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    Post 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 " å ". 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/chèvre (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 "Brötchen")

    conén (or conin) => rabbit/lapin (Danish/Norwegian/Swedish = "kanin", Dutch = "konijn", German = "Kaninchen")
    robète => another Walloon word for rabbit (from Middle Dutch "robbe", obviously sharing a root with the English "rabbit")

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

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

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

    aujî => easy/facile (only English has a similar word, although they both ultimately come from the French aisé)

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

    raspoie (Old Walloon) => raspberry/framboise (like robète, spraute and sitouve, only English has a word related to it)

    Oddly enough, the Walloon word for potato (krompir) is related to many central European languages (identical in Slovene, krumpir in Serbo-Croat, krumpli in Hungarian, crumpenă in Romanian). Apparently it derives from the German Grundbirne ("ground pear") and the term spread around the Austrian empire.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 06-12-11 at 16:44.
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    Interesting.It's discouraging(im not sure if this is the word I need) that walloon is only spoken by older people.

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    The heartland of Wallonia was part of the German Holy Roman Empire since its foundation by Charlemagne (a Walloon himself, born and raised near Liege) in 800 until the 15th century. From the mid-16th century only 1/3 of Wallonia remained German (the principality of Liege) until the French Revolution in 1789. Given that the Belgians are mostly of Frankish (i.e. Germanic) descent, with a bit of Gallo-Roman leftovers, it would be fairly natural to refer to the Walloon (and also Alsacians and Northern French) as French-speaking Germans.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 17-03-08 at 12:34.

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    Here are a few more examples :

    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
    jatte : jar, jug, mug
    wachoter : a liquid that is leaking or spilling (related to "wash")

    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.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 08-07-10 at 12:04.

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    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
    kokâ => egg
    tiair => mountain
    gonhire => woody mountain
    kopalle => mound, hillock
    aiwe => river
    Last edited by Maciamo; 15-05-09 at 17:55.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    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
    kokâ => egg
    tiair => mountain
    gonhire => woody mountain
    kopalle => mound, hillock
    aiwe => river
    I don't agree with the definition: "latin or french speaking germanic people":
    For I believe, Walloons have an heavy celtic and pre-celtic componant ethnically (and genetically), when we have more serious data on them) -surely, the Liège district inhabitants showed genetically (before modern immigration, from Italy during the XX°C.) a greater influence of Francs or other Germanic tribes - their dialects doesn't origin in french but in an old romance dialect since the Roman Empire, showing phonetically the lack or the maybe basque influenced suffixation of E- before stops groups with S- (ST-, SP-, SK- >> EST-, ESP-, ESK- what is interesting is notice that welsh languages tended to prefix an atone Y- before the same groups of stops, even if the present day tendencies are to drop them down) - considering this aspect, Walloon dialects are closer to Italic (latin) or Germanic languages, it is true -
    and in XX° C. Alsacians (spite of some celtic-pre-celtic origins too) and North Lorraine inhabitants was germanic (dialects) speakers (Swabish sort of Alemanic and Franconic "frankish") -
    I'm amezed as you in front of this words; but for aiwe I remember the french Oil dialects: ô (eau), iô, iaù, ève, èwe, and occitanic aîga, aîgo << aqua : water

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    sorry for my short posts: it comes to my as it comes!
    aiwe/ ADDENDA: brittonic celtic afon /avon/, aven << abona = river (I-E root akw-, ap- ?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by MOESAN View Post
    sorry for my short posts: it comes to my as it comes!
    aiwe/ ADDENDA: brittonic celtic afon /avon/, aven << abona = river (I-E root akw-, ap- ?)
    Kokâ = reminds me of Kuiken and Küken(=chick)...coq(old french)

    moxhon = mus(singul.) mussen(plural) (<-dutch =sparrow Engl)... http://www.etymologiebank.nl/trefwoord/mus probably latin (musca) =flie, but in this case it means small bird

    The centralgerman word Kuppe for hill is probably of latin origin. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuppe

    The westerngermanic word Ahe, Aa and A ( http://www.etymologiebank.nl/trefwoord/a1 ) still looks very similair, but I agree it is most likely the regional version of this indo-european word.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MOESAN View Post
    sorry for my short posts: it comes to my as it comes!
    aiwe/ ADDENDA: brittonic celtic afon /avon/, aven << abona = river (I-E root akw-, ap- ?)
    I also think it is more likely that the Walloon word comes from Celtic than from a direct corruption of the Latin aqua. Well, obviously Latin is an Italic language related to Celtic, so the two are ultimately derived from the same Proto-Italo-Celtic source. But aiwe just sounds closer to avon or aven than to aqua.

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    Walloon is classified as an oïl dialect of Gallo-Romance languages, based on the way the word for "yes" is pronounced. The Walloon for "yes" is "ayi". It may sound vaguely similar to "oïl" (pronounce "oi" as in "oil" without the "l"), but it is in fact closer to the Scottish "aye". Both are probably syllable reversal of the Germanic "ja" or "yeah".

    The Walloon for "no" is "neni". It is again much closer to the German "nein" than the French "non" or southern Romance "no". Likewise the negative equivalent of the French "pas" (as in je ne sais pas) is "nin". It is probably a nassalised version of the Dutch "niet" German "nicht", derived from the local Frankish dialect. In any case it is completely different from "pas".

    So despite the big chunk of Romance vocabulary, many basic words in Walloon appear to be of Germanic, Celtic or unknown origin (possibly pre-Celtic).

    It surprises how little studied the language is. After all, it covers an area with more traditional speakers than Welsh or Scottish Gaelic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Walloon is classified as an oïl dialect of Gallo-Romance languages, based on the way the word for "yes" is pronounced. The Walloon for "yes" is "ayi". It may sound vaguely similar to "oïl" (pronounce "oi" as in "oil" without the "l"), but it is in fact closer to the Scottish "aye". Both are probably syllable reversal of the Germanic "ja" or "yeah".

    The Walloon for "no" is "neni". It is again much closer to the German "nein" than the French "non" or southern Romance "no". Likewise the negative equivalent of the French "pas" (as in je ne sais pas) is "nin". It is probably a nassalised version of the Dutch "niet" German "nicht", derived from the local Frankish dialect. In any case it is completely different from "pas".

    So despite the big chunk of Romance vocabulary, many basic words in Walloon appear to be of Germanic, Celtic or unknown origin (possibly pre-Celtic).

    It surprises how little studied the language is. After all, it covers an area with more traditional speakers than Welsh or Scottish Gaelic.
    Sorry Maciamo but wouldn't think there is much unlikeness in numbers between Welsh and Walloon speakers, so what do you fully mean by the hereinabove?

    Don't know how you missed it, but it has been shown that French imperialism isn't that openminded when it comes to other languages - that, if anything, would be why Walloon is so little studied.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Selwyn Greenfrith View Post
    Sorry Maciamo but wouldn't think there is much unlikeness in numbers between Welsh and Walloon speakers, so what do you fully mean by the hereinabove?

    Don't know how you missed it, but it has been shown that French imperialism isn't that openminded when it comes to other languages - that, if anything, would be why Walloon is so little studied.
    What does French Imperialism or France have anything to do with Wallonia. Wallonia has never been part of France, except for a brief period under Napoleon, like the rest of continental Europe (even Switzerland).

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    Most Walloons nowadays are French speaking...

    Do you think that Walloons ethnically are an ofspring of Romanized speaking Germanics?

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    Quote Originally Posted by S-K View Post
    Most Walloons nowadays are French speaking...
    Do you think that Walloons ethnically are an ofspring of Romanized speaking Germanics?
    According to Y-DNA tests, Walloons and Flemings aren't so different. Both have an admixture of Germanic and Gallo-Roman blood, although Wallonia has a bit more Gallo-Roman ancestry (proportions vary according to the provinces, with more Germanic lineages in the north and east). I have written about this here.

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    I just noticed that in Belgian French and Walloon the word pet (pronounced like in English) means exactly the same as the English "butt" in the sense of someone's "buttocks" or "bottom". The usage (informal) is even the same. They probably share the same Germanic etymology.

    Interestingly there does not seem to be a Dutch/Flemish or German word close to it keeping the same meaning. Pet isn't used in the French of France either (the word exist but pronounced without the final "t" and doesn't mean the same).

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    Here is another example of why Walloon might be considered a Germanised Romance language. The Walloon word for castle is tchestê, which is almost the same as the English 'chester' (as in Manchester, Winchester Chichester, etc.). Chester is the Anglo-Saxon pronunciation of the Latin word castrum, which gave castello in Italian, castillo in Spanish, château in French, and of course 'castle' in English. The fact that the Walloon word is closer to the Anglo-Saxon than to the French or other Romance languages is, I think, a clear sign that Walloon was originally the language of the Franks who adopted Latin after settling in the Roman province of Gallia Belgica.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Here is another example of why Walloon might be considered a Germanised Romance language. The Walloon word for castle is tchestê, which is almost the same as the English 'chester' (as in Manchester, Winchester Chichester, etc.). Chester is the Anglo-Saxon pronunciation of the Latin word castrum, which gave castello in Italian, castillo in Spanish, château in French, and of course 'castle' in English. The fact that the Walloon word is closer to the Anglo-Saxon than to the French or other Romance languages is, I think, a clear sign that Walloon was originally the language of the Franks who adopted Latin after settling in the Roman province of Gallia Belgica.
    Talking of etymology, why is somewhere like 'Waterloo' inside Wallonia and why has it's name never been Romanised by way of either Walloon, Picard or French etc?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Here is another example of why Walloon might be considered a Germanised Romance language. The Walloon word for castle is tchestê, which is almost the same as the English 'chester' (as in Manchester, Winchester Chichester, etc.). Chester is the Anglo-Saxon pronunciation of the Latin word castrum, which gave castello in Italian, castillo in Spanish, château in French, and of course 'castle' in English. The fact that the Walloon word is closer to the Anglo-Saxon than to the French or other Romance languages is, I think, a clear sign that Walloon was originally the language of the Franks who adopted Latin after settling in the Roman province of Gallia Belgica.
    German loanwords and germanicization are two different things : English has borrowed between 30% and 50% of its lexicon to French during the Middle Ages, but is still considered as a Germanic language.

    What makes a language Germanic, Romance, or else, is not its vocabulary but primarily its phonetic features. This is the basis of linguistic typology: you could have 99% french words, if Grimm's and Verner's Laws are respected, then it is Germanic.

    I am not a specialist of Walloon, but if I take the word "tchestê" which you mentioned in your post, it is 100% Romance:

    1- it originates from Latin (actually not from "castrum" but from "castellum" meaning "citadelle").

    2- its pronunciation "tsh" is typically French : what you have there is the affrication of the latin [k] before [a] after palatalisation. This process is French, and occurs nowhere else. During the XIth and XIIth centuries, when most English borrowings from French occurred, the grapheme "ch" (from Lat. "c") was pronounced "tsh" in Old French. Only during the XIIIth century, the pronunciation was reduced to "sh". Therefore, the English words with an initial "ch" pronounced "tsh" are are mostly French loanwords with a rigorously accurate Old French pronunciation ("chance", "choice", "chamber", "chair" etc.). On the contrary, the phonetics of "castle" is Germanic, albeit being a Latin word.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kentel View Post
    German loanwords and germanicization are two different things : English has borrowed between 30% and 50% of its lexicon to French during the Middle Ages, but is still considered as a Germanic language.

    What makes a language Germanic, Romance, or else, is not its vocabulary but primarily its phonetic features. This is the basis of linguistic typology: you could have 99% french words, if Grimm's and Verner's Laws are respected, then it is Germanic.

    I am not a specialist of Walloon, but if I take the word "tchestê" which you mentioned in your post, it is 100% Romance:

    1- it originates from Latin (actually not from "castrum" but from "castellum" meaning "citadelle").

    2- its pronunciation "tsh" is typically French : what you have there is the affrication of the latin [k] before [a] after palatalisation. This process is French, and occurs nowhere else. During the XIth and XIIth centuries, when most English borrowings from French occurred, the grapheme "ch" (from Lat. "c") was pronounced "tsh" in Old French. Only during the XIIIth century, the pronunciation was reduced to "sh". Therefore, the English words with an initial "ch" pronounced "tsh" are are mostly French loanwords with a rigorously accurate Old French pronunciation ("chance", "choice", "chamber", "chair" etc.). On the contrary, the phonetics of "castle" is Germanic, albeit being a Latin word.
    OK (even if it is very improbable that a language can loan 99%of its words from one another language...)
    to support your demonstration, I 'll add that picard and northern dialects of french normand are more germanic influenced (Saxons, Francs and Vikings influences) for phonetics than walloon, because in these dialects, C remained /k/ before A, not turning into TCH (walloon) or SH (other dialects of Oil french) -

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    You're right.

    As a matter of fact, "castle" (with [k] and not "sh") is a borrowing from Normand, it illustrates quite well your point.

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    My grandma's still speeking this language at home. It's a bit weird

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    Quote Originally Posted by MOESAN View Post
    OK (even if it is very improbable that a language can loan 99%of its words from one another language...)
    to support your demonstration, I 'll add that picard and northern dialects of french normand are more germanic influenced (Saxons, Francs and Vikings influences) for phonetics than walloon, because in these dialects, C remained /k/ before A, not turning into TCH (walloon) or SH (other dialects of Oil french) -
    are you totally sure that it is because of germanic influence, that c remained k? also i heard that unlike in french the h's are still pronounced in walloon.is this also because of germanic influence? if you or anybody else knows, id be very curious to know. if possible, could you also write the answer to my mail folmer6adhotmail.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by bator View Post
    are you totally sure that it is because of germanic influence, that c remained k? also i heard that unlike in french the h's are still pronounced in walloon.is this also because of germanic influence? if you or anybody else knows, id be very curious to know. if possible, could you also write the answer to my mail folmer6adhotmail.com
    The 'h' are not pronounced in Walloon.

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    and the H- of germanic origin remained pronounced in Breton romances dialects ("gallo"), influence of breton where 'H-' is known??? sure enough - I think also that some northern dialects of France have H- (germanic origin) too, I' ll see for a dialect survey I have about NE Manche normand -
    in French, the H- or germanic origin is no more aspired but a voice-stop exist excluding habitual liaisons:
    les hommes [lèz om] obsolete latin H >< les haches [lè 'ash]
    il est allé [il è-t-alé] >< il est halé [il è 'alé]

    ofr K(a) remained K not SH nor CH, I'm sure

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    Quote Originally Posted by bator View Post
    are you totally sure that it is because of germanic influence, that c remained k? also i heard that unlike in french the h's are still pronounced in walloon.is this also because of germanic influence? if you or anybody else knows, id be very curious to know. if possible, could you also write the answer to my mail folmer6adhotmail.com
    it's just a detail - in East Brittany the 'H-' was still aspired in the 20th Century and I'm almost sure it was the same in Normand dialects - I would surprised it would not be the case for Picard dialect - I 'll try to find some clues about this, concerning Picard, and Lorrain - for Walloon Maciamo knows surely more than me.

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