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Anglo-Norman
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PostSubject: Language and local identity   Sun 12 Mar 2017, 14:46

This came out of a tangential discussion on another thread, so apologies for repetition.

Many local societies within nations are keen to preserve their heritage and culture as a form of distinct identity.  In some cases, a key part of that local culture is their language.  There is no doubt that language is part of cultural identity.  During the Hundred Years War Edward III sought to create a new national identity clearly distinct from his continental heritage, an important part of which was the promotion of the English language.  The Académie française has been accused of trying to fossilise the French language, with their list of approved words being a fraction of those in actual use (although their approval of a recent government initiative to simplify spellings and remove the circumflex from school textbooks caused a national outcry).

To go back to a local level, these cultural symbols may simply be a dialectal form of the national language, or they may be a completely different language to the one in general use.

For example, the native language of my homeland (Jersey) is Jèrriais, sometimes called Jersey Norman French (although some object to this term, as they wish to clearly separate it from 'true' French).  From 933 until 1204 Jersey was part of the Duchy of Normandy, but after mainland Normandy fell to the French, the Channel Islanders threw in their lot with their Duke, who (thanks to William the Conqueror) happened to be the King of England.  To this day the monarch is still referred to as "our Duke."

Jèrriais is a Norman French language, as are the tongues of the other Channel Islands (however, Islanders are quite clear they are not dialects - the term patois is used).  It includes elements of Old French, Norse, Breton and (more recently) English.  I have often seen it described as the "language of William the Conqueror", although this is romantic nonsense.  Apart from the fact that mainland Normans would have spoken their own form of the language, it has changed so much over the years due to natural evolution, the influence of other languages (in the form of loan-words etc) and the need to adapt to modern times; I doubt William ever used the phrase maître-pêtre (webmaster, literally "master spider"!).  It has also been described as the language of Wace, the 12th century poet and author of the Roman de Rou, one of the main Norman sources for the history of the Norman Conquest.  However, although Wace seems to have been proud to be a Jerseyman, he appears to have spent most of his life (from childhood) in mainland Normandy.  Consequently, although Wace may well have spoken a medieval form of Jèrriais the Roman is more likely to have been written in a more widely known French language, especially as it was commissioned by Henry II.

Jèrriais is not merely a local language in itself, however.  There are numerous local variations of the language (known as parlers - thirteen in all have been identified, impressive for an Island at most 10.8 x 6.8 miles (of which about 9 x 5 is habitable).  They are as follows:

West
East (these two divide the Island roughly in half vertically)
Centre (a large, roughly circular area in fact slightly south of centre, straddling the West/East divide)
North (a large area hugging the north coast, straddling the West/East divide but slightly offset to the east)
North West
North East
South East (these three being in the relevant corners of the Island)
Les Landes (in the very top north west corner)
L’Étacq (on the southern border of the  North West parler)
Le Mont Mado (a tiny, roughly circular area in the middle of the North parler, just to the east of the West/East divide)
Faldouet (bang in the middle of the east coast)
La Rocque (in the very south east tip of the Island)
La Moie (in the south west corner, though not touching the west coast)

They were distinguished by varying words and pronunciations for example: spider is pêtre in the West and aithangnie in the East; haut (high) and ieau (water) are pronounce 'haw' and 'yaw' in the West, hoe and yo in the East.  Bizarrely, the 'overall' accent of Jersey, when speaking English, is often said to be most similar to that of South Africa (but when speaking  Jèrriais, to my ears it sounds rather like an English person speaking French without any attempt at a French accent!).  These parlers have gradually declined or disappeared over time.  The western parishes, being the most remote from the comparatively cosmopolitan town of St Helier, have retained the highest number of speakers, as a result of which West Jèrriais is now taught as the 'standard' form of the language. 

In addition to the internal parlers, a form of Jèrriais was spoken until 1964 in the Gaspé Peninsular in Canada, thanks to a large number of settlers from the Island.  There were also communities of Jèrriais speakers in the USA, including one in Chicago certainly as late as 1901.  Sercquiais (Anglicised as Sarkese), the language of Sark, is technically a dialect of Jèrriais, thanks to settlers colonising the Island in the 16th century on the orders of Elizabeth I.  However, its isolation from its place of origin means it have evolved in quite a different direction to Jèrriais and may now be considered a distinct patois in its own right.  Guernésiais (the language of Guernsey) and the now-extinct Auregnais (once used Alderney) might be regarded as 'cousins' to  Jèrriais in that they share a common Norman ancestor, but developed independently.

The used of  Jèrriais began dying out during 19th century through the increasing influx of native English speakers.  the Second World War provided a catastrophic blow; whilst  Jèrriais was spoken by those left behind as a 'secret language' unintelligible to the German occupiers, many children were evacuated to the UK and thus spent their formative years having to use English as their first language.  The 2001 census revealed only 3.3% of the population spoke  Jèrriais (English being by far the main language, these days).  However, according to a survey in 1996, 18% of  Jèrriais speakers considered it their first language, and 66% used it about the same amount of time as English.  In recent years there has been a drive to promote the language through both official and unofficial means.  Adult classes are available, do-it-yourself courses are available in book and audio form, and many schools offer non-compulsory  Jèrriais lessons.  The media provide some coverage in  Jèrriais, and bilingual signs both official (such as at the airport) and unofficial (such as at a supermarket) can increasingly be seen.

I'm sorry that this has turned into more of an essay than I intended.  The point is that language is a defining element of a locality's heritage and culture.  Increasingly these local tongues are dying out as first languages, but remain preserved, and even continue to evolve, often as part of an interest in a distinct local identity.  Although I am proud to consider myself a Jerseyman, I sadly don't speak  Jèrriais, other than a handful of words and phrases (East, or possibly Faldouet, would be my native parler).  The opportunity to learn was not there when I was a child, and a faculty for languages is not, in any case, one of my talents.  Nevertheless I retain a strong interest in it as part of my cultural heritage.  I do feel these things should be preserved.


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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Sun 12 Mar 2017, 20:36

I'm sure you know of this site Anglo-Norman http://members.societe-jersiaise.org/sdllj/index.html  I've just been listening to some of the phrases - I can probably understand more reading than I can by listening.  I can get by in whatever kind of French it is that comes out of my mouth when I muddle on through (i.e. with mainland French though of course there are many different varieties of mainland French - the version of French that I was taught at school I suppose) but the Jersey French seems very different.  My mother was from a part of Wales where Welsh was still spoken (mind you she would have turned 100 now if she had still been living so it may have declined in the years since she settled in England).  I never learned Welsh other than a few words - or Irish Gaelic either though I am also of part Irish descent.  I remember somebody from South Wales - a famous actor who I won't name - blotted his copybook in my mother's eyes because he said something about southern Welsh being better than northern Welsh and of course my mother's attitude was that he had a cheek, that there were more native Welsh speakers in the north part of Wales (though there were some in the southern part of Wales).  Going back to Jèrriais while I was looking at the website mentioned I saw that the word for a cat in Jèrriais was 'cat' rather than 'chat' but it seemed to be pronounced a bit like 'cot' only without sounding the final 't'.
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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Sun 12 Mar 2017, 22:51

As I understand it Welsh is flourishing (the other day I was rebuked by a Welsh colleague when I suggested it was a minority language, even though he doesn't speak it!).  One of my grandmothers was Welsh (a Cadwallader, no less!), although as far as I can remember - she died when I was still a child - she didn't really sound it.  She was from near the English border, though.  I'm not sure if she spoke any Welsh, but I don't think so - not as a first language, anyway.

Generally speaking Jèrriais has a harsher sound than French (garden is gardîn, with a hard 'g', for example) hence the hard 'c' of cat rather than the 'sh' of chat.  The "co'" you heard may be the speaker's particular accent, but as I said West Jèrriais is now the standard; I'm guessing (though I can't say for sure) that the East parler would be more like the English pronunciation, but still with a silent 't'.
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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Sun 12 Mar 2017, 23:22

This is an issue for speakers of Maori.  Really I mean non-speakers of Maori.  It was an official language in Aotearoa in 1987, but the numbers of Maori speaking Te Reo ("the language") has declined by 3.7% since the 1996 census.  I am not sure how many non-Maori speak Te Reo. 

Despite what the numbers say here, more people speak Maori in the 14-19 years group than any other.  Children are taught the basics at pre-school and school, though efforts to make it compulsory are not a popular option for non-Maori at least.  Even though all the studies show that learning a second language helps with English, I think NZers generally (not me) feel the effort spent on this would be better spent on English or another language (at the moment Mandarin, earlier Japanese) more used overseas.  Kura Kaupapa (schools teaching only in Maori - I am not sure of the literal translation of kaupapa - now I see it is 'principle' ) and Kohanga Reo (language nests for pre-schoolers) have been set up in various parts of NZ but if people aren't surrounded by a language it is hard to learn it properly. 

From NZ Statistics:

The proportion of Māori able to hold an everyday conversation in the Māori language has decreased 3.7 percent between 1996 and 2013



    • Between 1996 and 2013, the proportion of the Māori population able to converse in Māori decreased from 25.0 percent to 21.3 percent.
    • Between 2006 and 2013, the proportion of Māori able to converse in te reo Māori increased only among those aged 65 and over.
    • In all other age groups, the proportion of Māori able to converse in te reo Māori declined.  


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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Wed 15 Mar 2017, 19:43

At the time of the French revolution in 1789 it is estimated that only half of the population of France could speak any regular Parisian French, even as a second language, most speaking instead other local dialects and languages. Most of these regional languages were of course closely related to French but quite a few were distict languages belonging to non-French language families, such as Breton (related to Welsh and Cornish), Alsacien (related to German) and Catalan (related to Spanish) while others, such as Occitan and Provençal, had diverged from Northern French many centuries earlier and indeed were being widely used in legal documentsc, chronicles, literature and letters at a time when northern French was barely being written down at all.

Language is of course key to defining one's cultural identity and this was well recognised by the French Republican government who were trying to unify the country and create a new concept of what being French meant. The diversity of tongues was also an impediment to the French Revolutionary ideas of the centrally-controlled nation state and accordingly it was made clear policy that the national language should be consolidated and standardized. This was partly effected during the Napoleonic wars when conscription was introduced for the first time and when  all recruits were given lessons in the French language and this was not just so they could understand their officers' commands. Later in the 19th century when compulsory universal education was introduced, all schooling was only to be conducted in French. Similarly other laws also progressively excluded local patois from use in entertainment, academia, business and law.

Nevertheless even as late as the 1871 census, still only a quarter of the France’s inhabitants spoke regular French as their first or native language.

Government policies continued to marginalise local language diversity through most of the 20th century but nowadays there is some resurgence of local languages. Where I am close to the Spanish border Catalan is widely spoken, it is taught in schools (as a second language) and it appears on road signs and in local government literature (Catalan had also been outlawed in Spain under Franco, though it was always the principal language in Andorra). There is also a strong local sense of Catalan identity with many people identifying more with the inhabitants of Spanish Catalunya to the south than with their neighbouring fellow Frenchmen to the north and east. Administratively the Pyrénées-Orientales Department is clumped with several others as the Occitanie-Pyrénées-Méditerranée Region (the name in part directly reflecting an ancient linguistic distinction) however it is problematic since as I say here there are almost stronger cultural and linguistic links to Spanish Catalunya than to the rest of the nominally Occitan-speaking French Mediterranean coast ... and I would guess that there are more Catalan speakers just in this one department than there are Occitan speakers in the other six departments together.


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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Thu 16 Mar 2017, 11:19

Not only language, Meles. This map of 1732 shows the internal customs divisions of France. Some provinces being  considered "foreign" for import/export duties:

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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Thu 16 Mar 2017, 12:51

A friend of the twin sister of a college friend of mine spoke (well I think still speaks) good French and married a man who was English born to an English mother and French father - this lady had spent a lot of time in the Limousin and found it easier to converse with her Parisian father-in-law in English than in French because the differences between Parisian and Limousin French were so marked.

I changed from bus to train in Bayonne (Pyrénées-Atlantiques) some years ago en route and the river names (Adour and Nive) were listed in both Basque and French (unless the other language was the Gascon version of French of which I have no knowledge - apparently Bayonne is on the boundary of the French pays basque and Gascony).  Another college friend married someone living in the Alsace (he was French born of Polish parents and she was English born of Polish parents) and I remember them saying that the Alsace dialect or language was a little different to German (though I think there's a gazillion dialects of German and that's a gazillion more than I know - well I did do German at night school many, many years ago).  I've been to the Alsace (many years ago though) and I remember hearing people speak in the Alsace Germanic tongue.

There was a YouTube channel where somebody was teaching basic Anglo-Saxon a few years ago but last time I looked it had been taken over by folk who would make Enoch Powell look like the trendiest of lefties.

From Jèrriais having a hard 'g' sound as in gardîn I can see where our English 'garden' came from (Jèrriais being a version of Norman French [taking on board A-N's point that Bill The Conqueror was unlikely to use the term maître-pêtre] which was spoken by the high-ups in England for a time after the Norman conquest).

From the looks of things Savoy was still independent at the time of Trike's map?  I remember when we 'did' the French Revolution at school reading that some of the most easterly regions of France still had serfdom


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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Sat 18 Mar 2017, 22:30

"Minority" languages and local dialects go even further than serving, as you rightly say, as powerful tokens of identity. What distinguishes them also is the often overlooked fact that each - to varying extents - offer degrees of semantic variation which basically allow things to be expressed cogently within that speech structure which simply cannot always be expressed as well, or even at all sometimes, through the more dominant language they are seen in opposition to. Their demise is therefore almost always a regrettable thing, the effect being in fact what sociolinguists would call a restriction in "style of meaning" available to the individual - and in linguistics the correlation between complexity of speech and complexity of thought has long been understood.

English speakers in the UK, I had read before, tend to get by throughout their entire lives using about 10 percent of the known vocabulary available to them. Those who employ regional idioms or slang, and especially those who are bilingual, radically augment this restricted means of expression with a slew, in semantic terms, of new variables within the scope of their expressive ability. In short, it facilitates intelligent thought.

I am not sure that any amount of "learning" a language in the school/education sense actually compensates for the loss of "living" languages or dialects utilised within communities. My advice to anyone who lives in such a community is to wallow in the opportunities these present, and above all fight tooth and nail to preserve them, if at all possible.
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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Mon 27 Mar 2017, 15:36

Learning a second language can rewire the brain:

Rewire the Brain
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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Mon 01 May 2017, 10:22

Copying this over from "The Tumbleweed" thread as Vizzer kindly located this thread when I couldn't find it.



I can't find the thread where there was a discussion about Channel Islands French not too long ago (obviously I can now thanks to Vizzer's assistance) but I was having a gander at YouTube about Jersey French and chanced on something about Louisiana French; seems people are trying to revive it. It's not something I know an awful lot about - I knew of its existence of course and about the Louisiana purchase and a tiny bit about the Arcadians (who it seems very not awfully well treated by the British) because somebody introduced me to Longfellow's poem "Evangeline". The videos were absorbing but I have a tendency to find the internet addictive if I find something that piques my interest and it's not like I don't have "real life" things calling upon my time. One thing that surprised me was that one documentary about Cajun culture said many of the ancestors of the people rather loosely described as "Cajun" came from Poitou and had left France largely (though not exclusively) because they were Catholic and were having a tough time at home. I thought it was the Protestants who had a tough time in France (not now - back then - revocation of the Edict of Nantes and all that). I'm aware there was (and possibly still is) a Protestant presence in at least part of western France but it still took me aback that Catholics might have felt uncomfortable there.

Thinking of Trike's post about learning a language rewiring the brain - well I keep my shorthand going in a minor way and have been learning British Sign Language and as a U3A activity I'm doing Spanish though I think I mentioned my blooper about "cocinar los hijos" instead of "cocinar los higos" before.
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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Wed 03 May 2017, 10:37

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
One thing that surprised me was that one documentary about Cajun culture said many of the ancestors of the people rather loosely described as "Cajun" came from Poitou and had left France largely (though not exclusively) because they were Catholic and were having a tough time at home. I thought it was the Protestants who had a tough time in France (not now - back then - revocation of the Edict of Nantes and all that). I'm aware there was (and possibly still is) a Protestant presence in at least part of western France but it still took me aback that Catholics might have felt uncomfortable there.

That's interesting LiR. Like you I have always understood that it was the Protestant Hugenots that most obviously left France because of religious persecution. By contrast the Catholic Acadians remained loyal to, and thus retained the nominal support of, the Catholic French monarchy ... even when the Acadian colony briefly fell under English control (around 1618) and indeed still later (1670/80s) when the French government started to lose financial/political interest in them being increasingly focussed on matters elsewhere. So I would have thought there were probably other reasons, alongside simple religious persecution, that prompted them to leave France ... such as perhaps the trials of civil war, poverty, famine, heavy taxation, oppressive government and the chance in the New World to acquire their own land.

Nevertheless it is certainly true that Protestantism tended to be most prevalent in western France - including Poitou and the neighbouring provinces of Aunis, Angoulême, Vienne and Saintongne - all regions from where the first Acadian settlers are thought to have originated. Poitou in particular was a focus of the Catholic counter-reformation in the early years of the 17th century, and this alone suggests that the province had a strong Protestant presence at that time. However even at its height towards the end of the 16th century, Protestantism is thought to have only been professed by about 10% of the French population, although as I say, concentrated towards the south-west and more often practiced by the nobility and wealthier merchant/artisan classes rather that by the lowly landless peasants, which as a class comprised most of the French emigrants to the New World (and not just to Acadia).
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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Sun 29 Jul 2018, 12:30

@Anglo-Norman wrote:
the now-extinct Auregnais (once used Alderney)

I had heard of the name Aurigny but hadn't appreciated that it was the French name for Alderney. Neither did I realise that the French also have their own name for the Scilly Isles - les Sorlingues:



While I normally like (and often prefer) French names for English places (e.g. Londres and La Tamise) I think Sorlingues sounds quite comical on a Franglais level. A bit like people getting painful tongues after trying to speak too many different languages and dialects at once.
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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Sun 29 Jul 2018, 18:43

Aurigny is the name of a Channel Islands based airline. Just by way of trivia, an ex-Aurigny Trislander plane (painted black and retrofitted as an Islander) appeared in the James Bond film 'Spectre' in a mountain chase sequence.
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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Mon 30 Jul 2018, 11:02

I remember a song we used to sing at school (a sea-shanty though I doubt any real sailors sounded like we did in first year at my convent school) which started "Farewell and adieu to you Spanish ladies" and then had something at the end of the chorus about "from Ushant to Scilly is 35 leagues".  I presume the isle of "Ouessant" is Ushant - it is under French suzerainty of course.  Vizzer, I hadn't realised that the Scilly islands had a different French name and Anglo-Norman thanks for the nugget about the plane being in the Bond film.  Unless they've been on TV I haven't seen many later Bond films; I saw some of the Sean Connery ones in the cinema, I don't think I even saw any Roger Moore ones in the cinema, but by then the films were departing from the novels and becoming more reliant on gimmicks and gadgets.
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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Tue 31 Jul 2018, 21:59

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
I remember a song we used to sing at school (a sea-shanty though I doubt any real sailors sounded like we did in first year at my convent school) which started "Farewell and adieu to you Spanish ladies" and then had something at the end of the chorus about "from Ushant to Scilly is 35 leagues".  I presume the isle of "Ouessant" is Ushant - it is under French suzerainty of course.  Vizzer, I hadn't realised that the Scilly islands had a different French name and Anglo-Norman thanks for the nugget about the plane being in the Bond film.  Unless they've been on TV I haven't seen many later Bond films; I saw some of the Sean Connery ones in the cinema, I don't think I even saw any Roger Moore ones in the cinema, but by then the films were departing from the novels and becoming more reliant on gimmicks and gadgets.

Lady,

"but by then the films were departing from the novels and becoming more reliant on gimmicks and gadgets."

What a good observer you are...

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Sun 16 Sep 2018, 11:55

I hadn't realised till today that PR was having a slight joke at me about stating the obvious about the James Bond books departing from the novels.

But I decided to put something I had said last night in the Tumbleweed Suite to here because it applies to a midlands accent (north midlands like in my area not "How am you our kid?" like in the more central midlands).  Of course it's not a different language and a southerner or northerner from England would be able to understand it.  Anyway, the next paragraph contains the beginning of my transferred post

I recently had to plough through some typing which was a recording of a conference or meeting between more than one person (not more than a handful of people though) but my opinion kept changing about how many people there were in the meeting (no list of names supplied) but then I realised one person spoke some of the time in a slightly posh voice and then the rest of the time in a more average man in the street sort of voice.  But then I sometimes speak in different registers myself - a posher voice for if I want people to understand me and a more generic mid-Staffs accent when I'm not being so high falutin'.   This (I think anonymous) rhyme came to mind - Shakespeare it's not but I liked it when I was a kid (though I had to look it up on a website tonight to get the words right)

"You munna say dunna, It inna polite
you canna say inna cos it inna right.
(munna means musn't, Dunna means don't, canna means can't and inna means isn't)".
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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Sun 16 Sep 2018, 12:03

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
...

"You munna say dunna, It inna polite
you canna say inna cos it inna right.
(munna means musn't, Dunna means don't, canna means can't and inna means isn't)".


Summat loike wat I fu'st larn'd as t' foist rule 'baht English,
"In English grammar there is but one rule without exemption, that is that there are no rules without exemptions."
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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Sun 16 Sep 2018, 12:08

This has absolutely nothing to do with language but looking upthread I was reminded of where Anglo-Norman commented on the fact that an ex-Aurigny Trislander aeroplane had been used in one of the Bond films.  I remember someone on Points of View (BBC programme where viewers have their say about programmes*) in the 1980s commenting on the detective show Bergerac that Jim (the central character) was shown catching one type of plane on the mainland to fly back to the Channel Islands, then in mid-flight a different type of plane was shown, then he arrived back in the Channel Islands in the same plane in which he had left London.  The viewer writing in had wondered (joking of course) how they managed to  change planes in mid-flight.  I couldn't find anything online about that mistake; I don't have Trike's knack for finding the humorous.

* Viewers can have their say but the BBC don't seem to take much notice of them.
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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Sun 16 Sep 2018, 12:09

Nielsen, did you spend time in central England at some point?
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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Sun 16 Sep 2018, 12:18

Cannot really say so, dear Lady, just that I've read a few books and seen a few movies, [I tried to say this in my poshest tones, not very successfully].

Actually, where I learned to speak most of my colloquial English, was as a - Danish - squaddie among British ones. About every fourth or fifth word would start with a f.

My written English - after primary schooling - really and actually began on the old BBC History Boards, you name a possible mistake, I've made them, and probably more than once!



[Darn commas seem to be jumping around like bunnies in heat.]


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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Sun 16 Sep 2018, 14:08

Don't be too hard on yourself, Nielsen, there are certain words I have to think about in English and it is my native language.  I get confused sometimes about "dependent" and "dependant".  I haven't been to France for several years and when I watch a French made programme in French (e.g. Engrenages (Spiral)) I have to use the subtitles in English when the actors speak fast or when they speak modern slang.  Also, with past particles - for "to spell" is it "spelt" or "spelled"? I usually put "spelled" to avoid any confusion with "spelt" the cereal.  And I have had conflicting advice as to how to use the apostrophe to denote possession in a singular noun/name ending in "s".  Is it Charles' book or Charles's book.  At school we were told it was an either/or situation, both were acceptable but there is a society for the preservation of the apostrophe (that may not be it's name) that say only Charles's book is acceptable - and some people will say it must be the apostrophe after the s without a second s (obviously only in such cases - i.e. singular nouns/names ending in s).
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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Sun 16 Sep 2018, 14:41

I try not to bash myself too hard over spelling mistakes, but other words tending to confuse people are there/their/theyre, air/heir, and compliment/complement, and the placement of commas and how often they are either needed or wanted, especially in front of an 'and'.


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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Sun 16 Sep 2018, 19:53

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
Don't be too hard on yourself, Nielsen, there are certain words I have to think about in English and it is my native language.  I get confused sometimes about "dependent" and "dependant".  I haven't been to France for several years and when I watch a French made programme in French (e.g. Engrenages (Spiral)) I have to use the subtitles in English when the actors speak fast or when they speak modern slang.  Also, with past particles - for "to spell" is it "spelt" or "spelled"? I usually put "spelled" to avoid any confusion with "spelt" the cereal.  And I have had conflicting advice as to how to use the apostrophe to denote possession in a singular noun/name ending in "s".  Is it Charles' book or Charles's book.  At school we were told it was an either/or situation, both were acceptable but there is a society for the preservation of the apostrophe (that may not be it's name) that say only Charles's book is acceptable - and some people will say it must be the apostrophe after the s without a second s (obviously only in such cases - i.e. singular nouns/names ending in s).

Lady,

yes that Saxon genetive is not that easy with an "s" ( I put "an" and not "a" because in Dutch it is pronounced (spoken out?) as "es") on the end of the word.
And you seem to be right with your "Charles's'"  (English is really difficult)
http://www.grammar.cl/rules/genitive-case.htm


As for "spelt" or "spelled...
In my "Engelse Index-Spraakkunst" (English index grammar) 7th print from Bruges (Fifties) stays a handy list of the irregular verbs (four pages long) and I have regularly to consult it...
to spell-spelt (spelled)- spelt (spelled) (spellen)
to spill-spilt (spilled)-spilt (spilled) (storten)
to spin-spun (span)- spun (spinnen)
to spit-spit (spat) - spit (spat) (spuwen)

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Mon 17 Sep 2018, 06:49

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
And I have had conflicting advice as to how to use the apostrophe to denote possession in a singular noun/name ending in "s".  Is it Charles' book or Charles's book.  At school we were told it was an either/or situation, both were acceptable but there is a society for the preservation of the apostrophe (that may not be it's name) that say only Charles's book is acceptable - and some people will say it must be the apostrophe after the s without a second s (obviously only in such cases - i.e. singular nouns/names ending in s).

The rule I learnt was that it depends on whether the word ending with "s" is spoken using a straightforward "s" sibilant sound or one slightly harder and closer to "z". As the possessive "'s" is itself in the latter category (allegedly based on the word "his", though this is grammatical myth) then it can be regarded as superfluous following a word that already incorporates the sound, and this should be reflected in how it is written. Hence "Jesus's ham sandwich" versus "James' pork scratchings" and so on. It is not as serious a crime to put an 's after James above, however it would be regarded as naughty to omit one after Jesus, so if one adopts this rule it is better to keep it consistent. Your example of "Charles's book" is therefore actually the opposite to the rule as I learnt it as it attempts to follow a "z" sound with a separate "z" sound and avoiding this lies at the heart of the rule (a students' writing guide for Oxbridge exams circa 1950s - back when people still cared about this stuff).

The rule is complicated further when plurals of words ending with "s" are involved, in which case it is more normal to assume a harder sibilant sound at the end of the word regardless of how it might be pronounced in the vernacular, and therefore no further "s" is required after the apostrophe. Hence "the busses' liveries", "the liveries' use of colour" etc. Grammatical myth ascribes this to the apostrophe now implying use of the word "their" after the noun doing the possessing, which though not strictly true is in fact a good way of remembering when to avoid "'s" in that situation.
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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Mon 17 Sep 2018, 10:26

Thanks for the information, nordmann.  I am just relieved that at my time of life I am unlikely to have to sit a test in English grammar.
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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Mon 17 Sep 2018, 22:52

@nordmann wrote:
@LadyinRetirement wrote:
And I have had conflicting advice as to how to use the apostrophe to denote possession in a singular noun/name ending in "s".  Is it Charles' book or Charles's book.  At school we were told it was an either/or situation, both were acceptable but there is a society for the preservation of the apostrophe (that may not be it's name) that say only Charles's book is acceptable - and some people will say it must be the apostrophe after the s without a second s (obviously only in such cases - i.e. singular nouns/names ending in s).

The rule I learnt was that it depends on whether the word ending with "s" is spoken using a straightforward "s" sibilant sound or one slightly harder and closer to "z". As the possessive "'s" is itself in the latter category (allegedly based on the word "his", though this is grammatical myth) then it can be regarded as superfluous following a word that already incorporates the sound, and this should be reflected in how it is written. Hence "Jesus's ham sandwich" versus "James' pork scratchings" and so on. It is not as serious a crime to put an 's after James above, however it would be regarded as naughty to omit one after Jesus, so if one adopts this rule it is better to keep it consistent. Your example of "Charles's book" is therefore actually the opposite to the rule as I learnt it as it attempts to follow a "z" sound with a separate "z" sound and avoiding this lies at the heart of the rule (a students' writing guide for Oxbridge exams circa 1950s - back when people still cared about this stuff).

The rule is complicated further when plurals of words ending with "s" are involved, in which case it is more normal to assume a harder sibilant sound at the end of the word regardless of how it might be pronounced in the vernacular, and therefore no further "s" is required after the apostrophe. Hence "the busses' liveries", "the liveries' use of colour" etc. Grammatical myth ascribes this to the apostrophe now implying use of the word "their" after the noun doing the possessing, which though not strictly true is in fact a good way of remembering when to avoid "'s" in that situation.


nordmann, I read your rules about the "s" in the Saxon genetive,
but what do you think of this link that I provided in my former message?
http://www.grammar.cl/rules/genitive-case.htm


Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Tue 18 Sep 2018, 07:54

@PaulRyckier wrote:
[
but what do you think of this link that I provided in my former message?
http://www.grammar.cl/rules/genitive-case.htm


Kind regards, Paul.

I think Americans have a lot to answer for, Paul. Good to see though that Harvard and Yale might expect Jesus and Sophocles to be regarded as grammatical siblings, despite their sibilant differences. Oxford would never stand for such tagmemic liberties! Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Tue 18 Sep 2018, 08:10

[size=11]What about my son Louis?  Pronounced as the French way, ie without the 's' pronounced.  When it is in the possessive I always want to add apostrophe 's', but others, including him, don't.  I just feel that Louis's shows the pronunciation whereas Louis' doesn't. (Though aloud you wouldn't differentiate and they would both pronounced Louize with the stress on the first syllable.)[/size]
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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Tue 18 Sep 2018, 22:32

@Caro wrote:
[size=11]What about my son Louis?  Pronounced as the French way, ie without the 's' pronounced.  When it is in the possessive I always want to add apostrophe 's', but others, including him, don't.  I just feel that Louis's shows the pronunciation whereas Louis' doesn't. (Though aloud you wouldn't differentiate and they would both pronounced Louize with the stress on the first syllable.)[/size]

Caro,

now I suddenly started to doubt with your example of Louis about "our" saxon genetive in Dutch (and I think it is the same in German)
First about the pronunciation of "Louis"...I heard it for the first time in my life in Detroit...



And it can be that it is pronounced that way in Dutch too...have to check...
But in the former county of Flanders they pronounce it as "Lowie" as in the French Louis..I don't know it in German...
LiR perhaps you can help me with phonetic signs...as I always think you know that much about "signs"
And I found this in German:
https://www.eltern.de/foren/vornamen-soll-dein-baby-heissen/39913-luis-louis.html

Of course Louis in Dutch is "Lodewijk" and in German it is "Ludwig"...
With a learned man I came on a French forum with our "Chlodovech" (Clovis in Latin) (glorious battle) (from Tournai!), while it is mentioned that the "CH" was later dropped in the Franc language to the Dutch Lodewijk and later or at the same time to the German Ludwig and from that to our Flemish "Lowie" Wink  and from that to the French Louis...hence indeed the Louis kings their name came from Chlodovech...and not from the Latin name Clovis...

That said back to the Dutch "Saksische genetief":
https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saksische_genitief

And in Dutch I guess, because nobody spoke about "when one can use the Saxon genetive?" it is in the same cases as in English, but otherwise as in English the "s" is added to the word and in the case of ending on an "s" there is an apostrophe at the end of the word.


  • Els' man, Els d'r man (bezit in overdrachtelijke zin)
  • mijn zus' vriend, mijn zus d'r vriend (idem)

I see here that we say it completely otherwise as in the wiki:
instead of "mijn zus d'r vriend " we say "mijn zusters vriend" (my sister's friend)
And "Els haar man" (Els' man)

Constructies  met het bezittelijk voornaamwoord zijn ook vaak mogelijk: Wie z'n boek, de man die z'n boek ik heb gelezen. Het voornaamwoord komt op deze positie normaliter alleen in zijn clitische vorm voor.


"wie z'n boek" sounds for me a bit irrational and of course we say exclusively: "wiens boek" (whose book)
"de man die z'n boek ik heb gelezen "sounds even more unnatural...of course we say: "de man wiens boek wij gelezen hebben" (the man whose book we have read) What are the sources of this wiki? I hope it is not a university...

And Caro you can always say : Lewis? Wink . Or is that American? And MM will agree with me, in France it is pronounced with the emphasis on the second syllable as "lo" "wie" (wei? In English) and as "Lowie" in Flemish...
And mostly we pronounce the French way as "Gerard" Geeraard in Dutch with the "G" as in "good", but we pronounce it as MM will say: "Z---rard" the French way, we have three of them in the family (the oldest died some weeks ago).

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Wed 19 Sep 2018, 12:30

Ha, ha Caro, did Duchess Kate get the idea of how to name her youngest from your family then?  Going from memory Trike posted a clip of the song Louis Louis (pronounced Louee Loueye) on the board when the latest princelet was born.

Some names can be spelled (and pronounced) more than one way in English of course - there is Louis/Lewis - the second one using having the final 's' sounded but I have heard the first way both with the final 's' sounded and as silent, though silent is probably more usual for that spelling.  With Lawrence/Laurence I always have to ask the person how it's spelled and Leslie/Lesley (I know one is for a boy and one is for a girl but I always forget) is a bit of a problem also. Other than Louis I don't know of the names being pronounced differently although there are alternative spellings.

Some surnames can be written more than one way also.  With Irish names for instance I think the O'Neill clan is more properly Ui Niall (sorry the accent in 'Ui' is omitted here) has somehow become changed over the years to O'Neill, O'Neil or as the joke went how Ryan and his lovely daughter Tantrum* wrote it O'Neal.

* Her name is actually Tatum but she used to be a child film star going back some decades.  Child stars have a reputation of being dramatic but I don't know if she ever was a bit of a diva.
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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Sat 22 Sep 2018, 12:35

The "I Love Languages" channel on YouTube (not a whacky conspiracy theory in sight) has been on something of a binge over the last couple of days and has loaded up several short snippets of examples of languages or dialects and I remember commenting some time ago about Jersey and Guernsey French - here is a link to the Jersey one 
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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Sat 22 Sep 2018, 12:38

Here is a link about Guernsey French:-

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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Tue 09 Oct 2018, 16:31

I've been to the U3A French conversation group today and somehow we got talking about local dialects.  One lady who is from Stoke-on-Trent or near there said that she could remember when inside the family circle some of her older relations would use "thou" and "thee".  I said some people had told me I spoke like a Stoke person but I have never pronounced "book" to rhyme with "Luke".  I told my anecdote about "red 'at, no drawers" and one lady explained that she had worked in London at one time.  She had had a shorthand typing job with a City stockbroking firm and therefore had to dress presentably (it was probably skirt suits then).  Anyway, she had been waiting for a friend after work one day when another woman came to her and gave her a pound note (yes it was that long ago) and said "Here you are - now get off my pitch".  She was too surprised to argue - she and her friend had a laugh about it later but they were able to have a bit of a spend-up on the pound.  How things change (at least as to the value of money).
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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Tue 09 Oct 2018, 22:37

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
I've been to the U3A French conversation group today and somehow we got talking about local dialects.  One lady who is from Stoke-on-Trent or near there said that she could remember when inside the family circle some of her older relations would use "thou" and "thee".  I said some people had told me I spoke like a Stoke person but I have never pronounced "book" to rhyme with "Luke".  I told my anecdote about "red 'at, no drawers" and one lady explained that she had worked in London at one time.  She had had a shorthand typing job with a City stockbroking firm and therefore had to dress presentably (it was probably skirt suits then).  Anyway, she had been waiting for a friend after work one day when another woman came to her and gave her a pound note (yes it was that long ago) and said "Here you are - now get off my pitch".  She was too surprised to argue - she and her friend had a laugh about it later but they were able to have a bit of a spend-up on the pound.  How things change (at least as to the value of money).

Lady,

"She was too surprised to argue - she and her friend had a laugh about it later but they were able to have a bit of a spend-up on the pound.  How things change (at least as to the value of money)."

When I was first on the boats: car ferry Ostend Dover...help in the restaurant...1959 I guess or 60...stopped after a month...seasickness and no earnings enough...but I remember that in that time the Pound had a huge value against the Belgian Franc...checked it...I thought 120 Francs, but now I see it was 140 Francs...
http://fxtop.com/en/currency-converter-past.php?A=1&C1=GBP&C2=BEF&DD=01&MM=01&YYYY=1959&B=1&P=&I=1&btnOK=Go%21

With that amount of money we could nearly go to restaurant with two...
And now I see that as the pound of that time is only 2.66 Euro, as 140 Belgian Francs at the start of the Euro was 3.5 Euro (40 Belgian Francs is 1 Euro), it means that the Euro has lost already a lot from its original worth? I presume Wink ...

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Language and local identity   Wed 10 Oct 2018, 10:15

I can't remember whether I typed this couplet I heard in my childhood.  It is heard or at least used to be in Staffordshire (my part anyway) and in Shropshire - it may be heard elsewhere for all I know.

"Yer munna say dunna, it inna polite
Yer canna say inna 'cause it inna right"

or "....inna in't right".

munna means mustn't
dunna means don't
canna means can't and
inna means isn't
and of course 'yer' is 'you'.

I thought I might have mentioned that rhyme before but a search on Res Hist didn't (didna) bring it up so apologies (I hope I'm not becoming one of those elderly ladies who repeats herself ad nauseam).

I know that accents are becoming muted to some extent but I have noticed that sometimes people in the media nowadays retain their natural accents whereas at one time the majority would learn how to speak "The Queen's English" or "received pronunciation" or whatever one liked to call it.  I can remember a few personalities who kept their regional aspects - Wilfrid Pickles kept his Yorkshire accent and having just looked the gentleman's Wikipedia profile up it says that was "a deliberate attempt to make it more difficult for Nazis to impersonate BBC broadcasters".  Stanley Baxter (now 92 and I'm pretty sure retired) always kept his Scots accent - though he could do a British accent - his impersonations of the Queen tickled my funny bone, especially the one where he impersonated the Queen doing her Christmas speech and asked for the fee.
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