Foreign Influences in the French Language

Aside form the historical influences in French from Latin, Frankish, and Danish, there are many other influences. . .

For instance, because France is pretty close to North Africa (called the Maghreb in French), there are a lot of words in French that have been picked up from the languages of that area.I would like to provide an examle of one of these, but I'm unable to at the moment. However, this influence is very easy to see through recent popular music in France. Many French pop groups are incorporating more and more North African influence in their music. Specifically, there is a new kind of music out that is very popular and which pulls from French, Algerian, and Moroccan musical influences. It is called Raï. (pronounced like "Ray" in English).

Here are some links about French music and Raï:

Article on a poplular band that blends African and French musical influences

Learn more about Raï, music that combines French, Algerien, and Moroccan musical influences (in French

More about musicians


Also, it is important to know that French people of recent Arabic decent are called "beurs". For more information, please click HERE.


In addition, many parts of France have their own dialect of French. This happens most often in regions that are close to other countries or that have otherwise recieved a lot of foreign influence from neighboring countries.

The officially accepted dialects within France are:


Le lorrain

Le flammand

Le breton


Le catalan

Le corse

Le franco-provençal

Les langues d'oïl


There is also a language spoken in the south of France called Basque. No one knows where it comes from.


Use these links to learn more about dialects within France:

Great site about dialects etc within france and otherwise (in French)

(or try this)

Is There a Norman dialect?

The Occitan dialect

Alsacien dialect

More about different French dialects

French dialects in Switzerland and eastern France (a map)


And, just as French has influenced English, English has had a lot of impact on French too! Words that are borrowed from English are called anglicisms and are sort of frowned upon by traditionalists in France.

Some English words that you may hear in France include:

le week-end

le web

un hold-up

le musique rock


For More information on English influence on French, check out these sites:

ZipZap France


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