Frankish language

Not to be confused with French language or Old French.
This article is about Franconian dialects spoken between 4th and 8th century AD. For their descendant language also known as Old Low Franconian, see Old Dutch.
Frankish / Old Franconian
Native to Austrasia, Frankish Empire
Era 5th to the 9th century
Language codes
ISO 639-3 frk
Glottolog fran1264[1]

Frankish, Old Franconian, or Old Frankish was the West Germanic language spoken by the Franks between 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 spoken in the Low Countries until about the 12th century.

During the Merovingian period, Frankish had significant influence on the Romance languages spoken in Gaul. As a result, many modern French words and placenames (including the country name "France") have a Germanic origin. France itself is still known in German as "Frankreich" and in Dutch as "Frankrijk", i.e. the "Frankish Realm". Between the 5th and 9th centuries, the languages spoken by the Salian Franks in Belgium and the Netherlands evolved into Old Dutch (Old Low Franconian), while in Picardy and Île-de-France it was eventually eclipsed by Old French as the dominant language.

The 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 11th to 12th centuries. A notable exception is the Bergakker inscription, which may represent a primary record of 5th-century Frankish.


Main article: Name of the Franks

In a modern linguistic context, the language is variously called (in English) Old Frankish or Old Franconian, and referred to in Dutch as Oudfrankisch and in German as Altfränkisch.

In philology, the language spoken by the Salian Franks from around the 5th to the 10th century was called Old Dutch or, sometimes, Old Low Franconian, and regarded as a variety of Old Franconian (more broadly defined in that discipline). Compare the somewhat analogous usage, in philological versus linguistic contexts, of Old English vs. Anglo-Saxon.

The English term Old Frankish is, for historical reasons, usually not used in the context of the Ripuarian Franks and their language. It is more often used in the Salian Frank and Dutch contexts. The language spoken by the Salian Franks has sometimes been referred to as Old West Low Franconian, as distinguishable from Old Low Franconian more broadly.



The distribution of the primary Germanic dialect groups in Europe in around AD 1:
  North Sea Germanic, or Ingvaeonic
  Weser-Rhine Germanic, or Istvaeonic
  Elbe Germanic, or Irminonic

The Germanic languages are traditionally divided into three groups: West, East and North Germanic.[2] Their exact relation is difficult to determine, and they remained mutually intelligible throughout the Migration Period, so that some individual varieties are difficult to classify.

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.[3] 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.[4]

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 southeast.

Salian and Ripuarian Franks (210–500)

Scholarly consensus concerning the Migration Period is in agreement that the Frankish identity emerged at 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.

Bergakker inscription

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. Another early sentence from the early 6th century AD 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 still spoke a range of related dialects and languages rather than a single uniform dialect or language.[5] The language of both government and the Church was Latin.



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 France and the adjoining area in Germany centred on Cologne). The Franks united 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 that they were subsumed under the Salic Franks. The Franks were united, but the various Frankish groupings must have continued to live in the same areas, and speak the same dialects, although as a part of the growing Frankish Empire.

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 Saxon-based languages and dialects to the north and northeast, i.e. Old Saxon and the related Anglo-Saxon dialects called Old English and Old Frisian.

A widening cultural divide grew between the Franks remaining in the north and the rulers far to the south.[6] 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.[7] 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).[6][7] Even though living in the original territory of the Franks, these 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.[8]


The Franks expanded south into Gaul. Although the Franks would 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".[7] Urban T. Holmes has proposed that a Germanic language continued to be spoken as a second tongue by public officials in western Austrasia and Neustria as late as the 850s, and that it completely disappeared as a spoken language from these regions only during the 10th century.[9]

German Franconia

Further information: Franconia

The 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 Franks were expanding southeast into Germany, there were linguistic changes in Germany. 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.

Franconian languages

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 different ways.

Because of the geographical correspondence, it is particularly tempting to think that the languages and dialects spoken by the early Franks are represented today by the languages and dialects of the Rhenish fan.

The Frankish Empire later extended throughout neighbouring France and Germany. The language of the Franks had some influence on the local languages (especially in France), but never took hold as a standard language because Latin was the international language at the time. Ironically, the language of the Franks did not develop into the lingua franca.

Franconian is the historic basis of the Central Franconian and Low Franconian dialects spoken today in western Germany (largely the states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, as well as the south-western half of North Rhine-Westphalia). These dialects have, however, had little impact in the emergence of modern Standard German.

The 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.

Influence on Old French and Middle Latin

Most French words of Germanic origin came from Frankish (some others are English loanwords[11]), often replacing the Latin word which would have been used. It is estimated that modern French took approximately 1000 stem words from Old Franconian.[12] 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 nation, France (Francia), meaning "land of the Franks", as well as possibly the name for the Paris region, Île-de-France from Lidle Franken or "Little Franconia".

The influence of Franconian on French is decisive for the birth of the early 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 to English.

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.[13]

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, Walloon, Burgundian, 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).[14]

Current French word Old Franconian Dutch or other Germanic cognates Latin/Romance
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"[15] Du Frankrijk "France", Du vrek "miser", OHG franko "free man" Norwegian: frekk "rude" L līberāre
alène "awl" (Sp alesna, It lesina) *alisna MDu elsene, else, Du els L sūbula
alise "whitebeam berry" (OFr alis, alie "whitebeam") *alísō "alder"[16] MDu elze, Du els "alder" (vs. G Erle "alder"); Du elsbes "whitebeam", G Else "id." non-native to the Mediterranean
baron *baro "freeman", "bare of duties" MDu baren "to give birth", Du bar "gravely", "bare", OHG baro "freeman", OE beorn "noble" Germanic cultural import
bâtard "bastard" (FrProv bâsco) *bāst "marriage"[17] MDu bast "lust, heat, reproductive season", WFris boaste, boask "marriage" L nothus
bâtir "to build" (OFr bastir "to baste, tie together")
bâtiment "building"
bastille "fortress"
bastion "fortress"
*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)
bière "beer" *bera Du bier L cervisia(celtic)
blanc, blanche "white" *blank Du blinken "to shine", blank "white, shining" L albus
bleu "blue" (OFr blou, bleve) *blao 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)[18]
bourg "town/city" *burg or *burc "fortified settlement" ODu burg, MDu burcht Got. baurg OHG burg OE burh, OLG burg, ON borg L urbs "fortified city", Late Latin burgus
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)
brun "brown" ? MDu brun and Du bruin "brown" [19]
choquer "to shock" *skukjan Du schokken "to shock, to shake"
choisir "to choose" *kiosan 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"
cresson "watercress" *kresso MDu kersse, korsse, Du kers, dial. kors L nasturtium, LL berula (but Fr berle "water parsnip")
danser "to dance" (OFr dancier) *dansōn[20] 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 pull, stretch" 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" *swank "bat, rod" MDu swanc "wand, rod", Du (dial. Holland) zwang "rod" L pistillum (Fr dial. pesselle "swingle-dag")
écran "screen" (OFr escran) *skrank[21] MDu schrank "chassis"; G Schrank "cupboard", Schranke "fence" L obex
écrevisse "crayfish" (OFr crevice) *krebit Du kreeft "crayfish, lobster" L cammārus "crayfish" (cf. Occ chambre, It gambero, Pg camarão)
éperon "spur" (OFr esporon) *sporo MDu spōre, Du spoor L calcar
espier "to spy"
espion "male spy",
espionne "female spy",
espionnage "espionage"
*spehōn "to spy" Du spieden, bespieden "to spy", HG spähen "to peer, to peek, to scout",
escrime "fencing" < Old Italian scrimia < OFr escremie from escremir "fight" *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)
flèche "arrow" *fliukka Du vliek "arrow feather", MDu vliecke, OS fliuca (MLG fliecke "long arrow") L sagitta (OFr saete, Pg seta)
frais "fresh" (OFr freis, fresche) *friska "fresh" Du vers "fresh", fris "cold", German frisch
franc "free, exempt; straightforward, without hassle" (LL francus "freeborn, freedman")
France "France" (OFr Francia)
franchement "frankly"
*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",[22] Du Frankrijk "France", Du vrek "miser", OHG franko "free man" L ingenuus "freeborn"
L Gallia[23]
frapper "to hit, strike" (OFr fraper) *hrapan "to jerk, snatch"[24] Du rapen "gather up, collect", G raffen "to grab" L ferire (OFr ferir)
frelon "hornet" (OFr furlone, ML fursleone) *hurslo MDu horsel, Du horzel L crābrō (cf. It calabrone)
freux "rook" (OFr frox, fru) *hrōk MDu roec, Du roek not distinguished in Latin
galloper "to gallop" *wala hlaupan "to run well" Du wel "good, well" + lopen "to run"
garder "to guard" *wardōn MDu waerden "to defend", OS wardōn L cavere, servare
gant "gauntlet" *want 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 "track" ML planare
grappe "bunch (of grapes)" (OFr crape, grape "hook, grape stalk") *krāppa "hook" 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 "grape")
gris "grey" *grîs "grey" Du grijs "grey" L cinereus "ash-coloured, grey"
guenchir "to turn aside, avoid" *wenkjan 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, preserve" L sānāre (Sard sanare, Sp/Pg sanar, OFr saner), medicāre (Dalm medcuar "to heal")
guerre "war" *werra "war" Du war[25] or wirwar "tangle",[26] verwarren "to confuse" L bellum
guigne "heart cherry" (OFr guisne) *wīksina[27] G Weichsel "sour cherry", (dial. Rhine Franconian) Waingsl, (dial. East Franconian) Wassen, Wachsen non-native to the Mediterranean
haïr "to hate" (OFr haïr "to hate")
haine "hatred" (OFr haïne "hatred")
*hatjan Du haten "to hate", haat "hatred" L ōdī "to hate", odium "hatred"
hanneton "cockchafer" *hāno "rooster" + -eto (diminutive suffix) with sense of "beetle, weevil" 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")
haubert "hauberk" *halsberg "neck-cover"[28] Du hals "neck" + berg "cover" (cf Du herberg "hostel")
héron "heron" *heigero, variant of *hraigro MDu heiger "heron", Du reiger "heron" L ardea
houx "holly" *hulis 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, jart)[29][30] *gardo "garden" Du gaard "garden", boomgaard "orchard"; OS gardo "garden" L hortus
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) *mattio "mason"[31] 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") *menigþa "many" Du menig "many", menigte "group of people"
marais "marsh, swamp" *marisk "marsh" MDu marasch, meresch, maersc, Du meers "wet grassland", (dial. Holland) mars L paludem (Occ palun, It palude)
maréchal "marshal"
maréchausse "military police"
*marh-skalk "horse-servant" 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 "teasingly")
nord "north" *Nortgouue (790–793 A.D.) "north" + "frankish district" (Du gouw, Deu Gau, Fri/LSax Go) Du noord or noorden "north"[32] 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 regions, north"
osier "osier (basket willow); withy" (OFr osière, ML auseria) *halster[33] 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)
patte "paw" *pata "foot sole" Du poot "paw",[34] Du pets "strike"; LG Pad "sole of the foot";[35] further to G Patsche "instrument for striking the hand", Patschfuss "web foot", patschen "to dabble", (dial. Bavarian) patzen "to blot, pat, stain"[36] Vulg L pauta,[34] LL branca "paw" (Sard brànca, It brince, Rom brîncă, Prov branca, Romansh franka, but Fr branche "treelimb"), see also Deu Pranke
poche "pocket" *poka "pouch" 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)
riche "rich" *riki "rich" MDu rike, Du rijk "kingdom", "rich" L dives
sale "dirty" *salo "pale, sallow" MDu salu, saluwe "discolored, dirty", Du (old) zaluw "tawny" L succidus (cf. It sudicio, Sp sucio, Pg sujo, Ladin scich, Friul soç)
salle "room" *sala "hall, room" ODu zele "house made with sawn beams", Many place names: "Melsele", "Broeksele" (Brussels) etc.
saule "willow" *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"[37] 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) *tamisa 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)
trêve "truce" *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" L ligustrum
tuyau "pipe, hose" (OFr tuiel, tuel) *þūta MDu tūte "nipple; pipe", Du tuit "spout, nozzle", OE þwēot "channel; canal" L canna "reed; pipe" (It/SwRom/FrProv cana "pipe")

Old French

Franconian speech habits are also responsible for the replacement of Latin cum ("with") with odapud "at", then with avuecapud hoc "at it" ≠ Italian, Spanish con) in Old French (Modern French avec), and for the preservation of Latin nominative homo "man" as an impersonal pronoun: cf. hommehominem "man (accusative)" and Old French hum, hom, om → modern on, "one" (compare German der Mann "man" and man, "one").

Middle English

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) among others.

See also


Frankish language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator
  1. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Frankish". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. 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.
  3. Robinson, Orrin W. (1992). Old English and Its Closest Relatives. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-2221-8.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 1 2 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. ISBN 978-1-84545-272-8.
  7. 1 2 3 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 hiermee verband: 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 Franks was 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.]
  8. van der Wal, M., Geschiedenis van het Nederlands, 1992 , p.
  9. U. T. Holmes, A. H. Schutz (1938), A History of the French Language, p. 29, Biblo & Tannen Publishers, ISBN 0-8196-0191-8
  10. 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, p. 318.
  11. Besides modern loan words, English also influenced French in earlier times, with Old English for example replacing the Latin words for the four cardinal directions: nord "north", sud "south", est "east" and ouest "west".
  13. See a list of Walloon names derived from Old Franconian.
  14. CNRTL, "escrime"
  15. (entry: Vrank)
  16. 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 seen in 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, allouche, alosse, Berrichon aluge, Walloon: al'hî, some of which clearly point to variants like Gmc *alūsó which gave MHG alze (G Else "whitebeam").
  17. Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, s.v. "bastard" (NY: Gramercy Books, 1996), 175: "[…] perhaps from 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.
  18. 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.
  19. "bruin"
  20. 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").
  21. 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").
  22. Nieuw woordenboek der Nederlandsche taal By I.M. Calisch and N.S. Calisch.
  23. 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.
  24. 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".
  25. "" ,s.v. "war" "chaos"
  26. "" ,s.v. "wirwar"
  27. Gran Diccionari de la llengua catalana, s.v. "guinda", .
  31. 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 sound [ts].
  32. noord
  33. Jean Dubois, Henri Mitterrand, and Albert Dauzat, Dictionnaire étymologique et historique du français, s.v. "osier" (Paris: Larousse, 2007).
  34. 1 2 "poot"
  35. Onions, op. cit., s.v. "pad", 640.
  36. Skeat, op. cit., s.v. "patois", 335.
  37. Onions, op. cit., s.v. "seize", 807.

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