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Volgadon
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Post by Volgadon » Sun September 28th, 2008, 6:00 am

The reason I brought Asterix up is that in Asterix and the Banquet they poke good-natured fun at Normandy. Unhurried and incapable of giving straight answers...

annis
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Post by annis » Mon September 29th, 2008, 3:21 am

Lol! You're too smart for me, Volgadon- I'd forgotten about that. Wasn't there an "Asterix and the Normans" book as well? Though I think those Normans were really Vikings and the anachronism was a joke. I recall some harping on the Normans' heavy use of cream in cooking- apparently cream is used a lot in Normandy's regional cuisine.

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Catherine Delors
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Post by Catherine Delors » Mon September 29th, 2008, 10:33 am

Margaret - I believe Norman French is still spoken in the United Kingdom as well, in Jersey and the other Iles Anglo-Normandes. The pronounciation of vowels and some consonents is different from standard French, grammar a bit different too, with some totally non-French words thrown in. A few come to mind: quenailles (sp? pronounced k'nal) for child, moque (sp? prounounced mock) for cup. Also in the names of people and places: a bunch of last names end in ouf (from wolf, I suppose) Renouf, Ozouf, Marcouf, etc. and place names end in vast (pronounced va): Martinvast, Sottevast. A few may remember the great bike racer Jacques Anquetil (recognize kettle in there?) I wish I knew more about that part of my heritage...

A few of you have mentioned Asterix. Thank you! Now talk about outstanding historical fiction. First let's remember Asterix lived in Brittany, not Normandy. Anyway, at the time everyone in Gaul would have spoken a Celtic language, with indeed some Latin thrown in. The rix termination itself is of Latin origin: from rex, king. This was the title Romans gave Gaul chieftains. Hence the name Vercingetorix.

The native language of Western Brittany, now sadly in the decline, is still to this day Briton, a Celtic language. A native speaker told me he had no trouble conversing in it with speakers of Irish Gaelic.

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Catherine Delors
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Post by Catherine Delors » Mon September 29th, 2008, 10:42 am

And oh, yes, Annis, Normand cuisine, which is delicious, does use a ton of cream. The Normands of Asterix were a (deliberately) outrageous anachronism. Loved the names: Chief Olaf Grossebaf, for instance.
Then when I was pregnant with my son, my then mother-in-law, who is of Swedish descent, suggested calling the baby Olaf, after dear late Uncle Olaf. I couldn't do it: memories of Asterix kept intruding. Plus Olaf doesn't sound too good in English, does it?

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sweetpotatoboy
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Post by sweetpotatoboy » Mon September 29th, 2008, 11:21 am

[quote=""Catherine Delors""]Plus Olaf doesn't sound too good in English, does it?[/quote]

On a complete tangent, the name 'Olaf' has a definite connection with London.

The song 'London Bridge is falling down' is often linked to the destruction of the bridge by King Olaf II of Norway (later St. Olaf) in the early 11th century. And the name of the street just south of the bridge -- and in which London Bridge station is now located -- is Tooley Street, which comes from St Olaf's Street (over time "St Olaf" somehow became "Tooley"). This is probably because there was a St Olaf's Church in that street rather than directly because of the bridge and there are still churches called St Olaf's or St Olave's.

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Catherine Delors
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Post by Catherine Delors » Mon September 29th, 2008, 1:00 pm

Thanks for the info, SweetPotatoBoy. Olaf must indeed sound funny in English, if the locals turned it into "Tooley." Not to mention that my poor kid would never have been able to set foot in a French school with a name like that.

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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Mon September 29th, 2008, 7:07 pm

Definitely wise of you not to name the kid Olaf. I hope he's properly grateful. Once when my mother was pregnant I urged my parents to name the baby Hieronymus if it was a boy. An old family name I had just discovered that absolutely thrilled me. Alas, they were not enthusiastic.
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Catherine Delors
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Post by Catherine Delors » Mon September 29th, 2008, 7:49 pm

He is only 14, so not yet quite as appreciative as he should be. Some day, I am sure.

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Catherine Delors
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Post by Catherine Delors » Mon September 29th, 2008, 7:50 pm

As for your brother, Margaret, did you come clean about the Hieronymus situation yet?

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Post by annis » Tue September 30th, 2008, 4:29 am

I bet your brother is eternally grateful that your parents didn't take up the idea :)
The hero in Michael Connolly's (modern) mystery series is called Hieronymus, but his name is a dark secret- he's always called Harry.

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