Reichenau Glosses

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Insight into the vocabulary of late Vulgar Latin in France can be seen in the Reichenau Glosses, written on the margins of a copy of the Vulgate Bible (written in Classical Latin though intended for the vulgus), suggesting that the 4th-century words of the Bible were no longer readily understood in the 8th century, when it is likely the glosses were written. These glosses demonstrate typical vocabulary differences between Classical Latin and Vulgar Latin in Gallo-Romance:

Meaning Classical Reichenau Notes Innovative descendants Conservative descendants
"field" ager campus Originally "wild field". French/Romansh champ, Italian/Spanish/Portuguese campo, Occitan/Catalan camp, Romanian câmp. Galician agra, agrela "common field", Romanian dial. agru.
"wild boar" aper salvāticus porcus From (porcus) silvāticus "wild pig". Old French porc salvage, Romansh portg selvadi, Ladin porcel salvare, Ligurian porcu sarvaigu, Romanian porc sălbatic
"sand" arēna sabulō Originally "gravel" French sable, Romansh sablun, Catalan sorra, Italian sabbia, Portuguese saibro "grit, gravel". Old French areine, Italian rena "pebbly sand", Sardinian/Occitan/Spanish arena, Galician area, Portuguese areia, Romanian dial. arină.
"to sing" canere cantāre A Classical synonym, frequentative of canere French chanter, Romansh chantar, Portuguese/Spanish/Catalan cantar, Italian cantare, Romanian cântare.
"cheese [acc.]" cāseum formāticum From (cāseus) formāticus "cheese formed in a mold". French fromage, Italian formaggio, Catalan formatge. Sardinian casu, Tuscan cacio, Romanian caş, Spanish queso, Portuguese queijo, Romansh caschiel.
"mountain" clīvium montānia Clīvium, a Late Latin word, came from Classical clīvus "slope, hill". Montānia was from Classical montānus "mountainous" French montagne, Spanish montaña, Portuguese montanha, Italian montagna, Romanian munte
"to blow" flāre suflare Originally "to inflate" French souffler, Romansh suflar, Italian soffiare, Occitan soflar, Spanish sollar (Montaña asuellar), Romanian sufla.
"market [acc.]" forum mercātum A Classical synonym French marché, Italian mercato, Portuguese/Spanish/Galician mercado, Catalan mercat, Aromanian mercatu Italian foro "law court", Spanish fuero "jurisdiction", Portuguese foro "id.", Catalan fur "id.", French for "id.", Romanian afară "outside".
"liver" gecor (=jecur) ficato (= fīcātum) Originally (jecur) fīcātum "liver from an animal fattened on figs" French foie, Italian fegato, Occitan/Catalan fetge, Spanish hígado, Portuguese fígado, Romanian ficat.
"winter" hiems hībernus Originally "wintry" French hiver, Romansh (Engadine) inviern, Italian inverno, Occitan ivèrn, Catalan hivern, Spanish invierno, Portuguese inverno, Romanian iarnă.
"thus" ita sīc "Yes", a Classical synonym French si (to contradict negative questions), Italian "yes", Spanish "yes", Portuguese sim "yes", Romanian şi "and"
"I wail" lamentō plōrō Originally "I cry out" French pleurer, Old Italian piorare, Occitan/Catalan plorar, Spanish llorar, Portuguese chorar , Romanian plânge
"children [acc.]" līberōs infantēs Originally "infants" French enfant, Romansh unfant, uffant, Catalan infant, Occitan enfant, Italian infante "infant, new-born", Old Spanish ifant, iffante; Spanish/Portuguese infante "prince" (learned loans)
"boiler" lebes chaldāria (= caldāria) Based on Classical caldārius "related to bathing or hot water" French chaudière, Romansh chaldera, Italian caldaia, Occitan caudera, Catalan/Spanish caldera, Portuguese caldeira, Romanian căldare.
"males" mārēs (sing. mās) māsculī A Classical synonym; diminutive of mās French mâle, Italian maschio, Portuguese/Spanish macho, Catalan mascle, Romanian mascur "barrow (pig)". Romanian mare "big"
"is killed [subj.]" necētur occidetur (= occidātur) A Classical synonym Old French occir, Italian uccidere, Occitan/Catalan occir, Spanish occiso "dead person", Romanian ucidere "to kill" French noyer "to drown", Italian annegare "to drown", Portuguese/Spanish anegar "to drown", Romanian îneca "to drown".
"fat [nom. pl.]" pinguēs grassī From Classical crassī "fat, thick" French gras, Romansh grass, Italian grasso, Occitan/Catalan/Romanian gras, Spanish graso, Portuguese graxo. Italian terra pingue "rich soil".
"city" oppidīs cīvitātibus Originally "in the cities" French cité, Romansh citad, Italian città, Sardinian tzitade, Occitan/Catalan ciutat, Spanish ciudad, Portuguese cidade, Romanian cetate.
"sheep [pl.]" ovēs berbicēs From Late Latin berbex, -ecis "wether (ram)", from Classical vervex French brebis "ewe", Italian berbice, Old Occitan berbitz, Romansh barbeisch "ram", Romanian berbec "ram". Portuguese ovelha, Spanish oveja, Catalan ovella, Occitan dial. oelha, Romanian oaie "ewe".
"beautiful [fem.]" pulchra bella A Classical synonym French belle (fem.), Italian/Spanish bello, Portuguese belo, Catalan bell. Spanish pulcro "tidy, neat" (learned loan).
"diviner, wizard" sortilegus sorcerus latinization of Old French sorcier, from *sortiarius, from sors "fortune, lot" French sorcier "wizard", sortilège "sorcery", sort "spell, fortune"
"it bores, it annoys" tenet anoget Classical "it holds", latinization of Old French anoiet, from anoi (noun), from Latin in odio French ennui, Italian noia, Occitan anuèg, Catalan enutg, Spanish enojo, Portuguese nojo. Romanian ţine
"ground [abl.]" umo (= humō) terrā Originally "land [abl.]" French terre, Romansh/Italian/Occitan/Catalan/Portuguese terra, Spanish tierra, Romanian ţară.
"fingernails [acc.]" unguēs ungulās Originally "claws"; diminutive of unguēs. French ongle, Romansh/Catalan ungla, Italian unghia, Occitan ongla, Spanish uña, Portuguese unha, Romanian unghie.
"force [acc.]" vim fortiam From Classical fortis "strong". French force, Romansh/Italian forza, Occitan/Catalan força, Spanish fuerza, Portuguese força, Romanian foarte "very (much), intense"
"if you want" sī vīs sī volēs Vulgar Latin *volēre, regularized from Classical velle "to want". French tu veux, Italian (tu) vuoi, Catalan (tu) vols, Romanian (tu) vrei or (tu) vei "you want".
"entrails, guts" viscera intrālia Earlier intrānea, from Classical interāneum "intestine". French entrailles; Old French entraigne, Catalan entranyes, Spanish entrañas, Portuguese entranhas

Grammatical changes:

  • optimōs "best (acc. pl.)" → meliōrēs, orig. "better (acc. pl.)" (French meilleur, Romansh meglier,Romanian optim Italian migliore, Catalan millor, Occitan/Portuguese melhor, Spanish mejor. Learned loans in Spanish óptimo, Portuguese óptimo, Italian ottimo, Catalan òptim, all meaning "excellent" or "optimal")
  • sāniōre "healthier (abl.)" → plūs sānō (French plus sain, Italian più sano, Spanish más sano, Catalan més sa, Portuguese mais são, Romanian mai sănătos)

Germanic loan words:

  • cementāriīs "stonemasons (abl.)" → matiōnibus, akin to obsolete German Metze (French maçon "stonemason")
  • cōturnīx "quail" → quaccola, akin to Flemish kwakkel (French caille, Romansh quacra "quail", Italian quaglia; Catalan guatlla (← quattula); vs. Spanish codorniz, Portuguese codorna, Romanian potârniche "quail")
  • fulvus "brown, dark" → brunus (French/Occitan brun, Romansh brin, brün, Catalan bru, Spanish/Italian bruno "brown/dark")
  • galea "helmet" → helme (French heaume, Italian/Portuguese elmo, Catalan elm, Spanish yelmo "helmet")
  • pignus "pledge; token" → wadius, from Gothic wadi (French gage "pledge", Occitan gadi "will (testament)"; vs. Romansh pegn, Italian pegno, Occitan penha, Spanish prenda, Portuguese penhor)
  • turmās "crowds (acc.)" → fulcās, akin to English folk (Old French foulc, fouc, Old Occitan folc, Occitan plòc "crowd"; vs. Italian torma, Friulian torme, Sardinian truma, Romanian turmă "crowd")

And words whose meaning has changed:

  • ēmit "bought" → comparāvit, orig. "compared, prepared" (Old French comparer, Romansh cumpra, Italian comprare, Occitan crompar, Catalan/Spanish/Portuguese comprar, Romanian cumpărare "to buy")
  • femur "thigh" → coxa, orig. "hip" (French cuisse, Romansh cuissa, cossa, Italian coscia, Occitan cuèissa, Catalan cuixa, Spanish cuja, Portuguese coxa, Vegliote copsa, Romanian coapsă "thigh")
  • in ōre "in the mouth" (← ōs) → in buccā, orig. "in the cheek" (French bouche, Romansh bucca, Italian bocca, Occitan/Catalan/Spanish/Portuguese boca "mouth", and Romanian bucă "cheek; buttock")
  • rērum "of things" (← rēs "thing") → causārum "of causes" (French chose, Romansh caussa, chosa, Italian/Spanish/Catalan cosa, Portuguese coisa "thing". Rēs gave French rien "nothing", Occitan/Catalan res "nothing")
  • rōstrum "beak" → beccus, post-classical borrowing from Gaulish (French bec, Italian becco, Catalan bec, Spanish pico, Portuguese bico "beak". Rostrum is a learned loan in Italian rostro "beak", Spanish/Galician rostro, Portuguese rosto "face", Romanian rost "mouth" and a rosti "to pronounce, tell")