Charnego poachers

Grec says that xarnego/charnego comes from the Castilian lucharniego, used for dogs trained to hunt at night, and that, used for a race of dogs, is passed from Catalonia to France. In Gascon it came to refer to those of mixed race, illegitimates, allochthons, the unassimilated, in which sense it passes to Catalonia. Vitruvio commenting at Almendrón (update: I think he took it from Ricardo García Moya) takes a similar line but goes into more detail:

La palabra “charnego”, cuyos antecedentes ya aparecen por Castilla en el siglo XIII, tuvo la versión portuguesa “charneco”; francesa, “charnaigre”; occitana, “charnego”; y, en valenciano antiguo, “charniego”. En ninguna de ellas se hacía referencia burlesca al forastero, pues designaba a los Grillos que cantan de noche y a los perros especializados en la caza nocturna; ejemplares valiosos por sus Cualidades venatorias. Los valencianos forales no asociaban el cánido charnego al insulto; prueba de ello es el que San Vicente Ferrer fue llamado lebrel celestial. Cuando en 1600 llega la reliquia de san Vicent a Valencia, se alude metafóricamente al santo como “Charnego” (Tárrega, F.: Relación de las fiestas. Valencia 1600, p.35).
En cataluña se usó en el sXVIII para definir al hijo de madre catalana y padre francés y en el SXX para referirse despectivamente a la immigración del sur de españa. Ya está en desuso, supongo que porqué pasadas dos generaciones, no queda casi nadie que no lo sea am mayor o menos medida. Al último que he oído autocalificarse así és a Carod-Rovira.

It’s interesting (and good) to hear Saint Vincent Ferrer being called a celestial harehound (liebre -> lebrel) and a nighthunter. The best time to hunt hares is at dawn and dusk, not at night, so it may be that the race in question was first used for nighthunting and was then found to have the necessary characteristics to go after hares. That it had this dual function seems to be confirmed in the Mémoires de la Société de linguistique de Paris, 1935, which says charnego/charnegre (from which the standard French charnaigre came in the C18th) is a Provençal harehound.
The dog seems, however, to have been more complex still, being also known as the looter (pillard) and the troublesome (querelleur), and I guess this is the source of its most recent usage. An alternative would be something along the lines of Fassbinder’s Katzelmacher, the stereotype of the sexually predatory immigrant, hunting at night.
You could also relate it to the Cirneco, possibly named after the Greek colony of Cyrenaica in North Africa, or drag in something along the lines of hare hunting (and poaching, at night) being the province of the poor. Etymological semantics, unlike harehunting, is the sport of zings, so feel free.

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