|Region||Normandy and the Channel Islands|
|Latin (French alphabet)|
Areas where the Norman language is strongest include Jersey, Guernsey, the Cotentin and the Pays de Caux.
Norman (Nourmaund, French: Normand, Guernésiais: Normand, Jèrriais: Nouormand) is a Romance language which can be classified as one of the Oïl languages along with Picard and Walloon. The name Norman-French is sometimes used to describe not only the Norman language, but also the administrative languages of Anglo-Norman and Law French used in England. For the most part, the written forms of Norman versus modern French are intercomprehensible.
In the Channel Islands, the Norman language has developed separately, but not in isolation, to form what are recognized as Jèrriais (in Jersey), Guernésiais or Guernsey French (in Guernsey) and Sercquiais (or Sarkese, in Sark). Jèrriais and Guernésiais are recognized as regional languages by the British and Irish governments within the framework of the British-Irish Council.
Sercquiais is in fact a descendant of the 16th century Jèrriais used by the original colonists from Jersey who settled the then uninhabited island.
An isogloss termed the ligne Joret separates the northern and southern dialects of the Norman language (the line is from Granville in the Manche department to the French-speaking Belgian border in the province of Hainaut and Thiérache-France). There are also dialectal differences between western and eastern dialects.
Three different standardized spellings are used: continental Norman, Jèrriais, and Dgèrnésiais. These represent the different developments and particular literary histories of the varieties of Norman. Norman may therefore be described as a pluricentric language.
The Anglo-Norman dialect of Norman was a language of administration in England following the Norman Conquest. This left a legacy of Law French in the language of English courts (though it was also influenced by Parisian French). In Ireland, Norman remained strongest in the area of south-east Ireland where the Hiberno-Normans invaded in 1169. Norman is still in (limited) use for some very formal legal purposes in the UK, such as when the monarch gives Royal Assent to an Act of Parliament using the phrase, "La Reine/Le Roy Le Veult" ("The Queen/King Wills It").
The Norman conquest of southern Italy also brought the language to Sicily and the southern part of the Apennine Peninsula, where it has left a few traces in the Sicilian language. See: Norman French influences in Sicilian.
Today, the Norman language is strongest in the less accessible areas of the former Duchy of Normandy: the Channel Islands and the Cotentin Peninsula (Cotentinais) in the west, and the Pays de Caux (Cauchois) in the east. Ease of access from Paris and the popularity of the coastal resorts of central Normandy, such as Deauville, in the 19th century led to a significant loss of distinctive Norman culture in the central low-lying areas of Normandy.
When Norse invaders from modern day Denmark, Norway, and Sweden arrived in the then-province of Neustria and settled the land that became known as Normandy, they gradually adopted the Gallo-Romance speech of the existing populations – much as Norman rulers in England later adopted the speech of the administered people. However, in both cases, the élites contributed elements of their own language to the newly enriched languages that developed in the territories.
In Normandy, the new Norman language inherited vocabulary from Norse. The influence on phonology is more disputed, although it is argued that the retention of aspirated /h/ and /k/ in Norman is due to Norse influence.
Examples of Norman words of Norse origin:
|English||Norman||Old Norse||Scandinavian reflexes||French|
|bait||baite, bète, abète||beita||beita (Icelandic), beite (Norw.), bete (Swed.)||appât|
|down||dun, dum, dumet, deumet||dúnn||dúnn (Icelandic), dun (Swed., Norw., Dan.)||duvet (from Norman)|
|earth nut, ground nut, pig nut, peanut||génotte, gernotte, jarnotte||*jarðhnot||jarðhneta (Ice.), jordnøtt (Norw.), jordnöt (Swed.), jordnød (Dan.)||terre-noix|
|(black)currant||gade, gadelle, gradelle, gradille||gaddʀ||(-)||cassis, groseille|
|slide, slip||griller, égriller, écriller||*skriðla||skrilla (Old Swed.), skriða (Icelandic), overskride (Norw.)||glisser|
|islet||hommet/houmet||hólmʀ||hólmur (Icelandic), holme (Swed.), holm (Norw., Dan.)||îlot, rocher en mer|
|mound ( cf. howe, high)||hougue||haugʀ||haugur (Ice.), haug (Norw.), hög (Swe.), høj (Dan.)||monticule|
|seagull||mauve, mave, maôve||mávaʀ (pl.)||mávar (pl.) (Icelandic), måge (Dan.), måke/måse (Norw.), mås (Swed.)||mouette, goëland|
|dune, sandy land||mielle, mièle||melʀ||mjele (Norw.), mjälla (Swed.), mile (Dan.)||dune, terrain sableux|
|beach grass, dune grass||milgreu, melgreu||*melgrös, pl. of *melgras||melgras (Icelandic)||oyat|
|damp (cf. muggy), humid||mucre||mykr (cf. English muck)||myk (Norw.)||humide|
|ness (headland or cliff, cf. Sheerness, etc.)||nez||nes||nes (Norw., Icelandic), næs (Dan.), näs (Swed.)||cap, pointe de côte|
|wicket (borrowed from Norman)||viquet, (-vic, -vy, -vouy in place-names)||vík||vík (Icelandic), vik (Norw., Swed.)||guichet (borrowed from Norman)|
In some cases, Norse words adopted in Norman have been borrowed into French – and more recently some of the English words used in French can be traced back to Norman origins.
Following the Norman Conquest of 1066, the Norman language spoken by the new rulers of England left traces of specifically Norman words that can be distinguished from the equivalent lexical items in French:
|fashion||< faichon||= façon|
|cabbage||< caboche||= chou (cf. caboche)|
|castle||< castel (now catè)||= château, castelet|
|cauldron||< caudron||= chaudron|
|causeway||< caucie (now cauchie)||= chaussée|
|catch||< cachier (now cachi)||= chasser|
|cater||< acater||= acheter|
|cherry (ies)||< cherise (chrise, chise )||= cerise|
|mug||< mogue/moque||= mug, boc|
|poor||< paur||= pauvre|
|wait||< waitier (Old Norman)||= gaitier (mod. guetter )|
|war||< werre (Old Norman)||= guerre|
|warrior||< werreur (Old Norman)||= guerrier|
|wicket||< viquet||= guichet (cf. piquet)|
Other words such as captain, kennel, cattle and canvas introduced from Norman exemplify how Norman retained a /k/ from Latin that was not retained in French.
Norman immigrants to North America also introduced some "Normanisms" to Quebec French and French in Canada generally. Joual, a working class sociolect of Quebec in particular exhibits a Norman influence. Some expressions that are currently in use in Canada are:
- abrier : y faut s'abrier, y fait frète!; French abriter
- barrure = French barre
- ber = French berceau
- bers = French ridelles d'un chariot
- bleuet = French myrtille
- boucane = French fumée
- boucaner = French fumer ou quereller
- champelure variant form of Norman campleuse = French robinet
- croche = French tordu
- gourgannes = French fêves de marais
- gourgane = French bajoue de porc fumée
- gricher for Norman grigner = French grimacer *grafigner for [gratter légèrement et sans cesse] *graffigner for [égratigner]
- greyer or greiller for [préparer]
- ichite or icite for [ici]
- itou for [aussi]
- jouquer or juquer for [jucher]*
- mitan for [milieu]
- marganner for [déganer]
- maganer for [maltraiter ou malmener]
- pigoche for [cheville]
- pognie for [poignée]
- pomonique for [pulmonique]
- racoin for [recoin]
- ramarrer for [rattacher]
- ramucrir, for [devenir humide] (see above mucre)
- mucrerancer for [avoir la respiration gênée et bruyante, lever, pousser avec un levier]
- ressoudre for [réveiller, activer],
- sacraer for [sacrer (arrête de sacrer!)]
- v'lin for [venin]
- vlimeux for [velimeux]
- v'lo for [voilà]
- zius for [yeux].[8
- ^ BBC Voices - Jerriais
- ^ BBC Voices - Jerriais
- ^ BBC Voices - Jerriais
- ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Norman". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
- ^ Oxford English Dictionary. "Causeway"
- ^ Oxford English Dictionary. "Catch"
- ^ The Oxford English Dictionary. entry on "Mug¹" states that the origin of this word is uncertain—it may have been a borrowing from Norman, or it may have come from another source, and been reinforced through Norman.
- ^ [Clapin] Dictionnaire canadien–français (1894) de Sylva Clapin (1853–1928), [Decorde] Dictionnaire du patois du pays de Bray (1852) de Jean-Eugène Decorde (1811–1881), [Dunn] Glossaire franco-canadien (1880) d'Oscar Dunn (1845–1885), [GPFC] Glossaire du parler français au Canada (1930) de la Société du parler français au Canada 
- Essai de grammaire de la langue normande, UPN, 1995. ISBN 2-9509074-0-7.
- V'n-ous d'aveu mei? UPN, 1984.
- La Normandie dialectale, 1999, ISBN 2-84133-076-1
- Alain Marie, Les auteurs patoisants du Calvados, 2005. ISBN 2-84706-178-9.
- Roger Jean Lebarbenchon, Les Falaises de la Hague, 1991. ISBN 2-9505884-0-9.
- Jean-Louis Vaneille, Les patoisants bas-normands, n.d., Saint-Lô.
- André Dupont, Dictionnaire des patoisants du Cotentin, Société d'archéologie de la Manche, Saint-Lô, 1992.
- Geraint Jennings and Yan Marquis, "The Toad and the Donkey: an anthology of Norman literature from the Channel Islands", 2011, ISBN 978-1-903427-61-3