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Thread: Walloon, a Germanised Romance Language?

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    Walloon, a Germanised Romance Language?

    Walloon, a Germanised Romance language?

    Walloon is sometimes considered as a dialect of French, and more often nowadays as a Romance language of its own. It is spoken in Wallonia (the southern part of Belgium), mostly by elderly people and farmers, who can also all speak French. Many younger Walloons may understand a few words of Walloon but not really speak it.

    I noticed that the pronuciation of Walloon was closer to that of Germanic languages rather than Latin ones. Many vowels are elungated, and some sounds have even been transcribed using the Scandinavic " Ś ". Quite a few words have direct Germanic roots and contrast a lot with their French transaltion. Here are some examples : [Walloon => English/French (other language)]

    gate => goat/chŤvre (closer to the Swedish/Norwegian "get", Danish "ged" or Dutch "geit" than the German "Ziege").

    breutchene => small loaf of bread/petit pain (direct import from the German "BrŲtchen")

    conťn (or conin) => rabbit/lapin (Danish/Norwegian/Swedish = "kanin", Dutch = "konijn", German = "Kaninchen")

    spraute => sprout/chou (Dutch = "ontspruiten"; in this case English is the nearest)

    sitouve => stove (heater)/poÍle (again, English is the nearest equivalent)

    wafe => waffle/gauffre (Dutch = "wafel", German = "Waffel")

    aujÓ => easy/facile (only English has a similar word)

    http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23990


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    The most obvious Germanic word in Walloon is "Nin" (pronounced the same way you'd pronounce "nain" in French) for "not", it comes from German "Nein". Even people today say time to time "Je ne sais nin" (Je ne sais pas) for "I don't know".

    In Walloon, "regarde" is "Look" as in English, even though I don't know how it is spelled, but the way it sounds is similar to the English equivalent. "look au pau"="regarde un peu"="take a look"

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    well English is a Romanticized/Latinized Germanic language.

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    Dagna,

    Interesting, thanks.

    The word gate seems to show an Ingveaonic (North Sea Germanic) sound change: *ai > ā (*gaiti- > gate), typical of West-Flemish. Standard Dutch has *ai > ē (*staina- > steen), unless when an i or j follows in the next syllable; then it's *ai > ei (*gaiti- > geit).

    And aujÓ at first glance seems to be quite an ancient loanword, as it preserves the i of the second syllable of the original Old Germanic word *audi- 'easy'. This word still lingers in the Dutch compound olijk 'roguish' (< Middle Dutch odelic 'of little account', from an older meaning 'easily obtained').

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anlef View Post
    And aujÓ at first glance seems to be quite an ancient loanword, as it preserves the i of the second syllable of the original Old Germanic word *audi- 'easy'. This word still lingers in the Dutch compound olijk 'roguish' (< Middle Dutch odelic 'of little account', from an older meaning 'easily obtained').
    Also a cognate with the English word 'Eath' which I am sure almost nobody uses anymore (though I should try to use it more often, it's a cool word).

    Side note: The word 'Easy' in English is apparently sort of a portmanteau or at least combination of the Middle English word "Ethe" and Old French word "aisie" which meant at ease or eased. The Old French word might have been influenced with this word from the Germanic, and if that's the case it would explain the word aujÓ, I suppose.

    But consider that in related modern day Romance languages, the word for ease is:

    Catalan aise, Italian asio, Portuguese azo, ProvenÁal ais, French aise

    I think aujÓ probably sounds close enough to these that it's definite origin in a Germanic language is a little dubious. I doubt it comes from them, but I haven't done a tonne of research into it. It's probably just a regular old cognate between the different branches of Indo-European.

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    Some more examples posted from the original source:

    heid => heath/lande (Dutch/German = Heide), hill/collinne

    -----------------------------------------------------

    spitter : to spatter, to splatter, to splash
    sprotcher : to squeeze, to crush
    sketer : to break, to shatter, to split
    tchapiauter : to chatter, to chat
    pesteller : to pester

    These words actually show more similarity with English than with Dutch or German, although the similarity isn't close enough to consider that these are imports from English (even a few centuries old). The Walloon words probably evolved from Old Frankish words, Frankish being quite closely related to Anglo-Saxon.

    For example, the Frisian word for "spatter" is "spatterje", which confirms a possible common origin for both Saxon and Frankish, as Frisian is their closest neighbour.

    -----------------------------------------------------

    I found this very concise French-Walloon dictionary on Google Books. The core vocabulary of Walloon is definitely derived from French, but there are hundreds of words that either come from Flemish/German or are of completely unknown origin to me. These words don't even sound Indo-European to me :

    bedot => sheep
    moxhon => small bird
    kok‚ => egg
    tiair => mountain
    gonhire => woody mountain
    kopalle => mound, hillock
    aiwe => river


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    Quote Originally Posted by Dagna View Post
    Some more examples posted from the original source:

    heid => heath/lande (Dutch/German = Heide), hill/collinne

    -----------------------------------------------------

    spitter : to spatter, to splatter, to splash
    sprotcher : to squeeze, to crush
    sketer : to break, to shatter, to split
    tchapiauter : to chatter, to chat
    pesteller : to pester

    These words actually show more similarity with English than with Dutch or German, although the similarity isn't close enough to consider that these are imports from English (even a few centuries old). The Walloon words probably evolved from Old Frankish words, Frankish being quite closely related to Anglo-Saxon.

    For example, the Frisian word for "spatter" is "spatterje", which confirms a possible common origin for both Saxon and Frankish, as Frisian is their closest neighbour.

    -----------------------------------------------------

    I found this very concise French-Walloon dictionary on Google Books. The core vocabulary of Walloon is definitely derived from French, but there are hundreds of words that either come from Flemish/German or are of completely unknown origin to me. These words don't even sound Indo-European to me :

    bedot => sheep
    moxhon => small bird
    kok‚ => egg
    tiair => mountain
    gonhire => woody mountain
    kopalle => mound, hillock
    aiwe => river

    Is there a particular reason as to why you are interested in the Walloon language? Are you of Walloon descent or do you know people who are? I heard there is a Walloon community in Minnesota, or is it Wisconsin?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Svartljos View Post
    Also a cognate with the English word 'Eath' which I am sure almost nobody uses anymore (though I should try to use it more often, it's a cool word).
    Indeed!

    By the way, another compound is Dutch ootmoed 'humility' (cf. OS ōthmōdi, OHG ōdmuoti and OE ēaūmēdu).

    Side note: The word 'Easy' in English is apparently sort of a portmanteau or at least combination of the Middle English word "Ethe" and Old French word "aisie" which meant at ease or eased. The Old French word might have been influenced with this word from the Germanic, and if that's the case it would explain the word aujÓ, I suppose.

    But consider that in related modern day Romance languages, the word for ease is:

    Catalan aise, Italian asio, Portuguese azo, ProvenÁal ais, French aise

    I think aujÓ probably sounds close enough to these that it's definite origin in a Germanic language is a little dubious. I doubt it comes from them, but I haven't done a tonne of research into it. It's probably just a regular old cognate between the different branches of Indo-European.
    Close enough? Hmmm, I don't see how aujÓ could descend from aise, phonologically. It fits the Old Germanic word much better.

    Besides, ease/aise and its cognates are nouns, while aujÓ is an adjective. Also, I believe the Germanic words have earlier attestations, while the Romance have unclear etymologies.

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    • bedot 'sheep' seems cognate with West Flemish beite 'ewe'
    • moxhon 'small bird' is clearly cognate with Latin muscio 'sparrow' and Old French musson/moissun 'sparrow'
    • kok‚ 'egg' is obscure to me
    • tiair 'mountain' too
    • gonhire 'woody mountain'; maybe related to gond 'rock', which according to Tolkien was a substrate word; I can't find the quote though
    • kopalle 'mound, hillock' is probably cognate of French coupole, Latin cupula 'small vault'
    • aiwe 'river' could be from Old Germanic *ahwō- (Dutch a, Old English ēa) 'water, river', or maybe Latin aqua 'water'

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anlef View Post
    Close enough? Hmmm, I don't see how aujÓ could descend from aise, phonologically. It fits the Old Germanic word much better.

    Besides, ease/aise and its cognates are nouns, while aujÓ is an adjective. Also, I believe the Germanic words have earlier attestations, while the Romance have unclear etymologies.
    Well, I'd have to see some sort of IPA transcriptions of all these words, but I suppose it could come from the Germanic. Would it be said anything like /ɔ'ʒi/? While the final /i/ sound could be preserved from Old Germanic, it could also be from the final ie in the world aisie, could it not? If the Old French word were pronounced /ɛz'i/ then I could sort of see how it would go about changing. Of course, this all hangs on the fact that I know how to pronounce neither walloon, Old Germanic, nor Old French; I am pronouncing them sort of how I would try to pronounce modern French (which I admit I am a little rusty at now).

    At any rate it seems to be a pretty old word, and obviously they are all related. I have no idea of any attestations from either of them. How would the d sound from audi change to a j sound it aujÓ? Could you convert these words (aujÓ, audi) to IPA symbols?

    Oh, and interestingly enough, Aise apparently means easily (adverb) in Basque, which must be a loanword. Of course, all these examples I have found (on the internet) I am myself questioning, as they seem to be kind of contradictory to the modern romance words for easy that I know (eg. facile, etc).

    Edit: Thinking about it, I can't really say much about it being one or the other, because I am unsure as to how old the word aujÓ is. Audi is cleary older than the Old French aisie (since Old French wouldn't have really formed until much later than proto-Germanic), so if the word has a long history as you say then you're probably right about it being influenced by Germanic.

    I can't get past the fact that it is so similar looking to the English "easy" though. Maybe a similar process happened where they had adopted a Germanic word (from audi) and it was influenced by the their Romance language ways.

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