Frankish (reconstructed Frankish: *Frenkisk), Old Franconian or Old
Frankish was the
West Germanic language
West Germanic language spoken by the
the 4th and 8th century. The language itself is poorly attested, but
it gave rise to numerous loanwords in Old French.
Old Dutch is the
term for the Old Franconian dialects that were spoken in the Low
Countries, including present-day Belgium, the Netherlands, and Western
parts of today's Germany, until about the 12th century when it evolved
into Middle Dutch.
During the Merovingian period, Frankish had significant influence on
Romance languages spoken in Gaul. As a result, many modern French
words and placenames (including the country name "France") have a
France itself is still known in German as Frankreich,
in Dutch as Frankrijk, and in Danish as Frankrig, i.e. the "Frankish
Realm". Between the 5th and 9th centuries, the languages spoken by the
Franks in Belgium and the Netherlands evolved into Old Dutch
(Old Low Franconian), while in
Île-de-France it was
eventually eclipsed by
Old French as the dominant language.
Frankish language as spoken before the
Carolingian period is
mostly reconstructed from
Old French loanwords and from the Old Dutch
language as recorded in the 6th to 12th centuries. A notable exception
is the Bergakker inscription, which may represent a primary record of
2.2 Salian and Ripuarian
Frankish Empire (500–900)
3.3 German Franconia
4 Franconian languages
5 Influence on
Old French and Middle Latin
5.1 Old French
5.2 Middle English
6 See also
8 External links
Main article: Name of the Franks
Germanic philology and
German studies have their origins in the first
half of 19th century when
Romanticism and Romantic thought heavily
influenced the lexicon of the linguists and philologists of the time,
including pivotal figures such as the Brothers Grimm. As a result,
many contemporary linguists tried to incorporate their findings in an
already existing historical framework of "stem duchies" and
"Altstämme" (lit. "old tribes", i.e. the six Germanic tribes then
thought to have formed the "German nation" in the traditional German
nationalism of the elites) resulting in a taxonomy which spoke of
"Bavarian", "Saxon", "Frisian", "Thuringian", "Swabian" and "Frankish"
dialects. While this nomenclature became generally accepted in
traditional Germanic philology, it has also been described as
"inherently inaccurate" as these ancient ethnic boundaries (as
understood in the 19th century) bore little or limited resemblance to
the actual or historical linguistic situation of the Germanic
languages. Among other problems, this traditional classification of
the continental West Germanic dialects can suggest stronger ties
between dialects than is linguistically warranted. The Franconian
group is a well known example of this, with East Franconian being much
more closely related to Bavarian dialects than it is to Dutch, which
is traditionally placed in the
Low Franconian sub-grouping and with
which it was thought to have had a common, tribal origin.
In a modern linguistic context, the language of the early
variously called "Old Frankish" or "Old Franconian" and refers to the
language of the
Franks prior to the advent of the High German
consonant shift, which took place between 600 and 700 CE. After this
consonant shift the Frankish dialect diverges, with the dialects which
would become modern Dutch not undergoing the consonantal shift, while
all other did so to varying degrees. As a result, the distinction
Old Dutch and Old Frankish is largely negligible, with Old
Dutch (also called Old Low Franconian) being the term used to
differentiate between the affected and non-affected variants following
the aforementioned Second Germanic consonant shift.
Germanic languages are traditionally divided into three groups:
West, East and North Germanic. Their exact relation is difficult to
determine, and they remained mutually intelligible throughout the
Migration Period, rendering some individual varieties difficult to
The language spoken by the
Franks was part of the West Germanic
language group, which had features from
Proto-Germanic in the late
Jastorf culture (ca. 1st century BC). The West Germanic group is
characterized by a number of phonological and morphological
innovations not found in North and East Germanic. The West Germanic
varieties of the time are generally split into three dialect groups:
Ingvaeonic (North Sea Germanic), Istvaeonic (Weser-Rhine Germanic) and
Irminonic (Elbe Germanic). While each had its own distinct
characteristics, there certainly must have still been a high degree of
mutual intelligibility between these dialects. In fact, it is unclear
whether the West Germanic continuum of this time period, or indeed
Franconian itself, should still be considered a single language or
that it should be considered a collection of similar dialects.
In any case, it appears that the Frankish tribes, or the later Franks,
fit primarily into the Istvaeonic dialect group, with certain
Ingvaeonic influences towards the northwest (still seen in modern
Dutch), and more Irminonic (High German) influences towards the
Salian and Ripuarian
The scholarly consensus concerning the
Migration Period is that the
Frankish identity emerged during the first half of the 3rd century out
of various earlier, smaller Germanic groups, including the Salii,
Sicambri, Chamavi, Bructeri, Chatti, Chattuarii, Ampsivarii, Tencteri,
Ubii, Batavi and the Tungri. It is speculated that these tribes
originally spoke a range of related Istvaeonic dialects in the West
Germanic branch of Proto-Germanic. Sometime in the 4th or 5th
centuries, it becomes appropriate to speak of Old Franconian rather
than an Istvaeonic dialect of Proto-Germanic.
Very little is known about what the language was like during this
period. One older runic sentence (dating from around
425–450 AD) is on the sword sheath of Bergakker which is either
the singular direct attestation of the Old Franconian language or the
earliest attestation of Old
Low Franconian (Old Dutch) language.
Another early sentence from the early 6th century AD (that is
described as the earliest sentence in
Old Dutch as well) is found in
the Lex Salica. This phrase was used to free a serf:
"Maltho thi afrio lito"
(I say, I free you, half-free.)
These are the earliest sentences yet found of Old Franconian.
The location of the
Franks around 475 . "Les Francs rhénans" is the
French term for "Ripuarian Franks".
During this early period, the
Franks were divided politically and
geographically into two groups: the Salian
Franks and the Ripuarian
Franks. The language (or set of dialects) spoken by the Salian Franks
during this period is sometimes referred to as early "Old Low
Franconian", and consisted of two groups: "Old West Low Franconian"
and "Old East Low Franconian". The language (or set of dialects)
spoken by the Ripuarian
Franks are referred to just as Old Franconian
dialects (or, by some, as Old Frankish dialects).
However, as already stated above, it may be more accurate to think of
these dialects not as early Old Franconian but as Istvaeonic dialects
in the West Germanic branch of Proto-Germanic.
Frankish Empire (500–900)
The Frankish conquests between 481 and 814
At around 500 AD the
Franks probably spoke a range of related
dialects and languages rather than a single uniform dialect or
language. The language of both government and the Church was Latin.
The approximate extent of
Germanic languages in the early 10th
Old West Norse
Old East Norse
Old English (West Germanic)
Germanic languages (Old Frisian, Old
Saxon, Old Dutch, Old High German).
Crimean Gothic (East Germanic)
During the expansion into
France and Germany, many Frankish people
remained in the original core Frankish territories in the north (i.e.
southern Netherlands, Flanders, a small part of northern
the adjoining area in Germany centred on Cologne). The
as a single group under Salian Frank leadership around 500 AD.
Politically, the Ripuarian
Franks existed as a separate group only
until about 500 AD, after which they were subsumed into the
Salian Franks. The
Franks were united, but the various Frankish groups
must have continued to live in the same areas, and speak the same
dialects, although as a part of the growing Frankish Kingdom.
There must have been a close relationship between the various
Franconian dialects. There was also a close relationship between Old
Low Franconian (i.e. Old Dutch) and its neighbouring
Old Saxon and Old
Frisian languages and dialects to the north and northeast, as well as
Old English (Anglo-Saxon) dialects spoken in southern and
A widening cultural divide grew between the
Franks remaining in the
north and the rulers far to the south.
Franks continued to reside
in their original territories and to speak their original dialects and
languages. It is not known what they called their language, but it is
possible that they always called it "Diets" (i.e. "the people's
language"), or something similar.
Philologists think of
Old Dutch and Old West
Low Franconian as being
the same language. However, sometimes reference is made to a
transition from the language spoken by the Salian
Franks to Old Dutch.
The language spoken by the Salian
Franks must have developed
significantly during the seven centuries from 200 to 900 AD. At some
point the language spoken by the
Franks must have become identifiably
Dutch. Because Franconian texts are almost non-existent and Old Dutch
texts scarce and fragmentary, it is difficult to determine when such a
transition occurred, but it is thought to have happened by the end of
the 9th century and perhaps earlier. By 900 AD the language
spoken was recognisably an early form of Dutch, but that might also
have been the case earlier.
Old Dutch made the transition to
Middle Dutch around 1150. A Dutch-
French language boundary came into
existence (but this was originally south of where it is
today). Even though living in the original territory of the
Franks seem to have broken with the endonym "Frank"
around the 9th century. By this time the Frankish identity had changed
from an ethnic identity to a national identity, becoming localized and
confined to the modern
Franconia in Germany and principally to the
French province of Île-de-France.
Franks expanded south into Gaul. Although the
eventually conquer all of Gaul, speakers of Old Franconian apparently
expanded in sufficient numbers only into northern
Gaul to have a
linguistic effect. For several centuries, northern
Gaul was a
bilingual territory (
Vulgar Latin and Franconian). The language used
in writing, in government and by the Church was Latin. Eventually, the
Franks who had settled more to the south of this area in northern Gaul
started adopting the
Vulgar Latin of the local population. This Vulgar
Latin language acquired the name of the people who came to speak it
(Frankish or Français); north of the French-
Dutch language boundary,
the language was no longer referred to as "Frankish" (if it ever was
referred to as such) but rather came to be referred to as "Diets",
i.e. the "people's language". Urban T. Holmes has proposed that a
Germanic language continued to be spoken as a second tongue by public
officials in western
Neustria as late as the 850s, and
that it completely disappeared as a spoken language from these regions
only during the 10th century.
Further information: Franconia
Franks also expanded their rule southeast into parts of Germany.
Their language had some influence on local dialects, especially for
terms relating to warfare. However, since the language of both the
administration and the Church was Latin, this unification did not lead
to the development of a supra-regional variety of Franconian nor a
standardized German language. At the same time that the
expanding southeast into what is now southern Germany, there were
linguistic changes taking place in the region. The High German
consonant shift (or second Germanic consonant shift) was a
phonological development (sound change) that took place in the
southern parts of the West Germanic dialect continuum in several
phases, probably beginning between the 3rd and 5th centuries AD, and
was almost complete before the earliest written records in the High
German language were made in the 9th century. The resulting language,
Old High German, can be neatly contrasted with Low Franconian, which
for the most part did not experience the shift.
Main article: Franconian languages
The set of dialects of the
Franks who continued to live in their
original territory in the
Low Countries eventually developed in three
The dialects spoken by the Salian
Franks in the
Low Countries (Old
Dutch, also referred to as Old West Low Franconian) developed into the
Dutch language, which itself has a number of dialects. Afrikaans
branched off Dutch.
The Old East
Low Franconian dialects are represented today in
Limburgish, which is by some (especially Germans) referred to as Low
Rhenish or Meuse-Rhenish.
Limburgish itself has a number of dialects.
It is by some considered to be a separate language and by others
simply a dialect of Dutch or German.
It is speculated that the dialects originally spoken by the Ripuarian
Franks in Germany possibly developed into, or were subsumed under, the
German dialects called the
Central Franconian dialects
Central Franconian dialects (Ripuarian
Moselle Franconian and Rhenish Franconian). These
languages and dialects were later affected by serious language changes
(such as the
High German consonant shift), which resulted in the
emergence of dialects that are now considered German dialects. Today,
Central Franconian dialects
Central Franconian dialects are spoken in the core territory of
the Ripuarian Franks. Although there may not be definite proof to say
that the dialects of the Ripuarian
Franks (about which very little is
known) developed into the Central Franconian dialects, there
are—apart from mere probability—some pieces of evidence, most
importantly the development -hs → ss and the loss of n before
spirants, which is found throughout Central Franconian but nowhere
else in High German. Compare
Luxembourgish Uess ("ox"), Dutch os,
German Ochse; and (dated)
Luxembourgish Gaus ("goose"), Old Dutch
gās, German Gans. The language spoken by
Charlemagne was probably the
dialect that later developed into the Ripuarian Franconian
Frankish Empire later extended throughout neighbouring
Germany. The language of the
Franks had some influence on the local
languages (especially in France), but never took hold as a standard
Latin was the international language at the time.
Ironically, the language of the
Franks did not develop into the lingua
Franks conquered adjoining territories of Germany (including the
territory of the Allemanni). The Frankish legacy survives in these
areas, for example, in the names of the city of
Frankfurt and the area
of Franconia. The
Franks brought their language with them from their
original territory and, as in France, it must have had an effect on
the local dialects and languages. However, it is relatively difficult
for linguists today to determine what features of these dialects are
due to Frankish influence, because the latter was in large parts
obscured, or even overwhelmed, by later developments.
Old French and Middle Latin
Most French words of Germanic origin came from Frankish (some others
are English loanwords), often replacing the
Latin word which would
have been used. It is estimated that modern French took approximately
1000 stem words from Old Franconian. Many of these words were
concerned with agriculture (e.g. French: jardin "garden"), war (e.g.
French: guerre "war") or social organization (e.g. French: baron
"baron"). Old Franconian has introduced the modern French word for the
France (Francia), meaning "land of the Franks", as well as
possibly the name for the Paris region, Île-de-France.[citation
The influence of Franconian on French is decisive for the birth of the
Langue d'oïl compared to the other Romance languages, that
appeared later such as Langue d'oc, Romanian, Portuguese and Catalan,
Italian, etc., because its influence was greater than the respective
influence of Visigothic and Lombardic (both Germanic languages) on the
langue d'oc, the
Romance languages of Iberia, and Italian. Not all of
these loanwords have been retained in modern French. French has also
passed on words of Franconian origin to other Romance languages, and
Old Franconian has also left many etyma in the different Northern
Langues d'oïls such as Picard, Champenois, Bas-Lorrain and Walloon,
more than in Common French, and not always the same ones.
See below a non-exhaustive list of French words of Frankish origin. An
asterisk prefixing a term indicates a reconstructed form of the
Frankish word. Most Franconian words with the phoneme w changed it to
gu when entering
Old French and other Romance languages; however, the
northern langue d'oïl dialects such as Picard, Northern Norman,
Champenois and Bas-Lorrain retained the [w] or
turned it into [v]. Perhaps the best known example is the Franconian
*werra ("war" < Old Northern French werre, compare Old High German
werre "quarrel"), which entered modern French as guerre and guerra in
Italian, Occitan, Catalan, Spanish and Portuguese. Other examples
include "gant" ("gauntlet", from *want) and "garder" ("to guard", from
*wardōn). Franconian words starting with s before another consonant
developed it into es- (e.g. Franconian skirm and
Old French escremie
> Old Italian scrimia > Modern French escrime).
Current French word
Dutch or other Germanic cognates
affranchir "to free"
*frank "freeborn; unsubjugated, answering to no one", nasalized
variant of *frāki "rash, untamed, impudent"
Du frank "unforced, sincere, frank", vrank "carefree, brazen", Du
frank en vrij (idiom) "free as air" Du Frankrijk "France", Du vrek
"miser", OHG franko "free man" Norwegian: frekk "rude"
alène "awl" (Sp alesna, It lesina)
MDu elsene, else, Du els
alise "whitebeam berry" (OFr alis, alie "whitebeam")
MDu elze, Du els "alder" (vs. G Erle "alder"); Du elsbes "whitebeam",
G Else "id."
non-native to the Mediterranean
*baro "freeman", "bare of duties"
MDu baren "to give birth", Du bar "gravely", "bare", OHG baro
"freeman", OE beorn "noble"
Germanic cultural import
Late, Vulgar, and Medieval
bâtard "bastard" (FrProv bâsco)
MDu bast "lust, heat, reproductive season", WFris boaste, boask
bâtir "to build" (OFr bastir "to baste, tie together")
*bastian "to bind with bast string"
MDu besten "to sew up, to connect", OHG bestan "to mend, patch", NHG
basteln "to tinker"; MDu best "liaison" (Du gemenebest "commonwealth")
L construere (It costruire)
blanc, blanche "white"
Du blinken "to shine", blank "white, shining"
bleu "blue" (OFr blou, bleve)
MDu blā, blau, blaeuw, Du blauw
L caeruleus "light blue", lividus "dark blue"
bois "wood, forest"
*busk "bush, underbrush"
MDu bosch, busch, Du bos "forest", "bush"
L silva "forest" (OFr selve), L lignum "wood" (OFr lein)
*burg or *burc "fortified settlement"
ODu burg, MDu burcht Got. baurg OHG burg OE burh, OLG burg, ON borg
L urbs "fortified city", Late
broder "to embroider" (OFr brosder, broisder)
*brosdōn, blend of *borst "bristle" and *brordōn "to embroider"
G Borste "boar bristle", Du borstel "bristle"; OS brordōn "to
embroider, decorate", brord "needle"
L pingere "to paint; embroider" (Fr peindre "to paint")
broyer "to grind, crush" (OFr brier)
*brekan "to break"
Du breken "to break",
LL tritāre (Occ trissar "to grind", but Fr trier "to sort"), LL
pistāre (It pestare "to pound, crush", OFr pester), L machīnare
(Dalm maknur "to grind", Rom măcina, It macinare)
MDu brun and Du bruin "brown" 
choquer "to shock"
Du schokken "to shock, to shake"
choisir "to choose"
MDu kiesen, Du kiezen, keuze
L eligēre (Fr élire "to elect"), VL exeligēre (cf. It scegliere),
excolligere (Cat escollir, Sp escoger, Pg escolher)
chouette "barn owl" (OFr çuete, dim. of choë, choue "jackdaw")
*kōwa, kāwa "chough, jackdaw"
MDu couwe "rook", Du kauw, kaauw "chough"
not distinguished in Latin: L būbō "owl", ōtus "eared owl", ulula
"screech owl", ulucus likewise "screech owl" (cf. Sp loco "crazy"),
noctua "night owl"
MDu kersse, korsse, Du kers, dial. kors
L nasturtium, LL berula (but Fr berle "water parsnip")
danser "to dance" (OFr dancier)
OHG dansōn "to drag along, trail"; further to MDu densen, deinsen "to
shrink back", Du deinzen "to stir; move away, back up", OHG dinsan "to
LL ballare (OFr baller, It ballare, Pg bailar)
déchirer "to rip, tear" (OFr escirer)
*skerian "to cut, shear"
MDu scēren, Du scheren "to shave, shear", scheuren "to tear"
VL extractiāre (Prov estraçar, It stracciare), VL exquartiare "to
rip into fours" (It squarciare, but Fr écarter "to move apart,
distance"), exquintiare "to rip into five" (Cat/Occ esquinçar)
dérober "to steal, reave" (OFr rober, Sp robar)
*rōbon "to steal"
MDu rōven, Du roven "to rob"
VL furicare "to steal" (It frugare)
écang "swingle-dag, tool for beating fibrous stems"
*swank "bat, rod"
MDu swanc "wand, rod", Du (dial. Holland) zwang "rod"
L pistillum (Fr dial. pesselle "swingle-dag")
écran "screen" (OFr escran)
MDu schrank "chassis"; G Schrank "cupboard", Schranke "fence"
écrevisse "crayfish" (OFr crevice)
Du kreeft "crayfish, lobster"
L cammārus "crayfish" (cf. Occ chambre, It gambero, Pg camarão)
éperon "spur" (OFr esporon)
MDu spōre, Du spoor
épier "to watch"
Old French espie "male spy",
, Modern French espion is from Italian
*spehōn "to spy"
Du spieden, bespieden "to spy", HG spähen "to peer, to peek, to
escrime "fencing" < Old Italian scrimia < OFr escremie from
*skirm "to protect"
Du schermen "to fence", scherm "(protective) screen", bescherming
"protection", afscherming "shielding"
étrier "stirrup" (OFr estrieu, estrief)
*stīgarēp, from stīgan "to go up, to mount" and rēp "band"
MDu steegereep, Du stijgreep, stijgen "to rise", steigeren
LL stapia (later ML stapēs), ML saltatorium (cf. MFr saultoir)
Du vliek "arrow feather", MDu vliecke, OS fliuca (MLG fliecke "long
L sagitta (OFr saete, Pg seta)
frais "fresh" (OFr freis, fresche)
Du vers "fresh", fris "cold", German frisch
franc "free, exempt; straightforward, without hassle" (LL francus
France "France" (OFr Francia)
*frank "freeborn; unsubjugated, answering to no one", nasalized
variant of *frāki "rash, untamed, impudent"
MDu vrec "insolent", Du frank "unforced, sincere, frank", vrank
"carefree, brazen", Du Frankrijk "France", Du vrek "miser", OHG
franko "free man"
L ingenuus "freeborn"
frapper "to hit, strike" (OFr fraper)
*hrapan "to jerk, snatch"
Du rapen "gather up, collect", G raffen "to grab"
L ferire (OFr ferir)
frelon "hornet" (OFr furlone, ML fursleone)
MDu horsel, Du horzel
L crābrō (cf. It calabrone)
freux "rook" (OFr frox, fru)
MDu roec, Du roek
not distinguished in Latin
galoper "to gallop"
*wala hlaupan "to run well"
Du wel "good, well" + lopen "to run"
garder "to guard"
MDu waerden "to defend", OS wardōn
L cavere, servare
Du want "gauntlet"
givre "frost (substance)"
*gibara "drool, slobber"
EFris gever, LG Geiber, G Geifer "drool, slobber"
L gelū (cf. Fr gel "frost (event); freezing")
glisser "to slip" (OFr glier)
*glīdan "to glide"
MDu glīden, Du glijden "to glide"; Du glis "skid"; G gleiten, Gleis
grappe "bunch (of grapes)" (OFr crape, grape "hook, grape stalk")
MDu crappe "hook", Du (dial. Holland) krap "krank", G Krapfe "hook",
(dial. Franconian) Krape "torture clamp, vice"
L racemus (Prov rasim "bunch", Cat raïm, Sp racimo, but Fr raisin
Du grijs "grey"
L cinereus "ash-coloured, grey"
guenchir "to turn aside, avoid"
Du wankelen "to go unsteady"
guérir "to heal, cure" (OFr garir "to defend")
guérison "healing" (OFr garrison "healing")
*warjan "to protect, defend"
MDu weeren, Du weren "to protect, defend", Du bewaren "to keep,
L sānāre (Sard sanare, Sp/Pg sanar, OFr saner), medicāre (Dalm
medcuar "to heal")
Du war or wirwar "tangle", verwarren "to confuse"
guigne "heart cherry" (OFr guisne)
G Weichsel "sour cherry", (dial. Rhine Franconian) Waingsl, (dial.
East Franconian) Wassen, Wachsen
non-native to the Mediterranean
haïr "to hate" (OFr hadir "to hate")
haine "hatred" (OFr haïne "hatred")
Du haten "to hate", haat "hatred"
L ōdī "to hate", odium "hatred"
*hāno "rooster" + -eto (diminutive suffix) with sense of "beetle,
Du haan "rooster", leliehaantje "lily beetle", bladhaantje "leaf
beetle", G Hahn "rooster", (dial. Rhine Franconian) Hahn "sloe bug,
shield bug", Lilienhähnchen "lily beetle"
LL bruchus "chafer" (cf. Fr dial. brgue, beùrgne, brégue), cossus
(cf. SwRom coss, OFr cosson "weevil")
Du hals "neck" + berg "cover" (cf Du herberg "hostel")
*heigero, variant of *hraigro
MDu heiger "heron", Du reiger "heron"
MDu huls, Du hulst
L aquifolium (Sp acebo), later VL acrifolium (Occ grefuèlh, agreu,
Cat grèvol, It agrifoglio)
jardin "garden" (VL hortus gardinus "enclosed garden", Ofr jardin,
Du gaard "garden", boomgaard "orchard"; OS gardo "garden"
lécher "to lick" (OFr lechier "to live in debauchery")
*leccōn "to lick"
MDu lecken, Du likken "to lick"
L lingere (Sard línghere), lambere (Sp lamer, Pg lamber)
maçon "bricklayer" (OFr masson, machun)
Du metsen "to mason", metselaar "masoner"; OHG mezzo "stonemason",
meizan "to beat, cut", G Metz, Steinmetz "mason"
VL murator (Occ murador, Sard muradore, It muratóre)
maint "many" (OFr maint, meint "many")
Du menig "many", menigte "group of people"
marais "marsh, swamp"
MDu marasch, meresch, maersc, Du meers "wet grassland", (dial.
L paludem (Occ palun, It palude)
maréchausse "military police"
ODu marscalk "horse-servant" (marchi "mare" + skalk "servant"); MDu
marscalc "horse-servant, royal servant" (mare "mare" + skalk "serf");
Du maarschalk "marshal" (merrie "mare" + schalk "comic", schalks
*Nortgouue (790–793 A.D.) "north" + "frankish district" (Du gouw,
Deu Gau, Fri/LSax Go)
Du noord or noorden "north", Du Henegouwen (province of Hainaut)
L septemtrio(nes) / septentrio(nes) "north, north wind, northern
regions, (pl.) seven stars near the north pole", boreas "north wind,
north", aquilo "stormy wind, north wind, north", aquilonium "northerly
osier "osier (basket willow); withy" (OFr osière, ML auseria)
MDu halster, LG dial. Halster, Hilster "bay willow"
L vīmen "withy" (It vimine "withy", Sp mimbre, vimbre "osier", Pg
vimeiro, Cat vímet "withy"), vinculum (It vinco "osier", dial.
vinchio, Friul venc)
*pata "foot sole"
Du poot "paw", Du pets "strike"; LG Pad "sole of the foot";
further to G Patsche "instrument for striking the hand", Patschfuss
"web foot", patschen "to dabble", (dial. Bavarian) patzen "to blot,
Vulg L pauta, LL branca "paw" (Sard brànca, It brince, Rom
brîncă, Prov branca, Romansh franka, but Fr branche "treelimb"), see
also Deu Pranke
MDu poke, G dial. Pfoch "pouch, change purse"
L bulga "leather bag" (Fr bouge "bulge"), LL bursa "coin purse" (Fr
bourse "money pouch, purse", It bórsa, Sp/Pg bolsa)
MDu rike, Du rijk "kingdom", "rich"
*salo "pale, sallow"
MDu salu, saluwe "discolored, dirty", Du (old) zaluw "tawny"
L succidus (cf. It sudicio, Sp sucio, Pg sujo, Ladin scich, Friul
*sala "hall, room"
ODu zele "house made with sawn beams", Many place names: "Melsele",
"Broeksele" (Brussels) etc.
*salha "sallow, pussy willow"
OHG salaha, G Salweide "pussy willow", OE sealh
L salix "willow" (OFr sauz, sausse)
saisir "to seize, snatch; bring suit, vest a court" (ML sacīre "to
lay claim to, appropriate")
*sakan "to take legal action"
Du zeiken "to nag, to quarrel", zaak "court case", OS sakan "to
accuse", OHG sahhan "to strive, quarrel, rebuke", OE sacan "to
quarrel, claim by law, accuse";
VL aderigere (OFr aerdre "to seize")
standard "standard" (OFr estandart "standard")
*standhard "stand hard, stand firm"
Du staan (to stand) + hard "hard"
tamis "sieve" (It tamigio)
MDu temse, teemse, obs. Du teems "sifter"
L crībrum (Fr crible "riddle, sift")
tomber "to fall" (OFr tumer "to somersault")
*tūmōn "to tumble"
Du tuimelen "to tumble", OS/OHG tūmōn "to tumble",
L cadere (obsolete Fr cheoir)
*treuwa "loyalty, agreement"
Du trouw "faithfulness, loyalty"
L pausa (Fr pause)
troène "privet" (dialectal truèle, ML trūlla)
*trugil "hard wood; small trough"
OHG trugilboum, harttrugil "dogwood; privet", G Hartriegel "dogwood",
dialectally "privet", (dial. Eastern) Trögel, archaic (dial. Swabian)
Trügel "small trough, trunk, basin"
tuyau "pipe, hose" (OFr tuiel, tuel)
MDu tūte "nipple; pipe", Du tuit "spout, nozzle", OE þwēot
L canna "reed; pipe" (It/SwRom/FrProv cana "pipe")
Franconian speech habits are also responsible for the
Latin cum ("with") with od ← apud "at", then with
avuec ← apud hoc "at it" ≠ Italian, Spanish con) in Old French
(Modern French avec), and for the preservation of
homo "man" as an impersonal pronoun: cf. homme ← hominem "man
Old French hum, hom, om → modern on, "one"
(compare Dutch man "man" and men, "one").
Middle English also adopted many words with Franconian roots from Old
French; e.g. random (via
Old French randon,
Old French verb randir,
from *rant "a running"), standard (via
Old French estandart, from
*standhard "stand firm"), scabbard (via Anglo-French *escauberc, from
*skar-berg), grape, stale, march (via
Old French marche, from *marka)
Low Franconian languages
List of French words of Germanic origin
List of Portuguese words of Franconian origin
List of Spanish words of Franconian origin
Old High German
History of French
Frankish language test of at Wikimedia Incubator
^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds.
Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute
for the Science of Human History.
^ Willemyns, Roland (2013-04-11). Dutch: Biography of a Language. OUP
USA. p. 5. ISBN 9780199858712.
^ Hans-Werner Goetz: Die „Deutschen Stämme“ als
Forschungsproblem. In: Heinrich Beck, Dieter Geuenich, Heiko Steuer,
Dietrich Hakelberg (ed.): Zur Geschichte der Gleichung
„germanisch-deutsch“. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2004, pp.
229–253 (p. 247).
^ Rheinischer Fächer – Karte des Landschaftsverband Rheinland
Archived February 15, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
^ B. Mees, The
Bergakker inscription and the beginnings of Dutch, in:
Amsterdamer beiträge zur älteren Germanistik: Band 56- 2002, edited
by Erika Langbroek, Annelies Roeleveld, Paula Vermeyden, Arend Quak,
Published by Rodopi, 2002, ISBN 9042015799, 9789042015791
^ Hawkins, John A. (1987). "Germanic languages". In Bernard Comrie.
The World's Major Languages. Oxford University Press.
pp. 68–76. ISBN 0-19-520521-9.
^ Robinson, Orrin W. (1992).
Old English and Its Closest Relatives.
Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-2221-8.
^ Graeme Davis (2006:154) notes "the languages of the Germanic group
in the Old period are much closer than has previously been noted.
Indeed it would not be inappropriate to regard them as dialects of one
language." In: Davis, Graeme (2006). Comparative Syntax of Old English
and Old Icelandic: Linguistic, Literary and Historical Implications.
Bern: Peter Lang. ISBN 3-03910-270-2.
^ Green, D.H.; Frank Siegmund, eds. (2003). The continental Saxons
from the migration period to the tenth century: an ethnographic
perspective. Studies in historical archaeoethnology, v.6. Suffolk:
Woodbridge. p. 19. There has never been such a thing as one
Franconian language. The
Franks spoke different languages.
^ a b Milis, L.J.R., "A Long Beginning: The
Low Countries Through the
Tenth Century" in J.C.H. Blom & E. Lamberts History of the Low
Countries, pp. 6–18, Berghahn Books, 1999.
^ a b c de Vries, Jan W., Roland Willemyns and Peter Burger, Het
verhaal van een taal, Amsterdam: Prometheus, 2003, pp. 12, 21–27. On
page 25: "…Een groot deel van het noorden van Frankrijk was in die
tijd tweetalig Germaans-Romaans, en gedurende een paar eeuwen
handhaafde het Germaans zich er. Maar in de zevende eeuw begon er
opnieuw een romaniseringsbeweging en door de versmelting van beide
volken werd de naam Franken voortaan ook gebezigd voor de Romanen ten
noordern van de Loire. Frankisch of François werd de naam de
(Romaanse) taal. De nieuwe naam voor de Germaanse volkstaal hield
Diets of Duits, dat wil zeggen "volks", "volkstaal".
[At that time a large part of the north of
France was bilingual
Germanic/Romance, and for a couple of centuries Germanic held its own.
But in the seventh century a wave of romanisation began anew and
because of the merging of the two peoples the name for the
used for the Romance speakers north of the Loire.
"Frankonian/Frankish" or "François" became the name of the (Romance)
language. The new name for the Germanic vernacular was related to
this: "Diets"" or "Duits", i.e. "of the people", "the people's
language"]. Page 27: "…Aan het einde van de negende eeuw kan er
zeker van Nederlands gesproken worden; hoe long daarvoor dat ook het
geval was, kan niet met zekerheid worden uitgemaakt." [It can be said
with certainty that Dutch was being spoken at the end of the 9th
century; how long that might have been the case before that cannot be
determined with certainty.]
^ van der Wal, M., Geschiedenis van het Nederlands, 1992[full citation
needed], p.[page needed]
^ U. T. Holmes, A. H. Schutz (1938), A History of the French Language,
p. 29, Biblo & Tannen Publishers, ISBN 0-8196-0191-8
^ Keller, R.E. (1964). "The Language of the Franks". Bulletin of the
John Rylands Library of Manchester. 47 (1): 101–122, esp. 122.
Chambers, W.W.; Wilkie, J.R. (1970). A short history of the German
language. London: Methuen. p. 33. McKitterick 2008,
^ Besides modern loan words, English also influenced French in earlier
Old English for example replacing the
Latin words for the
four cardinal directions: nord "north", sud "south", est "east" and
^ See a list of Walloon names derived from Old Franconian.
^ CNRTL, "escrime"
^ Because the expected outcome of *aliso is *ause, this word is
sometimes erroneously attributed to a Celtic cognate, despite the fact
that the outcome would have been similar. However, while a cognate is
Gaulish Alisanos "alder god", a comparison with the treatment
of alis- in alène above and -isa in tamis below should show that the
expected form is not realistic. Furthermore, the form is likely to
have originally been dialectal, hence dialectal forms like allie,
Berrichon aluge, Walloon: al'hî, some of which
clearly point to variants like Gmc *alūsó which gave MHG alze (G
^ Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English
Language, s.v. "bastard" (NY: Gramercy Books, 1996), 175: "[…]
Ingvaeonic *bāst-, presumed variant of *bōst- marriage
+ OF[r] -ard, taken as signifying the offspring of a polygynous
marriage to a woman of lower status, a pagan tradition not sanctioned
by the church; cf. OFris bost marriage […]". Further, MDu had a
related expression basture "whore, prostitute". However, the
mainstream view sees this word as a formation built off of OFr fils de
bast "bastard, lit. son conceived on a packsaddle", very much like OFr
coitart "conceived on a blanket", G Bankert, Bänkling "bench child",
LG Mantelkind "mantle child", and ON hrísungr "conceived in the
brushwood". Bât is itself sometimes misidentified as deriving from a
reflex of Germanic *banstis "barn"; cf. Goth bansts, MDu banste, LG
dial. Banse, (Jutland) Bende "stall in a cow shed", ON báss "cow
stall", OE bōsig "feed crib", E boose "cattle shed", and OFris bōs-
(and its loans: MLG bos, Du boes "cow stall", dial. (Zeeland) boest
"barn"); yet, this connection is false.
^ ML boscus "wood, timber" has many descendants in Romance languages,
such as Sp and It boscoso "wooded." This is clearly the origin of Fr
bois as well, but the source of this Medieval
Latin word is unclear.
^ etymologiebank.nl "bruin"
^ Rev. Walter W. Skeat, The Concise Dictionary of English Etymology,
s.v. "dance" (NY: Harper, 1898), 108. A number of other fanciful
origins are sometimes erroneously attributed to this word, such as VL
*deantiare or the clumsy phonetic match OLFrk *dintjan "to stir up"
(cf. Fris dintje "to quiver", Icel dynta "to convulse").
^ Webster's Encyclopedic, s.v. "screen", 1721. This term is often
erroneously attached to *skermo (cf. Du scherm "screen"), but neither
the vowel nor the m and vowel/r order match. Instead, *skermo gave OFr
eskirmir "to fence", from *skirmjan (cf. OLFrk bescirman, Du
beschermen "to protect", comp. Du schermen "to fence").
^ Nieuw woordenboek der Nederlandsche taal By I.M. Calisch and N.S.
^ unsure etymology, debatable. The word frank as "sincere", "daring"
is attested very late, after the Middle Ages. The word does not occur
as such in
Old Dutch or OHG. "Frank" was used in a decree of king
Childeric III in the sense of free man as opposed to the native Gauls
who were not free. The meaning 'free' is therefore debatable.
^ Le Maxidico : dictionnaire encyclopédique de la langue
française, s.v. "frapper" (Paris: La Connaissance, 1996), 498. This
is worth noting since most dictionaries continue to list this word's
etymology as "obscure".
^ "etymologiebank.nl" ,s.v. "war" "chaos"
^ "etymologiebank.nl" ,s.v. "wirwar"
^ Gran Diccionari de la llengua catalana, s.v. "guinda", .
^ C.T. Onions, ed., Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology, s.v.
"mason" (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), 559. This word is often
erroneously attributed to *makjo "maker", based on Isidore of
Seville's rendering machio (c. 7th c.), while ignoring the Reichenau
Glosses citing matio (c. 8th c.). This confusion is likely due to
hesitation on how to represent what must have been the palatalized
^ etymologiebank.nl noord
^ Jean Dubois, Henri Mitterrand, and Albert Dauzat, Dictionnaire
étymologique et historique du français, s.v. "osier" (Paris:
^ a b etymologiebank.nl "poot"
^ Onions, op. cit., s.v. "pad", 640.
^ Skeat, op. cit., s.v. "patois", 335.
^ Onions, op. cit., s.v. "seize", 807.
Gotische Runeninschriften (photo of Bergakker scabbard)
Philology of Germanic languages
Germanic parent language
Middle Low German
Old High German
Middle High German
Mennonite Low German
Germanic substrate hypothesis
West Germanic gemination
High German consonant shift
Germanic spirant law
Ingvaeonic nasal spirant law
Great Vowel Shift
Germanic strong verb
Germanic weak verb