LINGUIST List 6.1081

Fri Aug 11 1995

Sum: Walloon

Editor for this issue: T. Daniel Seely <>


  1. Barbara Blankenship , Re: 6.1047, Sum: Walloon

Message 1: Re: 6.1047, Sum: Walloon

Date: Fri, 11 Aug 1995 19:20:00 Re: 6.1047, Sum: Walloon
From: Barbara Blankenship <IAFABRBMVS.OAC.UCLA.EDU>
Subject: Re: 6.1047, Sum: Walloon

 Several weeks ago I posted a passage in the local Walloon of the
 Bastogne area of Belgium and asked for a translation. I had quite a
 number of responses, and it appears that the responders had a good
 time wrestling with the passage.

 Here is the passage:

> I-gn-e` a po^ pre`s kinze ans du d' ci, dj' asto amon Albe^rt
> Le`yona^rd e`t dj' rawa^rdo pace k' on m' avot dit k' ou profe`sseu^r
> do Se'mine^re vlot nos ve`y po pa^rler do walon. Dju m' sovin co k'
> dj' e^ dmande' a c,' momint la: <<Kin-a^dje k' il e`, don c,' cure'
> la ?>> Dj' e^ vite avou compris k' i n' astot nin pus cure' k' mi,
> surtout cand dj' l' e^ ve`you avou oune be`le bwe^ce`le ki n'
> compurdot we^re lu walon, me^s k' astot bin de`cide' a l' aprinde
> avou de`s profe`sseu^rs come Pierrot, come Jeannot, come Roger, ou
> come mi, di-st-i l' fou.
 And here is the consensus translation:
> Il y a a` peu pre`s quinze ans d'ici, j'e'tais chez <<Albert
> Le'onard>> et j'attendais parce qu'on m'avait dit qu'un professeur du
> Se'minaire voulait nous voir pour parler du wallon. Je me souviens ce
> que j'ai demande' a` ce moment-la`: <<Quel a^ge a-t-il donc, ce
> cure'-la`?>> J'avais vite compris qu'il n'e'tais pas plus cure' que
> moi, surtout quand je l'ai vu avec une belle jeune demoiselle qui ne
> comprenait gue`re le wallon, mais qui e'tait bien de'cide'e a`
> l'apprendre avec des professeurs comme Pierrot, comme Jeannot, comme
> Roger, ou comme moi, dit-il, le fou.
> There were some uncertainties and disagreements; I've gone with the
> majority view in each case. The biggest problem was the very last
> bit, which caused havoc, though the gist of it seems generally clear.
> There was some disagreement as to whether it was the non-priest or the
> young girl who wanted to learn Walloon; most people went for the
> woman, which is what the syntax appears to say.
> The strange form <rawa^rdo> in the second line appears to be the same
> word as French <regarder>, but I am told that, in northern dialects,
> this word is widely used in the sense of `wait, wait for, watch for'.
> Another headache was the word <bwe^ce`le> in line 6. This clearly
> means something like <demoiselle>, and it is possibly the same word as
> French <pucelle> `virgin, maiden', which is unlikely to be the sense
> intended.
> I am told that speakers of Walloon are now generally elderly, apart
> from some younger people who are enthusiasts (though the Belgian
> student I consulted here told me she had a friend who spoke Walloon).
> Some younger people of limited education are also said to have a grasp
> of the variety, and, engagingly, I am told that obscenities and
> insults tend to persist especially well. One respondent objected to my
> speaking of Walloon as a dialect of French, preferring to see it as a
> distinct language.
> Here's an English version:
> It's fifteen years ago now; I was at the "Albert Leonard" [Institute]
> and I was curious because I had been told that a teacher from the
> Seminary wanted to see us to talk about Walloon. I still remember
> what I was wondering at that moment: "So how old is that priest?" I
> quickly understood that he was no more a priest than I was,
> particularly when I saw him with a beautiful young girl who scarcely
> knew any Walloon but who was determined to learn it from teachers like
> Pierrot, like Jannot, like Roger, or like me; that's what he said, the
> fool.
> The passage was written by M. Georges Pasau, Pre'sident du Muse'e de
> la Parole au Pays de Bastogne; it appeared in issue 4 (1994) of the
> magazine _Singuliers_, which is devoted to Walloon. This was a
> special number given over to the publication of a new dictionary of
> Walloon. The dictionary is Michel Francard (1994), _Dictionnaire des
> parlers wallons du pays de Bastogne_, Brussels: DeBoeck/Universite',
> ISBN 2-8041-1957-2. Francard is Professor of Romance linguistics at
> the University of Louvain in Belgium; his address is Faculte' des
> Lettres, Universite' Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-le-Nauve, Belgium,
> and his e-mail is I haven't consulted him
> yet, but plan to do so. The orthography used here for Walloon was, I
> believe, invented by Francard specifically for the dictionary. The
> dictionary contains some nice dialect maps and some linguistic
> information about Walloon.
> My thanks to Jean-Francois Carrasco, Richard Coates, Jean-Francois
> Delannoy, Roger Feron, Frederik Fouvry, Vincent Granville, Ted
> Harding, Yolande Meessen, Philippe Mennecier, Bernd Moebius (and his
> mother!), Joseph Reisdoerfer, Thierry J. van Steenberghe, Guido Vanden
> Wyngaerd, and Max Wheeler.
> Larry Trask
> University of Sussex
> Brighton BN1 9QH
> England
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