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Dialects given same status as foreign tongues

FRANCE:Regional languages, such as Basque, Breton and Creole, will be put on an equal footing with foreign languages under plans unveiled last week by education minister Jack Lang. Pupils will be able to choose a regional language instead of a foreign one, and each education authority will develop a long-term plan for developing the languages rom nursery to lycee level. More than 150,000 pupils now study a regional language, and numbers are rising, especially at primary school. The languages range from German dialects in Alsace to Italian-based Corsican, Spanish-related Catalan and Occitan, the most widely spoken minority language which is native to the Languedoc region.

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