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Chamouni niche question

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Does anyone know if the archaic spelling "Chamouni" is Piedmontese rather than French?

 French Erick 23 Nov 2022
In reply to MG:

Sounds like the old Franco-Occitan dialect to me. I haven’t ever seen Piedmontese written and the pronunciation would fit but chamonix, as far as I recall, never belonged to that kingdom. Aosta on the other side is an enclave in the modern Piedmonte region and historically French speaking.

All of the above are musings on my part and I would happily stand corrected with solid historical evidence.

In reply to French Erick:

Is Franco-Occitan a former dialect of the region?

Chamonix was in the Savoy Kingdom until 1860, last night's googling revealed - did that not cover Piedmont?. And reading Peaks,Passes and Glaciers shows the guides regulations were signed in Turin in 1857.

In reply to French Erick:

>  is an enclave in the modern Piedmonte region and historically French speaking.

Isn't that like saying Scotland is a county of England!!?

 Bob Aitken 23 Nov 2022
In reply to MG:

As Erick suggests, 'Chamouni' appears to be just one way of rendering the local dialect name.  If you have a couple of hours to spare I can recommend Googling 'Arpitan' to get some idea of just how complicated the linguistic background of Savoy/Aosta is.  And that's just one element in the wondrously arcane and complex geographical-historical-political-cultural setting of our 'playground' in the Western Alps.  Very niche indeed ...

In reply to Bob Aitken:

Yes, thanks.  I did do a bit of googling following Erik's reply and am suitably boggled!

In reply to French Erick:

Aosta is not part of Piemonte. It's a semi autonomous region of Italy in its own right. It has its own patois / dialect and was principally 'French' speaking prior to Mussolini, but I doubt that there were major links with Chamonix as prior to the MB tunnel the trade routes were principally to Turin (of course), Petit St Bernard (towards La Rosiere) and Switzerland via Martigny and Zermatt. 

Even today there is a strong French speaking political grouping (Valdotains (French), Valdostanas (Italian). It's not always entirely friendly. In Alagna the locals all speak a dialect of Swiss German as well as Italian, and in my experience flawless English.

Apropos of nothing, in 1945 the French occupied Aosta Valley and only left after the Americans arrived to enforce the allied agreements, a shooting war was avoided only with some sound diplomacy (and troops). I have a friend (still alive who actually remembers it 

Languages and dialects are complex not only in this part of the World but across swathes of Italy. 

In reply to aostaman:

> Apropos of nothing, in 1945 the French occupied Aosta Valley and only left after the Americans arrived to enforce the allied agreements, a shooting war was avoided only with some sound diplomacy (and troops). I have a friend (still alive who actually remembers it 

I remember reading about this at Forte di Bard. The war memorials.in Aosta always seem complex to me - firmly in French mostly.

Down in Piedmont, the Gastaldi hut has and interesting history too. It was a passage for those escaping fascists and burnt down. No one knows which side burnt it. There are still tensions in Balme, the village below, apparently, which has an excellent local museum.

 French Erick 23 Nov 2022
In reply to MG:

I never said it was French! It has never been. So no, it’s not like saying what you suggest 😉

 French Erick 23 Nov 2022
In reply to aostaman:

Thanks for clarifying. As I said I was just musing before.

 Frostguiding 24 Nov 2022
In reply to French Erick:

Maybe Franco Provencal rather than Occitan? Still widely spoken in the Western Swiss Valais. There were lots of trading and smuggling routes through cols into Valpelline and the Aosta area - my neighbour remembers being sent to Italy to sell 2 cows when he was 13! I remember the Aosta hut guardian being disappointed when I first went there (from Evolene) because I couldn't speak patois. 

 jcw 24 Nov 2022
In reply to OP & French Erick:

Re spelling Chamonix

I have in front of me photocopies of the Réglements de la Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix. All use the spelling of today CHAMONIX

The first that of July 1821 Déliberation du Conseil de la Commune de Chamonix... written in manuscript signed Louis Simon Couttet. Ditto the second dated 9 May 1823, confirming  the above by a Manifeste de la Royale Chambre des Comptes, printed Chambéry. Ditto various modifications; viz a model sent by the Sous-Préfecture de Bonneville for altering the text adopted unanimously by members in 1929 and in turn modified by a vote of. 85 out of 95, 22 March 1936 (in these we see -Mont Blanc is added to Chamonix)

The small painting presented by the Chamoniards to Napoleon III on his visit after the Referendum also spells it Chamonix

Spellings which omit the terminal x almost certainly arise from the fact that in Savoie the x is silent Cf Oyonax for example, as too a terminal z eg in the personal name of the photographer Tairraz.

Out of more general interest is to note that the )( >X was a medieval shorthand for ss. Eg Auxerre is pronounced Aussere and more importantly Bruxelles Brussels (as too in sprouts) a fact almost totally ignored by most commentators as well as the general public today, except the British!

Post edited at 13:03
In reply to Frostguiding:

> Maybe Franco Provencal rather than Occitan? Still widely spoken in the Western Swiss Valais. 

Widely spoken might be overstating it - I was under the impression it's basically just Evolène and les Haudères where it's alive and well. Though it was amusing to go to a bar there with a Frenchwoman, who got very confused as she had no idea it was a thing 

 French Erick 24 Nov 2022
In reply to Frostguiding:

The term I was trying to remember !!! Franco-provençal it is. Interestingly, I speak Gavot (like Provençal, Auvergnat or Catalan are all Occitan dialects). I can understand old folks as far north aa Briançon/Nevache or to a degree Sestrière. But the moment I pass the lautaret/galibier, or below Oulx in Italy that’s it! It’s different. Same closer to home in Italy in Val Stura, Maraita: top of valleys similar than from one third down to Cuneo it’s piedmontese (which I can follow… just).

Really enjoying this chat on a UK climbing site… makes me think of native home! I am well out of practice with my home dialect and now concentrating on things closer to current home (I have somewhat achieved a low level of fluency in Gàidhlig…)

 James FR 25 Nov 2022
In reply to MG:

I feel like I've more often seen "Chamouny" than "Chamouni". For example it's spelled with a y in Alexandre Dumas' "Impressions du Voyage" in 1833. Although when it first became part of France during the Revolution, it was recorded as Chamonix.

According to Wikipedia, in Franco-Provençal it's "Chamoni"... But there seems to be some disagreement on how to write Franco-Provençal so it could also be Shamouni or Chamônix! Far too much information here: https://www.gioventurapiemonteisa.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/Communes-savoisiennes.pdf

 French Erick 25 Nov 2022
In reply to James FR:

But in Provençal the o is pronounced oo and indeed may be written as o or ou depending on which spelling faction you belong to (classical or Mistralien: in Tha order).

so chamouni or chamoni could be the same pronunciation.


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