Frankish (reconstructed endonym: *Frenkisk),[6][7] also known as Old Franconian or Old Frankish, was the West Germanic language spoken by the Franks from the 5th to 9th century.

Old Franconian, Old Frankish
Native toFrancia
RegionWestern Europe
EraGradually evolved into Old Low Franconian (Old Dutch) and the Old High Franconian dialects (Rhine Franconian, East Franconian and Central Franconian) by the 9th century,[1][2] which dissolved with other West Germanic varieties into Old High German, and influenced Old French as a superstrate.
Elder Futhark (not widely used)
Language codes
ISO 639-3frk
Approximation of the Old Frankish Sprachraum in late antiquity, without smaller exclaves in Gallia Belgica[3]
  Old Frankish Varieties (1.)
  North Sea (2.) and Elbe Germanic (3.) Varieties
  Romance Varieties

  Somme–Aisne Line, north of which Germanic toponyms dominate
  Border of the later High German consonant shift, which spread from Elbe Germanic areas in the 7th century[4][5]

After the Salian Franks settled in Roman Gaul (roughly, present-day France), its speakers in Picardy and Île-de-France were outnumbered by the local populace who spoke Proto-Romance dialects. However, many modern French words and place names, including the eventual country's name of "France", have a Frankish (i.e. Germanic) origin. France itself is still known in some languages by terms literally meaning the "Frankish Realm".

Between the 5th and 9th centuries, Frankish spoken in Northeastern France, present-day Belgium, and the Netherlands is subsequently referred to as Old Dutch, whereas the Frankish varieties spoken in the Rhineland were heavily influenced by Elbe Germanic dialects and the Second Germanic consonant shift and would form part of the modern Central Franconian and Rhine Franconian dialects of German and Luxembourgish.[8]

The Old Frankish language is poorly attested and mostly reconstructed from Frankish loanwords in Old French, and inherited words in Old Dutch, as recorded in the 9th to 12th centuries. A notable exception is the Bergakker inscription, which may represent a primary record of 5th-century Frankish, though it is debated whether the inscription is written in Frankish, or Old Dutch.[9]



Germanic philology and German studies have their origins in the first half of the 19th century when Romanticism and Romantic thought heavily influenced the lexicon of the linguists and philologists of the time, including pivotal figures such as the Brothers Grimm. As a result, many contemporary linguists tried to incorporate their findings in an already existing historical framework of "stem duchies" and Altstämme (lit. "old tribes", i.e. the six Germanic tribes then thought to have formed the "German nation" in the traditional German nationalism of the elites) resulting in a taxonomy which spoke of "Bavarian", "Saxon", "Frisian", "Thuringian", "Swabian" and "Frankish" dialects. While this nomenclature became generally accepted in traditional Germanic philology, it has also been described as "inherently inaccurate" as these ancient ethnic boundaries (as understood in the 19th century) bore little or limited resemblance to the actual or historical linguistic situation of the Germanic languages. Among other problems, this traditional classification of the continental West Germanic dialects can suggest stronger ties between dialects than is linguistically warranted. The Franconian group is a well known example of this, with East Franconian being much more closely related to Bavarian dialects than it is to Dutch, which is traditionally placed in the Low Franconian sub-grouping and with which it was thought to have had a common, tribal origin.[10]

In a modern linguistic context, the language of the early Franks is variously called "Old Frankish" or "Old Franconian" and refers to the language of the Franks prior to the advent of the High German consonant shift, which took place between 600 and 700 CE. After this consonant shift the Frankish dialect diverges, with the dialects which would become modern Low Franconian not undergoing the consonantal shift, while all others did so to varying degrees.[11] As a result, the distinction between Old Dutch and Old Frankish is largely negligible, with Old Dutch (also called Old Low Franconian) being the term used to differentiate between the affected and non-affected variants following the aforementioned Second Germanic consonant shift.[12]




A proposed distribution of five primary Proto-Germanic dialect groups in Europe around 1–300 AD:
  North Germanic (→Proto-Norse by 300 AD)
  North Sea Germanic (Ingvaeonic)
  Weser–Rhine Germanic (Istvaeonic)
  Elbe Germanic (Irminonic)
  East Germanic (→Gothic by 300 AD)

The Germanic languages are traditionally divided into three groups: West, East and North Germanic.[13] Their exact relation is difficult to determine, and they remained mutually intelligible throughout the Migration Period, rendering some individual varieties 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.[14] 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 if it should be considered a collection of similar dialects.[15]

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 (3rd century–5th century)


The scholarly consensus concerning the Migration Period is that the Frankish identity emerged during the first half of the 3rd century out of various earlier, smaller Germanic groups, including the Salii, Sicambri, Chamavi, Bructeri, Chatti, Chattuarii, Ampsivarii, Tencteri, Ubii, Batavi, and 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.[16]

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 scabbard of Bergakker which is either a direct attestation of the Old Franconian language or the earliest attestation of Old Low Franconian (Old Dutch) language. Another early sentence from the early 6th century AD (that is also described as the earliest sentence in Old Dutch as well) is found in the Lex Salica. This phrase was used to free a serf:

"Maltho thi afrio lito"
(I say, I free you, half-free.)

These are the earliest sentences yet found of Old Franconian.

The location of the Franks around 475. "Les Francs rhénans" is the French term for "Ripuarian Franks".

During this early period, the Franks were divided politically and geographically into two groups: the Salian Franks and the Ripuarian Franks. The language (or set of dialects) spoken by the Salian Franks during this period is sometimes referred to as early "Old Low Franconian", and consisted of two groups: "Old West Low Franconian" and "Old East Low Franconian". The language (or set of dialects) spoken by the Ripuarian Franks are referred to just as Old Franconian dialects (or, by some, as Old Frankish dialects).

However, as already stated above, it may be more accurate to think of these dialects not as early Old Franconian but as Istvaeonic dialects in the West Germanic branch of Proto-Germanic.

Frankish Empire (5th century-8th century)

The Frankish conquests between 481 and 814

At around the 5th century, the Franks probably spoke a range of related dialects and languages rather than a single uniform dialect or language.[17] The language of both government and the Church was Latin.




The approximate extent of Germanic languages in the early 10th century:
  Continental West Germanic languages (Old Frisian, Old Saxon, Old Dutch, Old High German, Old High Frankish).

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 centered 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 which they were subsumed into the Salian Franks. The Franks were united, but the various Frankish groups must have continued to live in the same areas that they had lived in before unification, and to speak the same dialects as before.

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 neighboring Old Saxon and Old Frisian languages and dialects to the north and northeast, as well as the related Old English (Anglo-Saxon) dialects spoken in southern and eastern Britain.

A widening cultural divide grew between the Franks remaining in the north and the rulers far to the south.[18] 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. The word Diets is cognate with the Old English word þēodisc which, likewise, meant both nation and speech.

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 recognizably an early form of Dutch, but that might also have been the case earlier.[19] 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).[18][19] 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.[20]



The Franks expanded south into Gaul as the Western Roman Empire collapsed in the fifth century. Although the Franks would eventually conquer almost all of Gaul, speakers of Old Franconian expanded only into northern Gaul in numbers sufficient 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".[19] 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.[21]

German 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 what is now southern Germany, there were linguistic changes taking place in the region. The High German consonant shift (or second Germanic consonant shift) was a phonological development (sound change) that took place in the southern parts of the West Germanic dialect continuum in several phases, probably beginning between the 3rd and 5th centuries AD, and was almost complete before the earliest written records in the High German language were made in the 9th century. The resulting language, Old High German, can be neatly contrasted with Low Franconian, which for the most part did not experience the shift.

Franconian languages


The set of dialects of the Franks who continued to live in their original territory in Germany eventually developed in three different ways and eventually formed three modern branches of Franconian languages.

  • The dialects spoken by the Salian Franks in the Low Countries (Old Dutch, also referred to as Old West Low Franconian) developed into the Dutch language, which itself has a number of distinct dialects. Afrikaans developed from early Modern Dutch's Hollandic dialect spoken in the Cape Colony.
  • The Old East Low Franconian dialects are represented today in Limburgish. Old Limburgish continued to develop under heavy Low Rhenish and Dutch influence which gradually made it more mutually intelligible with neighboring varieties[citation needed]. Since the incorporation of Limburg into the Dutch state in the late 16th century, Limburgish has experienced heavy influence from Dutch, to the point where the two are today mutually intelligible to a significant degree[citation needed]. Limburgish itself has a number of dialects.
  • It is speculated that the dialects originally spoken by the Ripuarian Franks in Germany possibly developed into, or were subsumed under, the German dialects called the Central Franconian dialects (Ripuarian Franconian, Moselle Franconian and Rhenish Franconian). These languages and dialects were later affected by serious language changes (such as the High German consonant shift), which resulted in the emergence of dialects that are now considered German dialects. Today, the Central Franconian dialects are spoken in the core territory of the Ripuarian Franks. Although there may not be definite proof to say that the dialects of the Ripuarian Franks (about which very little is known) developed into the Central Franconian dialects, there are—apart from mere probability—some pieces of evidence, most importantly the development -hsss and the loss of n before spirants, which is found throughout Central Franconian but nowhere else in High German. Compare Luxembourgish Uess ("ox"), Dutch os, German Ochse; and (dated) Luxembourgish Gaus ("goose"), Old Dutch gās, German Gans. The language spoken by Charlemagne was probably the dialect that later developed into the Ripuarian Franconian dialect.[22]

The Frankish Empire later extended throughout neighboring France and Germany. The language of the Franks had some influence on the local languages (especially in France), but did not develop into the standard language or lingua franca.

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 part obscured, or even overwhelmed, by later developments.

Influence on Old French and Middle English


Most French words of Germanic origin came from Frankish, often replacing the Latin word which would have been used. It is estimated that modern French took approximately 1000 stem words from Old Franconian.[23] 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'. According to one hypothesis, the name for the Paris region, Île-de-France, was also given by the Franks.[24]

The influence of Franconian on French is decisive for the birth of the early langues d'oïl compared to the other Romance languages, that appeared later such as Occitan, Romanian, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, etc., because its influence was greater than the respective influence of Visigothic and Lombardic (both Germanic languages) on Occitan, 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'oïl such as Picard, Champenois, Bas-Lorrain and Walloon, more than in Common French, and not always the same ones.[25]

Below is 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 langues d'oil 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).[26]

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"[27] Du Frankrijk "France", Du vrek "miser", OHG franko "free man" Norwegian: frekk "rude" L līberāre
alêne "awl" (Sp alesna, It lesina) *alisna MDu elsene, else, Du els L sūbula
alise "whitebeam berry" (OFr alis, alie "whitebeam") *alísō "alder"[28] 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"[citation needed] MDu baren "to give birth", Du bar "gravely", "bare", OHG baro "freeman", OE beorn "noble" Germanic cultural import
Late, Vulgar, and Medieval Latin *baro
bâtard "bastard" (FrProv bâsco) *bāst "marriage"[29] 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", G basteln "to tinker"; MDu best "liaison" (Du gemenebest "commonwealth") L construere (It costruire)
bêche "spade" *becca/bicca "pickaxe/spade" L becca
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)[30]
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"
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 măşina, It maşinare)
brun "brown" *brūn MDu brun and Du bruin "brown" [31]
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"
crampe "cramp" *krampa MDu crampe, G Krampf, ModSc cramp, ME cramp MF crampe, Sp calambre, NF crampe
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[32] 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)
début "begin" *but "stump, log" ON bútr "log, stump, butt", OE butt "tree stump" MF desbuter "move, begin", OF but "aim, goal, target" or butte "mound, knoll, target"
déchirer "to rip, tear" (OFr escirer) *skerian "to cut, shear" MDu scēren, Du scheren "to shave, shear", scheuren "to tear" VL extractiāre (Prov estraçar, It stracciare), VL exquartiare "to rip into fours" (It squarciare, but Fr écarter "to move apart, distance"), exquintiare "to rip into five" (Cat/Occ esquinçar)
dérober "to steal, reave" (OFr rober, Sp robar) *rōbon "to steal" MDu rōven, Du roven "to rob" VL furicare "to steal" (It frugare)
écang "swingle-dag, tool for beating fibrous stems" *swank "bat, rod" MDu swanc "wand, rod", Du (dial. Holland) zwang "rod" L pistillum (Fr dial. pesselle "swingle-dag")
écran "screen" (OFr escran) *skrank[33] 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
épier "to watch"
Old French espie "male spy"
, Modern French espion is from Italian
*spehōn "to spy" Du spieden, bespieden "to spy", HG spähen "to peer, to peek, to 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, It saetta, 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",[34] Du Frankrijk "France", Du vrek "miser", OHG franko "free man" L ingenuus "freeborn"
L Gallia[35]
frapper "to hit, strike" (OFr fraper) *hrapan "to jerk, snatch"[36] 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
galoper "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 "glove"
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 wenken "to beckon", OS wenkian "to defect, become unfaithful", OHG wenchen "to bend, buckle, warp"
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[37] or wirwar "tangle",[38] verwarren "to confuse" L bellum
guider "to guide"; guide "guide" *wītan Du weten "to know" L dērigere
guigne "heart cherry" (OFr guisne) *wīksina[39] G Weichsel "sour cherry", (dial. Rhine Franconian) Waingsl, (dial. East Franconian) Wassen, Wachsen non-native to the Mediterranean
haïr "to hate" (OFr hadir "to hate")
haine "hatred" (OFr haïne "hatred")
*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"[40] Du hals "neck" + berg "cover" (cf Du herberg "hostel") L lorica
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)[41][42] *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"[43] 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"
maréchaussée "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",[44] Du Henegouwen (province of Hainaut) [45] 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[46] 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",[47] Du pets "strike"; LG Pad "sole of the foot";[48] further to G Patsche "instrument for striking the hand", Patschfuss "web foot", patschen "to dabble", (dial. Bavarian) patzen "to blot, pat, stain"[49] 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"[50] 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 (archaic Fr choir, Fr chute (a fall) )
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 þēote "channel; canal" L canna "reed; pipe" (It/SwRom/FrProv cana "pipe")

Old French


Franconian speech habits are also responsible[citation needed] 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 Dutch man "man" and men, "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



  1. ^ Stefan Müller, Germanic syntax: A constraint-based view, series: Textbooks in Language Sciences 12, Language Science Press, Berlin, 2023, p. 3
  2. ^ Graeme Davis, Comparative Syntax of Old English and Old Icelandic: Linguistic, Literary and Historical Implications, series: Studies in Historical Linguistics vol. 1, Peter Lang, Oxford / Bern / Berlin / Bruxelles / Frankfurt am Main / New York / Wien, 2006, p. 93f.
  3. ^ Map made after: P. A. Kerkhof: Language, law and loanwords in early medieval Gaul: language contact and studies in Gallo-Romance phonology. Leiden, 2018, S. 24 und H. Ryckeboer: Het Nederlands in Noord-Frankrijk. Sociolinguïstische, dialectologische en contactlinguïstische aspecten. Gent, 1997, S. 183–184.
  4. ^ H. K. J. Cowan: Tijdschrift voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde. Jahrgang 71. E. J. Brill, Leiden, 1953, S. 166–186.
  5. ^ Note: The line is not the same as the later Benrath Line, which reached this position only in the High Middle Ages.
  6. ^ Willemyns, Roland (11 April 2013). Dutch: Biography of a Language. OUP USA. p. 5. ISBN 9780199858712. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  7. ^ Tor, D. G. (20 October 2017). The ʿAbbasid and Carolingian Empires: Comparative Studies in Civilizational Formation. BRILL. ISBN 9789004353046. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  8. ^ Harbert, Wayne Eugene (2007). The Germanic Languages. Cambridge Language Surveys. Cambridge / New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 15–17.
  9. ^ "Runeninscriptie met het oudste Nederlands(?)" [Runic inscription with the oldest Dutch(?)]. Museum piece information (in Dutch). Valkhof Museum. Archived from the original on 1 May 2019. Retrieved 10 November 2017. All experts agree on the meaning of the second word: "I (he) grant(s)", and many consider the first word to be the name of the owner of the sword that the scabbard belonged to. Opinions vary on how this name should be read, just as the latter two words have been interpreted very differently. Keeping in mind the function of the piece, some academics read the last word as "sword(s)".
  10. ^ Hans-Werner Goetz: Die „Deutschen Stämme“ als Forschungsproblem. In: Heinrich Beck, Dieter Geuenich, Heiko Steuer, Dietrich Hakelberg (ed.): Zur Geschichte der Gleichung „germanisch-deutsch“. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2004, pp. 229–253 (p. 247).
  11. ^ Rheinischer Fächer – Karte des Landschaftsverband Rheinland "LVR Alltagskultur im Rheinland". Archived from the original on 15 February 2009. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  12. ^ Bernard Mees, "The Bergakker Inscription and the Beginnings of Dutch", in: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik: Band 56 — 2002, edited by Erika Langbroek, Arend Quak, Annelies Roeleveld, Paula Vermeyden, published by Rodopi, 2002, ISBN 9042015799, ISBN 9789042015791, pp. 23–26
  13. ^ Hawkins, John A. (1987). "Germanic languages". In Bernard Comrie (ed.). The World's Major Languages. Oxford University Press. pp. 68–76. ISBN 0-19-520521-9.
  14. ^ Robinson, Orrin W. (1992). Old English and Its Closest Relatives. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-2221-8.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ THE LANGUAGE OF THE FRANKS l (PDF). Retrieved 2 December 2023.
  17. ^ M. Springer in: Green, Dennis 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. Woodbridge, Suffolk: The Boydell Press. p. 19. There has never been such a thing as one Frankish language. The Franks spoke different languages.
    The linguists distinguish Old Low Franconian from the other Franconian dialects, e. g., Rhenish Franconian.
  18. ^ a b Milis, L.J.R., "A Long Beginning: The Low Countries Through the Tenth Century" in J.C.H. Blom & E. Lamberts History of the Low Countries, pp. 6–18, Berghahn Books, 1999. ISBN 978-1-84545-272-8.
  19. ^ a b c de Vries, Jan W., Roland Willemyns and Peter Burger, Het verhaal van een taal, Amsterdam: Prometheus, 2003, pp. 12, 21–27. On page 25: "…Een groot deel van het noorden van Frankrijk was in die tijd tweetalig Germaans-Romaans, en gedurende een paar eeuwen handhaafde het Germaans zich er. Maar in de zevende eeuw begon er opnieuw een romaniseringsbeweging en door de versmelting van beide volken werd de naam Franken voortaan ook gebezigd voor de Romanen ten noordern van de Loire. Frankisch of François werd de naam de (Romaanse) taal. De nieuwe naam voor de Germaanse volkstaal hield 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.]
  20. ^ van der Wal, M., Geschiedenis van het Nederlands, 1992 [full citation needed], p. [page needed]
  21. ^ U. T. Holmes, A. H. Schutz (1938), A History of the French Language, p. 29, Biblo & Tannen Publishers, ISBN 0-8196-0191-8
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Romance languages | Description, Origin, Characteristics, Map, & Facts". Archived from the original on 9 March 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
  24. ^ BFM (2017) Pourquoi l’Île-de-France s’appelle-t-elle l’Îe de France ?, Archived 2019-04-27 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ See a list of Walloon names derived from Old Franconian.
  26. ^ "CNRTL, "escrime"". Archived from the original on 26 April 2013. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  27. ^ Archived 2014-10-06 at the Wayback Machine (entry: Vrank)
  28. ^ 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").
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ 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.
  31. ^ " "bruin"". Archived from the original on 22 May 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  32. ^ 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").
  33. ^ 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").
  34. ^ Nieuw woordenboek der Nederlandsche taal Archived 2014-10-06 at the Wayback Machine By I.M. Calisch and N.S. Calisch.
  35. ^ 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.
  36. ^ 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".
  37. ^ """ ,s.v. "war" "chaos"". Archived from the original on 22 May 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  38. ^ """ ,s.v. "wirwar"". Archived from the original on 22 May 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  39. ^ Gran Diccionari de la llengua catalana, s.v. "guinda", [1] Archived 2008-06-03 at the Wayback Machine.
  40. ^ "Hauberk | Search Online Etymology Dictionary". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  41. ^ "Garden | Search Online Etymology Dictionary". Archived from the original on 1 March 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  42. ^ "Zoekresultaten". Archived from the original on 15 November 2011. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  43. ^ 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].
  44. ^ " noord". Archived from the original on 22 May 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  45. ^ "Henegouwen". Archived from the original on 29 August 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  46. ^ Jean Dubois, Henri Mitterrand, and Albert Dauzat, Dictionnaire étymologique et historique du français, s.v. "osier" (Paris: Larousse, 2007).
  47. ^ " "poot"". Archived from the original on 22 May 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  48. ^ Onions, op. cit., s.v. "pad", 640.
  49. ^ Skeat, op. cit., s.v. "patois", 335.
  50. ^ Onions, op. cit., s.v. "seize", 807.