Norman or Norman French (', french: Normand, Guernésiais
: ''Normand'', Jèrriais
: ''Nouormand'') is, depending on classification, either a French dialect
or a Romance language
which can be classified as one of the Oïl languages
along with French
. The name "Norman French" is sometimes used to describe not only the Norman language, but also the administrative languages of ''Anglo-Norman
'' and ''Law French
'' used in England
. For the most part, the written forms of Norman and modern French are mutually intelligible
. This intelligibility was largely caused by the Norman language's planned adaptation to French orthography
When Norse Vikings
from modern day Denmark
arrived in the then-province of Neustria
and settled the land that became known as Normandy, these Germanic
-speaking people came to live among a local Romance
-speaking population. In time, the communities converged, so that ''Normandy'' continued to form the name of the region while the original Normans became assimilated by the Gallo-Romance people, adopting their speech. Later, when conquering England, the Norman rulers in England would eventually assimilate, thereby adopting the speech of the local English. However, in both cases, the ''élites'' contributed elements of their own language to the newly enriched languages that developed in the territories.
In Normandy, the Norman language inherited only some 150 words from Old Norse
. The influence on phonology
is disputed, although it is argued that the retention of aspirated /h/ and /k/ in Norman is due to Norse influence.
Norman is spoken in mainland Normandy
, where it has no official status, but is classed as a regional language
. It is taught in a few colleges near Cherbourg-Octeville
In the Channel Islands
, the Norman language has developed separately, but not in isolation, to form:
or Dgèrnésiais or Guernsey French (in Guernsey
(or Sarkese, in Sark
The British and Irish governments recognize Jèrriais and Guernésiais as regional language
s within the framework of the British–Irish Council
. Sercquiais is in fact a descendant of the 16th-century Jèrriais used by the original colonists from Jersey
who settled the then uninhabited island.
The last first-language speakers
, the dialect of Norman spoken on Alderney
, died during the 20th century, although some rememberer
s are still alive. The dialect of Herm
also lapsed at an unknown date; the patois spoken there was likely Guernésiais (Herm was not inhabited all year round in the Norman culture's heyday).
termed the "Joret line
" (''ligne Joret'') separates the northern and southern dialect
s of the Norman language (the line runs from Granville, Manche
to the French-speaking Belgian
border in the province of Hainaut
). Dialectal differences also distinguish western and eastern dialects.
Three different standardized spellings are used: continental Norman, Jèrriais, and Dgèrnésiais. These represent the different developments and particular literary histories of the varieties of Norman. Norman may therefore be described as a pluricentric language
dialect of Norman served as a language of administration in England
following the Norman conquest of England
in 1066. This left a legacy of Law French
in the language of English courts (though it was also influenced by Parisian French
). In Ireland, Norman remained strongest in the area of south-east Ireland, where the Hiberno-Normans
invaded in 1169. Norman remains in (limited) use for some very formal legal purposes in the UK, such as when the monarch gives royal assent
to an Act of Parliament using the phrase, "La Reyne (le Roy) le veult
" ("The Queen (the King) wills it").
The Norman conquest of southern Italy
in the 11th and 12th centuries brought the language to Sicily
and the southern part of the Italian Peninsula
, where it may have left a few words in the Sicilian language
. ''See: Norman and French influence on Sicilian
Literature in Norman ranges from early Anglo-Norman literature
through the 19th-century Norman literary renaissance to modern writers (''see'' list of Norman-language writers
the Norman language remains strongest in the less accessible areas of the former Duchy of Normandy
: the Channel Islands and the Cotentin Peninsula
) in the west, and the Pays de Caux
) in the east. Ease of access from Paris
and the popularity of the coastal resorts of central Normandy, such as Deauville
, in the 19th century led to a significant loss of distinctive Norman culture in the central low-lying areas of Normandy.
Old French influences
Norman French preserves a number of Old French
words which have been lost in Modern French. Examples of Norman French words of Old French origin:
Examples of Norman French words with -ei instead of -oi in Standard French words
Examples of Norman French words with ''c-'' / ''qu-'' and ''g-'' instead of ''ch-'' and ''j'' in Standard French
Examples of Norman words of Norse origin:
In some cases, Norse words adopted in Norman have been borrowed
into French – and more recently some of the English words used in French can be traced back to Norman origins.
Following the Norman conquest of England
in 1066, the Norman and other languages and dialects spoken by the new rulers of England were used during several hundred years, developing into the unique insular dialect now known as Anglo-Norman French
, and leaving traces of specifically Norman words that can be distinguished from the equivalent lexical items in French:
Other borrowings, such as ''canvas'', ''captain'', ''cattle'' and ''kennel'', exemplify how Norman retained Latin /k/ that was not retained in French.
In the United Kingdom, Acts of Parliament are confirmed with the words "La Reyne le veult" ("The Queen wishes it"), or "Le Roy le veult ("The King wishes it") and other Norman phrases are used on formal occasions as legislation progresses.
Norman immigrants to North America
also introduced some "Normanisms" to Quebec French
and the French language in Canada
, a working class sociolect
, in particular exhibits a Norman influence.
*Essai de grammaire de la langue normande, UPN, 1995. .
*V'n-ous d'aveu mei? UPN, 1984.
*La Normandie dialectale, 1999,
*Alain Marie, ''Les auteurs patoisants du Calvados'', 2005. .
*Roger Jean Lebarbenchon, ''Les Falaises de la Hague'', 1991. .
*Jean-Louis Vaneille, ''Les patoisants bas-normands'', n.d., Saint-Lô.
*André Dupont, ''Dictionnaire des patoisants du Cotentin'', Société d'archéologie de la Manche, Saint-Lô, 1992.
* Geraint Jennings
and Yan Marquis, "The Toad and the Donkey: an anthology of Norman literature from the Channel Islands", 2011,
Category:Languages of France
Category:Endangered Romance languages
Category:Languages of Sicily
Category:Languages of the United Kingdom
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