La Section de la langue Jèrriaise

Literary Local Colour


Fiction set in Jersey sometimes uses Jèrriais as local colour. Further examples gratefully received.


The Sirens Sang of Murder

'What I think is that Clemmie's going to land me with something so frantically boring she can't get anyone else to do it - going through two hundred files of correspondence in somebody's beastly office or something like that. Let's face it, I owe her a favour on account of her helping over Lillian, and when a solicitor you owe a favour to sends you to Jersey for four days there's got to be a snag somewhere. I mean, there's nothing wrong with the place itself, is there? I don't have to learn that funny Frogspeak they talk there?'

Julia confirmed that it would be unnecessary for him to master the local patois and that there was no other feature of the island which might be regarded as a drawback. She spoke, indeed, with such enthusiasm of its golden beaches and picturesque valleys, its imposing castles and charming manor houses, its abundant dairy products and tax-free wines and tobaccos, as to present a picture of something little short of an earthly Paradise.

'Unless,' she added, apparently as an afterthought, 'you happen to be frightened of witches.'

The Sirens Sang of Murder
Sarah Caudwell

The Darling Pirate

The Darling Pirate The Darling Pirate, a Mills & Boon romantic novel by Belinda Dell published in 1974, is set in Jersey and contains fragments of Jèrriais in the dialogue.

Rendez-vous aux Ecréhous

Rendez-vous aux Ecréhous, a thriller by Jean Legastelois published in 2007, makes use of the Jèrriais names of the islands:




Hilda Balleine (1878-1921) was the youngest daughter of the Very Rev. George Orange Balleine, Dean of Jersey. At her death in Birmingham, two novels written by her on Jersey themes were left. The novel "Fig-Blossom" was published posthumously in 1922. A romantic novel somewhat in the "kailyard school" style, it contains some words relating to the Jersey setting.



Rose and Laurel

Another novel by Hilda Balleine followed in 1923. "Rose and Laurel" is set in Jersey against a background of political and family rivalry in the fictional parish of St Lo, and includes seasonal customs: branchage, nièr beurre, la grand' tchéthue and so on. It refers to literature: Wace, Philippe Asplet, and the Chanson de Peirson.

Fragments of songs (originally in French) are given in English: "Man Beau Laurier" and "Chanson de Peirson".

A Jèrriais nursery-rhyme is quoted:

Marie la Pie
Chi fé son nid
Dans les cotils
Si David l'attrappe
Il l'y coupe la patte
Et la donne a sa vieille catte!



Viyiz étout:



La Section de la langue Jèrriaise
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