Talk:Frankish Language
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Talk:Frankish Language

Lingua franca

The article and phrase "Lingua franca" links to this page however no etymology is given. It would seem one of the key raison d'etres, to borrow another romance language phrase.

At least a seperate article with a short description of the etymology when linking "lingua franca" would be informative.


OK, I created the original page, since there seemed to be many links referring to the subject. It is quite hard to find good information to include, though, since there are so few reliable sources. Ideallay, this page should include some information of how Frankish differed from other West Germanic languages of the same time, and how Frankish and other Germanic languages affected Old French. (I believe Old French also was affected by Old Norse, but since that was a distinct North Germanic language, I think these words should be relatively easy to distinguish.) I believe most of the sources the Franks left were written in Latin, though, so it isn't of much help for finding info about their language.

Hmmm, this page contains a few reconstructed likely frankish words, borrowed into old french and later english...
I had the sae feeling; e.g. the English word Garden is afaik not from a (direct) Germanic root. According to some other wiki topics on Germanic languages, English Garden comes from French Jardin. But in turn French Jardin does have a Germanic root, We(h)r(da). (protect/fortify. The walling of of the garden from wilderness). This article is not incorrect, but seems to suggest that Jardin derives from Garden instead of the other way around. (talk) 20:38, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

Article scope

Do I understand correctly that this article deals with an entirely unattested language, guessed at from loanwords? Otherwise, it would have to be merged with Old Low Franconian. dab () 13:16, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

I originally created the page, since there were links regarding it, but no article. Isn't there many other language articles on the resource with little or no attestation, anyway? ? 18:02, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
I was not objecting to articles about unattested languages, I was asking if this language is identical to Old Low Franconian. It does seem, however, that this is about the unattested predecessor of Old Low Franconian, so the article is perfectly fine on its own. dab () 15:05, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, that's the point and focus of it. Thank you for clarifying. ? 18:47, 9 March 2006 (UTC)


I think words like "danson"/"danser" in the modern Germanic languages are borrowings from French, and not true cognates with Frankish (which, afaik, even had an other meaning for the word). ? 18:02, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

The Word Dancing is a Germanic word, that was borrowed by many romance languages not the other way around. Sandertje 18:22, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
You didn't understand me completely, what I meant was that the French word is borrowed from G Frankish, but the modern words in the G languages are borrowings from French. ? 19:09, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
Not in Dutch. Sandertje 19:10, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
I thought that it at least changed its meaning, based on French, but if you say so, alright. ? 19:13, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
many Frankish words were borrowed back into Germanic languages via Old French. "standard" is one example. "dance" is quite possibly another. "not in Dutch" is rather optimistic for a word the ultimate origin of which is not known. It may be Frankish. The Dutch word may derive Frankish directly, but it is much more likely that it is based on the French word. This is not a good example anyway, because of the uncertainty involved. dab () 15:10, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Are you saying that Dutch, a language deriving from Frankish, had "lost" the word for "dancing" since the extinction of Frankish and then somehow got it back from Old French?Highly unlikely. Sander 16:07, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

That was what I thought, as well. Anyway, I don't know much about it, so I'm not fit to discuss it further. ? 18:45, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

I don't think there is any evidence for dance having a Frankish or Germanic origin. My copy of the Oxford English Dictionary has the following for the etymology of 'dance':

[Old French dancer, (also mod.) danser from Proto-Romance, of unknown origin.]

As far as I can see, there is no recorded native variant of "dance" in Old English; there are words for dancing, but none of them look like dansen. The German tanzen is essentially identical to the Frankish version after considering the High German consonant shift, which only suggests this word was in German before the shift occurred in the Dark Ages. The fact that this word is so consistent across the West Germanic languages is consistent with the OED's explanation of it being a Late Latin import.

I have therefore removed it from the as an example of a Frankish introduction. --Saforrest 11:51, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

According to Etymonline:

Dance c.1300, from O.Fr. dancier, perhaps from Frankish. A word of uncertain origin but which, through French influence in arts and society, has become the primary word for this activity from Spain to Russia. Replaced O.E. sealtian.

In the Dutch language, the only remaining Frankish language, it's "dansen" which could be seen as an indication that it truly was a Old Frankish word. I do not think it's a latin borowing into Germanic languages you see ...

However, as Etymonline says, it is not certain ... so its best not to include the word. Rex Germanus Tesi samanunga is edele unde scona 14:05, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

I'm glad we agree about the word being here. I'm not sure I understand your point about the Dutch word dansen: sure, it looks a lot more like the Frankish danson than German tanzen or English dance does, but that doesn't prove anything: it merely shows that Dutch is a descendant of Frankish, which we already knew.
Anyway, my main reason for doubting that this is a Germanic word is the lack of native cognates in any other Germanic languages. Words don't usually come from nowhere: if dansen is a uniquely Frankish word, it probably was borrowed from somewhere, and aside from Celtic or Romance, there's just not a lot of other languages in that area to borrow from.
By the way, I don't think it's correct to say Dutch is "the only remaining Frankish language". However, I'll leave that to Talk:Frankish language. --Saforrest 16:21, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

It being of Latin/Romance origin is quite unlikely, however not having a cognate does not mean it isn't Germanic. Rex Germanus Tesi samanunga is edele unde scona 13:52, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Didn't Old High German have 'Danson'? And Modern German also has 'Tanz'. As for no native cognates in other Germanic languages, I can't say for any others, but the English word 'Sealtian' was itself a Latin borrowing. It came from the same root as 'Saltation' and the Spanish word 'Saltar'. Maybe 'Sealtian' replaced the Old English cognate. Besides, I think 'Dance' is present in all the Romance languages because they all borrowed the word from French, which was at the time the language of high culture. 11:24, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
I remember reading about a derivation of Old French dancer from a Vulgar Latin *ad-antiare, which doesn't strike me as entirely implausible. In any way, the origin of the Old French word seems to be obscure, but the Germanic words are always considered borrowings from French, ultimately, as far as I can recall, in the etymological dictionaries. Which makes sense to me: I fail to see any basis for the reconstruction of a Germanic verb *dant?- or so. German tanzen and the other Germanic words like Dutch dansen or English dance simply cannot be explained as old cognates, nor Old French dancer as a borrowing from German, because the sound laws don't fit. Rather, they suggest that the French word is the origin of the Germanic terms, indeed, not the other way round. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 22:51, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
This academic database [1] suggests that the word is "unlikely" to have stemmed from Frankish "danson". "More likely", it descended from Frankish "dintjan" (which is etymologically related to to the contemporary Dutch word "deinzen"). Morgengave (talk) 16:03, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

graper ?

In modern French, there is no such verb (graper). I never heard it (I'm French) and it's not in my dictionary, a famous French dictionary (Robert). HTH.

I found the words "gripper" and "grappin" in my Swedish-French dictionary from the 50's, though I have no idea if the words are common in modern French, or if they're directly derived from Frankish. ? 15:09, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
According to Le Dictionnaire de l'Académie française, "gripper" is probably derived from Frankish, so I change the page accordingly. ? 23:59, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
It's "grijpen" in modern Dutch (which is pronounced with the ij sounding like the "ie" in "field" in Old Dutch) , comparable afaik English "Grasp". (talk) 20:45, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

There's some confusion here. I don't know what the old Frankish words mean, but "gripper" in modern French means to physically grasp at someone or something; the sense of "comprehending" is given by the word "comprendre" which has a Latin, not a Frankish, origin. ( 00:09, 15 September 2007 (UTC))

I'm French myself, and i confirm that the verb "graper/grafer" exist in Old French(See dictionnaire de l'ancien français, Larousse), furthermore, in Modern French there are agripper and agrafer. -- (talk) 14:15, 15 July 2017 (UTC)


f. the OED:

aphetic a. OF. estandard, -art, -estendard, -art (mod.F. étendard) = med.L. standardum, -us, standarium, etc. Pr. estandard, -art, Sp., Pg. estandarte, It. stendardo; according to most scholars f. com. Rom. estend-ere (L. extend-re to stretch out: see EXTEND v.) + -ARD; a parallel synonymous formation with different suffix is It. stendale, late OF. estandale, -deille (med.L. standale, -lis). The Fr. word has passed into all the living Teut. langs.: MHG. stanthart (by popular etymology, as if 'stand hard'), later standart, standert (mod.G. standarte), MDu. standaert (mod.Du. standaard, standerd), Da. standart, Sw. standar.
The origin of sense 9 ('standard of measure or weight'), whence the other senses in branch II are derived, is somewhat obscure. It appears in AF. (estaundart) and Anglo-L. (standardus) in the 13th c., two centuries earlier than our earliest vernacular instance. It has not been found in continental OF.; the use of Du. standaard in this sense is believed to be imitated from English. It is noteworthy that in early instances the standard of measure is always either expressly or by implication called 'the king's standard', an expression which belongs to the older sense 1. It seems probable that sense 9 is a fig. use of sense 1; the king's standard being the point of reunion of the army, and the centre from which commands are issued.
The senses grouped as branch III are of doubtful, probably of various and in some instances of mixed origin. The notion of 'something conspicuously erected', involved in sense 1, would account for several of them; others may be referred to the idea of 'something permanent, fixed, or stationary', generalized from sense 9. Etymological association with STAND v. has, however, certainly affected the whole group, and it is possible that in some uses the word should be regarded as an alteration of STANDER. The senses of this branch are almost confined to English: OF. has estandart some kind of torch (rare1), and WFlem. has standaart mill-post (De Bo; standaert, Kilian); but the relation of these to the English uses is obscure.]

--VKokielov 18:14, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

The form from which most Romance languages adopted was that of Medieval Latin, which clearly shows the stem vowel as "a" (standardum). Earliest French forms also show "a" (1100 estandart; cf 1678 estendart. Italian, true to form, borrows the later French form as wont). Though standards can certainly be "stretched out", as many other things as well, the concept of extending or stretching is by no means the defining or distinguishing feature conveyed by a standard. As a result, there is certainly no concensus on derivation from a form of extendere. Also, the suffix -ard poses a problem at this point in time: in Old French, this was still a fremd suffix, being borrowed as part of the whole-unit word, and was not part of Old French derivational morphology (it is, however, part of Middle and Modern French derivational morphology, being appended to words of any origin). This further points to the word as a germanic loan. Lastly, according to French authorities, Académie Française in particular, the word derives from Low Frankish standhard. Leasnam (talk) 00:31, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

not attested

I think this not entirely true. There are a few snippets in the Lex Salica and in 1996 a sword sheath was found from 425-450 or so with 4 words on it (in runes!) near Bergakker. Interestingly there already seem to be some characteristics deemed typical for the later Old Dutch on it. Jcwf (talk) 14:46, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

some comments

just a few words about the table. it is important to realize that words given under GERMANIC COGNATES are intended as a basis of comparison, so additions like "Du reiger" under HERON and Du trog/G Trog "trough" under TROENE are over-reaching and needless. the point is not to give a full etymological recounting. reiger and trog are NOT directly related to the headword. please avoid making excessive additions.

and second, in this discussion i have seen references to the oxford english dictionary. know simply that the OED is intended for mass appeal and a wide distribution and does not represent the work of etymological specialists. like many other things, the older the edition is, the more mistakes it has, and as such, is in particular need of updating and better research. Check out instead Webster's Third International Dictionary (a gigantic book), Chambers Etymological Dictionary, or the Etymological Dictionary of Germanic Languages. further, the Online Etymology site also has a number of errors (mainly un-updated entries) that are the result of ignoring specialist litterature on the subject.

Flibjib8 (talk)

Flibjib8 has a curious opinion of English dictionaries: the Oxford English dictionary is a multivolume work begun in the mid-19th century by a large team of researchers, and is being constantly revised and updated by present-day experts on etymology, semantics etc. It has aways attamepted to include all words used in English sice circ 1100 AD and gives thier full meanings, etymology and usage. To say that it is a `work for mass appeal' and to place it lower in authority and intellectual level than Webster's or Chambers', which are works of much narrower scope, is mistaken. Possibly Flibjib8 has compared a school edition or the concise OED with the other dictionaries. I have no connection with the OED except as a satisfied user. Barney Bruchstein (talk) 22:41, 23 March 2011 (UTC)


I've tagged this article for cleanup because the majority of the text of it falls into two sections ("The sword sheath of Bergakker," and "The impact of Old Frankish on modern French"), the latter of which is simply a giant list which could just as well be its own article and not dominate the entirety of this one. The list part in particular should, IMO, be condensed or split off into its own article entirely. RobertM525 (talk) 11:09, 2 July 2010 (UTC)


I am not sure whether the frk code by ISO is actually meant to indicate Old Frankish. Reasons are:

  • Ethnologue includes it. (Ethnologue only includes extinct languages if their date of extinction is after 1950)
  • It says "Bible portions: 1758-1827", which can't be true if only four words are attested to begin with.
  • It indicates Latin as the script used. (weak argument, but still).

I think it is trying to refer to some modern Franconian dialect which became extinct, rather than Old Franconian. -- Prince Kassad (talk) 17:32, 26 October 2010 (UTC)


Would someone please add a mention of the purpose of the asterisks preceding some words, for the rest of us ? It seems that those are always prefixing a Frankish word in this article, and it also seems like some kind of convention in etymology, but can it be spelled out, please ? I mean, what the hell?, i keep running into those all over Wikt, but i have yet to see them explained ; i'm beginning to wonder if there's been a bunch of COPYVIO copy+paste from elsewhere, or what. TIA, --Jerome Potts (talk) 05:23, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

In historical linguistics the asterisk is used to indicate a reconstructed form, i.e. a word-form that has not been documented but is theorized to have existed at a certain time. See Asterisk, Linguistic reconstruction. Iblardi (talk) 16:05, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
Thank you. --Jerome Potts (talk) 06:25, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

Not done yet

The concept of Franks and Frankish as expressed here is mainly wish-fulfillment. We want it to be only the ancestors of the Dutch and make all kinds of presumptions about the language of the Franks who settled in North France. This is academic ideology and scholarly schematology, not reality. It might be a starting eye-opener to look up the location of Franconia, Germany. It is not near the Dutch but right in the heart of high Germany. At their peak the Franks were identical to the Germans, all the Germans, and nothing but the Germans. There was no part of Germany not Frankenland. Germany was defined as Frankenland. The Franks overran and took over everything, including the Suebi on the east. "Old Frankish" is not a linguistic term. These terms need to be defined; moreover, if there are different major definitions, these need to be presented. No one ever went around claiming to be an Old Frank. I'm old and I'm frank but I am not an Old Frank on that account. There were no real Old Franks. They are characters on a stage; however, we need to get the scenarios right. The refs do not start for half the article. More refs on the fundamental definitions seem warranted to me. Who has used, who has devised, who has promulgated this term? Evidently it is beyond our poor powers of definition in this article. We need to define on, define on the beaches, define in the streets, define in the countryside, we shall never give up defining until the Old Franks are defined. Defeat is not an option. We need a new deal here.Dave (talk) 04:30, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Although I agree that this article could be improved, and that there may be a problem with the nomenclature, and that "Frank", "Frankish" and "Franconian" are confusing terms, I don't agree with all your comments. In particular, I don't agree that "the Franks were identical to the Germans". The Franks had a large empire and it's not surprising that various nationalities lay claim to them as ancestors, including the French, the Dutch and the Germans. It's fascinating that there is both an "Ile de France" and a "Frankenland".
"Old Frankish" in this article essentially refers to "Low Franconian". It's easy enough to click through to Low Franconian, Central Franconian (a.k.a. Rhine Franconian), and East Franconian to see the differences and how these languages evolved in the west and east. Perhaps you could add a paragraph explaining that "Old Frankish" here refers to Low Franconian.
Surely there were "Old Franks", i.e. speakers of "Old Frankish". What were the Salian Franks then? If one accepts that Old Dutch arose from the speech of the Salian Franks residing in the western parts of Belgium and the Netherlands, the language of the Salian Franks may be referred to as "Frankish" or "Franconian", although it might be more accurate to refer to it as "West Low Frankish" or "West Low Franconian".
(I also am not sure why "Old" is needed, since there was no "Middle" or "Modern" Frankish. After all, we don't refer to Latin as "Old Latin".)
Some linguists equate "Old West Low Frankish" with "Old Dutch". Indeed, that is how it is presented here on Wikipedia. (I suppose it's the same as equating "Anglo-Saxon" with "Old English".) There's no denying that most language trees branch from Istvaeonic directly to Old Dutch without going through Old Frankish along the way. Maybe an expert out there can clarify why this is the case. Is it because there are few attestations of Old Frankish? And so we are not absolutely sure from which branch Old Dutch comes? I don't really get that because "Istvaenoic is itself an artificial construct, isn't it?
It's always seemed useful to me to be able to mark a transition from "Saxon" (or at least "West Saxon") to "Old English", from "Frankish" (or at least "West Low Franconian") to "Old Dutch". I would like to see "Old Dutch" split into two articles: "Old Dutch" and "Old West Low Franconian". Perhaps this article "Old Frankish" could be renamed "Old West Low Franconian". If so, the article on Old Dutch would have to be amended to show that these are not the same languages. Wouldn't it be useful to have an article dealing with the language spoken in the Low Countries before Old Dutch arose? I suppose the problem is that there are so few extant texts that the whole thing is somewhat of an intellectual exercise. I suppose that's your point. Schildewaert (talk) 07:34, 27 December 2011 (UTC)
No, there is a serious problem here. The article is totally misleading. There was no Franconian language. Old Franconian or Old Frankish is a collection of dialects found in Old German and Old Dutch. Old, Middle and New Dutch are all Dutch. Old, MIddle and New German are all German. Old, Middle and New English are all English. General speaking, Old High German is German, Old English is English, Old Dutch is Dutch. That is why they are termed Dutch, German, English, etc. Old, Middle, New are language phases. Now, each phase had dialects within it. Old Frankonian or Old Frankish is termed Old because it is dialects of Old German and Old Dutch. You can't dispense with the term a la Wikipedia. Moreover, Frankish does not just apply to the Dutch side, it applies to the German side as well. Some Proto-Frankish, as it is now called, a dialect of Proto-Germanic, split according to the consonant shift that created High German and Low German into High Frankish and Low Frankish. Frankish by the way or Franconian is not just pre-shift. I think what you mean there is Low German instead of High German. There are different Low German languages and they are not all Franconian. Old Saxon is not Franconian. Old Frisan is not Franconian, etc. There is a clue in the article. Look up that language code in the box. You will see that it is not only not low, it is high, and not only not old, but new. There is another problem too. These names are not ancient names; they are linguistics names applied in some cases to hypothetical dialects. No one ever used those names. I am sorry to intrude on you like this but there is a cluster here of wrong and misleading articles, which avoid attention be being wrong as a group. Another attempt has been made to avoid attention by pumping in references that skirt around the topic but basically avoid it or are in foreign languages. None of the English linguistics sources are being used. They tell a very different story. I don't know what to do about this yet. It should really have a tag about the accuracy. Some people don't like tags and go around removing them, so I'm not going to argue about the tag. I think I will start with articles on the most general topics, such as "Franconian Languages" which are not languages, but are dialects, as the article says. Moreover, the term comprises dialects of High German as well, so that has to be corrected. No, when I said "more work" I meant more work, and a lot of it on this group of articles. Oh, one minor point. Old Franconian is certainly in use in linguistics. Old Frankish is pretty rare but it does exist and it means the same thing. We want to be careful that we do not exercise too much creativity here. It is not up to us to innovate language names. The fact that some editors have done so is very confusing. You look it up and you can't find it. We need to stick to the names and definitions used by the linguists and not go off on our own. So I will be finding or asking for references on each of those names and definitions. Fair enough? I know you don't think it is fair because you believed you were right. But, how can it get corrected unless we correct it? I'm not in favor of misleading articles on WP, wherever the chips may fall. I think maybe the place to start is with High German and Low German, which are not strictly speaking identical to "German" but that is the usage. One last point. You may have done some work in the area (or may not, I don't know). People who publish their own material have the luxury of assigning new names and reformulating concepts. WP is only the rehash or representation of prevous material. That can be creative, but, as I see you pondering what names to assign, I keep thinking, why is he not using the names already assigned, and with references? Sometimes I get too creative here myself. One has to save that, however, for one's own work and not introduce it into WP.Dave (talk) 13:10, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
To me the term "Franconian" should be reserved for the sense "relating to Franconia", that is a present-day non-administrative province in Germany (Franken in German). I think the "overuse" of the term "Franconian" is explained by a mistranslation from modern German, that uses the adjective Fränkisch for both Frankish (relating to the Franks) and Franconian (relating to present-day Franconia). Today's dialects in Franconia are High German ("high" means "mountainwards", "southern"). To me "Low Frankish" means West Low German ("low" means "seawards"), as only the West of the North was settled by Franks in the antiquity/early Middle Ages. I don't understand why it is the form "Franconian" for "Frankish" that has superseded in English universities, it is very misleading... And why is it not the term "Germanic" that is used in linguistics? Like Arab/Arabic? This makes pass German for a linguistical reference, whereas Dutch or Flemish are less "transformed" than present-day German. Present-day German is a High German(ic) language. So, "West Low Germanic" would be near in sense to "Low Frankish", however "West Low Germanic" includes "Low Frankish", as not all areas of the present-day "West Low Germanic" domain were settled by Franks in Antiquity/Early Middle Ages. Flamanchti (talk) 12:57, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
I understand and sympathize with your concerns. I'm beginning to see more and more they are really a form of "cultural shock" not to mention linguistic ambiguity. The English do it the Franconian way, the Dutch and Germans do it the Frankish way. Nowadays with universal publication the two are getting mixed. I'm going into this in Franconian languages. My feeling is, we ought to follow the traditions that have developed and these articles ought to present those traditions including the major variants. You state that Franconian should be reserved, and who is to say you aren't right. It isn't, however. This article reports on the use of the term Old Frankish in English. A substantial number of linguists, rather than using the "Franconian" system (I guess they agree with you) have chosen to use Frankish instead, not in general, but in two specific instances. First is Proto-Frankish (Van Vliet's oud Franks), which is relatively recent. The preference is for Proto- rather than for Old, but some use Old. The second translates German alt-Fränkisch, which is English East Franconian (code alt). These are two different uses, accounting for the confusion in the box. I propose to use two boxes, one for Proto-Frankish and one for alt. I think the article is better than I first said, but the terminology has to be clarified, not by my or your personal opinion, but by usage. I'm still working on Franconian languages but I will jump from there to here when finished there. Meanwhile I think your concerns are absolutely justified.Dave (talk) 13:15, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
After rereading these posts several times, I realise now that these complicated points relate primarily to the English nomenclature. I was perhaps reading too much into it. I don't see much of a difference between "Frankish" and "Franconian". A short usage explanation might be sufficient to resolve the problem? I imagine scholars are going to continue to use both terms. If I understand this debate, are you proposing the use of "Low German" and "West Low Germanic" as descriptors for early Dutch Schildewaert (talk) 13:27, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
To me using "Franconian" for any Low German(ic) language sounds weird... Because Low means North (that is the Northern branch of the West Germanic family). Words should reflect History, and make people realize that the Franks went southwards and gave their name to Franconia, and not the other way around; so Dutch is not a Franconian language, just like English is not an American dialect. The German term "Fränkisch" is vague as to the historic and geographic senses but still clearly makes reference to the Franks. On the contrary the English term "Franconian" is clearly not vague and only makes reference to "Franconia", and the historic sense of the word is lost. Linguistics is not mathematics, and it is nice to understand History through a word. Any way, to me the best nomenclature are German and French. In the English Wiki it is written that "Low German" equals "Low Saxon", this is wrong. Flamanchti (talk) 01:32, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

The phrase in the Salic Law

The Salic law document, written in the 6th century, contains a phrase in the local dialect: maltho thi afrio lito. I would like to know if this is late Frankish or very early Old Dutch. And whichever way it goes, why? What defines the difference between the two? As far as I've been able to see, the differences are fairly minimal at least on the surface. Frankish as it is reconstructed on this page mostly resembles attested Old Saxon. CodeCat (talk) 19:13, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

I'm not an expert in this field, but let me try to summarise this debate. "Old Dutch" is also called "Old West Low Franconian". Philologists do not distinguish between the two. This is similar to the way that "Old English" and "Anglo-Saxon" refer to the same language. "Old Dutch" is gaining ground as a way of referring to this language, although not everyone agrees with this.
"Old West Low Franconian" is a branch of a larger language group (or set of dialects) called "Old Franconian". (It's not really clear why they say "Old Franconian" when they don't say "Old Anglo-Saxon", but that is just one of the quirks of all this.)
"Old Frankish" is another term sometimes and informally used to refer to "Old Franconian", i.e. the language spoken by the Franks; however, linguists and philologists disapprove of this term. They prefer "Old Franconian". The prominence given here on resource (and elsewhere) to the more natural term "Old Frankish" is wrong and upsetting to some of them. They see "Frankish" as the term to use more in cultural and social contexts; "Franconian" more in linguistic contexts. This terminology split (including the history and reason) is explained somewhere on resource in great detail (on the page on "Franconian languages" I think).
A related problem is that most Dutch speakers see the Franks as one of their founding peoples, and the language spoken by the Franks as the source of their own language. However, as linguists and philologists repeatedly point out, this is incorrect because the Franks were a larger group that extended well into Germany. By definition, "Old Franconian" or "Old Frankish" (whichever you prefer) is not strictly the ancestor of just Dutch; it's also the ancestor of several Franconian/Frankish dialects that are now considered to be German dialects. So the smooth transition from Franconian/Frankish to Dutch is more complicated than people think.
In a nutshell, it's apparently incorrect to think that "Old Frankish" (or "Old West Low Franconian") BECAME "Old Dutch". Philologists want you to think that "Old West Low Franconian" IS "Old Dutch". If they agreed with the use of "Old Frankish" (which they don't), they would want you to think that "Old Frankish" IS "Old Dutch", because Old Dutch = Old West Low Franconian = Old Frankish (as spoken by the Salian Franks).
So your question is this: "is the sentence late Frankish or very early Old Dutch". Answer: Both. Neither. If the sentence dates from around 800-1100 AD, then it is late Old Dutch (= late Old West Low Franconian = late Old Frankish). If the sentence dates from around 300 - 600 AD, then it is early Old Dutch (= early Old West Low Franconian = early Old Frankish).
However, perhaps (like me) you disagree with the expert linguists and philologists, and find it more satisfying to think of Old Frankish as spoken by the Salian Franks developing into Old Dutch, with the transition coming at around 750 AD (give or take 150 years or so). If you conceive of it in that way, then perhaps an expert would be willing to play along and answer your question on that basis. However, I suspect that it may be difficult to find experts to indulge you. We know the sentence in your question dates from the early 6th century, so by these definitions of "late Old Frankish" and "early Low Dutch", it would fall into the former category, as would the Bergakker inscription. (If these statements are Franconian at all, that is.) Schildewaert (talk) 15:42, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
I'm aware that Frankish (the name I prefer, 'old' is only relative) was also spoken in parts of what's now Germany. But that alone would necessarily mean that it's not Old Dutch. After all, we call the texts that come from those areas Old High German. As far as I can tell, Frankish as a language is synonymous with what Tacitus called Istvaeonic and is the ancestor a range of dialects from Dutch to Luxembourgish. But the language of the people that founded France was not the same as what we have later on in the earliest running texts. There are hundreds of years between them and the language must have changed significantly in that time. So that is why I wondered where you place the dividing line between the language of the Franks under Clovis, and the later languages of the Franks that stayed behind and formed Old Dutch and Old (Central) High German. At what point do we begin to consider Frankish to have broken up into two or more dialects? Is it the progression of the High German consonant shift? CodeCat (talk) 15:47, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
My understanding is that the Bergakker inscription dates from around 425 AD and the Salic law fragment from around 525 AD. If these are Franconian/Frankish fragments, they are not centuries after Clovis, are they? They would be more or less contemporaneous. So these would attest the language spoken by the Franks who moved into Gaul.
Franconian/Frankish consisted of a number of dialects from the very beginning. The dialect(s) spoken in France died out eventually, perhaps after some change and corruption. The Franconian/Frankish dialect(s) spoken in Germany remained (to the present day, as far as I am aware), but became germanified so that now they are considered German dialects. The Frankish tribes were expanding into France and Germany at about the same time as the High German consonant shift took place. This meant that the Franconian/Frankish in the north of their empire (i.e. in the Low Countries) did not participate in the shift, while most (but not all) of the Franconian/Frankish dialects in the south did. Most of the dialects in the south became High German dialects; the ones in the north developed into Dutch dialects. It is interesting to think that the distinction between Ripuarians and Salians (which predated the consonant shift) was reinforced by the consonant shift. However, I understand the Ripuarian/Salian nomenclature died out by the 8th century (except in a legal context).
The Franconian/Frankish dialect(s) spoken in the Low Countries also developed over the centuries. I agree that it seems better to think they developed into "Old Dutch" at some point, but linguists will tell you these Low Countries dialects (=Old West Low Franconian) were always "Old Dutch" and developed into Middle Dutch around 1150 AD.
I read somewhere that Dutch speakers in Belgium and the Netherlands broke with the endonym "Frank" around the 8th century. (Of course, the use of the name "Frank" continued in France and Germany right up to the present day.) I've been wondering why philologists do not consider this social and cultural break with the endonym "Frank" a natural point for the transition from Old Franconian/Frankish to Old Dutch.
But then I have to keep reminding myself that no transition is necessary. We don't have such a transition in English, for example. "Anglo-Saxon" and "Old English" refer to the same language and no one tries to argue that at one point Anglo-Saxon became Old English. It seems satisfying to have a transition though. I suppose the difference is the break with the endonym. "Englisc" (or whatever) developed quite naturally into "English", whereas "Frankish" developed quite unnaturally into "Dutch". We don't wonder at all about the "Englisk" to "English" transition; it seems only natural to wonder when Old West Low Franconian (or "Old Frankish") became "Dutch" and to think of them as two separate languages.Schildewaert (talk) 17:43, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
I realise that in reality languages never really just break off, the definition of what is a language is one invented by linguists and by people who connect a unified language with a unified cultural group. I suppose in that sense it's true that the Dutch stopped calling themselves Frankish because they felt themselves to be distinct. On the other hand, they used the noun thiudisc and its descendants for a very long time, only up to a few hundred years ago, and the Germans still use that word for their language. So it's likely that the distinctness was felt to be only cultural, not linguistic, and that the Frankish descendants of the time still felt that they spoke a common language (much like the Norse people).
The reason why I asked in the first place though, is that we have to set some kind of definition, even if only vaguely, if we want to be able to include words and phrases as attestations on this page (and on Wiktionary). If the Salic law phrase is Frankish then we can add it here, but if it isn't then it probably belongs on the Old Dutch page (at least, assuming it's not High German). CodeCat (talk) 17:55, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
The Salic Law was written in Latin, some linguists(J.H. Hessels) even called it semi-French Latin. As for the so called text in Old Dutch(Malbergse glossen), these are later commentaries/footnotes from the 8-9th century and not a part of the original text. The Salic Law only concerned French and not Dutch by the way. --Tibatto (talk) 14:00, 16 October 2017 (UTC)


The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Moved to Frankish language, based on the support of three editors. Only one person favored a move to Old Franconian. It seems there was a spectrum of related languages and you could choose to draw the dividing lines in different places. For other views you could see how the same topic is treated in the French and German Wikipedias: fr:Langues franciques and de:Fränkische Sprachen. But it would be strange for there to be Old Frankish if there is no Frankish language. Also the ISO code argument appears strong. We do include ISO-639 code 'frk' in the infobox and that means 'Frankish.' There is now a page Frankish language (disambiguation) and another page Franconian languages which tries to cover the same material as this one. It is up to editorial discretion how to resolve any duplication. EdJohnston (talk) 01:24, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

  • Old Frankish -> Old Franconian - Old Franconian is consistently and at length mentioned to be the proper term, so let's move it there. The article has been equipped with {{About}} to overtake the disambig function of the current Old Franconian page. Content is in the process of being updated in minor ways to reflect the move. Relisted. BDD (talk) 16:29, 22 August 2013 (UTC) mathrick (talk) 10:53, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
  • The current page Old Franconian is a disambig page between Old Frankish language and Old Low Franconian. Anthony Appleyard (talk) 16:44, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
    • Where is it mentioned at length to be the proper term? CodeCat (talk) 18:28, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
      • In the article text of Old Frankish. That is, we have an article which devotes several of its sections (and previously numerous inline mentions, which I've mostly edited out because they were redundant) to explaining how its own title is not the correct term. mathrick (talk) 09:42, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
      • More specifically, #Nomenclature difficulties and #Historical Views of the Linguistic Concept and Meaning of "Franconian" and "Frankish" are two whole sections to explain it. They wouldn't be disappearing after the move, of course, but if an article devotes so much space to explaining that one term is definitely more correct, and then resides at the wrong one, something is just not right. mathrick (talk) 09:51, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
        • I'm not convinced. The "nomenclature" section is entirely unsourced, so there is no evidence that this isn't just made up. I'm far more familiar with "Frankish" than with "Franconian" to describe this language. ISO 639-3 also labels "frk" as "Frankish". So I would support a move, but to Frankish language. CodeCat (talk) 12:54, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
          • A move to Frankish language indeed makes more sense. Morgengave (talk) 21:37, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support move to Frankish language: This article seems to encompass the language commonly known as Frankish, as well as its roots (Old Frankish, for those who identify such a language) and its ties to related and descendent languages. Also because Frankish language currently redirects to this article and is identified in many sources which do not identify an Old Frankish or Old Franconian (other than Old Low Franconian (Old Dutch)), suggesting WP:COMMONNAME/WP:PRIMARYTOPIC problems with both the current and proposed name as well as the redirect. Wilhelm Meis (☎ Diskuss | ✍ Beiträge) 14:51, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
  • If that's the case and the claims about Franconian being the more valid name are not backed by evidence, then the article contents need to be challenged, and either sourced or scaled back to match the reality. The talk above this section also suggests Franconian, but it's true that finding sources which would definitely take on the issue of "Frankish vs. Franconian" is not easy. Most Google hits are resource itself (old problem), and cursory research hasn't uncovered many sources quite as vocal about the issue. Still, I don't have a subscription to a competent library, so I can't check in dead tree sources. Does anyone have access to quality material that either clearly supports the article, clearly debunks it, or clearly makes it a non-issue amongst scholars? -- Preceding unsigned comment added by Mathrick (talk o contribs) 18:19, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The nomenclature difficulties involving this article seem to be rooted in the fact that philologists do not seem to deal adequately enough with the very earliest forms of old Dutch, and present very little information about the language spoken by the Franks. Probably this is because there is not enough evidence. The Old Dutch article barely looks at it at all.

This article was apparently started under the name "Old Frankish" by someone who wanted to record the Franconian origins of French words, and for some reason did not feel comfortable putting it into the article on "Old Dutch".

This article should be integrated with "Old Dutch". Schildewaert (talk) 02:17, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

Dutch linguistic separatism or what is it?

Throughout the article we find the notion that the Middle Franconian dialects may not have descended from Frankish, or even that this connection is "speculative". While it is of course true that the details of mediaeval language development are not entirely certain, it is commonly accepted, at least in German linguistics, that the Franconian dialects have indeed a Frankish basis. And there is of course solid evidence for this (not just the Rhenish fan, but also the loss of n before spirans, loss of h before s, and other things). Since I know that there is a certain tendency in Dutch linguistics to separate Dutch as much as possible from German and German dialects, I'm wondering if that's the reason for this odd notion, that "frank"ly I have never heard of in this explicit form. -- Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:28, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

the article is rather bizarre, we'll have to dig up what happened in its history. Clearly at some point it was hijacked by some kind of ethnic ideological obsession and it is now mostly hand-waving about ethnic concepts behind the terms "Frankish", "Franconian" or "Dutch" instead of about the language itself. There is certainly room for an article surrounding the meaning of "Frankish" vs. "Franconian"; but surely this is not the place to do it. --dab (?) 09:21, 4 June 2015 (UTC)

It turns out that this madness was dumped here in a single edit getting rid of it from the article Franconian languages. I have now again shifted it to Name of the Franks, but of course it needs to be fixed rather than shifted from article to article. --dab (?) 11:57, 4 June 2015 (UTC)

Linguistic influence

The article states

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.

I am not sure this is entirely accurate (I'd be interested to see a source that would back this up). You can find a lot of the Germanic words that are in French also in Spanish and other Romance languages (e.g. blanc / blanco, bloc / bloque, etc.). Certainly Germanic words that refer to innovations of the later Middle Ages very well may be Frankish in origin. But the older ones not so much.

-- MC -- Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:57, 5 June 2017 (UTC)

I tend to agree, French is overwhelmingly Latin-derived and has relatively little to do with Frankish. There are definitely a good number of Old French words that can be traced back to a Germanic and thus likely Frankish origin but "many" still gives the wrong idea. Bataaf van Oranje (Prinsgezinde) (talk) 13:24, 19 October 2017 (UTC)

Dutch and Salian Franks

The Salian Franks have nothing to do with the Dutch nor the Dutch language. The zone where the Salian Franks settled is between the Loire and the Carbonarian Forest according to the Salic Law, thus, outside of the Dutch-speaking area. Furthermore, the zone where the Salian Franks settled match the Langue d'Oïl area.

In the north the Franks, led by Clovis, occupied an area stretching from the Rhine to the Loire by the end of the century. They proved to be the most successful of the invaders, establishing dominance over the Burgundians and the Visigoths by the end of the sixth century. They were also the most important group from a linguistic point of view. Their original area of settlement corresponds very approximately to the region of the Langue d'Oïl, the group of northern dialects which emerged in the early medieval period(see Map2). Hilary Wise, The Vocabulary of Modern French: Origins, Structure and Function, Page 34-35 -- Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:39, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

First of all, nowhere is it implied that the Salian Franks have anything to do with the Dutch people. This has nothing to do with the subject of the article either. The Frankish language, however, does have much to do with the Dutch language. This is supported by plenty of sources given throughout this article and that of Old Dutch. Second of all, the existence of Salland and the tribe name's resemblance to the old name of the IJssel are the most convincing evidence of their once having lived in what is now the eastern central Netherlands, but that's only a convincing theory. What we actually know for sure is that the Salians at some point lived in the southern Netherlands and eventually today's Belgium. Zosimus in his book Historia Nova writes repeatedly that during Caesar's time they had settled on and near the Rhine. He writes that they were pushed from their lands by Saxons and settled on the isle of Batavia. Ammianus Marcellinus later writes in Roman History that the Salii had "ventured with great boldness to fix their habitations on the Roman soil near Toxandria. But when he had reached Tongres, ..." And yes, they later went to the area around Tournai that is now French-speaking, but what you're forgetting is that this wasn't always so. These now-French territories were only ceded to France during the Middle Ages. Bataaf van Oranje (Prinsgezinde) (talk) 13:20, 19 October 2017 (UTC)


the word "etyma" is linked to the article on etymology but does not appear there. I suggest some other word be used. I am a reasonably intelligent reader, but the context here does not let me figure out what this word means.--Richardson mcphillips (talk) 14:03, 3 September 2018 (UTC)

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