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Mariah Black, Heather Koening, Lana Rahal, Christopher Romanoski Language in Society 5 December 2011

Language Conflict in Belgium

The Flemings and the Walloons

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. Nelson Mandela

History Romans
After the Romans After Napolean Belgium

52 BC: Gaius Iulius Caesar invaded The Romans beat the Gallic tribe the Belgae. It is from here that the name Belgium is derived.

Horum omnium fortissimi sunt Belgae

After the Romans

Merovingian Kingdom Carolingian Empire Treaty of Verdun (843 AD), independence and being vassals of either France or the Holy Roman Empire. 14-15th century under the control of the Burgundians. 1585 fell under Spanish control Austrian Hapsburgs
Brabant Revolution

After Napolean
The United Kingdom of the Netherlands(1815) was roughly the Northern plus the Southern Netherlands. The Belgian Revolution. The independent Kingdom of Belgium: 21st of July 1831

Belgium was a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy. Three main rifts: 1. Socio-economic 2. Religious 3. Communitarian*

Language Border 1962- 63

Leuven/Louvain 1966 68

Historical government legislation

In 1830, the Constitution was drawn up completely in French.

In 1898, a law of Linguistic Equality was drawn up to put Dutch on equal grounds with French.
1932Law that established 4 regions: French Wallonia, Dutch Flanders, Bilingual Brussels, and minor German areas.

Modern Day Legislation

1980Parliamentary reforms allow semiautonomy to Flanders and Wallonia. 1993Belgium becomes a Federal State, which means more power.

World Record and Statistics

June 2010federal government fell 1987The government collapsed for a shorter period of time 60% Flemish, 40% Walloon, Less than 1% German (All Official) Ethnic divisions: 58% Fleming, 31% Walloon, 11% other.

Public Opinion
Definition of a Walloon is increasingly geographical; actual Walloon speakers are fewer and fewer
Obvious differences when crossing between territories All signs change; bilingual signs are vandalized Both Flemish and Walloon want to be the dominant one in government control

Brussels is now at the center of conflict, where the majority speak French
As life progresses, French speakers move to suburban areas that are majorly Flemish Wallonia has twice the unemployment rate of the north and is more economically depressed Separatism is now a more mainstream idea for the Flemish, rather than an extremist stance

French-speaking cable television and French film festival expand the conflict

Originally (1830), only one official language was provided for (French) French is considered a prestigious language and "the language of reason and civilization", with a higher world standing than Dutch and Dutch dialects
The native language majority was, however, a dialect of Dutch

Dutch was not allowed for use in education or use in court until the 1880s When Brussels was declared bilingual, the law also specified that language boundary should change every 10 years, according to language censuses. This caused the Flemish to lose their territory
There are more Dutch speakers who understand French than French speakers who understand Dutch

Both groups are made to feel like minorities: French territory is greater in percentage, though Dutch speakers are greater in number
Some feel that Flemish is the actual language of Belgium and French is a foreign importation Flemish fear being overruled by French speakers; French fear forced bilingualism Lack of national pride in Belgium

"Long Live Belgium," urges Flemings and Walloons to live together with a single passion and a single dream in one big union nU&feature=player_embedded


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