Picto-Charentais.

The latest New Yorker leads off with an article called “Come to the Fair” (“The food-and-booze fest that is France’s national agricultural exhibition”) by Lauren Collins; before I had read a word, the photo of a butcher’s display at the Salon de l’Agriculture made me want to move to France. But I digress — I’m bringing it here for this paragraph:

In 2013, the first year I went to the Salon, I was living in Geneva. One Sunday morning, my husband and I caught the seven-forty-two train to Paris. By eleven-thirty […], we were sampling what would become my favorite delicacy in all the land, the tourteau fromagé of Poitou-Charentes. (Giving Mancunians and Arkansawyers a run for their money in the demonym stakes, the area’s residents are known as the Picto-Charentais.) The tourteau fromagé is—getting into the compound-word spirit here—a goatcheesecake. The shortcrust pastry of the bottom part forms a lip where it meets the upper half, which rises domelike from the cereal-bowl-shaped base, and looks as though it were composed of volcanic ash. The burnt top is deceiving. It imparts just the slightest char, in the manner of a good pizza crust. The inside is tangy. Poke the crumb, and your finger emerges feeling almost wet, as though you’d stuck it into a loofah. At Tourteaux Jahan, Joël Ricard’s stand in Pavilion 3, the wares are displayed on risers, like a boys’ choir at a holiday concert. Ricard has been coming to the Salon since 1983. In a week, he sells five thousand cakes.

I love a good demonym (see this post, and note the update in which I point out that Garner has actually amended the sillier entries in his list), and Picto-Charentais is certainly among the very best. I must say, though, she missed an opportunity with “goatcheesecake”; surely, getting into the Picto-Charentais spirit would mean calling it “capricaseate cake.”

Comments

  1. Athel Cornish-Bowden says:

    Yes, it’s a good article, but the inhabitants of Castelnaudary (or Chauriens, for those who like demonyms) wouldn’t be happy to read that Carcassonne is the home of cassoulet. (I was surprised to read also that cassoulet is unfashionable: I guess it depends on which part of France you’re in.)

  2. I recall from years of idle Wikipedia browsing that France has a lot of extravagantly Latinate demonyms for its various regions, departments and cities.

    I’m not sure of it’s been mentioned here before, but Mexico also has the adorable hidrocálido for residents of the state of Aguascalientes.

  3. David Marjanović says:

    Cassoulet is fed to tourists in Carcassonne. Perhaps that has made it unfashionable among the locals?

    France has a lot of extravagantly Latinate demonyms for its various regions, departments and cities

    Île-de-France > francilien
    Montceau-les-Mines > montcellien
    Périgord > périgourdien

  4. David Marjanović says:

    hidrocálido

    The hydrothermals!

  5. Athel Cornish-Bowden says:

    I recall from years of idle Wikipedia browsing that France has a lot of extravagantly Latinate demonyms for its various regions, departments and cities.

    I don’t know about the “Latinate”: there is nothing obviously Latinate about parisien, francilien, toulousain, marseillais, bordelais, lillois, strasbourgeois, lyonnais, nantais, or even stéphanois. However, there are certainly a great many of them in everyday use, and they extend to quite small places. I know someone from Castres who likes to tell people he is castrais (pronounced like castré, which he isn’t, as far as I know). In the UK there are very few that can genuinely be called everyday terms: Londonian, Liverpudlian, Mancunian, Glaswegian, Brummie, and maybe Bristolian, and that’s about it.

    When I was in Mexico in 2003 I learned that mexiquense refers to someone from the Estado de México (which doesn’t include the Distrito Federal), whereas mexicano means a native of the country. I learned this on a visit to Toluca, the capital of the state. It’s not a place I would recommend visiting, but we had a specific reason for going there. Our neighbours’ daughter was starting a course there, and was finding it a great deal colder and more desolate than she or her parents had imagined, so we brought her some warmer clothes, and some money.

  6. Well, not those in particular. But, for example:

    Aisne: axonais
    Allier: élavérin
    Bouches-du-Rhône : bucco-rhodanien
    Haute-Loire : altiligérien
    Loire: ligérien
    Oise: isarien
    Seine-Saint-Denis : séquano-dionysien
    Somme: samarien
    Yonne: icaunais

    Auch: auscitain
    Bézier: biterrois
    Bobigny: balbynien
    Cahors: cadurcien
    Charleville-Mézières: carolomacérien
    Château-Thierry: castrothéodoricien
    Créteil: cristolien
    Draguignan: dracénois
    Épernay: sparnacien
    Épinal: spinalien
    Évreux: ébroïcien
    Fontainebleau: bellifontain
    Foix: fuxéen
    La Châtre: castrais
    La Tour-du-Pin: turripinois
    Le Puy-en-Velay: anicien
    Lisieux: lexovien
    Lons-le-Saunier: lédonien
    Montauban: montalbanais
    Meaux: meldois
    Neufchâteau: néocastrien
    Pamiers: appaméen
    Rambouillet: rambolitain
    Rodez: ruthénois
    Saint-Denis: dionysien
    Saint-Dié-des-Vosges: déodatien
    Saint-Étienne: stéphanois
    Saint-Omer: audomarois
    Vesoul: vésulien

    Now of course, many of these could be characterized as unsurprising rather than extravagant. And this issue is probably more notable in French than in other Romance languages because of its unique phonetic evolution, which accentuates the difference between inherited and learned vocabulary.

  7. J.W. Brewer says:

    FWIW I have been to that Salon, maybe 15 years ago, and it’s well worth the trip. It’s like a good U.S. county fair except w/o the carnival rides, and with the prizewinning sows, tractor exhibits, and other agricultural trade-show aspects located inside a vast urban convention center space you can reach by Metro rather than a rurally-located fairground. And the food obviously runs much more toward regional French sausage/cheese/alcohol (I think it was the first time in my life I’d ever drunk pommeau [sp?], an apple-based tipple that’s sort of intermediate between cider and calvados, which is hard to find in the U.S.) than the classic Deep-Fried-Anything-On-A-Stick fare that is the glory of American fair culture. (IIRC it was not legal to give out free samples of the alcoholic beverages, but the exhibitors could for promotional purposes “sell” sample glasses of such potables for trivial amounts, like a quarter of a Euro for what you would pay 5 or more Euros for at market price in a bar.)

  8. Londonian, Liverpudlian, Mancunian, Glaswegian, Brummie, and maybe Bristolian

    We discussed Haligonian in 2014, but perhaps it is out of fashion in England, if not in Novia Scotia. Scroll down a bit for “Eburoviciens for the people of Evreux (related to English “York”) or Clodoaldiens for the people of Saint-Cloud”.

    Cahors

    Indissolubly linked in my mind with Sodom as a result of much early reading of Dante. The Church considered both sodomy and usury (Cahors was a major banking center in the 13C) to be crimes against nature, and they are punished in adjacent parts of Dante’s Hell. Which reminds me that when Gale as a teenager read that her favorite local radio personality (who had disappeared from the airwaves a month before with no explanation given then or ever) had been convicted of crimes against nature, she quite reasonably supposed that he had been picking wildflowers or cutting down trees in a state park.

  9. Harry Rutherford says:

    As a Londoner, I have to say I’ve never heard the word ‘Londonian’.

    The other two UK ones that spring to mind are ‘Geordie’ and ‘Scouse/Scouser’, which are informal but must be more widely used than Novocastrian and Liverpudlian. And I guess ‘Cockney’, although that feels increasingly old-fashioned.

  10. Athel Cornish-Bowden says:

    As a Londoner, I have to say I’ve never heard the word ‘Londonian’.

    Yes, you’re right: I thought something was wrong with “Londonian”, but I couldn’t think what. You’re also right about “Scouse” and “Geordie”. I hoped that if I gave a list someone would point out ones I’d forgotten.

  11. Trond Engen says:

    I’ve never thought of an etymological relation between Poitiers and Picts. And ‘fight’, apparently.

  12. January First-of-May says:

    Demonyms, especially when applied to places in other countries, are a bit confusing because there’s no consistent cross-language form – even for the same city.
    For example, in English, a person from Moscow (in Russia) would be a Muscovite (this is presumably related to the archaic “Muscovy”), while in Russian, someone from Москва is called москвич (Moskvitch, like the car).

    I wonder what would a French speaker call an inhabitant of Londres…

  13. Londonien. Again with the Latinity! But no, then it would be Londinien. Weird.

  14. David Marjanović says:

    And ‘fight’, apparently.

    *lightbulb moment*

  15. J. W. Brewer says:

    Note also the often-Latinate titles for graduates of posh English schools: Old Brucastrians, Old Dunelmians, Old Harrovians etc etc etc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Boys#United_Kingdom. It’s just a specialized form of demonym, innit?

  16. Good point.

  17. I’ve never thought of an etymological relation between Poitiers and Picts. And ‘fight’, apparently.
    How would that work? The Germanic points to Initial *f < PIE *p (Orel links Latin pecto: “comb” and its cognates). So one would not expect an Initial /p/ in Gaulish, which can only go back to PIE *k_w.

  18. Pictones, like Picti, has to be a Roman exonym, whether or not they are connected (and it seems to me that they probably are: ‘the painted/tattooed people’). But fight has a separate PIE root *pek-, Latin pectere, with semantics ‘comb’ > ‘pull hard’ > ‘fight’ (per Etymonline), as distinct from the *peik̑- that underlies (with nasal infix) Latin pingere.

    WP says that Poitou was called Thifalia in the 6C, after a group called in Latin variously Taifali, Taifalae, Theifali. They are first heard of on the Danube in connection with the Goths, but it’s unclear if they were Germanics or Sarmatians (Eastern Iranian speakers). They were to be found on both sides of the imperial-barbarian divide, and at least some of them settled in Gaul. I wonder if their name is a Germanic exonym (or even endonym) meaning ‘devils’: Ammian, the late Roman historian, says they were heavily into pederasty at a time when even the Greeks had mostly abandoned it.

  19. Alon Lischinsky says:

    I recall from years of idle Wikipedia browsing that France has a lot of extravagantly Latinate demonyms for its various regions, departments and cities.

    I’m not sure of it’s been mentioned here before, but Mexico also has the adorable hidrocálido for residents of the state of Aguascalientes.

    Extravagantly Latinate demonyms are not uncommon in Spain: vallisoletano, jienense, onubense, salmantino lack the characteristic Ibero-Romance sound changes that yielded Valladolid, Jaén, Huelva, Salamanca. I think J. W. Brewer may be onto something.

  20. David Marjanović says:

    *lightbulb moment retracted*

    The Germanic points to Initial *f < PIE *p (Orel links Latin pecto: “comb” and its cognates).

    Not that it matters, but there do seem to be specifically Gaulish loanwords in Proto-Germanic: oven is apparently one.

    I wonder if their name is a Germanic exonym (or even endonym) meaning ‘devils’:

    …That would be specifically High German, right?

    Extravagantly Latinate demonyms are not uncommon in Spain:

    Oh yes! There’s turoliense for Teruel.

  21. Trond Engen says:

    *lightbulb moment retracted*

    Yeah, me too. I was blinded by the lightbulb and took Etymonline for granted without checking anything else.

    there do seem to be specifically Gaulish loanwords in Proto-Germanic: oven is apparently one.

    Maybe. The old WGmc languages have forms with -f-/-v-, NGmc used to have doublets of -g- and -f-/-v-, and Gothic has auhns. Bjorvand & Lindeman see it as inherited, but the forms are difficult to unite. Maybe some were borrowed? Or maybe Kluge had something to do with it.

  22. David Marjanović says:

    Maybe some were borrowed?

    The idea is that the *f form is borrowed from Gaulish p < *kʷ, while the Gothic h is the native development of *kʷ, and the g versions have to be blamed on Verner. I suppose the Gaulish word could have been borrowed for a particular type of oven…

    Or maybe Kluge had something to do with it.

    Kluge’s law is not supposed to change places of articulation.

  23. Trond Engen says:

    No, I guess it would take some special pleading.

    What is the Gaulish word? B&L start by saying that there are no certain comparable forms in other IE languages. They also see very little evidence Verner alternation in masculine a-stems. Preferring the forms with -f- as original because they have the widest distribution, they reconstruct *úfna-. But they end up with Goth.-h- and NGmc -g- as unexplained, parallel changes.

    But *-hʷn- > *-fn- and *-gʷn- > *-wn- don’t look unreasonable to me. Neither do the changes *-fn- > *-hn- and *-wn- > *-gn-. Are there counterexamples to one or both?

  24. David Marjanović says:

    What is the Gaulish word?

    Hypothetical of course. Gaulish is very sparsely documented!

    Are there counterexamples to one or both?

    I don’t know, but if there aren’t, that may not even mean a lot: there are really surprisingly few words with word-internal Proto-Germanic *f. It’s as if PIE roots in *-p were almost never stressed somehow… ~:-| …and explaining the f-form of “oven” as Gaulish means that the most prominent exception is explained away: invariable initial stress is reconstructed for Proto-Celtic.

    However, if *-wn- > *-gn- were regular, I expect that someone would have noticed long ago.

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