Lé Jèrriais pour Tous

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Lé Jèrriais pour Tous


The Jersey language (or Jèrriais) has been the traditional vehicle of thought and speech of the Jersey people over a period spanning more than a thousand years. Although perhaps still relatively unknown outside the Channel Islands, Jèrriais, together with its offshoot in Sark and its nearest other relative in Guernsey are, like the Celtic languages, part of the living linguistic heritage of the British Isles.

The justifications for this book have been dictated by two major considerations. First of all it is a reaction to an increased interest in Jèrriais in recent years consistently reflected in greater numbers enrolling for the language at evening classes. In this sense this volume is hopefully a useful contribution towards meeting and creating an awareness of Jèrriais and its distinctive cultural context.

I would also hope that this book may be of use not only to the native-born Islanders who wish to repossess their language but also the numerous residents who by learning the indigenous language of their adopted home may feel that they integrate themselves more fully into the life of the Island. Perhaps also this volume might bring a realisation to some of the many visitors to the Island that Jersey does possess a language and a culture of its own, however invisible it may seem to the visitor at first sight.

The second justification for this book was that with the greater awareness of Norman language and culture in the Islands and more especially in Normandy itself, there was a need for a systematic description of the language and in this sense this volume with whatever imperfections it may contain is offered as a tentative contribution to the study of the Norman language generally. Needless to say even this would have been impossible without the pioneering work of Dr. Frank Le Maistre.

Jèrriais exists primarily as a spoken language with a richness of idiom and vocabulary which makes it eminently suited to wit and repartee. The student should waste no time before practising his Jèrriais on native speakers.

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