CASIDŮNÉTE* / Sarkese sea-lavender

photo source: Susan Synnott

casidůnéte“, s.f., pronounced [käsɪdʊnɛt:] 🔊, or “casidůnéte sérčéze“, pronounced [käsɪdʊnɛt sɛrcɛ:z̥], is a Sarkese neology name for “Sarkese rock sea-lavender” (Limonium binervosum subsp. sarniense var. sercquense), an endemic variety of a subspecies of rock sea-lavender, unique to the island of Sark with a possible overlap to Jersey. The name was introduced in 2023, having been constructed on an obscure Insular Norman name for lavender, “casidůne”.

origin: Sarkese neologism / first recorded for Sarkese: 2023 (invented) / current status in the 21st century: introduced

“casidůnéte” is a feminine invariable uncountable noun (a she-word that does not change). When we refer to rock sea-lavender, we therefore prefer the use of the so-called partitive, “d’la casidůnéte”. The pronunciation is regular.

On the origin

“casidůnéte” is a recent neology name, i.e. a newly constructed word. Since there wasn’t a proper Sarkese name for the plant that has become quite popular due to its status of a confirmed unique endemism to the island of Sark, an idea to give the plant a proper name in Sark Norman arose.

Our “casidůnéte” is based on the old Insular Norman word for lavender, “casidůne”, which has been unfortunately lost for Sark Norman, although preserved in the Norman languages of Guernsey and Jersey. The word “casidůne” is of obscure origin. It may originate in an Old Gallo-Romance form derived from the Latin word “chalcedon(ius)”, meaning “agate”, which in the languages of Northern France resulted in “cassidoine” and “cassidonne”, but no explanation for a possible meaning shift has been proposed so far.

photo source: Susan Synnott

Nevertheless, no matter the origin, the word means today “lavender” in the other two Norman languages of the Channel Islands. Since the plant is already called lavender in English, a slight modification was proposed – rather than adding an epithet based on the words “rock”, “sea” etc., a simple diminutive based on the addition of the ending “-éte”, showing affection for Sark’s only known endemism, and reflecting the fact, that the plant is smaller than a regular lavender, was constructed.

As there is only one plant growing in Sark, called “casidůnéte” at the moment, adding epithets is unnecessary, although f.e. “casidůnéte sérčéze”, lit. “Sarkese casidůnéte” to emphasize its uniqueness for Sark, is logical.


Citation: NEUDÖRFL, Martin. casidůnete/Sarkese sea-lavender. In: Sark Norman Dictionary Online [on-line].

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