Etymology of French aujourd'hui?

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages, and Linguistics (EHL)' started by Arianllyn, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. Arianllyn Member

    UK, English

    I was wondering if anyone knew anything about the origins of the word "aujourd'hui"? It seems like "au jour", which would make sense, but I'm puzzled as to the "-d" and "hui" bits.

  2. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    English (England)
    "hui" was the old French word for today on its own. I suppose it wasn't felt to be a "strong" enough word so the rest was added, something like "on the day of today".
  3. zaby

    zaby Senior Member

    So when we say "au jour d'aujourd'hui", a fashionable phrase, it's a double pleonasm :D

    There is more information about the etymology of aujourd'hui on atilf website
  4. Jean-Michel Carrère Senior Member

    French from France
    Indeed, hui has the same etymology as hoy(dia) in Spanish and oggi in Italian and comes from hodie in latin.
  5. quadrax200 New Member

    Grenoble, France
    I would imagine that the "aujourd'" developed as a way to avoid confusion with the word "oui" as it would be pronounced the same as "hui"
  6. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    English (England)
    Hi quadrax and welcome!:)

    I don't know if that's true because the vowels represented by "ou" and "u" are pronounced quite differently in French.
  7. quadrax200 New Member

    Grenoble, France
    Hmm, that is certainly true. They are very similar though. I was just venturing a guess.
  8. NemoNobody

    NemoNobody Senior Member

    France métropolitaine
    French - France
    As far as I know, "aujourd'hui" comes from a contraction of medieval expression "au jour d'icelui", where "icelui" would be "celui-ci" ("this one") nowadays.

    Hence "au jour d'icelui" was meaning something like "present day".
  9. pyan

    pyan Senior Member

    Vendée, France
    English, UK, London
    Here is a link to one of TV5's "Merci professeur" short programmes which discusses the etymology of "aujourd'hui". It doesn't add anything new to the discussion but connects information given in earlier posts.

    (Moderator permission to insert video link given by Suehil.)
  10. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    But in this case they represent semi-vowels, [w] and [ɥ], respectively which are much closer than their vocalic counterparts and [y].
  11. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    If this were true you would have an unetymological "h" here. I am not aware of any examples of such an unetymological "h" in French, are you?
  12. ManPaisa

    ManPaisa Banned

    Here and there in a topsy-turvy world
    AmE (New England) / español (Colombia)
    For emphasis, Spanish speakers often say el día de hoy, which mirrors the French construction aujourd´hui.
  13. CapnPrep Senior Member

    Huile < oleum, huître < ostrea, huit < octo, huis < ostium.

    But yes, the <h> in aujourd'hui is etymological (from hodie, as Jean-Michel Carrère explained — in 2006).
  14. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    Stupid me.:eek: (Memo to myself: first switch on brain; then post!)
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2010
  15. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    English (England)
    Indeed - I believe that I remember through the haze of years from my time at university that hodie>hui is actually a perfectly regular phonetic development of a word from Latin to French, despite their very different forms.
  16. ryba

    ryba Senior Member

    Just like hui /uj/ in Valencian Catalan and uèi /ɥɛj/ in Occitan.

    Curiously, Catalan from Catalonia and the Balearic Islands uses a more modern word avui /ə'ßuj/, /ə'vuj/, /a'ßuj/ and you can come across the word avuèi /a'ßɥɛj/ in Languedocian Occitan.

    I wonder if their etymology is similar to that of aujourd'hui.
  17. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    El día de hoy just means "on this day". English is a confusing medium to discuss these matters, because the word "today" includes the recognizable root "day" in itself. :D This is not the case in Spanish: día and hoy are distinct. But now I'm wondering if hodie was related to dies in Latin...

    The French phrase, as has been explained, originates in au jour d'hui, "on the day of today".
  18. CapnPrep Senior Member

    Avui is hui (< hodie), with fortition vui (cf. vuit), preceded by the preposition a (< ad).

    Sure, it's a reduction of hoc die.
  19. NemoNobody

    NemoNobody Senior Member

    France métropolitaine
    French - France
    "Hodie" is contraction of "hoc die" which is ablative declension of "hic dies" meaning "this day" (checked yesterday with a retired latin teacher).
  20. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Thank you both. So, English is actually on the same line as Latin on this matter!

    Time can erode contractions so that their etymology gets forgotten by most speakers, at which point they are reanalysed as independent words. This is basically what happened from hoc die to hoy and hui, and then later to aujourd'hui, and (perhaps) then again to au jour d'aujourd'hui. I wonder how far the iteration will go. ;)

    Fun topic!
  21. koniecswiata Senior Member

    Am English
    Spanish does mirror this construction with "hoy dìa" which is often said instead of just "hoy".
    Interesting that French has the au (from the preposition a?) at the beginning of the word preceding "jour" this does go in the line of English "today" (starting with the preposition "to"), Dutch vandaag (starting with the preposition "van", or Swedish i dag (starting with the prepostion "i"). It seems common that to form the word "today" the formula is "Preposition + day" (more or less).
  22. euquila New Member

    "Today" is the only English word I can think of that contracts "to". Are there any others?
  23. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    Today, tonight, tomorrow.
  24. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    Moderator note: This thread is about French, not English. Please don't let yourselves be carried away.

Share This Page