The work we present here is exceptional in the first sense of the word.
But, even if it is a bit of a mouthful, it is taken from an even more exceptional work: the FEW, a monumental encyclopaedia of more than 16,000 pages listing all the etymological and derivative sources of the French language in 25 volumes. By its full name, the Französisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch is the work of a passionate Basle linguist, Walter Von Wartburg, assisted by Oscar Bloch, and was written in German It is now available online on the ATLIF website in its 2003 version.
This is the source from which Yves Donguy has drawn in order to list all the relationships that French could establish with Brittany, with Celtic languages, and especially with Gallo. Visit the ATLIF website and you can imagine how much work it is to go through this tedious sequence in small print and full of insipid abbreviations!
Yves Donguy, who passed away in February 2020, was one of those Gallo activists who worked discreetly, but assiduously and passionately, for the revival of our language. His life was a permanent commitment to Brittany.
In addition to his biography, we will focus here on his contribution to Gallo.
In the 1990s, he worked, mostly as a volunteer within the Bertègn Galèzz association, on the development of the Corpus Lexicographique Informatisé du Gallo (CLIG), also known as the Tenzor, a monumental synthesis of about 120 lexicons.
He then joined the Maezoe association initiated by the Groisillon linguist Alan Raude. It is within this framework of Maezoe that he carries out the work on the FEW that we are beginning to present today. It is within this framework of Maezoe that he carries out the work on the FEW that we are beginning to present today.
Knowing the difficult conditions in which this project was carried out, Yves is all the more remarkable for his obstinacy. Consider that he noted character by character the comments he deemed relevant when he came across them, and this in all their particularities, including the phonetic characters API or worse, those conceived by the abbot Rousselot.
As his health declined, Yves donated this work to the association Bretagne Vivante, in which he was an active member. This association, in turn, passed on its part of the work relating to Gallo to the Academy of Gallo last May so that it could promote it.
An inventory was necessary.
From this, we selected what seemed to be the most interesting, or at least the most complete. Obviously, it was this work taken from the FEW that seemed to us to be the most suitable to be highlighted. You can discover it here. However, it has required a lot of attention and possible errors may still appear here and there. In particular, we had to work on phonetic inputs so that they were standardised in API. Then, many notes had to be translated into German, as the largest etymological dictionary of French is paradoxically written in that language. These translations are shown in red in our production. Finally, we have created Gallo entries to refocus the book on our language.
Yves had noted everything related to Brittany and Celtic languages. Our focus being on Gallo, we discarded some entries relating to Gaelic or Welsh, among others, but whose relationship to Welsh was not obvious to us.
Like the FEW, we have started from the most authentic etymon, even if it sometimes seems surprising *. The Gallo correspondent we give it is not necessarily the most relevant. We simply wanted it to be the most widespread, simply to make it the most meaningful. In addition to these annotations, you may find, even if only sporadically, some comments that we thought should be added.
We add 3 tables of abbreviations specific to the FEW. The first relates to the places, the second to the source languages attached to the etymon cited by Von Wartburg, and the third to the bibliographical sources of the items taken up by Yves Donguy.
We have made sure that these sources, taken as they are from the FEW, remain limited to the scope of our research. It should be noted that many lexicons have appeared since then and the bibliography may therefore seem small. Nevertheless, it is a first step in the recognition of the antiquity of our specificity.
Moreover, we offer here a framework for etymological research in Gallo, which is still rather superficial.
Because of its volume, the publication will be made by successive alphabetical entries of the FEW. They may not be in order, our concern being to keep each one to around 300 units. However, we will make sure that this work is delivered to you regularly.
Of course, the consultation is reversible and can be done from the FEW or Gallo entrance.