Jèrriais is a Romance language spoken on Jersey (Jèrri),
one of the Channel Islands, particular in the parish of St. Ouen. According
to the 2001 census, there are 2,674 speakers. Jèrriais is one of
the langues d'oïl and is related to Norman, Dgèrnésiais,
Picard, Gallo and Walloon. It has been spoken on Jersey for over 1,000 years
and has been influenced by Celtic, Norse and Frankish languages.
For many centuries the official written language of Jersey was standard French,
while the people spoke Jèrriais. In 1912 compulsory education was introduced in
Jersey and English replaced Jèrriais as the medium of instruction. After
this, children were forbidden from speaking Jèrriais in school.
Jèrriais started to appear in writing towards the end of the 18th century
mainly in the form of poetry and historical works. For a long time there was no
standard spelling and each writer used his or her own system. The orthography used
today is based on standard French.
In 1951 L'Assembliee d'Jèrriais was formed to hold meetings and
publish items in Jèrriais. Since then several books have been published
on the language.
Today the Section de la langue Jèrriaise works to promote study of
the language and its literature, and Jèrriais classes are commonplace
in primary schools. There is also a weekly radio programme in Jèrriais on
BBC Radio Jersey and regular articles in the Jersey Evening Post.
Jèrriais is also known as Jesery Norman, Jersey French or Jersey Norman
French in English, and as jersiais or normand de Jersey in French.
Sample text in Jèrriais
Nou peut ouï l'Jèrriais pâlé pustôt à
la campangne ou bein tchiquefais en Ville dans l'marchi. I' y'a lé
programme Eune Lettre Jèrriaise sus l'radio - BBC Radio Jèrri
88.8FM/1026AM - d'vièrs eune heuthe chîn lé Sanm'di
l'arlévée Nou peut liéthe eune articl'ye en Jèrriais
dans la gâzette du sé touos les tchînze jours, et
un diton châque jour.
One is most likely to hear Jèrriais spoken in the countryside
or perhaps occasionally in town in the market. There is a weekly programme
on BBC Radio Jersey 88.8FM/1026AM on Saturday afternoons at around 1.05.
Fortnightly articles with English translation appear in the Jersey Evening
Post, as well as a daily diton.
Afin d'entendre parler le Jèrriais il faut aller à la
campagne, mais on aurait peut-être la chance de l'entendre au
marché de Saint-Hélier. À la radio, il y a une
émission Eune Lettre Jèrriaise le samedi après-midi
vers 1h05. Un article en Jèrriais paraît dans le journal
Jersey Evening Post en principe une fois tous les quinze jours, et un
dicton tous les jours.