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Bron: an argot spoken by itinerant tinkers from Miranda

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Joined: 24 Feb 2003
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Location: Connecticut and Massachusetts

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2003 4:49 pm    Post subject: Bron: an argot spoken by itinerant tinkers from Miranda Reply with quote

Bron is an argot spoken by itinerant tinkers from Miranda, and the local parish, la Parroquia de Santo Domingo de Miranda, has a great website with information about bron, parish activities, etc., and even offers a course in bron(See http://www.mrbit.es/~miranda/). I find the subject fascinating

I am curious about the origin of the word "bron" itself, and wonder if it could be derived from "varon", much as the asturianu word "branu" is related to the castellano word "verano." Since it was largely men who practiced the itinerant tinker's trade, an origin something like "the language that the men use" might make sense. In any event, the sound shift seems equivalent in each case.

I would appreciate information of the etymology of bron and of bron terms in general.

Bob Martinez
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2003 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Varone is an interesting possibility, Bob.

My first thought was that "Bron" might be related to "bronce" (bronze in English) and "broncear" (braze in English). At first I thought that the smiths might have done brazing of copper pans, but that would probably be "soldar." Broncear, according to my dictionary is "decorating with brass."

There is also a definition of "bronce" meaning a copper coin, so there may be usages of bronce that refer to copper, thus taking me back to the possibility that Bron is literally "the language of copper workers."

José Manuel, can you tell us what kind of work the caldereros did? Was it heavy industrial metal construction? Itinerant tinkering--repairing of copper pots and pans? Or something else?
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2003 1:00 pm    Post subject: A definition of "argot" Reply with quote

Let me add--for those who can't remember exactly what an "argot" is-- a definition of argot.

My old Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary Unabridged" from 1970 defines argot as "a jargon or speech used by those in the same work, way of life, etc. to conceal the true import of what is said. as the jargon of tramps or criminals."

A newer dictionary, a 1996 Webster's New World College Dictionary defines argot as "The specialized vocabulary and idioms of those in the same work, way of life, etc., as the language used by computer hackers."

I was surprised that both definitions had a negative connotation, but the 1996 dictionary claims that the origin of the word is itself from a French argot used by thieves and means "the company of beggars." This source suggests that the word argot may derive from "ergot," meaning claw or spur, and thus refer to "getting your claws into."

Related words that most will be more familiar with are: slang, shoptalk, and jargon.

There appears to have been an evolution in the terms used to describe these language uses--something Bob will be interested in! The 1996 dictionary indicates that the word "slang" was originally used to refer to the "specialized vocabulary and idioms as of criminals and tramps, the purpose of which was to disguise from outsiders the meaning of what was said." This source says that the word "cant" is now used for this meaning. This older definition of "slang" is close to the definition my 1970 dictionary gave for "argot".

It could be suggested that the newer definition of argot is less negative. The 1996 dictionary does move away slightly from the criminal to a definition based on an occupation or way of life and it drops the purpose being to hide meaning (although that is still a possible reason for the use of an argot). It keeps the negative group reference (in this case updated to "computer hackers"), so it still sounds negative to me!
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2003 11:04 pm    Post subject: Response from José Manuel Feito on Bron and Caldereros Reply with quote

Estimados amigos:

Quiero agradeceros el interés que teneis por la lengua de nuestro pueblo y que a través de links la divulgueis. Qué cosa mejor que se conozca por todo el mundo la cultura de nuestro pueblo?

Conozco a Suronda. Ella busca antepasados que emigraron a W. Virginia. En este pueblo de Miranda hay varios. Y existieron varios gremios de artesanos o trabajadores del cobre cuya lengua fue el Bron. Desde Miranda nuestra lengua también emigró a Francia (Aurillac-Auvernia) (el modo cómo fue no lo sabemos), y también a León (Valle de Fornela) y a otro pueblo asturiano llamado San Juan de Villapañada (Grado). Cada año en noviembre tienen lugar unas jornadas sobre lenguas gremiales o con conferencias y algunas publicaciones.

En nuestra Web hay textos, vocabulario e historia de los caldereros en castellano: www.mrbit.es/miranda.

Una vez más gracias por interesarse por nuestra lengua y nuestro pueblo.

Un afectuoso saludo
José Manuel


We encourage posting in Castilian or Asturianu. In part, because I had several questions about the meaning of several terms in his post, José Manuel and I have translated his reply into English:


Dear friends:

I want to thank you for the interest that you have in the language of our town of Miranda and that you share this interest with the world through links in your Web site. What could be better than the culture of our town to be known all over the world?

I know Suronda. She is looking for ancestors that emigrated to W. Virginia. In this town of Miranda there were several emigrants. Several guilds of copper workers (itinerant tinkers) also existed whose language was Bron. From our Miranda this language emigrated to Aurillac-Auvernia, France (although it isn't known how it got there), and also to León (the Fornela Valley), and to another Asturian town, called San Juan of Villapañada (Grado). Every November we hold a multiple-day conference in Avilés (Asturias) about Bron and other guild languages and release new publications.

In our Web there are texts, vocabulary, and the history of the Miranda copper workers in Castilian: www.mrbit.es/miranda/.

Once again, thanks for your interest in our language and our people.

Warmest regards,
José Manuel

Last edited by Art on Wed Jul 30, 2003 5:06 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Joined: 04 Jun 2003
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Location: New York

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

José Manuel Feito is a very prolific man, with wide-ranging interests
and infinite energy. One of my favourite projects of his is the
digitalization of the parrochial archive of Miranda, going back three centuries.
His interest for the "caldereros" and their language has culminated in the
very recent publication of his book on the topic. I believe the publisher is
Azucel, but I am not yet sure. I'll post the ISBN when I get it, real soon now.
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