Talk:Francization of Brussels

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This is a translation[edit]

This is a translation of the Dutch wiki site, with references and all. Will be a work in progress, but the Dutch version is very nicely written. Any help is requested--Daveblack (talk) 15:15, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Dutch or Brabantian[edit]

This article is about the shift from one language to another —not about the (still ongoing) process of replacing dialects by standard languages. If one thinks like that, this entire article is pointless, since that happened everywhere in Europe during the past century. The language of Brussels was Dutch, of course in its older form, and in spoken language, the Brabantian dialect, but Dutch was used in the local administration, literature, etc, it was the local cultural language till French took over this role. Therefore, mentioning the fact that local people spoke their own dialect only makes the introduction more complicated since this in se had nothing to do with the shift to French, and thus it is not an oversimplification. Not the fact that people spoke there own dialects made them switch to French, it's the fact that every connection with the Dutch standard language was (also actively) taken away. Linking this to Flemish nationalism, is totally ridiculous. --Hooiwind (talk) 22:09, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

Please use a username to edit articles. You should know that the results of those censuses were always doubted by Flemings: thus now using it as to prove that French overtook Dutch (or Brabantian, Flemish, Low Country Chinese, or whatever) already in 1910 is irrelevant. You are dragging less relevant things into the first (!) sentence of an article, that creates bias, not the other way around. You might just as well say that nobody spoke Dutch in Belgium nor the Netherlands than since the 60s, which is clearly totally incorrect. This is not only about daily speech, it's about the shift from one language to the other, in every aspect of life. That's why mentioning that 'only' the dialect was spoken, is both not true and gives a too narrow interpretation to the francization. --Hooiwind (talk) 22:51, 11 February 2008 (UTC) Answer:
a- I created an account. Happy now?
b- Concerning the language spoken by the majority of the inhabitants of Brussels before the 19th century, it was a mix of Southern Brabantian dialects, I think everybody agree with that, including you. Nobody is trying to hide the fact that these South Brabantian dialects were highly related to Dutch, in fact the sentence that you keep reverting specifically says "the majority of people spoke local Brabantian dialects OF THE DUTCH LANGUAGE". Can't be more clear than that.
c- This insistance to write that people in Brussels spoke Dutch is wrong for two reasons. First it is inaccurate. People did not speak standard Dutch, they spoke dialects that were related to standard Dutch but distinct from it. In fact people from Amsterdam would have had trouble understanding people from Brussels speaking in their local dialect. To write that people in Brussels spoke Dutch is as inaccurate as writing that people in Strasbourg spoke German when in fact they spoke Alsatian, a regional language related to but quite distinct from standard German. Of course the written language of the Brabantian speakers of Brussels was standard Dutch (or sometimes a mix of Brabantian and standard Dutch), but don't forget that a lot of people didn't know how to write and read, and anyway what this article discusses is the language people spoke (orally). Second, this insistance to write that the language of Brussels was Dutch is politically controversial. I hope you do realize this is exactly the propaganda of the Flemish extremist parties such as the Vlaams Blok who wish to portray Brussels as a "Flemish" and "Dutch"-speaking city (when in fact it was a Brabantian city, not a Flemish city, and people spoke Brabantian, not standard Dutch), this in order to "reconquer" Brussels, which is the avowed goal of the Vlaams Blok.
d- Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, we need to be accurate and precise, and not oversimply things, especially when this oversimplification is politically controversial. Juste imagine if a German extremist decided to change the Strasbourg article and write that Strasbourg was a city whose language was originally German that was later Francized (is that even a word in English by the way?), when in fact people in Strasbourg never spoke standard German (only a small minority did so), they spoke Alsatian (and used standard German only as a written language) and then they gradually switched to French. The current wording is both precise ("Brabatian dialects") and does not hide the strong relationship between Brabantian and standard Dutch ("of the Dutch language"), so please let's leave it at that. Unless of course you have ulterior motives of a political nature, but I hope that's not the case.
e- Concerning the 1910 census in Brussels, your personal opinion is that its results are doubtful. You're perfectly entitled to your opinion, but from what I understand articles on Wikipedia cannot be based on personal opinion. Articles must be based on established facts supported by sources. Unless you have a source that specifically says that the results of the 1910 census in Brussels cannot be trusted, please kindly stop removing these census figures. I hope this clarifies all points. Bruxelloise (talk) 01:01, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

"Language" and "standard language" are two distinct concepts, and you stubbornly keep mixing them up. Standard Dutch is just one particular variety of the Dutch language. All local dialects and regiolects are fullfledged varieties of Dutch too: they ARE, in fact, Dutch; not Standard Dutch, but still Dutch. So your claim that "the South Brabantian dialects of Brussels were highly related to Dutch" is, with all due respect, linguistic nonsens. Again, they aren't just "highly related to" Dutch, they ARE Dutch. Like many other languages all over the world, Dutch comes in many varieties. Get used to it.
People from Amsterdam might have had trouble understanding people from Brussels speaking in their local dialect. Well of course, that's language variety in a nutshell for you. People from Florence might have had trouble understanding people from Naples speaking in their local dialect, yet nobody would oppose calling Naples an Italian speaking city. People from London might have had, and may still have, trouble understanding people from Newcastle speaking their local dialect, yet nobody would oppose calling Newcastle an English speaking city.
There are other examples of language shifts in Europe throughout history. In Ireland, English was imposed and the Irish language disappeared or got marginalized to the point of extinction. In Dublin, Cork and Galway, people once spoke different dialects of Irish. Yet, nobody would be accused of spreading propaganda if they said Dublin originally was an Irish speaking city. Parts of western Finland, which were originally Swedish speaking, are now predominantly or entirely Finnish speaking. The old Swedish dialects spoken in Finland, e.g. Ostrobothnian dialects, are quite distinct from the Swedish spoken in Stockholm, yet nobody would say it's inaccurate or nationalist propaganda that those parts of Finland underwent language shift from Swedish to Finnish, and that we ought to talk about a shift from Ostrobothnian to Finnish instead. In the same vein, the linguistic history of Brussels shows a gradual shift from being a Dutch speaking city into a bilingual, although predominantly French-speaking city, and there's nothing extremist or politically controversial about that the usage of the term Dutch in this context. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:35, 12 February 2008 (UTC)
[Italics added for clarity. (talk) 10:51, 12 February 2008 (UTC)]
I think there is indeed a difference between stating that Brussels was a Dutch-speaking city and a city where people spoke Dutch. The first one is without doubt true, the latter is indeed open to discussion since, as everywhere in Europe, people spoke dialects. That's why I prefer the current wording The Francization of Brussels transformed Brussels from an almost entirely Dutch-speaking, over a bilingual, to a multilingual city with French as the majority language and lingua franca. That a city was Dutch-speaking includes way more than just the fact that people spoke (a dialect of) Dutch. It's exactly that shift from Dutch to French in all layers of society (in spoken language, the loss of Brabantian, as cultural language, the loss of Dutch) that is being delt with here. It puts Brussels apart from the rest of originally Dutch-speaking Belgium, contains no nationalistic claims whatsoever and lacks any partizan undertone, right? --Roofbird (talk) 08:29, 12 February 2008 (UTC)
And what Hooiwind said about using the census as evidence, is true: see [1] "Opeenvolgende talentellingen toonden een gestage verfransing van de Brusselse Rand en werden door de Vlamingen fel gecontesteerd." And also, see [2] and see the large number of 'bilingual' people —those were Flemings able to speak French, not a sign that French had already overtaken Dutch, but rather that Brussels had achieved a real bilingual nature. --Roofbird (talk) 08:39, 12 February 2008 (UTC)
This edit warring, which is in clear violation of the WP:3RR, has to stop. The worst part here is that the edit war is on something which is fairly trivial. I'd first like to say that I'm an expat living in Brussels, so I think it can be said that I'm not really subject to any biases that might be caused being raised on one side or the other of the language divide. I think that to say in the lead that the locals spoke a specific dialect of Dutch does not belong in the lead, as it detracts from the focus of the article. In fact, I think also that if one were to refer to the francization of Strasbourg, it would also not merit mention in the lead that the German they spoke was not Standard German, which can be mentioned later without loss of clarity. Please instead try to focus your efforts on actually getting the article translated. -Oreo Priest 08:45, 12 February 2008 (UTC)
@Roofbird, you apparantly mix up the concepts of "Dutch" and "Standard Dutch" too, just like Bruxelloise does. Brussels was a city where people most certainly spoke Dutch. Any particular kind of Dutch? Sure, mostly not standard Dutch as we know it today, but rather the local Brabantian dialects of Dutch, and even more specifically the local Brussels dialect (by other Flemish people usually considered a very charming and pretty dialect by the way, unlike e.g. the dialect from nearby Leuven). In short, not Standard Dutch, but Dutch notwithstanding. (talk) 11:08, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

The source provided by Roofbird refers to the linguistic censuses held in the periphery of Brussels in 1930 and particularly 1947, i.e. after the linguistic border came into existence and municipalities could switch side if there was a change of the majority language in the municipality. The 1947 census was particularly denounced by Flemings as a fraud in many municipalities. On the other hand, the 1910 census in Brussels was uncontroversial since there existed no linguistic border at the time and no rule that a municipality switch sides if the majority language changed. So I see no reason to consider that this census is wrong, especially given that no one so far has been able to bring a source proving that this 1910 census was of poor quality. As for the word "overtaken", I have replaced it with the exact words from the census question: "language spoken exclusively or most frequently". Godefroy (talk) 14:17, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

@ 213... Of course people in Brussels spoke Dutch, but seen the numerous reverts sticking to "Dutch-speaking city" leaves out the dialect matter. @Godefroy, my source is indeed not about the 1910 census, but the second source shows the bilingual fase Brussels went through before passing on to a multilingual, mainly French-speaking city. With a percentage of 42,2% of bilingual people in 1910 (and an equal number for Dutch-only and French-only), this is rather a sign of how French gained its place next to Dutch and only then gradually managed to overtake it, seen the drop of Dutch-only in favour for Dutch+French and from that category to French-only. Only with this comment the census of 1910 can be used here (and not only stating the most spoken language), since the locals passed from Dutch-only over bilingualism to French-only, not a sudden switch from Dutch to French. The interesting thing (see the original Dutch article, of which this one is a translation) is why Dutch was dropped and bilingualism wasn't seen as useful. --Roofbird (talk) 17:37, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

I agree with Roofbird. The 1910 census only proves that French infiltrated into the Flemish community, and that only after 1910 bilinguals dropped Dutch and became monolingual French-speakers. The number of bilingual people remained stable between 1890 and 1947, showing an influx from the category NL to NL+FR and a simultaneous outflow to FR. Interpreting this as Bruxelloise does in the article about Belgium: Until the end of the 19th century the majority of its inhabitants spoke local Brabantian dialects of the Dutch language. However a large-scale francization of Brussels started in the 19th century. As a result, by the 1910 census, the French language had overtaken the local Brabantian dialects in what is now the Capital Region. This has a rather POV and inaccurate undertone.
From one of the numerous studies of the VUB on this topic: [3]
p391: Tot omstreeks 1880 bleven de taalverhoudingen desalniettemin vrij stabiel: ongeveer een derde Vlamingen, een derde tweetaligen en een vijfde à een kwart Franstaligen.
p392: Verruimde onderwijsvoorzieningen voor de arbeidersklasse verspreidden het burgerlijke cultuurpatroon via het Frans in brede lagen van de arbeidersklasse. Dat zo de culturele band met het linguïstisch en sociaal milieu verslapte, bewijzen de talentellingen eveneens: vanaf 1880 verminderde de impact van de Nederlands-ééntaligen ten voordele van de tweetaligengroep om vanaf 1910 de Frans-ééntaligen te versterken.
Note also that in all those studies, people are said to speak Dutch. A more accurate and NPOV wording would be: "Since 1880 more and more Dutch-speaking people became bilingual, resulting in a rise of monolingual French-speakers after 1910.", or something of the like. However, I indeed put it wrong before: it's not really the census itself which is truqué, although it is also said in all those studies of the VUB, that the definition of "bilingualism" changed numerous times and is as such a very subjective matter, urging for reluctance to use it as evidence rather than an indication. It's more the interpretation of the numbers, namely the version of Bruxelloise, which is wrong. --Hooiwind (talk) 11:12, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Come on guys[edit]

Seriously, I think far more important than bickering over comparatively small details like this is actually getting the article translated. The talk page is now more than twice as long as the article itself, which is, quite frankly, absurd. Could those who speak Dutch please direct their efforts instead towards further translation? Thanks, Oreo Priest 13:36, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Before 10th century?[edit]

What language was spoken in the region before 10th century? Was it a Germanic, Celtic or Romance language? Why did the region change language then? Aaker (talk) 21:50, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

The city only exists since the 10th century. At least from the 5th century on in this area (only) Old Dutch (Frankish) was spoken, thus Germanic. Celtic was of course spoken basically everywhere in Europe before the colonisation by the Romans and the invasions of Germanic peoples, but that's not really relevant here, since it's such a long time ago. --Hooiwind (talk) 10:40, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

About the results of the linguistic census[edit]

As I have been instrumental in putting the results of the linguistic censuses on Wikipedia (Dutch and French version), I invite everybody able to read and understand Dutch to read the article "Talentelling" on the Dutch Wikipedia, where you will find at least some proven facts about the questionnable results of the census of 1930 and the attitude of the French speaking administration in Brussels with regard to the 1920 census. Boerkevitz (talk) 14:23, 6 April 2008 (UTC)


Under WP:ENGVAR, European articles do not have to be in UK English. You'll notice it says EU Institutions and not all European related articles, for which the general rule applies. In the Francization of Brussels' case, the translator is American, so we stick with that. Cheers. -Oreo Priest talk 18:20, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

If there is a single city that should use UK/IRL/EU English, it would be french-speaking and de facto EU capital Brussels. This is justifiable common sense; the Wikipedia guidelines shouldn't always be followed slavishly. - and especially when it comes to UK/US English. "Honour" is the name of an article, not "Honor". Wonder why. - \mathrm{S} \mathrm{Solberg} \mathrm{J} 19:23, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
If you'r OK with it, perhaps we can use Frenchification? - \mathrm{S} \mathrm{Solberg} \mathrm{J} 19:30, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
I still don't agree with that logic, the ties are not strong enough to justify a preferred variety. By similar logic, Paris and Paris related topics should be in Canadian English, as de facto capital of La Francophonie. I like the sound of Frenchification, as it is a lot more clear a word than Francisation, but my only concern is that it's might be more slang than academic. What does everyone else think? -Oreo Priest talk 15:58, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
Francization is already used by that article, so I went with that. Frenchification sounds a bit too much like a neologism. Also, this fits in line with the template , which uses sation/zation. On that template, there is even an option to switch between -sation and -zation depending on the spelling variant of the article. --Daveblack (talk) 11:44, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
For some reason, to me frenchification sounds more like "wannabee French" or actively turning something French, whereas francisation would imply "being French" or the evolution of something becoming French... (I'll have to admit it doesn't make sense though.) But are you sure you write francisation, Frenchification and so on with a capital letter? For instance, you also write anglicise and not Anglicise. --Hooiwind (talk) 14:02, 17 May 2008 (UTC)
You may be right. While the term we use now is technically correct, I'm a tiny bit concerned that most people will have no idea what it means and thus the title of the article might not be helpful to them. I'm very well read (not to boast), but I have never before or since seen the term francization, and it was not initially clear to me what it meant.
As for the capitalization: it seems to vary in usage even within a term. Quick Google searches for germanification, lusification, romanization and russification showed capitalization is inconsistent. I guess we should just worry about keeping it uniform within this article. -Oreo Priest talk 15:27, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

A bit late, I suppose, but to me 'Frenchification' is a horrible word. 'Francisation' (or 'Francization') is much more attractive and seems to me more neutral. Whether it's the way people use it, or the sound, or what, 'Frenchification' always sounds a little derogatory to me. (talk) 21:33, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Dutch or Brabantian (bis)[edit]

To use the word "Dutch" in an article about Brussels is a dangerous oversimplification, There were various regional languages in the Low Countries in the Middle Ages. at least four in what is today the Netherlands and three in the "Flemish" part of today's Belgium,West Flemish, East Flemish and "Diets" (itself divided in Brabantian and Limburgish). There is a profound difference in the sentence structure between these groups: Flemish uses the germanic sentence structure whilst diets uses the romance one. Before 1950, when the "Taal unie" treaty between Belgium and the Netherlands was signed, it was customary to speak of Flemish and Hollandish (Hollandsch). I don't really know who of Leonard De Bo or Guido Gezelle, two famous West Flemish writers, defined "Hollansch" as a half pagan, half jewish language (shows how popular it was in Western Flanders...). So, I would suggest using "Flemish" instead of "Dutch". though it is not historically nor linguistically accurate since Brabantian diets was the language spoken.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:13, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for your contribution, but you should open a new section instead of adding your message in the middle of an old section. I've opened a new section for you. You're completely right about Brabantian. I actually raised that point several months ago already, but unfortunately the authors of this article seem bent on presenting Brussels as a Dutch-speaking city that was turned into a French-speaking city, which is essentially what the Flemish nationalist parties always say, instead of presenting the much more complex situation of a city where people spoke Brabantian dialects distinct from standard Dutch and later adopted French as their standard (formal) language instead of adopting standard Dutch as happened in Flanders. Perhaps if more and more people keep posting messages about this oversimplification we can manage to correct the article in the end. Bruxelloise (talk) 15:10, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
This is ridiculous, and, quite frankly, nonsense. This process marks the substitution of one language by an other, not the simple replacement of dialects by standard languages (thàt would be the oversimplification), as happened anywhere in Europe during the past century. To the extent that people could read and write in a cultural language, in Brussels this was Dutch (of course, as in Berlin, Moscow and The Hague, French was the language of the court —that is also mentioned). Also, Brabantian is just a dialect, not a language, and together with Hollandic (not Flemish) one of the two pilars on which the Dutch standard language was built, and therefore making a distinction between the two becomes even more pointless. As explained in the article, linguistic measures cut off the link with the Dutch standard language (mainly through French-only education) with the effect that from the 1880s on, most Dutch dialect speakers turned to French rather than standard Dutch (which would have been the natural evolution). It is exactly that what makes the process somewhat remarkable, and what this article is about. What both of you insinuate is that Dutch was a 20th-century invention (then, you might just as welll state that West Flanders still isn't a Dutch-speaking province but Flemish-speaking, which is, obviously, ridiculous). Indeed, dialects were distinct from region to region (as everywhere in Europe), but the language has always been DUTCH. The problem with Dutch is that is has a billion names, with different meanings depending on the context, but still, Brabantian is just as Dutch as Dutch itself. --Hooiwind (talk) 08:45, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
However, I do understand your concern. But again, the entire issue here is the shift from one language to another (Dutch to French), and attention shouldn't be drawn to the fact that this process overlapped with the 20th century phenomenon of vulgarisation of standard languages (Brabantian to Dutch). The fact that people spoke Brabantian at home (not closely related to, but just a variant of Dutch) is only worth mentioning where this belongs, deeper down the article. Whatever you, and many others, may think: dropping the dialect (Brabantian) of a language (Dutch) which
  • served as a language of culture (= standard language) throughout history (see section about the Middle Ages)
  • and, at the time of the shift, still flourished as language of culture elsewhere (in the Northern Netherlands and their colonies),
in favour of another (standard) language (French) is NOT a natural evolution. If it were, this article wouldn't have been written at all! And the fact that some extremist party abuses this historical and linguistic fact, doesn't necessarily make it less true. Personally, I am sufficiently bilingual and aware of history not to be manipulated by either side. On the contrary.--Hooiwind (talk) 12:37, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
I utterly agree with Hoowind. Before the languages got standardized, i.e. before mass education, both Romanic and Germanic sprachraums were dialects continua. Before that time French means all variations of it (Walloon, Picard, etc...) and Dutch means the same (West Flemish, Limburgish, etc...). The discussion is here the shift of the language border between those two sprachraums. Vb 10:31, 28 May 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)
I also agree with Hooiwind 100%. -Oreo Priest talk 13:49, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Article needs a new title[edit]

Leaving aside that "francisation" is not a word, the title of this article is misleading. An "-isation" process is done by someone, so who francised Brussels?

There is no person/group who francised Brussels. Brussels changed over time. One possible title would be "History of language usage in Brussels", or "The transition of Brussels from Dutch speaking to French speaking". Suggestions sought. --Gronky (talk) 11:07, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Francisation/Francization are in fact existing words, although not often heard. There are no better synonyms and this is the most neutral term. The suffix -isation can be used for so many more things than just an action, it can used for processes or states of being as well: means the act, process, or result of making or doing, action, process, or result of making or state or quality of to become, become like... Also, even it was used primarily as a suffix indicating an action, it can still be an event resulting from a certain situation (marginalization of the status of Dutch in the Austrian Netherlands). For instance: not only people can francise, also situation can. Plus, what you claim is wrong. The francisation was the result of an active policy for sure (see the term francisation measures + check some Québec websites), even if you say that people francised themselves. For all these reasons, I am utterly opposed to changing the title as it would be pointless and the current title is bold, to the point and in no way misleading.--Hooiwind (talk) 11:58, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
Also, -ization musn't necessarily imply intend to. Done on purpose or not, all factors combined gave rise to what could, is and should be called a francisation process.--Hooiwind (talk) 12:10, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
Those definitions you turned up all require someone to do something. Yes, the French tried to "francisise" Brussels (I'll concede that that word exists), but this article isn't just about what the French did. This article is about a much bigger topic. If there was an article "The French attempts to francisise Brussels", that would be no problem. Not only would the use of "francisise" be accurate, but there would be a "who" for the action, so the word "francisise" would then be being used correctly.
The current title is only good for generating controversy at a debate. Brussels wasn't francisised, the people (to some degree) picked what they saw as a more useful language. The title wrongly implies it was done to them. This belittle's the will of the people of Brussels. Yes, some people/groups did try to francisise Brussels, but these are not the (only) reason for Brussels being French speaking today. Also, by talking only of drancisation, the dutchisation efforts of today are ignored.
It would be more accurate to title this "The rise of French in Brussels". --Gronky (talk) 13:10, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
What the dutchisation efforts if I may ask? The Flemish demands for a bilingual administration? However, if you insist on a new title, I think The decline of Dutch or Rise of French or so could be an ersatz. Languages in Brussels or variants wouldn't really cover the topic (which is focused on Dutch-French) since since the 1960s hundreds of languages are spoken now. Francisation is indeed rarely used, but has not invented here. It is as such not a sacred word for me, although you're the first one to raise objections to it. I can follow your argumentation if you say that it is not an well known word, but not that it would blame the French or so (because even in French it is called "francisation de Bruxelles")... In any case you should wait a few more days before changing the title.--Hooiwind (talk) 14:03, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
I better preface this by pointing out that I'm not criticising the attempts to increase the use of Dutch in Brussels. (Ik leer nederlands, dus denk ik dat hun werk heel nuttig is.)
The Flemish government are subsidising Dutch courses, first through VUB and second through giving language checks to French speakers who live in Brussels. In addition, they're buying a lot of very central buildings in Brussels, particularly around Muntplein for promotion of Flemish culture and langauge (this is something the French community of Belgium cannot match, for financial reasons). I've heard there is financial assistance for Flemish speakers who want to buy a house in Brussels (but I've also heard that this is a false rumour (but I've also heard that, no, it's actually true)). That, and pushing for equal language rights despite less than 10% of the residents speaking Dutch.
This isn't forceful, but neither were most of the causes of Brussels' fransisation. However, these projects are efforts to (re)flemish-ify Brussels.
Changing the title of this article doesn't have to be rushed. I'm the first to raise objections, but that's probably because I'm one of the first wikipedians who wasn't involved in the writing of the source article in Dutch to start looking into the content of this article. It's a long, detailed article, and it appeared quite suddenly a few months ago. It'll take some time for an en.w.o community (which'll include you and I) to build up around it to work on it's future development. --Gronky (talk) 10:56, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree that the article name is, according to Wiki usage, a neologism; unknown, unclear, and weird-sounding to the native English-speaker. "Frenchification of Brussels", although not perfect in tone, would be more clear and familiar article title. Even "Gallicization of Brussels" although almost as difficult to pronounce and less obvious in meaning to many English-speakers, is still better than the current title -- and arguably more clear and more "encyclopedic" than "Frenchification". The other names suggested above sound POV. FactStraight (talk) 05:44, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps this is not the place to make this comment, but the way "Frenchification" is used seems suspect on two accounts. Since Frenchification may mean both "becoming French" and "learning/assimilating the French language", a conceptual tightening is called for. The importance of this distinction is not merely grammatical, for anyone may turn to French to speak it as a first language without seeking to "become" "French" - national-statist arrogance? Secondly, Frenchification is constructed as depicting an unwelcome or negative process or situation, which it need not be if, inter alia, this term is made synonymous with "the spread of francophone areas" (reasons many and complex!). It has then a completely different flavor and opens ourselves to other realities, e.g. that some groups may have wanted to remain or acquire "French" citizenship, and this in spite of language preference. - [Left by IP today] Oreo Priest talk 14:08, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

"Francisation of Brussels" is a neologism[edit]

Whatever happens to the title of this article, I want to record here that as of today (May 30th 2008) there is only 1 google hit for "Francisation of Brussels" if you exclude "wikipedia" (which is done by adding "-wikipedia" to the search. That one hit is a mirror site of wikipedia.

For the same search, but spelling it "francization", you get 9 hits.

  • 1 page is blank (except for a title "comments about francization of brussels" and a comment box.
  • 1 makes no reference to wikipedia (and dates to March 3rd 2008, a month after this article appeared) [4]
  • 7 are wikipedia mirror sites

So it cannot be accurate for the article to say, as it does now, that the change of language over time in Brussels is "called the "Francization of Brussels,"". Quite simply, according to Google, no one has used that term, ever, online before this article appeared on wikipedia. At best, we can say that what happened "could be called...". I'll make that change, although I think this is still giving too much prominence to this neologism. --Gronky (talk) 13:27, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Let me clear some things up. Yes, Francization of Brussels is a new term. Why? Because English language coverage of this sort of topic is very poor in general. Francization of Brussels is a very accurate title for this article in many ways. It is (would be) clear and to the point, it is what happened in an objective sense, and it is concise. To say we need to say it "could be called x" because there was no official policy by that name simply does not make sense. The title, is our 'creation' if you will, because there is no commonly accepted title for the event, and the article needs a title. I have removed the "called the ..." section, because Gronky was right, it was misleading.
However, the title is unsatisfactory for many reasons. The foremost in my mind is that most people have no idea what the word Francization means, and the title is thus unwieldy and unhelpful. My two cents on some suggestions: [section break added later for clarity -OP]

Title suggestions[edit]

  • "History of language usage in Brussels" not nearly pithy or clear enough, in addition to not being the scope of the article.
  • "The transition of Brussels from Dutch speaking to French speaking" This has the right spirit, but is a monster of a title, something shorter would be better.
  • The decline of Dutch or Rise of French - I think this is closer in that it's concise and clear, but neither seems quite perfect to me. "Rise of the French language in Brussels" perhaps? Or "Decline of Dutch and Rise of French in Brussels"?
  • "Frenchification of Brussels" per above, would be also quite clear, but sounds to me a bit informal/non-academic.
I think we should keep brainstorming. Also, I might IP vote/comment, because I'm going on Wikibreak now. -Oreo Priest talk 13:23, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Another: "Replacement of Dutch by French in Brussels". --Gronky (talk) 11:03, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps a more vague "Language transition in Brussels" or "Linguistic transformation of Brussels"? Having said that, Frenchification is starting to appeal to me more and more because it's so clear. -Oreo Priest talk 12:46, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree that "Frenchification" is better than "Francisation" (even if I'm not 100% sure). Further, since I'm not sure it's accurate to say that the language spoken 200 years ago was exactly "Dutch", I'm liking more and more the idea of mentioning "frenchification" and not mentioning "Dutch" in the title. So I don't think it's a perfect title (but maybe there is no perfect title), but I agree that "Frenchification of Brussels" would be an improvement. If this change is made, we should remain open to future suggestions. --Gronky (talk) 10:55, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree. I'll move it tomorrow if there are no objections, but we should still be open to a better title. -Oreo Priest talk 12:20, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
Done. (a bit late to mention, but I figured it was obvious). -Oreo Priest talk 07:34, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
It was indeed. Just FYI: I had no objections whatsoever to the move but was unable to let you know since I had blocked myself.--Hooiwind (talk) 18:48, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

Added section, but it erased the references!! Help...[edit]

Hi, if anyone can help, I just translated a section and added to the end, but by doing so, the references and infoboxes were erased!! Does anyone have a solution for this? I commented out the section, so the text is still there in the source code. thanks - --Daveblack (talk) 11:50, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

I fixed it. Turns out the problem was one of the refs was <ref name=x> instead of <ref name=x/>. Pretty frustrating stuff. -Oreo Priest talk 14:04, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

The title (Again)[edit]

I can't understand why it was changed. Actually I think francisation is better than frenchification since there's an article about the phenomenon with that name. Aaker (talk) 23:13, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

And in the first line, it says Frenchification is another word for it. The consensus was that Frenchification would be the clearest to everyone. -Oreo Priest talk 02:14, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
It's possible that the francisation article should be renamed. --Gronky (talk) 23:27, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Frenchification is clear and self-explanitory.--Buster7 (talk) 06:49, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

January/09 Edits[edit]

Having been previously lambasted by one or more of the editors involved with this article, let me be clear. The intention of my edits is to improve the article. Period.--Buster7 (talk) 06:49, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Don't worry, we'll assume good faith. -Oreo Priest talk 13:05, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
vriendlijkte' groeten...thank you...--Buster7 (talk) 05:30, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
Alle hulp is welkom! (all help is welcome) --Hooiwind (talk) 15:49, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Translation Questions[edit]

région à part entière[edit]

Anyone know what "région à part entière" means? I don't speak French. --Daveblack (talk) 11:02, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

...region in its own...maybe,region on its own...where is it used?--Buster7 (talk) 14:01, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
My understanding is that it means something like "a region in its own right" or "a full-fledged region in its own right" or "a distinct region with full region status". I think the second one flows best, but I'll leave it to Hooiwind to decide, as he probably knows best. -Oreo Priest talk 15:48, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
In Belgium it is a well-known term —also used in Dutch when referring to Brussels— which indeed expresses the (controversial) "independence" of Brussels relative to the other regions (Flanders and Wallonia). I used it in the Dutch article simply because it is often used in the Belgian media. (I added an explanation though: "met volwaardige gewestbevoegdheden" ; "with full-fledged regional competencies") Here we could simply stick to "they demanded that the Brussels Capital-Region have equal regional status as the other two Regions" or something. Do as you like. --Hooiwind (talk) 15:58, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Also in this context: "bevoegdheden" (singular bevoegdheid, compétences in French) does not mean "opportunity"; it's a political term. I have no idea how to say it in English (I would say competencies but that might be a gallicism). Let me give you an example. In Belgium, the Regions are "competent" for regional matters such as roads, air pollution, transport services; the Communities are "competent" for education, health care, the media; the federal state is "competent" for jurisdiction, electricity, foreign affairs. "Responsibilities" is what it means but I think it fails to capture the political and constitutional aspect. --Hooiwind (talk) 16:47, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

I think the word is jurisdiction. I think when you said the federal government is responsible for jurisdiction, you meant to say justice. -Oreo Priest talk 17:07, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Indeed! I hate that word. I always mess it up. Same with juridicial, juridical, judicial... you name it :d --Hooiwind (talk) 18:00, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Who wanted what?[edit]

This sentence was not clear to me, and as far as I can tell, the Dutch was also ambiguous: At first, Flemish political parties demanded cultural competencies, whereas francophone parties wanted economic autonomy. Cultural competencies. for who over what? Did the Flemish parties want Flanders to have cultural power over Brussels? For Brussels to have them itself? That sort of thing. -Oreo Priest talk 03:46, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

No no, you should look at it this way: all policies a government can exert, are either "cultural" (that is, for persons) or "economic" (that is, for territories). The Flemish wanted cultural autonomy (so their own education system, libraries, youth policy, health care, intergration of immigrants, eldercare, social aid, etc) that they could establish everywhere in the Dutch-speaking area (including Brussels, where the French-speakers would have the right to do the same). These competencies would be transferred from the national (now "federal") level to the Community level (so one Community government for all Dutch-speakers and another one for all French-speakers). Brussels residents would (and are) be able to "shop" (go to a Flemish hospital but to French elderly homes for instance). The Walloons wanted economic autonomy (given the decline of the Walloon economy), including most aspects of economic policy, innovation, spacial planning, agriculture, fishery, etc. The Flemish (at the time) did not focus that much on economic autonomy (since the Flemish economy was booming). For them those matters could be decided nationally. The French-speakers saw no need for seperate cultural institutions, since the French language and culture was dominant in most national institutions (despite the Dutch majority). For them those things could be dealt with nationally. This led to the situation in which Brussels is part of both the Dutch-speaking and the French-speaking Communities (according to Flemish demands) but a fully-fledged region with economic autonomy (according to Walloon demands). In their two-part vision on Belgium (NL vs FR), the Flemish have subsequently merged their two governments to one, whereas the French-speakers, with their three-part vision on Belgium (FL vs BR vs WAL), have kept them seperate. And then I didn't even mention the German-speakers. --Hooiwind (talk) 10:46, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
You may also want to read my answer under "Question" again (see below), from a Brussels perspective. I've been thinking we may want to integrate some of the underlying history into the Communities, regions and language areas of Belgium article. Someday. --Hooiwind (talk) 10:52, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
Ok, I think I understand now. I've tried to incorporate that into the body of the text, but please read what I've just written very carefully to make sure it's correct, in addition to not being redundant. Also, it seems that when the Brussels-Capital Region was created, it only had 75 seats, so make sure I'm not getting that wrong.
And incorporating that into the Communities, etc. article would be a great idea. I'm focusing on this now, so I don't think I'll be doing it though. -Oreo Priest talk 14:53, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Minister President[edit]

I didn't quite understand what this meant in the context of the sentence it was in: (à l'exception du Ministre-Président et des secrétaires d'État). Help? -Oreo Priest talk 04:39, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

As a compensation for the creation of the Brussels Region, the Flemings were granted "parity" in the Brussels government (meaning that there be an equal number of Dutch- and French-speaking ministers, 4 in total). However, this parity excludes the minister-president (= head of government, in practice always French-speaking) and the "state secretaries" (sort of "extra ministers", of which two are French-speaking and one is Dutch-speaking). So of all 8 members of government, 5 are French-speaking and 3 are Flemish. Mentioning that parity should thus go along with that remark.--Hooiwind (talk) 09:13, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
I've tried to explain that; make sure what I put makes sense. -Oreo Priest talk 18:12, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

French speakers in Halle-Vilvoorde[edit]

Can you explain this? In het arrondissement Halle-Vilvoorde, dat naast de zes faciliteitengemeenten ook nog 29 andere Vlaamse gemeenten omvat, gebruikte in 2006 ongeveer 31 percent van de gezinnen het Frans als communicatietaal met Kind en Gezin.[86] For one, I'm not sure what Kind en Gezin means, and what the French put doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Also, I looked at the source and I can't see how you got 31%. From what I understand 41% not-NL minus 25% not FR or NL is 16% FR. Am I missing something? -Oreo Priest talk 01:42, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Kind & Gezin (Child & Family) is a Flemish governmental agency with responsibility for young children and families, in particular in the fields of preventive care, child care services, family support, diversity and children's rights. I'm sorry about the source, it doesn't state the figure and the percentage can't even be correct. I remember it was the first figure I included in the article (about two years ago), but luckily I became more careful over the years (making sure what is stated, appears in the source as well). Just looked it up again: a 2007 report of the Flemish government on the "Rand" (page 73) shows that in Halle-Vilvoorde, 25% of families with children communicated with Kind en Gezin in French. Here, however, they published a correction saying that the numbers relate to the language spoken at home, between mother and child (and not necessarily with Kind en Gezin). We should thus rephrase: "According to Kind en Gezin, in 2007 25% of the families with children living in the Halle-Vilvoorde area spoke French at home, a figure that rises to 57,2% in the municipalities with language facilities". --Hooiwind (talk) 12:16, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
This report in English (pages 45-46) shows that the percentage of French-speaking families in the whole of Flanders is 4.3% (maybe useful as a comparison). --Hooiwind (talk) 12:25, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
I'm going to put the 25% figure and update the ref. Can you take care of FR and NL? -Oreo Priest talk 01:39, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

omzendbrief-Peeters / circulaire Peeters[edit]

I'm trying to think how to translate this. Any ideas? Peeters Policy? Peeters directive? Peeters circulaire? -Oreo Priest talk 02:13, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Peeters directive approaches best I guess. I doubt whether English-speakers would know the word circulaire (or "omzendbrief" ~ "aroundsendletter")... --Hooiwind (talk) 12:20, 15 July 2009 (UTC)


The last section of French Dissatisfaction is somewhat of a mess, since I don't completely understand what "loketten" are. Could an expert please take a look at this and smooth it out?

thanks --Daveblack (talk) 11:32, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

You know when you go to a government building/train station/whatever, and there's a bunch of agents in their booths who take the customers as they come? Like the DMV? Anyways, those booths with the agent in them are loketten. I'm not sure how to best say that in English. I put "counters", but do check to see if that makes sense, and if there's a better translation. -Oreo Priest talk 15:56, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
Loket indeed means something like counter (although counter would rather mean toonbank ("show desk"), comptoir). gives office window. The French translation is guichet, I think in German it's Schalter, if that may be of any help. I'm surprised there is no exact translation in English. What about box office? --Hooiwind (talk) 16:04, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
The box office is just for movie theatres and plays. I'm quite familiar with the word guichet, but it's hard to do in English. To us, counter means much more than just the comptoir in a store with the cash register. The word wicket is sometimes used, but very uncommon and probably wouldn't be understood. What's everyone else think? -Oreo Priest talk 17:10, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, box office is more for in cinemas, just a guess. I know wicked ;-) You English speakers know best of course. --Hooiwind (talk) 18:31, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Just some thoughts...."counter" implies that it is something that you stand at, in front of, a chest high individualized space for transacting "business". "Service desk" might also be a possibility. understanding of loketten is that they exist in "facilities", governmental and the like. So...the service counter at the grocery store is not a loketten. More thinking needed...:-)--Buster7 (talk) 19:25, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

(undent) I also thought about booth, but that could be interpreted as something that distributes pamphlets or something. -Oreo Priest talk 22:38, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

A booth is usually something you walk into, like a photo booth. "counter" seems most apt to me. Gronky (talk) 16:58, 16 May 2009 (UTC)


The article reads "... a significant number of seats were reserved for Dutch-speakers; the criterium for occupying such a seat was the possession of an identity card in Dutch. A number of French-speakers requested this card, and as such were added as "Dutch-speakers" by Rassemblement Bruxellois." I think that, while factual, it is a bit ambiguous as to motive. Was the requesting of a card some form of deception? Did it effect the voting process? Did it prevent an accurate representation of the actual social components? I think we need to make it clear for the reader. I know a little bit about it and it confuses me. Just a thought!Buster7 (talk) 23:30, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

Well to be honest, I've never liked that section too much either. The three examples (the offending posters, the fake Flemish and the loket incident) are typical for the hectic seventies and are chiefly remembered as the early days of a radical anti-Flemish francophone resistance to the (perceived or not) "sudden" decline of dominance of the French language in Belgium (the language border had been fixed in 1963, the constitution had officially been translated in 1967, the francophones had just been expelled out of Leuven in 1968, the federalisation process had just started with more autonomy for the Flemish in 1970). They are rather just illustrations; well-known in Belgium, but maybe meaningless for an anglophone (international) public. Therefore I think omitting them need not necessarily be to the detriment of the article. As for the "fake Flemish": 30 seats were "reserved" for Dutch-speakers, and to prove you were a Dutch-speaker you had to request an Dutch-language ID. Some French-speakers changed their ID to Dutch and were elected. Since they claimed to be Dutch-speakers (but were actually affiliated to the FDF, which was openly known), 11 of those 30 guaranteed seats were "taken away". It indeed increased a certain francophile bias in policy: the different municipalities have not been merged (as elsewhere in Belgium in 1971), so increased pressure for a full-fledged seperate region status for Brussels (a traditional francophone goal). It's just to show the rise of francophone resentment to the "threat" of equal status for Dutch. --Hooiwind (talk) 16:31, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Maybe it's because of my time in Belgium, but those examples don't seem too minor to me. Maybe we should explain that they caused a sensation, or they might seem trivial.
Also, I don't understand that last bit; my understanding was that the Brussels-Capital Region had all the competencies that the Walloon Region does (ignoring the complication of the Flemish Region/Community merger). What's the difference, if any? -Oreo Priest talk 17:14, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Well, it's very subtle. The Brussels Capital-Region only came into existence in 1989, later than the others. The Flemish were generally against creating a third region (in their view Belgium consists of two communities—hence the Region/Community merger) while the French-speakers were in favour (for them Belgium consists of the three regions—also a way of disconnecting Brussels with the rest of historically Dutch-speaking Belgium). Today Brussels indeed has as many competencies (sic!) as the Walloon Region (but some of them are in practice irrelevant, think of agriculture for instance). The point de discorde is that, from a Flemish point of view, Brussels is shared by both communities (hence the garantueed representation of Dutch-speakers), whereas for the French-speakers Brussels is a region in its own right so they don't see the need for this Flemish "overrepresentation" (or official bilingualism). That is also why they argue the Brussels Region should be enlarged, while the Flemish argue that seperate region should not have been created in the first place ("it's just a city, how can it ever be a sustainable region".) That also explains why many French-speakers cannot stand the fact that Flanders has chosen Brussels as its capital ("ils n'y ont rien perdu"), while this makes perfect sense for the Flemish ("they frenchified it, ok, but we're not leaving"). While in theory Brussels may already be a region à part entière, in practice, it is still the only region where "outsiders" can interfere (through the Communities). Increasingly, French-speaking politicians argue for the creation of a Brussels Community (merged with the Region) so that nor the Flemish nor the French-speaking Community governments would have anything to say. This is generally rejected by Flemish politicians, since this would imply the definite divorce between Brussels and Flanders. But nor is it very popular amongst most French-speakers, since that would breach the "solidarity" between the Walloons and the French-speaking Bruxellois. In conclusion, it's very complicado. Beati pauperes spiritu! --Hooiwind (talk) 18:26, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
@Hooiwind...Your precise explanation clarifies alot for me. Thank You. I guess the trick is to incorporate the substance of it into the article. It is difficlt to relate (to the visiting reader) the full width and breath of the many and varied clashes of opposing views within Belgium. And we certainly do not want to imply a country or a capital city that is always contentious. On the contrary, Belgium and Brussels are synonomous with diplomacy. --Buster7 (talk) 21:21, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Thank you, very enlightening. Having said that, I think to try to explain the subtleties of this in the article would just confuse the reader, so we should leave it more or less the way it is now. -Oreo Priest talk 22:24, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

I'll translate too[edit]

So I think I'll start helping to translate this too. Given that I don't speak Dutch, I'm working from the French version, which is now a featured article as well. At any rate, if you guys could keep your eyes open for any issues; be they broken telephone from the double translation, poor translation, bias from the French version or whatever, that'd be great. Also, I might leave some words in Canadian English by accident; I do think, however, that since Daveblack started this in AmEng, that's the way it should stay. -Oreo Priest talk 18:12, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

Great, good job everybody. Let's get this over with! --Hooiwind (talk) 10:54, 9 July 2009 (UTC)


The computer does not like my references for numbers 75 and 76 found in the "Foreign Immigration" section. I am admittedly no good at references. Anyone care to help out? Thanks --Daveblack (talk) 14:01, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Sure. For future reference, you just have to change the parameters to the English version, and replace "voetnoot web" with "cite web". The English parameters can be found at Template:Cite web. It seems intimidating at first, but it's really not so bad. -Oreo Priest talk 15:06, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
Also, where possible, we should try to follow the Dutch article's naming of references, (ie <ref name = dutchname> ) just for consistency. -Oreo Priest talk 15:10, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
If possible, try to use the French references, they are more numerous and up-to-date. I should redo the Dutch referencing. --Hooiwind (talk) 10:54, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Request for comment on length of article[edit]

This is a cordial disagreement about whether the article is too long, and if so, by how much, and how it should be shortened. If subarticles are to be created, what would be the best way to do that? -Oreo Priest talk 17:58, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

[Copied from peer review, where this discussion started]

  • Most importantly of all, and it pains me to say it: this article is too long. Even with my familiarity with the article and interest in the topic, this article is gruelling to go through. We should seriously look at reducing the length of the article by cutting out material that is not necessary (and not only what's merely not relevant) wherever possible. I know Hooiwind, Daveblack and I have put in tons of time translating and working on all this, but the reality is that it's not reader-friendly right now. The PDF version of it (see the toolbox on the left) is 27 pages long and fairly dense, so it would probably take over an hour to read, minimum. This really needs to change.
I agree: this article is too long. I also needed something like 5 hours to write the review above. However, since the topic is per se complicated and controversial, I don't believe the answer is cutting through but using summary style and adding sub articles when required. We really need a thorough discussion of the reasons why Brussels became bilingual/multilingual. I suggest creating Frenchification of Brussels before 1830 or Language censuses in Brussels.Vb (talk) 06:52, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
I disagree with this. Readers will want to read about the subject as a whole, rather than mid way through being diverted to another article. I can see it being a nuisance already. If we trim effectively then there is no need to separate. MasterOfHisOwnDomain (talk) 10:58, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
Well put. I think the keyword here is trim effectively. The topic is complex, but much of what we have in here is not really necessary, and readability must be foremost. I'm not sure how we could fork the content in a non-weird way either. -Oreo Priest talk 14:06, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
I think it will not be possible to boil it down so that we achieve a bearable length. However I think it is clear to everybody that the Frenchification of Brussels really started to be effective from 1830 on. So I think the reader should only have a summary of the history section and could be referred to a correponding subarticle for the details. This might be done very easily: cut the history section as it is and paste it into Languages in Brussels before 1830. For me this article would be almost perfect and could get very fastly featured! Moreover I don't like the title history because the Belgian Revolution is also history. In fact most of the article is just history. Vb (talk) 07:20, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
I agree this article is too long. I agree with Vb that this article can be cut up in two parts: one speaking about the period BEFORE Belgian independence, one thereafter. The first laid the fundaments for the second, but did not lead to a massive switch to French (yet).--Hooiwind (talk) 08:19, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
I understand you guys think it's important to keep all the details because the subject is so important. We could even add relevant details until this ballooned to 50 or 100 pages without going off topic. But boiling it down to a bearable length is exactly what an encyclopedia article (as opposed to a thesis or a book) is supposed to do. It may well be that we should create more detailed (i.e. keep the current level of detail) subarticles for those who really want to plunge into intricate depth (and for whatever reason aren't reading the Dutch or French versions). I staunchly oppose splitting this article into parts; for one, we'd be kidding ourselves if we thought that it isn't one united subject, and for two, any break would just be artificial with the sole purpose of reducing the length. We could maybe copy the bottom half of the article to something like "Linguistic conflict in Brussels (or Belgium) since 1830", but it seems unnecessary to me. I really think that this article need to keep its current scope but be made a reasonable length. That's our job. -Oreo Priest talk 15:50, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
It's also occurred to me that the solutions to many of the other concerns with the article hinge around whether we decide to shorten the article or not. Given that all three of us are very close to the article and subject, I think it might be nice to have some outside voices about what they think a reasonable length might be. What do you guys think? -Oreo Priest talk 04:08, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

[end of copy from peer review]

  • RfC comment. As someone who has essentially zero familiarity with the subject, I'm actually very impressed with how good this article is -- the editors working on it are to be congratulated! I'm not entirely convinced that the page needs to be shortened at all. Perhaps one solution might be to go through the entire page with the digital equivalent of a red pen, and a willingness to let go of some good material, and just copy-edit it down to a shorter version by trimming sentences here and there. An alternative to what has been discussed might instead be to make two pages, one dealing with present-day current events, and the other dealing with history (as opposed to using independence as the dividing line). I hope that helps. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:24, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Well this article is 100KB long. So I think there should not be any discussion whether this article is too long or not (see WP:SIZERULE) and this in particular because this is not an article which per se has a very broad topic usch as Belgium or Blues. Moreover the preserving-information rule should be applied. In this case we have put a lot of work in reviewing the avalaible literature on the history of Belgium and cutting into the history section would for sure remove a lot of in line citations which are all required for such a controversial topic. I therefore suggest creating a subarticle languages in Brussels before 1830 but I agree with Oreo Priest that creating a subarticle Frenchification of Brussels after 1830 would be a nonsense. I think the Frenchification of Brussels after 1830 should be the kernel of this article and should be trimmed. I think here quite a lot of information could be cut out. Vb (talk) 09:10, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
  • I see what you mean. Keep in mind that the information preserving guideline is for building an article, and says to keep anything that belongs in the final article, which is pretty much what we're discussing here. I like the idea of splintering the history to shorten the section here. Given consensus, I think I could cut down the length of the article significantly without compromising the quality of the article. See my edits to the Dissatisfaction of French speakers section here and here for example. I'd also like to hear a few more voices before we do anything major. Oreo Priest talk 23:51, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
  • I agree with the edits you did. I also think those details do not belong here. I however disagree with cutting this piece:<quote>The FDF was one of the proponents of the expansion of the Brussels metropolitan area to become a "région à part entière" with complete regional rights like those in Flanders and Wallonia.<ref>{{fr}} [ En bref : Les grandes orientations du parti], FDF</ref> The Flemish parties advocated a system in which Brussels would be administered either by both the Flemish and Walloon communities, or by the federal state itself.<ref name="crisp"/> This controversy continued until the creation of the [[Brussels Capital-Region]] in 1989, which guaranteed language rights for Dutch-speakers. </quote> I think this FDF's POV need to be mentioned because this mirrors a basic concern of the Francophones. However I suggest moving this to the section Creation of the Brussels-Capital Region. This is directly related to the sentence "hampered by the visions" (which I still think should be rewritten). (talk) 07:09, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
  • I don't see how you can really cut the article much. It is 100 KB now, but the text is 60 KB, which puts it on the threshold of being too long. One thing I would suggest is the integration of the of introduction into the lead section. The introduction just repeats information in the rest of the article. This is what the lead should do. I'm sure you can also copyedit the article a bit by removing sentences here and there. Otherwise, it is a very good article! Zeus1234 (talk) 03:26, 15 September 2009 (UTC)


I start a new review of this article. Vb (talk) 21:34, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

0. Lead
No comment. I agree.
1.1.Middle Ages
"By comparison the cities in the neighboring Duchy of Flanders such as Bruges, Ghent, Kortrijk and Ypres the percentage of French documents in city archives fluctuated between 30 and 60 percent." This sentence is not clear. I think a word and comas are missing (+Duchy->County). I would write "By comparison, in the cities in the neighboring County of Flanders such as Bruges, Ghent, Kortrijk and Ypres, the percentage of French documents in city archives fluctuated between 30 and 60 percent."
"In 1477, Burgundian duke Charles the Bold perished in the Battle of Nancy. Through the marriage of his daughter Mary of Burgundy to Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, the Low Countries fell under Habsburg sovereignty." Both sentences should be merged. The Battle of Nancy detail should disappear.
1.2.Spanish rule
The sentence "Brabant and Flanders were engulfed in the Counter-Reformation, and the Catholic priests continued to perform the liturgy in Latin." belongs to the next paragraph. "Counter-Reformation" should not be wikilinked twice.
Replace Zavel by Sablon.
Remove "either" from "who came either in search of work".
"but the Walloon presence was still too small to prevent them from being assimilated into the Dutch-speaking majority." This sentence is not clear. Do you mean that the Walloons were assimilated into the Flemish or not?
1.3.Austrian rule
"There were various reasons for this." For what? For the complaints or for the reduction?
"who were later pejoratively labelled Franskiljons (loosely: little Frenchies)." Later: when? Mention this later but not here in the section about the Austrian rules.
"although the communiqué from the Habsburgs was seldom seen by commoners of Brussels." I would write "although the communiqués from the Habsburgs were seldom seen by commoners of Brussels."
1.4.French rule
"aided by an exceptional French-language educational system.[27]" Why "exceptional"? What does this mean? Very good?
"Napoleonic Office of Statistics". "Imperial" or "French" would be better. Napoleonic is no official name for an Office.

Work in progress... Vb (talk) 21:34, 13 October 2009 (UTC)


Perhaps rather than frenchification or francisation, gallicisation could be used? It's attractive, neutral and has a long history in the English language (talk) 22:18, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

Flemish point of view[edit]

This "Frenchification of Brussels" article reflects solely the point of view of the flemings (The topic itself and the problematic way it is presented). Though the references at the end of the article comprises some french contributions, the content, the figures, the way they are analyzed express only the point of view of flemish associations or organizations. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Guy (talk) 19:20, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

What is problematic about it? Anything specific? And all points of view are presented. Did you see the FDF part, for example? Oreo Priest talk 16:04, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
This article solely expresses the point of view of the flemings in Brussels. The topic, the distorsion of the figures, the choice of the facts and the way they are interpreted are part of the usual propaganda of the flemish activists. [From an IP user]
You still haven't said anything specific. Would you care to elaborate? And I think not, the article was translated into French and was recognized as being fair. Oreo Priest talk 18:05, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
Well I believe it is always possible to improve this article with respect to NPOV but you need to tell exactly which sentences are biased, how to modify them and, which references support your views. Vb (talk) 06:42, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

The fact that most of the intervention come from Oreo Priest who makes notes about the NVA which is the main nationalist party in Belgian has a feeling this article is really biaised and oriented. It is a shame that such a good instrument as wikipedia is used to spread nationalist motives. Krakkobe (talk) 15:28, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

Huh???? I don't even know what you're talking about. I'm not even Belgian and neither French nor Dutch is my first language. I don't really think it's fair or makes sense to claim I'm biased, and especially not nationalist. Oreo Priest talk 18:19, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

For me it doesn't matter what you claim as it is not possible to check nationality or all the informations you put and actually it is not that important. What I can see is that you make so many contributions about Belgium and specially about some very specific things like the government or the communauty of Flanders that is seems pretty obvious that you must demonstrate a very good knowledge of Dutch and French to translate such informations. If you don't I would find very harmful that you relay the first article in Dutch because of the oriented references. Anyway you don't convince me with your arguments of impartiality and it would be a good thing to add a banner for partial neutrality. Good day Krakkobe (talk) 07:46, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

Krakkobe's intervention is, apart from being offensive and rude, also useless without pointing out the sections of disagreement. --Hooiwind (talk) 20:24, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

I may be aggressive but that is a from a fair point of view because this article is more of a demonstration that Brussels is a flemish city that has been spoiled from its language than what is is really : a city that long has been in the cultural area of latin and germanic influences. Even in your references such as "Helder De Schutter; Ann Mares, Els Witte (ed.) (2001). "Taalpolitiek en multiculturalisme in het Brussels Nederlandstalig onderwijs", it is clearly said that the local Brussels dialect was a pure mix of French and Dutch. I give you the definition of immigration "To enter and settle in a country to which one is not native", the paragraph "French-speaking immigration" is insultive because you are not an immigrant in your own country : this is insulting for both the wallons and the flemish people who came to live in Brussels. And finally Oreao Priest erased my remarks about the roman settlement in Schaerbeek though he left strangelly my reference I added in the article as if it personnaly indisposed him that most of the cities in Belgium have also a latin part in them wether it is Brussels, Tongeren or Tournai. What to do next, detroy manually the roman ruins, latin or French antic pergaments to be sure that no one contest the pure germanic origin of Brussels? This is sick. Anyway, this is getting close to a Godwin point and there is no point of making arguments with people who have made their mind already. good day. Krakkobe (talk) 22:15, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

What edit might that be? I can't find it in the history. As for the Walloon immigrants, that's a fair point, and I've changed it to migrants. The section should probably stay titled "immigration" because that's a more natural/normal word, and it starts by talking about actual foreigners. I don't think we're anywhere near the Godwin point, but if you're speaking for yourself, then I can't tell. Oreo Priest talk 08:55, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

The edit was made by Hooiwind, he know himself perfectly. The qualification migrant-immigrant is very sensitively used in the Flemish media who stigmatise the french speakers living in the surroundind of Brussels giving them the names of immigrants, thank you for adapting that. Anyway, a fair thing would be that this article represent the Flemish point of view about Brussels as the University of Laval made about the regions in Belgium giving a public tribune from all regions. Krakkobe (talk) 14:22, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

Need clarification of individual bilingualism vs. community bilingualism[edit]

I find the current article confusing because it doesn't make clear what kind of bilingualism is involved in the language shift, whether the linguistic competence of individuals or the use of different languages in the community by speakers who may in fact be substantially (or increasingly) monolingual. For example, the statement in the introduction "from a Dutch-speaking city to one that is bilingual or even multilingual," doesn't fit my understanding of the changing language situation. My impression was that in the late 19th century, most Brussels residents were native-speakers of Dutch but were educated exclusively in French. So it seems that at that time individual bilingualism was very high, and there was de facto community bilingualism even if Dutch was excluded from certain domains like government and education (and thus the form of Dutch would be mostly spoken Brabantian, rather than standard Dutch with a standard written form). Since then, it seems there has been a language-shift among majority of residents (many with Flemish-speaking grandparents) so that many are now native speakers of French, also educated in French, and many (most?) never learn Dutch as a second language. The Dutch-to-Francophone segment of the Brussels population is culturally integrated with other Francophone segments such as migrants from Wallonia, immigrant communities who almost all are or become Francophone, and EU employees and their families. As a result, Brussels is now 85% Francophone, and most of the Francophones do not speak or read Dutch. So the trend in individual bilingualism seems to be the opposite of what was stated. From widespread individual bilingualism (mostly native-speakers of Dutch who were literate in French if they are literate at all), to more limited bilingualism (especially among the 85% of Brussels residents who are Francophones; if they have a second language it is likely to be English, not many are fluent or literate in Dutch). In terms of community bilingualism, Brussels was bilingual before but Dutch was marginalized in important domains like government and education. Brussels has some kind of community bilingualism today, but perhaps it is more polarized, with the Dutch-speaking 15% minority sending their kids to Dutch-speaking schools where they learn to be individual multilinguals (at least French and English as second languages), while the Francophone majority send their kids to Francophone schools (where their may become individual bilinguals, but I suspect English is learned more than Dutch). If my understanding is correct, a better characterization of the language shift whould be something like: "from a bilingual community where the majority of residents were native-speakers of Dutch, with widespread individual bilingualism (and literacy) in French; to a very different and more polarized bilingual community today, where a much smaller percentage are individual bilinguals. The members of the Francophone majority (85% of residents, of a diverse ethnolinguistic heritage, not majority Walloon) are less likely to have individual bilingualism in French and Dutch today, compared to to the prevalent individual bilingualism in Dutch and French during the late 19th century (when the majority of residents were native-speakers of Dutch). In Brussels today, it is only among native-speakers of Dutch (15% of the population) where Dutch-French bilingualism is widespread." That is too long to squeeze into the introductory paragraph, I would appreciate assistance or suggestions where the clarifications might go, if they are correct. I would also like to ask for assistance in identifying references to support the clarification of the language situation. - Fbkintanar (talk) 09:41, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

File:European Parliament Distance modified.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was Move. Cúchullain t/c 18:00, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

Frenchification of BrusselsFrancisation of Brussels – Based purely on the following:

Word Description (on
frenchification "to make (something or someone) resemble the French, as in manners, customs, or dress: to Frenchify the spelling of one's name."
francisation "to make or become French-speaking"

- SSJ t 22:07, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

  • Support, "frenchification" sounds like some kind of barbarous neologism. We say "anglicize" after all, not "Englishify". — P.T. Aufrette (talk) 23:07, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment. Francize/francization is labeled as Canadian English.[5] I get 2 post-1980 GBook results for francisation-of-Brussels OR francization-of-Brussels, 28 (22 deghosted) for "Frenchification of Brussels". I suggest something like Language use in Brussels. Kauffner (talk) 05:28, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
    • Comment OED's entry for Frenchify looks even less applicable: "often derogatory; make French in form, character, or manners: she pronounced it without the Frenchified accent". French Wikipedia has the article fr:Francisation de Bruxelles. Canada is perhaps the place in the English-speaking world where the transition to French language is a big issue, thus francisation is a common word there. - SSJ t 10:38, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment: The article history would clearly favour Francization over Francisation, and the article currently consistently uses -ize spellings, so Francization of Brussels would seem more appropriate than Francisation of Brussels (see WP:RETAIN). SSR (talk) 06:57, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
Comment The European presence in the city publishes enormous amounts of written material consistently in UK/Irish English, so if the most common way to write English in Brussels counts for something, then -ise endings probably should be preferred. This is of course also the EU capital, and the manual of style of the EU wikiproject favours UK/IRL spelling: WP:EU/MOS# UK/IRL spelling and grammar. - SSJ t 23:17, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Support move to Francisation of Brussels as proposed. UK spellings are most appropriate here, and the current title is appalling. Andrewa (talk) 10:07, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.


I see that the page was recently moved to Francisation of Brussels. Great! However, I disagree with the change from the original spellings to UK/Irish. I spent quite a lot of time translating the original page and it has a very consistent history of using American spelling. Besides, this has already been discussed at topic number 6 on this talk page: Oreopriest writes: "Under WP:ENGVAR, European articles do not have to be in UK English. You'll notice it says EU Institutions and not all European related articles, for which the general rule applies."

  1. This page is not about the current status of Brussels as center for European government.
  2. It has to do with the history of the city itself, long before the EU even existed. It doesn't matter what language the EU chooses to write in.
  3. English is not an official language of Brussels or Belgium
  4. The page isn't part of any EU-Institution Wikiproject.

The publication of EU documents (which are published in many languages) does not constitute a "strong tie to a particular English-speaking nation" WP:TIES. This is a far-fetched reason for choosing a spelling. However, the articles DOES have a long history of using American spellings, so it in fact fall under WP:RETAIN.

Should I request another move? Kind regards, --Daveblack (talk) 13:55, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

Sounds sensible to me per WP:RETAIN. Also, the Oxford spelling -ize is acceptable in British English. I'll go ahead and move it.--Cúchullain t/c 14:44, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for your consideration.--Daveblack (talk) 14:52, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
As the person who probably did the second-greatest amount of work translating this, I'd like to point out that Daveblack is in fact the primary author of the English version of this article. (And for those who weren't following, the whole thing is based off Hooiwind's Dutch article.) I support using the US spelling. Oreo Priest talk 12:31, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

Onset of the use of French in Brussels[edit]

I suppose, "The transition began gradually in the 18th century" dates the beginning too late.

My evidences:

  • Since 14th century, the Dukes of Burgundy held court at Brussels, and the language of this court was French. The Charles I of Spain (Charles V as Holy Roman Emperor), born in Gent and brought up in and near Brussels, spoke French as his native language. Participants of the Diet of Worms complained, that communication with the emperor was possible in French, only.
  • The houses around the Grand-Place/Grote Markt were rebuilt soon after the bombardment of 1655 [1695 actually -Oreo Priest talk]. There are several inscriptions on their fronts, all that I've seen were in French.--Ulamm (talk) 19:28, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
The phrase refers to the "transition" in the general population, not about whether French was ever used in a certain context by certain people before the 18th century. Morgengave (talk) 10:20, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
Surely, but in late middle ages and early modern times, enduring biliguality of cities was quite common, see Czech and German language in Prague.
The ducal court must have been accompanied by a reasonal number of courtiers. If you look at the wars beween France and Habsburgian Netherlands, most commanders of the Habsburgian forces had French names.
And when the craftsmen decorated their guildhalls with French inscriptions, the language can't have been too strange.--Ulamm (talk) 11:15, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
The linguistic history of Brussels has some aspects, that ought to be described in order to show a compete view:
  • Municipality of Brussels:
    • In what language(s) has the chronicle of the city (book of the town) been written at what times?
    • In which language(s) have the decisions of the city council been recorded and published.
  • Tribunals:
    • What languages were admitted during the trials?
    • How were the judgements recorded and published?
  • Private treaties:
    • Are there investigations of the split of languages in various times?--Ulamm (talk) 13:33, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
There are, as far as I know, no indications that the general population was (becoming) bilingual in any way before the 18th century. That claim looks a bit like unintentionally wandering into original research - i.e. bringing together facts to advance or infer a position. Morgengave (talk) 13:54, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Bilinguality of a city doesn't necessarily mean, that most citizens were bilingual.
  • Statistics of private treaties are a considerable scientific work. Perhaps it is already existing. If not, it wouldn't be bad, if the discussion in wikipedia encourages somebody to gain academic merits by working on this subject. Shifts of language in public documents are either already reported (like the shifts from Plattdeutsch to Hochdeutsch in various German towns) or quite a simple research.
  • Many articles of WP were much better, if Wikipedians would read primary researches and original documents instead of using second hand knowledge to produce third hand knowledge.
  • The ban of original research should be seen on another level:
    • Wikipedians shan't use own records that can't be verified by anybody else.
    • Wikipedians shan't use publications that are so specialized that they don't understand them.--Ulamm (talk) 18:46, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
If you state what a reliable source explicitly says, there's of course no problem. Just be careful that you do not group several facts together to advance the position that the city was bilingual. The sources need to state this position directly, otherwise it constitutes OR. Morgengave (talk) 19:57, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
I live about 500 km from Brussels. I have little capabililty of speaking French and only passive knowledge of Dutch. Therefore I rather hope, that a Wikipedian living or staying in Brussels might spend one or a few days in the archives.--Ulamm (talk) 20:19, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
There's a bit of confusion here. The sentence (from the lead) is only a simplification of what is in the body. I think the two most important points here are that 1) French, due to its great prestige, was spoken in a great many courts of Europe, including the Russian and Dutch courts; this obviously didn't extend into the lower classes, and you probably wouldn't refer to St. Petersburg as beginning a transition into being French speaking. 2) The term is a slight simplification, because there was no abrupt start to the process. A tiny trickle of French use slowly broadened, so the choice of a starting date is in some senses arbitrary; I hope you'll forgive the slight inaccuracy in the interests of readability. [I'd also like to point out that the Bombardment of Brussels was in 1695, (and the reconstruction after that) which is within a few years of the 18th century. Furthermore, the Grand Place has been altered and restored multiple times since then, so I wouldn't assume any given inscription is truly original, much less indicative of widespread French use.] Oreo Priest talk 17:15, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
  • I think, unless a total break has taken place, people are proud of old inscriptions.
  • And if the linguistic history of documents on paper is included, either from published researches or from own ones, the use is doubtless.
  • Different from Berlin or St. Petersburg, for the Burgundian court in Brussels the use of French was no fashion, as the dynasty had lived in Dijon, before.--Ulamm (talk) 21:38, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

The use of French before the second half of the 18th century was marginal and limited to the nobility only (as in Russia and Prussia, indeed). In 1760 the French-speaking minority (or rather, those who preferred French [sic]) was probably between 5-10%, which by 1780 may have risen to 15% (ref. in the Dutch article [51][17][20][4][9]). By 1821 the French minority would have approached 20% (Dutch ref. [17][9]), and would remain stable until the end of the 19th century (Dutch ref [23][2][18][36][2]). After 1880 (Dutch ref. [15][16][17]), due to the increased access to education, knowledge of French amongst the other classes surged. A generation later, after 1910, the French minority would start to grow beyond a quarter of the population (Dutch ref. [23][27]), not to pass the 50% treshold however until during the second half of the 20th century (the last census of 1947, however unreliable, showed a French-only community of 38% - ignoring personal bilingualism). This may contradict the (indeed original) research mentioned above, those inscriptions on the Grand Place are obviously "new original". --Hooiwind (talk) 19:09, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

Don't try to tell me, that in 17th and 18th century the conditions in Habsburg Netherlands and Prussia would have been equal or only similar: The Prussian state had no native French speaking subjects, besides the Hugenottes. As I've mentioned before, and as mentioned in the article, for a great deal of the nobility of Habsburg Netherlands, French was their native language. And as already mentioned in the article, the issues of the provincial government were in French. Frederic II of Prussia preferred French in his private correspondence, but his official issues were in German.--Ulamm (talk) 20:55, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
I merely intended to correct your assertions regarding the popular use of French in Brussels at the time. What you're saying about Frederic the Great does not contradict the information I shared above as it was only from the latter half of the 18th century onwards that French began to acquire a more significant presence in the Southern Netherlands than in Prussia. --Hooiwind (talk) 23:23, 30 January 2013 (UTC)