Bolze.

Molly Harris writes for BBC Travel about an unusual language:

The Sarine River skirts the edge of Basse-Ville (lower town), dividing both the canton of Fribourg and the city of Fribourg into two sectors: German-speaking and French-speaking. The city of around 40,000 people is clearly one of duality: street signs are all in two languages; residents can choose whether their children will use French or German in primary school; and the university even offers a bilingual curriculum.

However, head to medieval Basse-Ville, caught between the German- and French-speaking divisions of Fribourg, and you’ll find yourself in a no-man’s land where the two languages have become one: le Bolze. […] While the exact origins of the language are unknown, many believe that Bolze was created during the Industrial Revolution in the 19th Century, when people began to migrate from the countryside into cities as jobs became available during the industrial boom. As a city bordering both French- and Swiss German-speaking countryside villages, Fribourg grew and expanded into a bilingual, cultural and industrial hub for the poor seeking work. […] These workers needed a way to understand one another and work together. So they merged their mother tongues to create a new language.

Bolze is a conversational melding of Swiss German and French, using the two languages to create a completely new version. Passed from generation to generation orally, and only found in the Basse-Ville of Fribourg, the few remaining Bolze speakers only speak it to one another in order to continue their cultural heritage along the shore of the river and within the stone walls that border their neighbourhood. […]

“This is a part of the history of Fribourg,” Sulger explained. “The Bolze culture is made of people who are perfectly bilingual. This is really rare in Fribourg, because usually we speak one language or the other better. Those who speak Bolze can really speak both, and can do this mixture.” “It makes Bolze speakers special because it is spoken only by so few people,” he added. […]

As of April 2019, thanks to an influx of immigrants, at least 160 nationalities live in the canton of Fribourg, and more people in Switzerland speak Serbo-Croatian, Albanian and Portuguese in Switzerland than Bolze. Though older generations may still speak Bolze in their homes and to one another on the street, the younger generations can only learn it at home ­– just as Swiss German is learned within the family – or by listening to and learning from those who are fluent. It is not taught in schools, nor are there any official language classes.

If you read German, there’s a decade-old piece by Isabelle Eichenberger called “Nei, dasch zvüu, tu me connais!” [No, that’s too much, you know me!], and there’s a film Ruelle des Bolzes (not, alas, on YouTube), but I can’t find an etymology for Bolze (I assume it’s pronounced à l’allemande). Thanks, jack!

Comments

  1. David Marjanović says:

    The article, translated from French, offers two “etymologies”, one from a surname Bolz(e) (which ought to mean “bolt”, Standard Bolzen), another from -bold for types of persons (e.g. Trunkenbold “drunkard”) with a completely unexplained /s/.

    It also says there’s a German and a French version of it! The German version is code-switching, the French version is French with the content words replaced by German.

    Sarine

    German Saane, symbolically Röstigraben (a cultural divide that goes back to the 4th century BC, apparently).

  2. PlasticPaddy says:

    Could Bolzen be a name for the ouvrlers beim Bau der/du grand Pont de Fribourg? As Trond might say, you need boulons if you are going to build a Hängebrücke!

  3. David Marjanović says:

    Imaginable.

  4. David Eddyshaw says:

    My younger son, like me a natural-born röstivore, was greatly disappointed on our last visit to (an unGerman bit of) Heidiland to find that it didn’t seem to feature on the menu at all. Now all is explained.

  5. I tried to google rostivore and got 2 hits, including this:

    s08e42 spankers sex on the beach underwent ammishaddai …papaquan.pw › …
    … telinga gratis fetisch trish stratus free porn revson rosti vore aryion culos y tetas videos fesses de blacks msn de mujeres calientes douleur grand dorsal chicas …

  6. David Eddyshaw says:

    s08e42? My secret is out …

  7. Sometimes Google searches tell us more about ourselves than about the subject we are searching for…
    Something about the abyss mumble, mumble.

  8. David Eddyshaw says:

    Google searches tell us more about ourselves than about the subject we are searching for…

    Google’s actual business model …
    I’m sorry, e-k: the Man knows about your röstivore thing now.

    Just as well you didn’t google “Heidiland.”

  9. Trond Engen says:

    PlasticPaddy: As Trond might say, you need boulons if you are going to build a Hängebrücke!

    I take undeserved credit anytime. But there’s an interesting question lurking under here of how terminology developed with technology. Pulling out from my shelf David J. Brown: Bridges. Three thousand years of defying nature (revised edition 1996), I learn that le Grand Pont Suspendu was built in the new French way with drawn iron wires rather than with the bolted chains that were still favoured in Britain. There was a truss structure in the bridge deck, but at that time I’d expect it to have been joined by rivets rather than boulons. But rivets may well have been called Bolzen rather than Nieten locally / at the time. Similar categorical questions apply, mutaytoes mutahtoes, to other languages.

  10. Jen in Edinburgh says:

    ‘Welschschweiz’ is presumably the same word that makes French-speaking Belgium ‘Wallonia’, but it still looks a bit odd. Is everyone just Welsh if they’re different from you?

  11. David Marjanović says:

    mutaytoes mutahtoes

    Day saved.

    Is everyone just Welsh if they’re different from you?

    If they’re somewhere south or west of you, like the original Volcae, yes.

  12. Stu Clayton says:
  13. Ben Tolley says:

    Twenty years ago, I bought a postcard in Fribourg (the linguistic interest is coming…). It was only after I’d walked out the door that I realised that during the brief interaction with the woman in the shop, which had begun in French, we’d switched to German, and I hadn’t consciously noticed and couldn’t remember at what point the change happened. It was standard German, not Swiss German (I’d definitely have noticed that), so I suspect she was a French-speaker, had realised French wasn’t my native language, and had tried German as the next most likely option. I suppose I could have gone back and asked, and it wouldn’t still niggle me occasionally, but I didn’t.

  14. AJP Crown says:

    Trond – something completely different – the final part of this article on NY skyscrapers is interesting, I thought. The structural engineer, Ahmad Rahimian, left out several floors of one of these super-narrow residential buildings to ‘confuse the wind’. I quite like the result (I think); anything for a bit of complexity & contradiction.

  15. Wow, that’s a really interesting article — thanks for that. I remember they were putting up the AT&T Building my first year in NYC and everybody was making fun of the Chippendale crown. Too bad you can’t see the old Winslow Hotel across Madison in that photo; the next year it was completely redone as a boring office building. (For Russian lit folks, it’s the hotel Limonov stayed in and made famous in Это я — Эдичка [It’s Me, Eddie].)

  16. >>s08e42 spankers sex on the beach underwent ammishaddai …papaquan.pw › …
    … telinga gratis fetisch trish stratus free porn revson rosti vore aryion culos y tetas videos fesses de blacks msn de mujeres calientes douleur grand dorsal chicas …

    I think it’s the “ammishadai” that fascinates me the most!

  17. AJP Crown says:

    It was the Chippendale top and then Philip Johnson [never popular among NY architects] said the base was er… based on the Pazzi Chapel in Florence, which it clearly is but still it was a bit of an Oh, Pleease moment at the time, what with the PoMo and the AT&T being twenty times the size. Nowadays they don’t even think the Pazzi Chapel was designed by Brunelleschi, so PJ would have got fewer points.

    That’s horrible how they ruined the windows on the poor old Winslow Hotel.

  18. John Cowan says:

    Is everyone just Welsh if they’re different from you?

    If they’re somewhere south or west of you, like the original Volcae, yes.

    Neglecting the said Volcae for a moment, Welsh and its relatives mean ‘Roman(ized) foreigner’. As Tolkien said, it did not occur to anyone Germanic-speaking to call a Goth a walh even if he was long settled in Italy or Gaul (or Britain, I might add). The Celts of Gaul and Britain were heavily Romanized by the time the Franks and Angles came, and when the word spread from Germanic to Slavic in the form Vlach, it meant and means ‘Romanian’. If the Kauder- in Kauderwelsch is indeed cognate with Chur in Switzerland, then it referred originally to Rhaeto-Romanic speech.

    As Tolkien also says, the word indicates a certain amount of linguistic feeling and discrimination quite alien to the Classical Greeks, who knew only Hellenes and those who said bar-bar-bar-bar.

  19. Trond Engen says:

    AJP: this article on NY skyscrapers is interesting

    Yes, it is. Interesting points:

    The surname of the engineer of the Seagram Building, Fred Severud, is distinctly Norwegian, obviously from the same farm name as that of the composer Harald Sæverud. It turns out they were brothers. Fred graduated from NTH in 1923, 70 years before me, at a time when the Department of Structural Engineering was nicknamed Den norske Amerikalinie. (It also means that I once was interviewed on radio by his grand niece. It’s a small country.)

    The next engineer mentioned is Gunvald Aus, whose first name is almost as distinctly Norwegian and whose last name might plausibly be an adaptation of Norwegian Ås/Aas, a common surname taken from farms all over the country. And that’s exactly what it is. Wikipedia tells that he was born and raised in Haugesund on the western coast and died in your parts in Asker. It also contains the error that Bergen tekniske Skole is now NTNU, it is not. His entry in Norsk biografisk leksikon reads like a list of highlights of American engineering.

    I feel ashamed for not knowing their names.

    I was going to write more, but my wife reminds me I have to do my tax returns before midnight,

  20. David Marjanović says:

    ‘Romanian’

    Well, in the wide sense that covers all of Eastern Romance.

    As Tolkien said, it did not occur to anyone Germanic-speaking to call a Goth a walh even if he was long settled in Italy or Gaul (or Britain, I might add).

    Do we actually know that?

    (And do we know if Goths were ever perceived as foreign enough?)

  21. John Cowan says:

    Literally, no; it is one of those negatives that can’t be established. But there is no evidence of such a usage either among the names given to peoples by Germanic-speakers.

    Is Sevareid another variant of Sæverud? Eric Sevareid, one of Edward R. Murrow’s war correspondents, was born here and apparently so were his parents, but WP calls him a descendant of Norwegian immigrants.

  22. John Cowan, David Marjanović-

    1-“Vlach” in Slavic covers more than “Romanian” or “Eastern Romance”: in Slovenia and neighboring areas it plainly seems (in toponymy) to have been used to designate (Early) Friulian and/or Venetian. Its meaning is thus basically “Romance”, and the geography of Romance and Slavic in Europe explains why it typically refers to Romanian.

    2-The fact that a reflex of “Volcae”, a tribe whose northernmost known location is Moravia, came to become the Proto-Germanic term referring to “Southerners” (Originally Celtic-, later Romance-speaking) does seem more compatible with a Proto-Germanic homeland in Saxony/Thuringia than with one in Southern Scandinavia, if I may refer back to my contributions to this thread:

    http://languagehat.com/urchin/

  23. Trond Engen says:

    Sævareid and Sæverud are distinct. The former is sævar “seaGEN” + eid “isthmus”, a broad geographical name made with an archaic genitive. This indicates that the name is of considerable age, and the farm could also be of some age and importance. In the latter, rud is “clearing, settlement”. The form was very common for new small farms on marginal grounds in late medieval times. The first element is usually a personal name or a nickname, often assumed to be that of the first settler.

  24. David Marjanović says:

    a tribe whose northernmost location is Moravia

    Yes, but that’s late (300 BC and later). Also, easterners aren’t called *walh-, but *wind-, even when they end up southern (Slovene-speakers in Carinthia).

  25. David Marjanović says:

    The form was very common for new small farms on marginal grounds in late medieval times.

    Likewise, German roden “to clear forest” has given rise to place names in -rode, -roda, and more creative versions like -reuth and Reith. These then go on to form last names like Jungreithmayer.

  26. AJP Crown says:

    the error that Bergen tekniske Skole is now NTNU, it is not.

    NTNU, Norway’s most prestigious technical university, being in Trondheim. I get Bergen and Trondheim mixed up. Lots of my daughter’s school friends went to one or the other to become doctors or engineers, I think that’s why.

  27. Trond Engen says:

    But to dederail my derailing of AJP’s derailing. The building with open floors is very interesting. A literally down to earth form of the effect it is how an incomplete wind wall is better than a compact one: Letting air through the barrier in a slow steady stream rather than in sudden bursts around it when the pressure gradient is too steep, it reduces peak wind without creating large turbulent peaks. This can be studied at your local plank fence on a window day, but there are also larger examples.

    I doubt the reduction of design loads was determined from theoretical considerations alone. Regular vortex shedding is still the result of a chaotic process. Add to that unpredictable effects from the shapes of surrounding buildings, each of which may or may not change during the building’s life. I’m pretty sure there were thorough model tests.

  28. Stu Clayton says:

    A window day is a pane in the grass when you’ve planned a picnic.

  29. Trond Engen says:

    NTNU, Norway’s most prestigious technical university, being in Trondheim.

    Most prestigious because until recently the only one. When Norway decided to educate her own graduate engineers (diplomingeniør, later sivilingeniør, now master) on a German model, it was done by moving the mining academy at Kongsberg to Trondheim and merging it with the technical school there. The result was Norges tekniske høgskole (NTH). A couple of rounds of university reforms have made it the core part of NTNU.

    I guess it just as well could have ended up in Bergen, but Bergen got Norges handelshøyskole (NHH) (trade and business administration), which is still its own school in spite of the reforms. There were two other vitenskapelige høyskoler outside the classic university model, Norges landbrukshøgskole (NLH) (agricultural sciences) at Ås south of Oslo and Norges veterinærhøgskole (NVH) (veterinarian sciences) in Oslo. These two are now merged to Norges miljø- og biovitenskapelige universitet (NMBU). The new buildings for the veterinarian sciences on the old campus of NLH at Ås were meant to be finished this summer, but it’s been postponed due to the effect of corona restrictions.

  30. Trond Engen says:

    a window day

    Heh.

    is a pane in the grass

    Silly you.

  31. Stu Clayton says:

    Automatic spell-checkers are often good for a laff. I hate ’em only when the laff’s on me.

    I presume other people, as I do, use them mostly on their cellphones, not in their browser. So I imagine I can tell from an intelligent dumb typo that someone has posted from a cellphone. But I don’t know for sure.

  32. Trond Engen says:

    Which is why I avoid them if I can. Here on my home office job computer I must make all the errors myself. My phone sometimes helps me.

  33. Stu Clayton says:

    Something unnerving has been happening to me a lot over the past year. I will type an English word, definitely and for sure, and then discover I have typed the corresponding German word. Or a vaguely similar one that leaped out of a stream of thought in the background. No spell-checker in sight. But some kind of automatic process that is trying to take over my goal-directed communication circuits.

    Automatic process, not Martians. I suspect my cyborg nature wants more of the limelight.

  34. AJP Crown says:

    Norges landbrukshøgskole (NLH) (agricultural sciences) at Ås
    It was when they moved from here to Ås that they sold us our house. They also have landscape architecture at Ås, one of our neighbour’s children went there. That veterinærhøgskole addition is a huge construction project. I like how it has a special entrance for horses.

  35. Lars Mathiesen says:

    Both a veterinary and an agricultural tertiary institution? Luxury! In Denmark we only had the Royal Veterinary and Country Dweller High School (Landbohøjskolen, by tradition with anomalous third syllable stress), now conflated with the University of Copenhagen — and the Library of which my mom was Chief Librarian for 15 years with the Royal Library which is now the only research library in the country. MBA thinking.

  36. Norwegian Ås/Aas, a common surname

    I thought Estonian aas was an Old Norse loan, but it seems not:

    Estonian
    Etymology 1
    From a Baltic language. Compare Old Prussian ansis (“hook, latch”) and Latvian osa. Cognate to Finnish ansa and Votic aasa.

    Noun
    aas (genitive aasa, partitive aasa)

    loop, noose, a simple knot
    a U-shaped fastener made of metal
    Declension
    Declension of aas (type leib)
    Etymology 2
    Possibly from Proto-Finno-Ugric [Term?]. Compare Hungarian aszó, aszik. Alternatively the same root as in etymology 1, with the word originally meaning “meander”.

    Noun
    aas (genitive aasa, partitive aasa)

    lea, meadow

    https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/aas#Estonian

  37. Trond Engen says:

    No, it’s been at Ås since the beginning. What was at Sem was the national seminary for teachers at agriculture schools. It was one of a couple of small specialized schools that were merged into NLH in the earlier reforms, and I think they existed as satellite campuses for a while before being moved. I remember my father was supposed to take a term there when he became a teacher of geodecy in Bergen in 1981, before the merger, but he somehow managed to avoid it. Maybe he managed to postpone it until his geodecy school had been merged into some increasingly large institution too.

    I lived at Ås until I was nine. My father had studied geodecy at NLH in the late fifties, early sixties, then moved to Oslo when he started working with the National Survey. For some reason my parents decided to settle in Ås again before I was born.

  38. vappu

    Finnish
    Etymology
    From Vappu, Valpuri, the name of a medieval saint with a feast day on the 1st of May.

    https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/vappu

  39. Happy Vappu Day!

  40. Hyvää Vappua! Glada Vappen!

  41. PlasticPaddy says:

    I suppose we are talking about Walpurgisnacht and the saint is the lady known as Walburga in German of her time.

  42. Lars Mathiesen says:

    Valborg is a big thing in Sweden too, but that was yesterday. We (Denmark) moved the bonfire to St. John the Baptist (St. Hans), not that that has a much better chance this year. (And 2018 was cancelled because of drought).

  43. Trond Engen says:

    Yes. Valborgsnatt was the night before the feast day. I think we’ve talked before of how work contracts ended on the last day of April and October and the new contracts started on the first day of May and November. On the night of Wealburga and the night of all halloween, bound labour was free and normal bonds of loyalty and discipline didn’t apply. Mythology follows.

    It’s also no coincidence that this is the international day of the labour movement. Mayday and All Saints Day became conventional holidays in many countries, and it was a convenient day for gatherings.

    I’m not sure who moved what. Midsummer is also a Circumbaltic thing. But i do know (from her biography at katolsk.no) that her official feastday is the day of her death in February. It’s suggested that the celebration in May comes from conflation with some ancient goddess by the same name (which usually tells me that a saint was convened to sanctify the relics of a heathen cult, but that seems not to be the case here).

  44. SFReader says:

    geodecy

    I think you meant geodesi.

  45. Stu Clayton says:

    Geodesy.

  46. Trond Engen says:

    Geodesy, apparently. Thanks.

  47. SFReader says:

    It’s geodesy in English and geodesi in both varieties of Norwegian.

    But I know the feeling – the word is almost the same in English, but you can’t remember which letter it is, so you change letters randomly.

  48. Jen in Edinburgh says:

    Would anyone like to define geodesy in words I have a chance of understanding, to save me having my mind addled by wikipedia?

  49. Trond Engen says:

    It’s the technology of measuring the earth to make maps and to transpose data from maps into the real world.

  50. SFReader says:

    It’s basically fancy word for land surveying.

  51. Trond Engen says:

    Yeah, that too. I use to say that my father was a landmåler “land surveyor”, but I used ‘geodesy’ for the science — partly because ‘surveying’ has a much wider use in English. I’m not sure if that reflects actual usage or just my own non-native preference.

  52. Jen in Edinburgh says:

    Ahh, I see – I possibly do know at least a small amount about it, then, just not by that name, having read books about the early Ordnance Survey, and Mason and Dixon, and the history of the world in 12 maps, and so on 🙂

  53. Trond Engen says:

    Lars Mathiesen: Both a veterinary and an agricultural tertiary institution? Luxury! In Denmark we only had the Royal Veterinary and Country Dweller High School (Landbohøjskolen, by tradition with anomalous third syllable stress), now conflated with the University of Copenhagen

    Don’t know about luxury, I never understood why the veterinarians had their own school in the middle of Oslo rather than on a rural campus surrounded by large stocks of all animals with potential to be bred for a living by Norwegian farmers. It’s one of the mergers that actually makes sense — and would have even long before the educational reforms. What makes less sense to me is that NMBU is no longer particularly interested in the agricultural angle of the subjects. Case in point: It’s no use calling their department of structural engineering to discuss concrete technology related to manure handling.

  54. Trond Engen says:

    Jen: the early Ordnance Survey

    This is the British government agency corresponding to what I dubbed “the National Survey” upthread. The actual name was Norges geografiske oppmåling (NGO) until 1986, when it became Statens Kartverk in Norwegian and Norwegian Mapping and Cadastre Authority in English. Founded in 1773, it’s one of the oldest national surveys in the world.

  55. Lars Mathiesen says:

    The Danish one was in the countryside when it was established in 1858, now it’s in the most densely populated area of Copenhagen. So it goes.

  56. AJP Crown says:

    I’m pretty sure most vets here work with cats, dogs & hamsters not even cows. God knows what happens if you get sick in Norway and you’re a giraffe. We’ve always had trouble finding vets who knew anything about goats and horses.

    63. 000 sq metres (roughly 693, 000 sq. ft)

    6,3 mrd. kr.
    € 551 million
    £ 488 million
    $ 610 million

    That’s roughly what the state is spending for a new national veterinary school. A fairly deadly looking building too, but I expect it’s well equipped and well planned with adequate parking – which is what they care about, the vets.

  57. Jen Wood says:

    Cadastre is another word that I’ve never come across in English – the OED’s citations are all 19th C, although that could just be a reflection of their updating speed.

  58. @Trond Engen: Neither May Day, nor the American/Canadian Labor Day in September, were created to honor the “labor movement,” as that term is generally understood. The labor movement, in current understanding, means unionism, but May Day was selected by the heavily Marxist Second International to honor the proletariat as a class, a class that was surely on the verge of overthrowing the capitalist order. Unions were, at best, considered useless in this endeavor, and the Marxists were actually more likely to see them as actively counterproductive. The American Labor Day was similarly created to honor America’s workforce, not its unionized labor movement.

  59. Trond Engen says:

    Mayday has a history long before the Second International. Its institutionalization is another matter.

  60. May Day was selected by the heavily Marxist Second International to honor the proletariat as a class, a class that was surely on the verge of overthrowing the capitalist order. Unions were, at best, considered useless in this endeavor, and the Marxists were actually more likely to see them as actively counterproductive.

    This is not true. You’re thinking of Marxism-Leninism, which did indeed see unions as useless (the working class had to be led by the vanguard party whether they liked it or not), but the vast majority of Marxists, called Social Democrats back then, were pro-union. Until 1917 Lenin was a pathetic, isolated babbler to whom nobody paid much attention.

  61. Yes, Lenin detested unions, but Marx (and more vocally Engels, especially since Marx was dead by the Second International) was ambivalent about them. He appreciated that they produced localized improvements in workers’ conditions. However, he also felt that they divided groups of workers, damaging the class consciousness that was necessary for the future revolution.

  62. John Cowan says:

    pathetic, isolated babbler

    Stooge of the German Empire, wasn’t he?

    cadastre

    Note the bit in red to the right of the definition: “This entry has not yet been fully updated (first published 1888).”

    I note, by the way, is that today is the (Catholic) Feast of St. Joseph the Workman, except in the U.S. and Canada where it falls on the first Monday of September. It’s always nicely ironic that “International Labor Day”, as it is called here when it is called anything but “May Day”, commemorates an American event. Though that happened on May 4, cf. the more or less random choice of July 4 instead of July 2 as the national day.

  63. Marx (and more vocally Engels, especially since Marx was dead by the Second International) was ambivalent about them. He appreciated that they produced localized improvements in workers’ conditions. However, he also felt that they divided groups of workers, damaging the class consciousness that was necessary for the future revolution.

    But those are biographical facts, not facts about Marxism. The personal views of Marx are no more relevant to later Marxism than the personal views of Jesus are to Christianity. What Marxists thought, said, and did was Marxism, end of story. And most Marxists wanted unions.

  64. David Eddyshaw says:

    There are, of course, Unions and Unions:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7gS25pfTDg

  65. AJP Crown says:

    the more or less random choice of July 4 instead of July 2 as the national day

    Seems odd. Why not May 1*? Did they want an even number? White men were all freemasons back then, that may have influenced the date (I know nothing, NOTHING about Freemasonry).

    * Language’s birthday

  66. AJP Crown says:

    I love the Cloakmakers song. Rightwing or not, were they still making a lot of cloaks in the 1920s?

    The cloakmakers` union is a no-good union,
    Is a company union by the bosses.
    The right-wing cloakmakers and the Socialist fakers
    Are making by the workers double crosses.

    The Hillquits and Dubinskys and the Thomases
    Are making by the workers false promises,
    They preach Socialism, but they practice Fascism
    To preserve Capitalism by the bosses.

    Hoo Ha!

  67. On the night of Wealburga and the night of all halloween, bound labour was free and normal bonds of loyalty and discipline didn’t apply.

    There is a Russian proverb Вот тебе, бабушка, и Юрьев день!, roughly: ‘Here goes St. George day, granny!” said of thwarted expectations.

    https://fishki.net/2157740-vot-tebe-babushka-i-juryev-deny.html

  68. Language’s birthday

    No, no, it’s my grandson’s birthday. My own is a couple of months later.

  69. AJP Crown says:

    Right, of course. Damn, I meant to write July 1. I don’t know where that May came from.

  70. A long time ago, I read the confession of someone being tried for witchcraft, and one of the things she said was that one of the other attendees as the witches’ dance she had attended had been somebody named Walpurgia. I was not able to figure out at the time whether this was actually somebody else in the community, or whether it was a made-up name based on Walpurgisnacht.

    I had misremembered the account as having been part of the trial transcripts from the Salem Witch Trials, in The Wonders of the Invisible World. So I don’t know where I actually came across the account, except that it was in a class I was taking; unfortunately, between high school and college, I took three different classes that touched on the history and documentation of with trials. My best guess is that it might have been quoted in Brian Levack’s excellent monograph, The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe, but whatever the secondary source I encountered the quote in, I doubt I will be able to turn up any more information about the nature of this supposed witch Walpurgia.

  71. James C Scott’s “Seeing Like a State” has a chapter mentioning cadastral maps (also usufruct rights). First time I’ve run across either word.

  72. AJP Crown says:

    She was probably named after St Walpurga, who was from Devon.

  73. Valborgsmässonatt (af Laura Fitinghoff)

    Vårnatten låg drömmande över nejden. Naturen andades
    knappast, och när andetagen i form av sakta
    vindfläktar drog genom skog och mark, var de mättade
    av doften från spirande gräsvallar, av aromatiska ångor
    från nyss i björkbackarna hopräfsat löv samt av den
    sakta bortdunstande röken från de vida nyodlingarna
    inne i granskogen.
    Det jäste som av värme från den luckra jorden. Luften
    var dock iskyld, och den var ännu i fjällvindens
    våld, men ändå föreföll den så frisk, så hög och lätt,
    ja, nästan rusande. Forsen brusade dämpat som en
    svårmodig vaggvisa. Borta från skogstopparna kom
    en ensam berguv med stilla vingslag skjutande genom
    luften. Snart satt han tyst och orörlig på tornspirans
    spets. Men så hördes med ens hans dova, hemska ”ko
    huu — ko huu”. — Uven skakade sina väldiga vingar och
    upphävde sitt dystra skrän i natten. Hans tid var kommen,
    mössen ilade yra och tanklösa utåt ängarna och
    ormynglet började röra på sig — de undgick inte hans
    fjärrskådande blick.
    Ett skarpt öra kunde från skogens innersta djup förnimma
    ett underligt dallrande ljud. Det var från björnen,
    som väckts ur vinteridet. Han brummade ut sitt kväde
    till vårnatten, till den annalkande sommaren med de
    betande hjordarna, bland vilka rovdjuren fick frossa i
    blod.
    En räv gläfste mordlystet. Hararna sträckte som
    glimtande skuggor utmed skogsbrynet, med öronen
    uppåtsträckta i lyssnande ångest för berguven, med öronen
    tillbakakastade i förfäran över rävens närhet, med
    tröstlös känsla av att vinterpälsen, som varit snövit och
    skyddande, ännu inte lämnat rum för den mossgråa vårdräkten.
    Valborgsmässonatten slumrade tyst i drömmar,
    sövd av forsens dövande vaggsång, och under tiden uppstämde
    de lurande, blodtörstiga rovdjuren jubelskrän
    över den blottade jorden, som befriats från sitt snötäcke,
    vilket hindrat och hämmat dem i deras jaktiver. Men nu
    — ve människorna, ve de fredliga husdjuren!
    En tung vindil for som en suck genom vårnatten.
    Det tassade och prasslade. Från skogstjärnen gled vita
    skuggor; de kröp längs myrar och kärr, de hakade sig
    fast vid varandra, de kom i ringlande, snärjande skaror,
    smög sig tätt intill de vita björkstammarna, vilka lyste
    därvid så, att de fina grenarna med de svällande knopparna
    skälvde, och småfåglarna, vilka hade sina bon i
    björktoppen, skakade på sig i sömnen och kröp närmare
    intill varandra. Det tisslade och tasslade uppe i granliden.
    Vittrorna höll råd. Ett dödligt människobarn hade trampat
    deras väg. Andra unga människobarn hade byggt sin
    koja mitt på deras område. Ve dem! Sjukdom och olycka
    skulle följa dem. Aldrig skulle ett barns skratt höras i
    deras boning.
    Med sitt ”klä’ vitt, klä’ vitt” bekräftade ugglan deras
    tal.
    I skogen susade det och kved. Det var valborgsmässonatten,
    då trollen och vilddjuren vakar, då människan
    i fjäll och skogsbygd ryser och darrar för det hemska,
    hemlighetsfulla, för snaror och försåt, av vilka hon är
    omgiven utan att kunna undkomma.
    Uvens isande ”ko hu-u-u” klämtade åter ut i rymden;
    luften darrade av björnarnas brummande, och natten
    låg mörk och dimtyngd över nejden, medan forsens
    eviga, outtröttliga brus ljöd sakta bortdöende.
    Men det blev liv, det blev ljus. Ett dånande kanonskott
    bröt genom luften. Eld lyste i jätteflammor från fjälltopparna.
    Valborgsmässoeldarna lågade runt om i bergen.
    Rop av friska människoröster skar genom nattens
    tystnad. Uven skakade sina väldiga vingar och böjde
    förbittrad sitt stolta huvud, plågad av eldskenet. Med
    tunga vingslag sökte han sitt näste i klippans stenröse.
    Björnens mäktiga, segerstolta brummande upphörde
    plötsligt. Ljudet av människoröster och eldskenet väckte
    hans uppmärksamhet. Björnen med ”tolv mans förstånd
    och tolv mans kraft” insåg, att hans härskarmakt var
    begränsad. Dimbilderna gled undan; ljuset trängde in i
    skogens dunkel; rovdjuren kände sin makt bruten.
    Men hur hade inte också hela fjälltraktens folk enats
    om att bryta den! Hur hade de inte, ung och gammal,
    vintern igenom plockat kvist efter kvist till det bål, som
    på valborgsmässonatten skulle skrämma bort troll och
    rovdjur, och hur ljöd inte nu deras betvingande rop som
    från ett bröst! Högre och högre flammade de väldiga
    eldarna, starkare och starkare ljöd ropen, som gick från
    eld till eld. Intet troll, intet rovdjur skulle undgå dem!
    Vårnatten drömde om alltsammans. Den log i sömnen,
    log åt att det eniga och starka betvingade det råa
    mordlystna, log åt de lysande eldarna, åt den skimrande
    morgonrodnad, som bebådade en ny dag — en dag, som
    skulle göra slut på valpurgisnattens hemska drömmar.

  74. That Wikipedia article you link to has a very odd lead-in: “Laura Mathilde Fitinghoff […] was a Swedish writer, after she was estranged from her husband.”

  75. John Cowan says:

    Well, can you call someone a writer at a point in their lives when they have not yet written anything?

    And a moment of silence, please, for the victims of the Haymarket affair, workers and police injured by the agent provocateur’s bomb and the workers judicially murdered afterwards.

    As a more recent radical sitting close to me says, “Whenever someone advocated a violent action or response, we always knew he was a pig [policeman or police informant].”‘

    Note that the purpose of the march was to protest police violence on May 2, and to agitate for that Communist and anarchist proposal, the eight-hour day.

  76. gwenllian says:

    1-“Vlach” in Slavic covers more than “Romanian” or “Eastern Romance”: in Slovenia and neighboring areas it plainly seems (in toponymy) to have been used to designate (Early) Friulian and/or Venetian. Its meaning is thus basically “Romance”, and the geography of Romance and Slavic in Europe explains why it typically refers to Romanian.”

    Yep. Few people in the city today would know Vlaška ulica in Zagreb was named for its medieval Italian merchants and artisans. But vlah or vlaj has also come to mean a lot of different things outside of “Romance”, as it came to be applied to traditional cattle breeders and herdsmen regardless of ethnicity and went on to be used, usually pejoratively, for different groups of people depending on place and context: inland dweller, hill or mountain dweller, non-islander, Shtokavian, non-Istrian, Serb, non-Muslim… Maybe the FYLOSC word with the most possible meanings.

  77. David Marjanović says:

    herdsmen regardless of ethnicity

    A related example.

Speak Your Mind

*