Re: French words in Viennese #austria-czech
Celia Male <celiamale@...>
Re the discussion of French words in Viennese - I think it most unlikely that the
Viennese would adopt the words of an unpopular enemy in the early 1800s as
suggested by Robert Fraser.
I have the correspondence of my gt-gt-gt uncle Leon BIACH [Pressburg 1806 -
Vienna 1868] and his fiancee, and soon-to-be wife, Minna DIAMANT [incidentally a
relative of the genealogist Paul DIAMANT who was discussed in previous postings
and also of Heinrich HEINE and Theodor HERZL].
Minna [born, Pressburg 1815 - died, Vienna 1840, after giving birth to three
daughters] was a very precocious child and could write in fluent French and
Italian when she was a teenager.
Both Leon and Minna are buried in Wahringerfriedhof, Vienna, where their graves
can still be seen today.
The letters, starting in the early 1830s, are peppered with words such as:
ennuiren .... being bored
excusieren ... to make excuses
Visite machen ...to visit
Excuse ... an apology
Frappiert ... to fall out
presence d'esprit ... presence of mind
We can all think of others, I am sure.
A young woman would not have such a free and easy way with French-derived words
had they not been established in common usage for many, many years.
Hence, I am quite sure that Phil Lederer's father is correct in his statement
that French words had been used in Austrian Court circles many years before
Here is some bona-fide historical back-up for French-Viennese philology which
I based on my own family history:
Francis Stephen I - born in Nancy, France was the son of Leopold of Lorraine &
Elisabeth Charlotte of Orleans - married Maria Theresia, daughter of Habsburg
emperor Charles VI, 12 February 1736 ... They had 16 children together including:
Joseph II, Leopold II & Marie Antoinette.
In 1745, Francis Stephen I was elected to the Imperial throne. After Maria
Theresia inherited the lands of Habsburg, she made Francis co-regent..... During
his reign he helped improve French culture and language at the Viennese court.
Hence, French probably became well-established in this era, namely 70 years before
Minna DIAMANT was born and also some 25 years before the birth of Napoleon
Celia Male [UK]