WI: Linguistic Effects of Napoleonic Victory

The addition of Catalonia May strengthen Occitan in a direct sense, but it implies a much richer and more powerful France that could implement universal mandatory education earlier. While it may not be the most likely scenario, I think it is absolutely possible that a wave of Frenchification sweeps Occitan away from the rest of France by starting earlier and being more intense than OTL, while Catalan survives and eats the previously Occitan constituency as Occitan Catalan is unable to power a separatist movement that claims its hypothetical territory outside Catalonia. Catalonia is on the other side of a mountain range after all, naturally limiting its contact with the rest of France and thus partially in insulating it from assimilation, while the rest of Southern France is connected to Northern France through geography, infrastructure and history.

I disagree, the mountain range is a difficult boundary for armies, yet is not so for movements of people. French rule over Catalonia and Aragon reinstates the status quo of the Middle Ages, permitting populace transit through the mountains between the Occitan lands, Aragon and Catalonia. This in turn allows cross influence of political ideology, linguistic empowering and the restructuring of Occito-Catalan political identity and legitimacy.

If one checks medieval sources of this region, you find the mountains were mere highways of people. The crossing from Foix, Toulouse, etc unto the Principality of Barcelona or Kingdom of Aragon, were commonplace. It was even common for men to travel these distances for marriage and business ties. Such freedom of transit and relations is partly the reason the Albigensian crusade was such a fearsome bout and further why the Treaty of Cordeile and later Hispano-French antagonisms were so novel in revoking this historic relation between Occitania-Aragon-Catalonia.
 
I disagree, the mountain range is a difficult boundary for armies, yet is not so for movements of people. French rule over Catalonia and Aragon reinstates the status quo of the Middle Ages, permitting populace transit through the mountains between the Occitan lands, Aragon and Catalonia. This in turn allows cross influence of political ideology, linguistic empowering and the restructuring of Occito-Catalan political identity and legitimacy.

If one checks medieval sources of this region, you find the mountains were mere highways of people. The crossing from Foix, Toulouse, etc unto the Principality of Barcelona or Kingdom of Aragon, were commonplace. It was even common for men to travel these distances for marriage and business ties. Such freedom of transit and relations is partly the reason the Albigensian crusade was such a fearsome bout and further why the Treaty of Cordeile and later Hispano-French antagonisms were so novel in revoking this historic relation between Occitania-Aragon-Catalonia.
You’ve convinced me, while I knew that France and Catalonia had connections dating back to the Karlings, I was not aware that they were still meaningful by this time period. In addition, I think I vastly overestimated the impact of the mountains on travel, and in turn overestimated the difficulty in communication across them.
 
You’ve convinced me, while I knew that France and Catalonia had connections dating back to the Karlings, I was not aware that they were still meaningful by this time period. In addition, I think I vastly overestimated the impact of the mountains on travel, and in turn overestimated the difficulty in communication across them.
Yes, it is quite interesting. In the Parmiers registry of the early 14th century (even after the Treaty of Cordeile) it mentions the lives of bachelor men in the Foix county and of the area of Roselló. Therein, men annually or even more often, travelled to Catalonia or Aragon for business ties, meeting family members, romance, grazing lands, etc.

One man in particular, alongside a dozen men from his area in Foix, took their entire flock into Aragon. From there, they travelled to Zaragoza and sold wares and moved as Far East as Barcelona, selling more wares before making a trip back to Aragon. There, they attended brothels, spoke to locals and return to the Foix county. This was apparently very common this late.

The mountain ranges, though imposing and difficult to pass, possessed all sorts of ancient pathways. Locals in Aragon, Catalonia, Foix, Comminges, Andorra, Toulouse, knew of these pathways. These ways of passage, were compatible for groups of people with flocks of animals or carts of goods; yet the stiff passages, do not permit large armies to move through easily. As such, the mountain ranges, especially near Foix, form effective barriers to certain military incursions, but otherwise, they present modes of transit.

These ancient passages, were lanes of transit utilized for centuries up till 1300. As the Frankish counter to the Umayyad caliphate began and the Frankish and otherwise European lords began pushing back Islamic rule from the borderlands, these mountains began to be crossed. The crossings made by Latino-Germanic peoples under Frankish rule, were sent and went to populate the lands to the south and as such influenced these new lands. Catalonia for instance was created by this trailblazing and colonizing venture by the Frankish lords.

As such, a common identity was developed between the original lands of Occitania and the colonized and new derivatives, the lands of Catalonia, Valencia and Aragon. The nature of this relation was shown in the high medieval Frankish-French rule over Aragon, Catalonia and to a degree, Valencia. These lands were under the greater, ‘March of Gothica’ a military border zone that ideally was utilized as a force of military strikes upon the Islamic realms and for in taking varied migrants and settlers.

This situation began to change during the XII century, when the Aragonese lords began to seek the title of king from the Papacy. The Papacy conferred a true royal title to the Aragon petty lords, effectively breaking it from Frankish rule in terms of titles. Soon after, through inheritance, Aragon acquired the County of Barcelona and as such, Aragon remained in an odd situation. Namely; the Aragon kings, were in titles, kings and equal to France in terms of legal precedence. Yet, they were still ‘Margaves of the Goths’ and vassals of France as counts of Barcelona.

Such a situation became inflamed by the Albigensian crusade. Wherein, the County of Toulouse, turned to Aragon, its close ally, friend and kindred in all ways. All of this to say, the mountain passes were modes for the creation and maintenance of a strong and powerful identity shared between the Lengadoc, Catalan lands and Aragon.

This commonality faced its first erosion with the Treaty of Cordeile, wherein the French kingdom relinquished its claim to the March of Gothica whilst Aragon renounced its claims to Toulouse and Foix. The two set their border at the mountain ranges between Foix and Aragon and for the first time since the 700s, there became a legal border between France and Iberia.

Later, further Franco-Spanish warfare would truly block the transit zones. With the failure to travel to and fro, we can imagine a weakening and atomizing of the greater identity in the region. This is partly what permitted the decline and destruction of Occitan within France. Whilst, in the Catalan lands, Aragon and so forth, Occitan remained strong as its role in society was respected and frankly, beloved.

In this timeline, uniting continuously Catalonia, Aragon and Occitania, is akin to uniting different districts of Poland. Assume, that Russia is attempting to enforce Russian upon Poles in its holdings. Then suppose Russia by some way, annexes Habsburg and Prussian ruled Polish crown lands. Would this not have a revitalization in their identity and strengthen its linguistic and political capital? Surely, it would.


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There are many other examples of this in Europe or other lands. Mountains, are never (aside from a few, such as the Himalayas) objects which block the transmission of peoples. Cultural and political differences are those factors more related to the obstruction of human interaction and transmission (excluding vast seas).

Other examples:

The mountain border zone between Savoy, France, Provence, Switzerland and Liguria. The historic linguistic diversity of this region attests to this. Medieval Savoyard political action also displays this eclectic and diverse situation.

The mountain zone between Aquileia, Venice, Trent, Austria, Istria, Tyrol and the greater Po River Valley.

The transmission, cultural contact and development between England and the Gascon lands, Lengadoc, etc, despite distance by the sea.

The similar cultural links and movements of people to and fro across the Zagros mountains attested in the Assyrian empire. This situation continues into our modern era.


There are other examples, yet I will refrain from mentioning these.
 
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I know this isn't exactly related to the matter at hand, but since linguistic alt-history came up, this reminded me of something I've often thought about.

If you take a random tweet that uses modern slang (like omg we staaaan) and you show it to someone from 20 years ago, they might just have a vague idea of what it says or have absolutely no clue what it means. If you start going back in time, the divide grows even bigger.

Knowing this, there's absolutely no way that butterflies as big as those from a Napoleonic victory won't end up with completely unrecognizable colloquial English. and as the guy who recently got this book for Christmas (https://www.amazon.es/Because-Internet-Understanding-Rules-Language-ebook/dp/B076GNS3J4) I would find it fascinating to see what that language would look like.
 
I know this isn't exactly related to the matter at hand, but since linguistic alt-history came up, this reminded me of something I've often thought about.

If you take a random tweet that uses modern slang (like omg we staaaan) and you show it to someone from 20 years ago, they might just have a vague idea of what it says or have absolutely no clue what it means. If you start going back in time, the divide grows even bigger.

Knowing this, there's absolutely no way that butterflies as big as those from a Napoleonic victory won't end up with completely unrecognizable colloquial English. and as the guy who recently got this book for Christmas (https://www.amazon.es/Because-Internet-Understanding-Rules-Language-ebook/dp/B076GNS3J4) I would find it fascinating to see what that language would look like.
It would be mostly intelligible, most of the standard vocabulary doesn’t change, and very little slang survives beyond the generation which created it and the standard word for it also tend to survive. The languages which may significant changes will be languages which haven’t been standardized yet by the POD, or the dialects which haven’t yet received a army and navy yet.

As example if Norway stay Danish after 1814, even if we see a later Norwegian independence movement, Norwegian will converge even more on Danish than it already have. We will likely see areas of Norway speaking regional variations of Standard Danish rather than Danified traditional regional dialects like in modern Norway. Standard Norwegian if it come into being won’t be unrecognizable, but it will look even more like Danish than it already do. But more likely we will see simply see a split in Norwegian with the Nynorsk dialects calling themselves Norwegian (and likely include Faroese) and the Standard Norwegian dialects simply being seen as Danish.
 
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