Norman language
Overview
 
Norman is a Romance language
Romance languages
The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...

 and one of the Oïl languages
Langues d'oïl
The langues d'oïl or langues d'oui , in English the Oïl or Oui languages, are a dialect continuum that includes standard French and its closest autochthonous relatives spoken today in the northern half of France, southern Belgium, and the Channel Islands...

. Norman can be classified as one of the northern Oïl languages along with Picard
Picard language
Picard is a language closely related to French, and as such is one of the larger group of Romance languages. It is spoken in two regions in the far north of France – Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardy – and in parts of the Belgian region of Wallonia, the district of Tournai and a part of...

 and Walloon
Walloon language
Walloon is a Romance language which was spoken as a primary language in large portions of the Walloon Region of Belgium and some villages of Northern France until the middle of the 20th century. It belongs to the langue d'oïl language family, whose most prominent member is the French language...

. The name Norman-French is sometimes used to describe not only the Norman language, but also the administrative languages of Anglo-Norman
Anglo-Norman language
Anglo-Norman is the name traditionally given to the kind of Old Norman used in England and to some extent elsewhere in the British Isles during the Anglo-Norman period....

 and Law French
Law French
Law French is an archaic language originally based on Old Norman and Anglo-Norman, but increasingly influenced by Parisian French and, later, English. It was used in the law courts of England, beginning with the Norman Conquest by William the Conqueror...

 used in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. For the most part, modern French and Norman are intercomprehensible.
Norman is spoken in mainland Normandy
Normandy
Normandy is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is in France.The continental territory covers 30,627 km² and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions:...

 in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 where it has no official status, but is classed as a regional language.
Encyclopedia
Norman is a Romance language
Romance languages
The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...

 and one of the Oïl languages
Langues d'oïl
The langues d'oïl or langues d'oui , in English the Oïl or Oui languages, are a dialect continuum that includes standard French and its closest autochthonous relatives spoken today in the northern half of France, southern Belgium, and the Channel Islands...

. Norman can be classified as one of the northern Oïl languages along with Picard
Picard language
Picard is a language closely related to French, and as such is one of the larger group of Romance languages. It is spoken in two regions in the far north of France – Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardy – and in parts of the Belgian region of Wallonia, the district of Tournai and a part of...

 and Walloon
Walloon language
Walloon is a Romance language which was spoken as a primary language in large portions of the Walloon Region of Belgium and some villages of Northern France until the middle of the 20th century. It belongs to the langue d'oïl language family, whose most prominent member is the French language...

. The name Norman-French is sometimes used to describe not only the Norman language, but also the administrative languages of Anglo-Norman
Anglo-Norman language
Anglo-Norman is the name traditionally given to the kind of Old Norman used in England and to some extent elsewhere in the British Isles during the Anglo-Norman period....

 and Law French
Law French
Law French is an archaic language originally based on Old Norman and Anglo-Norman, but increasingly influenced by Parisian French and, later, English. It was used in the law courts of England, beginning with the Norman Conquest by William the Conqueror...

 used in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. For the most part, modern French and Norman are intercomprehensible.

Geographical distribution

Norman is spoken in mainland Normandy
Normandy
Normandy is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is in France.The continental territory covers 30,627 km² and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions:...

 in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 where it has no official status, but is classed as a regional language. It is taught in a few colleges near Cherbourg
Cherbourg-Octeville
-Main sights:* La Glacerie has a race track.* The Cité de la Mer is a large museum devoted to scientific and historical aspects of maritime subjects.* Cherbourg Basilica* Jardin botanique de la Roche Fauconnière, a private botanical garden.* Le Trident theatre...

.

In the Channel Islands
Channel Islands
The Channel Islands are an archipelago of British Crown Dependencies in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two separate bailiwicks: the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Bailiwick of Jersey...

, the Norman language has developed separately, but not in isolation, to form what are recognized as Jèrriais
Jèrriais
Jèrriais is the form of the Norman language spoken in Jersey, in the Channel Islands, off the coast of France. It has been in decline over the past century as English has increasingly become the language of education, commerce and administration...

 (in Jersey
Jersey
Jersey, officially the Bailiwick of Jersey is a British Crown Dependency off the coast of Normandy, France. As well as the island of Jersey itself, the bailiwick includes two groups of small islands that are no longer permanently inhabited, the Minquiers and Écréhous, and the Pierres de Lecq and...

), Guernésiais or Guernsey French (in Guernsey
Guernsey
Guernsey, officially the Bailiwick of Guernsey is a British Crown dependency in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy.The Bailiwick, as a governing entity, embraces not only all 10 parishes on the Island of Guernsey, but also the islands of Herm, Jethou, Burhou, and Lihou and their islet...

) and Sercquiais
Sercquiais
' also known as Sarkese or Sark-French is the Norman dialect of the Channel Island of Sark. In the island it is sometimes known, slightly disparagingly, as the "patois", a French term meaning "regional language"....

 (or Sarkese, in Sark
Sark
Sark is a small island in the Channel Islands in southwestern English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. It is a royal fief, geographically located in the Channel Islands in the Bailiwick of Guernsey, with its own set of laws based on Norman law and its own parliament. It has a population...

). Jèrriais and Guernésiais are recognized as regional language
Regional language
A regional language is a language spoken in an area of a nation state, whether it be a small area, a federal state or province, or some wider area....

s by the British and Irish governments within the framework of the British-Irish Council
British-Irish Council
The British–Irish Council is an international organisation established under the Belfast Agreement in 1998, and formally established on 2 December 1999 on the entry into force of the consequent legislation...

.

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 native speakers of Auregnais
Auregnais
Auregnais, Aoeur'gnaeux or Aurignais is the Norman dialect of the Channel Island of Alderney . It is estimated that there are now possibly only 20 people still fluent in the language....

, the Norman language of Alderney
Alderney
Alderney is the most northerly of the Channel Islands. It is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, a British Crown dependency. It is long and wide. The area is , making it the third-largest island of the Channel Islands, and the second largest in the Bailiwick...

, died during the 20th century, although some rememberer
Rememberer
In linguistics, a rememberer is a person who knows individual words or phrases of a dying or dead language, but cannot use the language productively. This is contrasted with fluent or full speakers, who have a good command of the language, and semi-speakers, who have a partial command of it....

s still exist. The dialect of Herm
Herm
Herm is the smallest of the Channel Islands that is open to the public and is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Cars are banned from the small island just like its Channel Island neighbour, Sark. Unlike Sark, bicycles are also banned...

 also lapsed, at an unknown date.

An isogloss
Isogloss
An isogloss—also called a heterogloss —is the geographical boundary of a certain linguistic feature, such as the pronunciation of a vowel, the meaning of a word, or use of some syntactic feature...

 termed the ligne Joret separates the northern and southern dialects of the Norman language (the line is from Granville
Granville, Manche
-Sights:The old town preserves all the history of its military and religious past. The lower town was partly built on land reclaimed from the sea. The upper part of the old town is surrounded by ramparts from the fifteenth century...

 to the French-speaking Belgian
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 border in the province of Hainaut and Thiérache
Thiérache
The Thiérache or Grande Thiérache is a region of France and Belgium united by similar geography and architecture, including the presence of hedgerows, grassland, hilly terrain, scattered settlements, and traditionally-built stone or brick houses with stone dividing walls and slate roofs.Located in...

-France). There are also dialectal differences between 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
Pluricentric language
A pluricentric language is a language with several standard versions, both in spoken and in written forms. This situation usually arises when language and the national identity of its native speakers do not, or did not, coincide.-English:...

.

The Anglo-Norman
Anglo-Norman language
Anglo-Norman is the name traditionally given to the kind of Old Norman used in England and to some extent elsewhere in the British Isles during the Anglo-Norman period....

 dialect of Norman was a language of administration in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 following the Norman Conquest. This left a legacy of Law French
Law French
Law French is an archaic language originally based on Old Norman and Anglo-Norman, but increasingly influenced by Parisian French and, later, English. It was used in the law courts of England, beginning with the Norman Conquest by William the Conqueror...

 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-Norman
Hiberno-Norman
The Hiberno-Normans are those Norman lords who settled in Ireland who admitted little if any real fealty to the Anglo-Norman settlers in England, and who soon began to interact and intermarry with the Gaelic nobility of Ireland. The term embraces both their origins as a distinct community with...

s invaded in 1169. Norman is still 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 Reine/Le Roy Le Veult" ("The Queen/King Wills It").

The Norman conquest of southern Italy
Norman conquest of southern Italy
The Norman conquest of southern Italy spanned the late eleventh and much of the twelfth centuries, involving many battles and many independent players conquering territories of their own...

 also brought the language to Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 and the southern part of the Apennine Peninsula
Italian Peninsula
The Italian Peninsula or Apennine Peninsula is one of the three large peninsulas of Southern Europe , spanning from the Po Valley in the north to the central Mediterranean Sea in the south. The peninsula's shape gives it the nickname Lo Stivale...

, where it has left a few traces in the Sicilian language
Sicilian language
Sicilian is a Romance language. Its dialects make up the Extreme-Southern Italian language group, which are spoken on the island of Sicily and its satellite islands; in southern and central Calabria ; in the southern parts of Apulia, the Salento ; and Campania, on the Italian mainland, where it is...

. See: Norman French influences in Sicilian.

Literature in Norman ranges from early Anglo-Norman literature
Anglo-Norman literature
Anglo-Norman literature is literature composed in the Anglo-Norman language developed during the period 1066–1204 when the Duchy of Normandy and England were united in the Anglo-Norman realm.-Introduction:...

 through the 19th century Norman literary renaissance to modern writers (see List of Norman language writers).

Today, the Norman language is strongest in the less accessible areas of the former Duchy of Normandy
Duchy of Normandy
The Duchy of Normandy stems from various Danish, Norwegian, Hiberno-Norse, Orkney Viking and Anglo-Danish invasions of France in the 9th century...

: the Channel Islands and the Cotentin Peninsula
Cotentin Peninsula
The Cotentin Peninsula, also known as the Cherbourg Peninsula, is a peninsula in Normandy, forming part of the north-western coast of France. It juts out north-westwards into the English Channel, towards Great Britain...

 (Cotentinais
Cotentinais
Cotentinais is the dialect of the Norman language spoken in the Cotentin Peninsula. It is one of the strongest dialects of the language on the mainland.-Dialects:...

) in the west, and the Pays de Caux
Pays de Caux
The Pays de Caux is an area in Normandy occupying the greater part of the French département of Seine Maritime in Haute-Normandie. It is a chalk plateau to the north of the Seine Estuary and extending to the cliffs on the English Channel coast - its coastline is known as the Côte d'Albâtre...

 (Cauchois
Cauchois
Cauchois is one of the eastern dialects of the Norman language, spoken in, and taking its name from, the Pays de Caux region of the Seine-Maritime départment.-Status:...

) in the east. Ease of access from Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 and the popularity of the coastal resorts of central Normandy, such as Deauville
Deauville
Deauville is a commune in the Calvados département in the Basse-Normandie region in northwestern France.With its racecourse, harbour, international film festival, marinas, conference centre, villas, Grand Casino and sumptuous hotels, Deauville is regarded as the "queen of the Norman beaches" and...

, in the 19th century led to a significant loss of distinctive Norman culture in the central low-lying areas of Normandy.

History

When Norse
Norsemen
Norsemen is used to refer to the group of people as a whole who spoke what is now called the Old Norse language belonging to the North Germanic branch of Indo-European languages, especially Norwegian, Icelandic, Faroese, Swedish and Danish in their earlier forms.The meaning of Norseman was "people...

 invaders arrived in the then-province of Neustria
Neustria
The territory of Neustria or Neustrasia, meaning "new [western] land", originated in 511, made up of the regions from Aquitaine to the English Channel, approximating most of the north of present-day France, with Paris and Soissons as its main cities...

 and settled the land that became known as Normandy, they gradually adopted the Gallo-Romance speech of the existing populations – much as Norman rulers in England later adopted the speech of the administered people. 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 new Norman language inherited vocabulary from Norse. The influence on phonology
Phonology
Phonology is, broadly speaking, the subdiscipline of linguistics concerned with the sounds of language. That is, it is the systematic use of sound to encode meaning in any spoken human language, or the field of linguistics studying this use...

 is more disputed, although it is argued that the retention of aspirated /h/ and /k/ in Norman is due to Norse influence.

Examples of Norman words of Norse origin:
Norman English Old East Norse French Modern Swedish
bel court, yard (cf.
Cf.
cf., an abbreviation for the Latin word confer , literally meaning "bring together", is used to refer to other material or ideas which may provide similar or different information or arguments. It is mainly used in scholarly contexts, such as in academic or legal texts...

 bailey
Motte-and-bailey
A motte-and-bailey is a form of castle, with a wooden or stone keep situated on a raised earthwork called a motte, accompanied by an enclosed courtyard, or bailey, surrounded by a protective ditch and palisade...

?)
bǿli cour (cf. bal) böle
bète bait (borrowed from Norman) bæita appât bete
kanne can kanna cruche kanna
guernotte, guénotte, jarnotte earth nut jorðnotr terre-noix jordnöt
gradile, gradelle, gadelle (black)currant gaddʀ cassis, groseille vinbär (a neologism)
greyer prepare græiða préparer greja (to fix things)
griller, égriller slide, slip skriðla glisser skrida (to skate)
hardelle girl hóra (whore) fille (cf. hardi) hora (prostitute)
hèrnais cart (cf. harness) járnaðʀ (shod (horse)) charrette (cf. harnais, harnacher) järnad
hommet/houmet islet (diminutive of hou) hulmʀ îlot holma
hou
-hou
-hou is a suffix found commonly in Channel Islands and Norman names. It is the Norman language version of the Old Norse holmr, meaning a small island, and often found anglicised elsewhere as "holm". It can still be found in modern Scandinavian languages, e.g...

islet ( cf. holm, mainly in placenames) hulmʀ îlot holm
hougue mound ( cf. howe
Bowl barrow
Bowl Barrow is the name for a type of burial mound or tumulus. A barrow is a mound of earth used to cover a tomb. The bowl barrow gets its name from the fact that it looks like an upturned bowl...

, high)
haugʀ monticule hög
mauve seagull mávaʀ (pl.) gaviote (Pre-Norman) /
mouette (Post-Norman)
mås
mielle dune mjalʀ dune dyn
mucre damp (cf. muggy) mygla humide mögel (mildew)
nez headland or cliff (cf. Sheerness
Sheerness
Sheerness is a town located beside the mouth of the River Medway on the northwest corner of the Isle of Sheppey in north Kent, England. With a population of 12,000 it is the largest town on the island....

, etc.)
næs falaise (cf. nez) näs
pouque pouch, bag (cf. north of England poke
, proverb "pig in a poke"; also pocket)
puki sac (cf. poche) påse
viquet wicket (borrowed from Norman) víkjas guichet (borrowed from Norman) wicket (re-borrowed from English)


In some cases, Norse words adopted in Norman have been borrowed
Loanword
A loanword is a word borrowed from a donor language and incorporated into a recipient language. By contrast, a calque or loan translation is a related concept where the meaning or idiom is borrowed rather than the lexical item itself. The word loanword is itself a calque of the German Lehnwort,...

 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 1066, the Norman language spoken by the new rulers of England left traces of specifically Norman words that can be distinguished from the equivalent lexical items in French:
English Norman French
fashion < faichon = façon
cabbage < caboche = chou (cf. caboche)
candle < ca(u)ndelle = chandelle, bougie
castle < castel (now catè) = château, castelet
cauldron < caudron = chaudron
causeway < caucie (now cauchie) = chaussée
catch < cachier (now cachi) = chasser
cater < acater = acheter
cherry (ies) < cherise (chrise, chise ) = cerise
mug < mogue/moque = mug, boc
poor < paur = pauvre
wait < waitier (old Norman) = gaitier (mod. guetter )
war < werre (old Norman) = guerre
warrior < werreur (old Norman) = guerrier
wicket < viquet = guichet (cf. piquet)


Other words such as captain, kennel, cattle and canvas introduced from Norman exemplify how Norman retained a /k/ from Latin that was not retained in French.

Norman immigrants to North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 also introduced some "Normanisms" to Quebec French
Quebec French
Quebec French , or Québécois French, is the predominant variety of the French language in Canada, in its formal and informal registers. Quebec French is used in everyday communication, as well as in education, the media, and government....

 and French in Canada
French in Canada
French is the mother tongue of about 7.0 million Canadians . Most native French speakers in Canada live in Quebec, where it is the majority and sole official language. About 80% of Quebec's population are native francophones, and 95% of the population speak French as their first or second language...

 generally. Joual
Joual
Joual is the common name for the linguistic features of basilectal Quebec French that are associated with the French-speaking working class in Montreal which has become a symbol of national identity for a large number of artists from that area...

, a working class sociolect
Sociolect
In sociolinguistics, a sociolect or social dialect is a variety of language associated with a social group such as a socioeconomic class, an ethnic group, an age group, etc....

 of Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

in particular exhibits a Norman influence. Some expressions that are currently in use in Canada are: abrier for [y faut s'abrier, y fait frète!], barrure for [barre], ber for [berceau], bers for [ridelles d'un chariot ou berceau], bleuet for [myrtille], boucane for [fumée], boucaner for [fumer ou quereller] (also available in modern French), champelure (Norm. campleuse) for [robinet], croche for [tordu], fricot for [festin], gourgannes for [fêves de marais], gourgane for [bajoue de porc fumée], gricher (Norm. grigner) for [grimacer], grafigner for [gratter légèrement et sans cesse], graffigner for [égratigner], ichite or icite or iciitou for [aussi], jouquer or juquer for [jucher], maganer for [malmener], mitan for [milieu], marganner for [déganer], maganer for [maltraiter ou malmener], mi-aout for [quinze août] (also avaible in modern french), pigoche for [cheville], pognie for [poignée], pomonique for [pulmonique],quasiment for [presque] (also avaible in modern french), racoin for [recoin], ramarrer for [rattacher], ramucrir, for [devenir humide], mucrerancer for [avoir la respiration gênée et bruyante, lever, pousser avec un levier], ressoudre for [réveiller, activer], relever,roteux,euse for [qui rote, roteur], tasserie for [lieu où l'on tasse la récolte des gerbes de blé, d'orge, ou d'avoine], train for [être ivre], train de for [être occupé à] (also avaible in modern french), sacraer for [sacrer (arrête de sacrer!)], v'lin for [venin], vlimeux for [velimeux], v'lo for [voilà], y for [il, ils, elles (qu'est-ce qu'y fait ?)] zius for [yeux].
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