Historic regression of Dutch in the Western periphery.
The blue line indicates the situation in the 7th-8th century; the red line marks the situation during the 20th century; the black line is the current French-Belgian border.
French Flemish (Dutch: Frans-Vlaams, and flamand français or Fransch vlaemsch in France) is spoken in the north of contemporary France and is considered part of the West Flemish dialect of the Dutch language. Place names testify to the dialect having been spoken since the 8th century in the area that was ceded to France in the 17th century and which became known as French Flanders. Its dialect subgroup, called French Flemish, meanwhile, became a minority dialect that survives mainly between Dunkirk (Duinkerke in Dutch = dune church), Bourbourg, Calais (Kales in Dutch), Saint-Omer with an ethnic enclave Haut-Pont (Haute-Ponte) known for its predominantly Flemish community and Bailleul (Belle in Dutch). French-Flemish has about 20,000 daily users, and twice that number of occasional speakers. There has been an active movement to retain the West Flemish language in the region for the last 3 decades.
French Flemish is taught in a few schools in the French Westhoek. The ANVT-ILRF was given permission to carry out experimental lessons in four public schools (in Esquelbecq, Noordpeene, Volckerinckhove, Wormhout) for the school years of 2007-08 until 2010-11, after which it would be evaluated. Afterwards, all requirements were met but it was only allowed to continue them, but not to expand to other schools or to the collège. On the other hand, the private Catholic education began teaching Flemish in collèges in Gravelines and Hondschoote.
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