing the characteristic accent, which is used by speakers of Meridional French. Those effects include the following:

Meridional French is also subject to a phonological law known as the Law of Position in which mid-vowels are subject to allophonic variation based on the shape of their syllables; they are realised as mid-open in closed syllables (those ending in a consonant) and as mid-close in open syllables (those ending in a vowel). The phenomenon has been shown to be somewhat more complex, however, by Durand (1995), Eychenne (2006), and Chabot (2008). The principle is strictly adhered to by speakers of Meridional French, in contrast to those of other varieties of French.



A number of words are peculiar to Meridional French. For example, péguer (Occitan pegar), "to be sticky" (Standard French poisser), chocolatine (Southwest), "pain au chocolat", cagade (Occitan cagat) or flûte (a larger baguette), known as a pain parisien (Parisian loaf) in Paris.

Some phrases are used with meanings that differ from those of Standard French. For example, s'il faut, literally meaning "if necessary", is used to mean "perhaps", which would be rendered in Standard French as peut-être. That is a calque of the Occitan se cal.

Internal variation

Many sub-varieties of Meridional French exist, with distinctive features.

Diatopic variation accounts for the differences between the French varieties spoken in the various areas of Southern France. Phonetics and vocabulary often change from one region to another. For instance, the lexis used in the variety of French spoken in Toulouse, described by Séguy (1950), differs substantially from the variety spoken in Bayonne, described by Lambert (1928).

Diastratic variation is also extant in Meridional French. The sociolects spoken by the Jews of Gascony, whose large set of special vocabulary used only within the group has been linguistically described by Nahon (2018), is one of the most distinctive sub-dialects of Meridional French.


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian (2022-05-24). "Oil". Glottolog. Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Archived from the original on 2022-10-08. Retrieved 2022-10-07.
  2. ^ "Le dialecte français de Toulouse". Retrieved 2021-03-23.