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Looking to find the morphology for the words Champleve' and Cloisonne'

A friend asked in a Facebook post about the morphology of the words Champleve’ and Cloisonné’.
In his search, he found that the term Champleve’ only dates back to approximately 1855-1860 and the term Cloisonné’ dates back to approximately 1860-1865.
He would like to know what these techniques were called before this timeframe. I know that Middle French was spoken roughly from about the 14th to the 17th century. Old French was spoken before that.
I was wondering about this and thought that maybe these are modern French words that evolved from Middle French. Or I could be completely wrong and maybe they are new words that replaced another word?

I can find plenty of documentation on the processes, but am finding it hard to track down the morphology of these words. I was hoping that some native French speakers, or some enameling professionals might point me in the correct direction for documentation.

Thanks in advance for the assistance.

A visit to Wikipedia brings up a lot of information about the differences between each technique. But beyond explaining that “cloisons” is a French word for compartments not much is explained about the etymology of the words. Do you suppose that the difference could be as simple as different ways to get the same basic result?

Don Meixner

What is language morphology?

Morphology relates to the segmenting of words into affixes (prefixes and suffixes) and roots or base words , and the origins of words. … Further, parts of words (affixes) can have separate meanings that can transform or morph word meaning.

Before you go tossing around big words, make sure you know what they mean.
These words are both literally French words adopted into English.

“champ”= field
“levé”= raised
“champlevé”= raised field

“cloisonné”= partitioned

A better question might be, when all of these enameling techniques are thousands of years old, and have been practiced in societies speaking a myriad of languages, including many languages which are long dead, why do English speakers use French words for them? Never mind Middle French or Old French… how about Ancient Egyptian or Ancient Chinese?

I was using the terminology that my friend was using. I am not a language geek so I trusted him to know what he was telling me. Thank you for your correction. That being said, we are still looking for any reference to what these processes were called before the mid 19th century.

I suspect that this will involve a lot more research into very old documents at this point. A rabbit hole type of project that sounds interesting.
[adds note to pile of projects to do this century…]

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The French words for the various email techniques such as champlevé, Deutsch: Grubenschmelz)) cloisonné, (Deutsch: Zellenschmelz) plique a jour, (Deutsch: Fensteremail) émail en ronde bosse, (Deutsch: Körperschmelz) émail en basse taile (Deutsch: Flachschnittemail) and so on have been popular in Europe for centuries Use. The cause lies among other things. in that the strongholds of the medieval enamel, next to Byzantium, were in France, especially in Limoges/F and in the Rhine-Maas-area. Since these French workshops served almost all of Europe in the Middle Ages, these French terms were used in most European languages ​​and have been preserved in professional circles to this day.


Thank you. That is more information than we had before and it will provide a great jumping off point for more research. =)

Check out this site:✓

If the link doesn’t work, do a search for enameling.

A better question might be, when all of these enameling techniques
are thousands of years old, and have been practiced in societies
speaking a myriad of languages, including many languages which are
long dead, why do English speakers use French words for them?

Answer: After 1066, Norman French became the lingua franca (literally) for the upper classes. Only peasants spoke English, which itself evolved from many roots: Saxon, Norse–whoever marched through to conquer the place. That’s why you find many French words in English, which probably annoys the French no end. English spread and mutated as the British expanded their empire over the entire globe, including America, which in turn spammed the planet with its take on the language via the entertainment industry. The current polyglot state of the English language probably annoys the true English speaker no end. And so it goes…


I don’t have much to add other than a fun explanation as to why English has so many words of different heritages.
“English beats up other languages in dark alleys, then rifles through their pockets for loose grammar and spare vocabulary”


“The Story of English” is a 9 part documentary aired by PBS and narrated by Robert MacNeil…it traces the origins of English to Frisian, the small chain of sandbar islands off the coast of Holland, by professional/academic linguists. It then follows the evolution of English to its modern form, particularly American Standard, with comparisons to modern British English…I highly recommend watching it if you can find it on PBS or U tube…English grammar is Germanic… our verb tenses have been simplified so that the same form is used for express other tenses, which in Germanic of Latin derived languages, like French would have separate verb forms…but these verb tenses are still there, only hidden. Old English, pre Chaucer, is very difficult to read because it is so Germanic. The invasion of Germanic tribes after the fall of the Roman Empire, brought old Saxon German, Angle German, (hence anglo-saxon) along with other variations of German, displacing the Celtic languages, that still survive in Ireland, and to a far lesser extent in Wales, and Scotland and Brittany in France… The Isle of Manx has resurrected thier form of Celtic just recently…after nearly going completely extinct… English itself nearly went extinct with the Norman conquest, that established Norman French as the official language, but it survived among the serfs and peasantry… English has taken so many Norman French words into it’s lexicon so that English vocabulary is twice as big as French, German, Spanish and other western european languages. Automated linguistic programs that aren’t sophisticated enough will classify English as a Romance Language simply based on the abundance of French and French derived words in our vocabulary…English began to take it’s modern form during the 15th century… Shakespeare is easily understood…The evolution of modern English which has become the international language of business and commerce followed the expansion of the British Empire…English continued to flourish because of American power supplanting British power world wide, and has become Americanized…there are 1.13 billion English speakers world wide. Mandarin Chinese is a very close second. Spanish is in 5th place after Hindi and Bengali, with 580 million native speakers of Spanish. The other leading languages are because of the size of the population. English as a second language is taught nearly universally world wide… that includes all of Western Europe, but also China and Japan. It has become the universal language of not only business and commerce but also science and technology. As such, the US is monolingual…that’s somewhat of a pity, as other countries, especially in Western Europe and bi and trilingual…languages carries with it culture, and it’s a shame that we are so insular and unknowing about other languages and cultures.

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So very true…as the leading international language, borrowing and stealing non English words is to be expected…

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