Research article
Issue: № 2 (2), 2015


Processes of globalization make linguistic communities of Belgium choose: to protect their identity from the influence of globalization or to became the part of the unification. Due to the multilingual situation in Belgium there are some manners of speaking French. And fewer francophones feel unsecure using this language.

One of the most interesting object in linguistic type of research is Belgian Wallonia and Brussels. Language situation in this area can be described as plurilingualism: in Belgium there are three official languages: Dutch (58% Belgians), French (41%), German (less than 1%) [7]. Nevertheless English takes the leading position in spheres of trading, business and mass-media.   

It should be noticed that besides the influence of English on the culture and languages in the realm French of Belgium presents one of the forms of French language that has its own history and the way of life. There is no unique French language [2, p. 127]. It has various forms in Europe, Canada, and Africa by interaction between individuals and languages.

The object of this research is lexical belgicism, notably expressions, words, forms which can occur on the territory of Belgium as well as in France, Africa (the example: the verb «prester» as «provide services» in Congo, numerals «nonante», «septante» - in the north of France, in Switzerland, Congo and Burundi). Due to the absence of distinct linguistic borders of Francophonie area Brussels and Wallonia is the frontier (or marginal) area [1, p. 6].

Lexical peculiarities lead to analyse the status of the French in Belgian area. This notion is concerned with the linguistic security / insecurity («sécurité / insécurité linguistique») issue. The terminology was coined by the American sociolinguist William Labov [4] who studied linguistic communities in New-York. Linguistic insecurity is a feeling of linguistic difference perception. Insecurity can be explained in social, cultural (the level of individual grammar competence) and geographic ways. Investigations of this phenomenon were pursued in 1897 by Virgile Rossel but the terminology was not worked out. She noticed that the Belgians, the Swiss and the Canadians feel “linguistic superiority” of France which was manifested in literature.  

One of the way of protection from linguistic insecurity is hypercorrection, or behavior which is characterized by constant control in all discourse levels. The hypercorrection can be described as an insecure linguistic behavior and as the fact of using a large number of lexical features [6, p. 111-114]. The hypercorrection can provoke the abuse of clichés that are considered as adequate and the abundance of mistakes (phonetic, grammatical). The typical example of hypercorrection in French is the use of lexical word formation based on Greek or Latin languages (e.g., «associations caritatives» instead of «charitables»).  

In general, residents of such areas as Switzerland, Canada and Africa are given to undervalue their manner of speaking and to give a negative image to their language variety.

So, language security is a feeling of safety, consciousness of language norm, when a speaker is sure of the legitimacy of speaking (statement), the use of words even if he / she goes beyond the norm. Linguistic insecurity, on the contrary, is related with the fact that speakers consider their speech intolerable towards the norm, what generates anxiety in speaking language or its variety.

The issue of linguistic insecurity is  pending even today, different types of survey, polls were and are worked out, representing field studies of various resident groups. Actual studies are conducted in Universities of Provence, Reunion, Liège.

     The object of researching in my paper is lexical features of Belgian variety of French; I take different mass-media as a source, both capital and regions since 2013 till today.

Sources: capital mass-media  RTL.be (online), RTBF.be (online), 7sur7.be (online), LeSoir.be (online and printed editions) and regional ones LaLibre.be, LaMeuse.be, NordEclair.be, LaNouvelleGazette.be, LaCapitale.be and web portal Lavenir.net. The main subject is “soft” news about sport, culture and politics.


The analysis helped to systematize few groups of localisms presented in the table below. 




Neologism born and current only in Belgium

Dans quelques semaines, de nombreux élèves deviendront étudiants et quitteront le cocon familial pour s'installer en kot

Using of «kot» instead of «chambre» as «student room»

Orthographic simplification


Je ne peux pas me coucher tard, demain je vais au buro

Instead of correct «bureau» (office)

Expressions of Flemish speech

Yves Lampaert (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) a gagné vendredi la kermesse de Zwevezele

Using of «kermesse» instead of «fête en plein air» as «holiday»


Les services de secours ont travaillé plus que d’habitude ce dimanche, à la ducasse de Mons

Instead «fête en plein air», «festival, party»


Venait le moment de l’énonciation du nom des joueurs: c’était folklorique et créatif à souhait, comme un Roumain découvrant la zwanze

Instead of «humour, galéjades», «joke»

Anglicisms (English loan words)

«Elle soigne aussi son look», «avec son atmosphère et son look sixties…», «Le nouveau look d'Obama fait parler de lui», а также его преобразование в языке: «аinsi relookée, la Dragster n’est pas sans rappeler la splendide Rivale»

«look» (apparence):

«Mon disque tombe entre les mains d’un DJ qui flashe sur le morceau et le joue le soir même dans son club», «Un apprenti motocycliste a été flashé à 137 km/h»

Verb «flasher» (découvrir, apercevoir)

«Quand je suis sur Twitter, je lis les trucs people et sensationnels»

Noun transformed into an adjective «people» (humain)

The largest lexical part is represented by anglicisms which are used most in Belgian mass-media of the capital and regions as well. Anglicisms can get French morphemes  («relooké», «sampler», «surfer», «flasher») which means the accommodation of English and French on the territory of Belgium and perhaps, a major speakers security in terms of English language.

Linguistic situation of French-speaking Walloons and Brusselians exposes the following image: it reveals a linguistic insecurity from the one side, from the another a growing recognition of linguistic legitimacy of forms different from French of France. Just because of this fact French language in Belgium presents “crossroad” [5, p. 289] of issues, which solutions can be an curious object of future investigations.  


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  • URL: http://www.world-europe.info/belgia.htm (Дата обращения: 10.10.2014)