In brief

Regional plan seeks to foster use of Norman language

Norman president says language to be introduced in schools, academy to be established

A bilingual sign already existing in Normandy.
A bilingual sign already existing in Normandy. Author: Le Peuple Breton
The regional president of Normandy, centrist Hervé Morin, announced last Saturday the implementation of a “regional plan” for the Norman language. According to the plan, this linguistic variety will be reintroduced in primary schools, whereas in secondary education it will be offered as an option. In addition, a sociolinguistic survey will be carried out, a linguistic atlas with sound files will be created, a research program will be funded, and an academy of the Norman language will be established.

According to the Norman president, in order to “build the Norman identity”, the regional administration wants to tell the public that “each person [should] take back this language.” Morin has suggested that speakers share the language in ad-hoc conversation exchanges. Another measure proposed by Morin will be to install signboards in Normandy at the entrance and exit of villages and towns.

Socialists in opposition have blamed Morin for using public money for such measures “while some Normans are sleeping in the street.”

Norman is a variety of the Langue d’Oïl, which includes Standard French and its related linguistic varieties in northern France and Wallonia. Normand enjoys official recognition in the islands of Jersey and Guernsey, in the Channel. English contains quite a few words of Norman origin that were incorporated after the Norman invasion of England in 1066. Emigration explains why Norman has strongly influenced Quebec French.

(This news is adapted from Occitan news site Jornalet, with which National has a cooperation agreement.)