Sus chutte page j'avons tchiques exempl'yes du Sèrtchais - et un mio d'înfo entouor la langue étout.
Sark was colonised by 40 families from St. Ouën, Jersey, in the C16th. Sèrtchais is therefore a development of Jèrriais even though Sark is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
The patois differs in pronunciation in each island but it is still fundamentally old Norman French. Both my sister and I were brought up to speak this as well as modern French.
...Then, as now, I could speak the island patois - a mediaeval French incomprehensible to any but the Channel islanders.
Dame of Sark
Au buon monde de Ser... puise l'ute île tréjoue r'tenin la bieauté trantille q'j'trouvis et q'j'aimis, quan j'y vins ya pus d'quarante ans déjà
Home for a Sark Christmas
Jersey Weekly Post 2/1/1960
La Saint-Jeanby Sercquiaise
...Every household expected spider crabs for tea on that day. "Des huelins pour la Saint-Jean" were as important as hot cross buns on Good Friday!...
Guernsey Evening Press 23/6/1956
Sark Christmasses of Yoreby Sercquiaise
...."One for the road" on Christmas day was usually offered as "un verre caud" (a hot glass - of wine or spirit with sugar and boiling water added to taste). This was also the most popular drink of the day with most Sark families...
Guernsey Evening Press 30/12/1955
...the card games would be either Sauver le Cinq (French) called in our patois Sauver le Shain, and the English translation, Save the Five....
Preserving Sark Norman-FrenchShould a Society be Formed?
When, at Sark's Easter Chief Pleas, Sieur A. G. Falle, of Stock's Hotel, remarked that all members should learn Sark Norman-French, probably he had little thought for just how much the island would benefit should all members interested in the preservation of the native tongue co-operate in forming a Société Sercquiaise of an Assembliée d'Sercquiais.
It is a distressing fact that few Sark Children are able to converse in their native tongue, though a fair number understand it. In but a few years, Sark-French will be heard no more unless something is done to arrest its decline.
At the Chefs Plaids, Deputy Harold de Carteret expressed the opinion that English only should be spoken thus giving the "strangers" a chance of knowing what was being said, and in reply to Sieur A. G. Falle's retort, asked if that member could teach the language, adding, somewhat acidly, "You can't even write it".
There may have been a great deal of truth in this, for I have not yet met any Sercquiais who can write his own language. I must, however, disagree with a statement made in Guernsey recently that the Channel Islands Norman-French is not a literary language, for there are a number of littérateurs of considerable distinction in Jersey and Guernsey whose contribututions in this field have been exceedingly meritorious.
Strange to relate, but Deputy de Carteret is most fluent in la langue Serquiaise and is one of those in the island who can read Jersey-French. What is more, Deputy de Carteret is an amusing and colourful raconteur and an actor of no mean ability; his performance last year in a Jersey-French play by Mr. S. P. Le Ruez will never be forgotten.
Now then, while the Island has these Sark-French speaking people, a society should be formed not only from among members of the Chefs Plaids but from all walks of island life, including those "strangers" who have a desire to learn a new and interesting language. I feel sure that outside help would be forthcoming from insular Normans who can write the language.
The first requisite would be to acquire a tape recorder; recordings could then be sent to Jersey (Sark-French being closely related to Jersey-French), possibly to l'Assembliée d'Jèrriais, some of whose members might volunteer to render the spoken into the written word.
There are, surely, immense possibilities in this linguistic field, for recordings of Sark-French could also be sent to Guernsey; in fact there could be an inter-island exchange.
Of the People's Deputies in Sark's Chefs Plaids who are more at home in Sark-French and who could therefore be described as "vrai Sercquiais," I can think of Deputies John guille, Winter Vibert, Harold de Carteret, John P. Hamon, Elie de Carteret, Stanley Falle and Mrs. Lillian Baker, and of the Tenants there are Sieurs A.G. Falle, E.S. Falle, Charles Perrée, E. C. Perrée and Philip Perrée, Mrs. Esther Perrée, Sieurs John Baker, Ensor Baker, James Baker, Herbert Baker, William Baker (Sénéchal), Walter James Hamon, W. J. Hamon (Le Fort) and J. V. Hamon, Mrs. Harriet Hamon, and Sieur John P. Le Feuvre, Mrs. S. N. Hathaway, Capt. John Henry and Sieurs Stephen Henry and Robert de Carteret.
The Prévôt, Sieur Philip Guille, and the Greffier, Sieur Hilary Carré, are also fluent in the language.
It can be seen, therefore, that of the 36 Tenants, no fewer than 21 are more at home in their native tongue, and of the 12 People's Deputies seven are Sark-French speaking. That being the case, should the Sark-French speaking members decide to address the House in the vernacular, then 20 members would not understand what the other 28 were talking about.
There would seem to be a case for the formation of a Société Sercquiaise which could instruct all-comers in the language of the island and combine with the other Channel Islands in preserving for posterity the old-Norman-French tongue.
Evening Post 25/4/1955
News from Sark
... Stepping ashore, Pilot Baker said in Sark-French: "I'd take anyone or anything, anywhere, anytime in this boat. She wouldn't drown a kitten."
And I believe him...
Evening Post 6/4/1955
Seeking Better Opportunities
... They thus tramped back up Le Mont du Creux and what they has to say "en Sercquiais", about monopolies and nationalization in general is quite unprintable...
Evening Post 6/4/1955
Talented Canadian Visits IslandLanguage Recordings by Montreal University Professor
...Professor Lefebvre hopes to make further recordings to-morrow, this time of Mr. and Mrs. Ph. Perrée, a well-known Sark couple now resident in the Island...
Evening Post 27/4/1955
Sark Licence Extension ApplicationsDiscussion in vernacular
Up to this point the Court proceedings had been conducted in English, but discussion then ensued between the Sénéchal, Prévôt, Greffier, Constable and the other applicants in the vernacular...
Evening Post 7/6/1955
Sark's Liberation Celebrations
... a typical old Sark scene, replete with old wishing well and an elderly Sertchais making crab pots...
Evening Post 13/6/1955
Sark Residents Return After Holidays
I am reliably informed, through the medium of Sark's "bush telegraph", that before Mr. Head relinquishes his seat, he is to ask Chief Pleas what measures can be taken to preserve the language of the island. I understand he will suggest that as the finances of Sark are in a healthy state, an additional teacher should be engaged to take the children in Sark-French on two half-days per week and that parents should be asked to co-operate by always conversing with their children "en Sercquiais" and encouraging their children to reply in the same tongue.
Sark character's death
Many of the regular Jersey visitors to Sark will be sorry to hear of the death of Mr. Edward Vibert, a well-known island character. Known as "Douard de Ser", he spent some time in Jersey after having been in England during the war. There he was supposed to have forgotten his native tongue and called himself "Edward Vibart". However he was unable to disguise his Sark Norman-French accent, and all too often he would let slip a vernacular expletive - much to the delight of those talking to him.
Jersey Weekly Post 12/5/1962
Man buonhomme est bein malade
Visite du Prince Lucien Bonaparte à Jersey
L'chen qui sème s'n allit s'mai ;
4 Et tàndis qu' i s'maitt une partie d' la s'menche quitt le long du ch'mìnn et l's oesiaux du ciel vìndrint et i la màndgirent.
5 Une aûtre quitt dans d's endréts roquieurs, où alle n'avait pas fort de terre; et ou l'vist ossivite, parçe que la terre où al' 'tait n'était pas ben avant.
6 Mais l'solé se l'vitt et ou fut brulaie; et coumme ou n'avait pas d'rachinnes, ou s'quitt.
7 Une aûtre quitt dans d's épinnes, et l's épinnes vìndrent à craitre, et l'etoupidrent.
8 Une aûtre enfin quitt dans d'bouanne terre, et ou portit du fritt; quiq' grâins rèndirent chent pour un, d'aûtres sessànte, et d'aûtres trente.
9 L'chen qu'a d's oureilles pour ouit qu' il ouêt.
The Sarkese Lingo
Kes, kes, kais par sus les kais ? un Serkaie; which we translate thus :- Who has fallen over the quay? a Sarkese. Long, long ago, Master Nico Mauger, proprietor of "La Gazette de Guernesey," had a dispute with some of the Sarkese boatmen in Guernsey. One of them closed his fist, and put it under Nico's nose, and said : "Man bigre de Mausquet, quond tu viendras en Serk, et que j'te kaindrai dans man basté j'te donnrai une bigre de dauskin - tu connistras chu k'chest que d'pillais sus les piafres (feet) d'un fitu Serkais."
A Sarkese Dirge
Nou zest malade - I faust mouorir..
* Sark has no medical man - not even a chemist.
On a souvent représenté le parler de Sercq comme une langue à part dans les dialectes normands des Iles de la Manche; un pêcheur-paysan de la Vauroque, habitué à piloter les étrangers et à "faire mousser" son île, m'a affirmé la même chose. il m'a paru, pour avoir entendu le language de Sercq parlé soit par des adultes, soit surtout par les garçonnets et par les fillettes des écoles, que le parler sercquais ne diffère guère du langage normand de Jersey que par l'intonation. Cette intonation, à Sercq, est traînante et même modulée. on appuie longuement sur les voyelles. C'est un doux parler chantant semblable â celui de quelques vieilles campagnes de France (...) On se croirait bien loin d'un pays anglais ou anglaisé en entendant les fillettes de l'école se dire entre elles Nenni, et répéter à tout propos ce et tout ou itou dont les commères des pays de France font un si grand abus. Mais soudain une forme ou un mot anglais enchâssés dans ce français campagnard changent l'impression. au français on mêle couramment mistake pour méprise, entrance pour entrée.
Agricultural Sketch of the Island of Sark
The Sarkese employ a language between themselves, which has descended from father to son and been preserved in its original purity. They brought it with them from Jersey, where in those early days it already was a patois. No doubt since then it has undergone some modifications caused in part by the use of a better French spoken in the church, schools, and court; but they are slight, owing to Sark being out of the way of much intercourse with strangers.
This probably is the reason why Prince Lucien Bonaparte, who is a reliable authority on such subjects, declared that the Sark patois was the purest and the best of the Channel Islands. when it is written, a great number of words are seen to be good French; others which are as pure, sound differently on account of the pronunciation; and there are many words which are essentially peculiar to Sark and may be set down as patois.
This patois when written is almost unintelligible to a French scholar; and when the stranger hears it spoken or pronounced by a Sarkman it is quite incomprehensible to him unless he knows something of the French spoken in Normandy, or Picardy, and in some parts of Brittany.
It is evident that the Sark patois is undergoing changes and gradually becoming extinct. The children do not now pronounce it so well nor so clippingly, nor with that seemingly-careful and sharp sounding of every vowel and consonant, to be noticed in the speech of the older generation.
Louisa Lane Clarke
The insular dialect — probably an antiquated form of that of the mother-island, Jersey — of course differs widely from the written language of modern France. Academicians have declared Villehardouin's prose to be no longer French, notwithstanding the relative purity of its obsolete Champenois phraseology, as if the language of the nineteenth century were the undeviating model instead of the perverted copy! None, however, but those who have mastered the early remains of Walloon and Norman-French literature, and compared them with the vernacular speech of the Arrondissement de la Hague and the adjacent isles, analyzing each glossary with philological rigour and impartiality, can be expected to form a true conception of the merits and defects of the Low-Norman French which is still spoken in Sark. Hence the contradictory statements of many an English resident, as well as a reverend visitor from Guernsey intimately conversant with the two 'jargons,' if such they be. According to the former—possibly unacquainted with a refined French 'far removed' from its Latin and Teutonic fountain-heads — the Sark patois is 'inarticulate and guttural;' while, according to the latter, it is ' the softest' of all the outre-Manche dialects, notwithstanding the true Gaelic or Gallican, and (we might venture to add) Hibernian peculiarity of its tone. It is true that those who have been out of the island speak better French: these observations, therefore, apply to those persons who have never gone further than St. Peter-Port.
The Sark Guide
|raine dé mé||eune reinotte dé mé||angler fish|
|la côt-souris||la caûque-souothis||bat|
|l'pi d'mai||lé pais d'mai||bean|
|la chimtire||lé chînm'tchiéthe||cemetery|
|la tiaire||la tchaîse||chair|
|la banque||la falaise||cliff|
|la vacque||la vaque||cow|
|o'jeu||sinne dé jeu||dawn|
|oui' dur||ouï haut||deaf|
|l'tchon||lé tchian||dog (n)|
|l'frôc||lé fro||dress (n)|
|la fache||la fache||face|
|grive de l'hiver||un pliacard||fieldfare|
|la flieu||la flieu||flour|
|la môque||la moûque||fly|
|la forque||la frouque||fork|
|la biche||la biche||goat|
|à buèto||à bétôt||goodbye|
|à la prechen||à la préchaine||goodbye|
|l'gaude, l'autiette||eune gaude||guillemot|
|l'verdeleu||un vèrdreu||hedge sparrow|
|l'mauve||la mauve||herring gull|
|l'grosbec||lé mouosson||house sparrow|
|qui chaleu!||fait-i' caud!||isn't it hot|
|la cahouette||la p'tite caûvette||jackdaw|
|la caudire||lé ticl'ye||kettle|
|la tuisainne||la tchuîsinne||kitchen|
|l'nivloteu||lé pièrcheux||lazy person|
|la gambe||la gambe||leg|
|la veue||la veue||light|
|poulet de fauchée||eune poule d'ieau||moorhen|
|la moière||la méthe||mother|
|l'pie marange||eune mathanne||oystercatcher|
|l' couechon||lé couochon||pig|
|la tierrue||la tchéthue||plough|
|d'la reüe||eune raie||ray|
|l'barbelote||lé bliu poffîn||razorbill|
|la qu'minse||la c'mînse||shirt|
|la shoppe||la boutique||shop|
|un tigre-reüe||eune têgrêsse||stingray|
|l'pôt à teie||lé pot' à thée||teapot|
|la pochi||lé pônchet||thumb|
|les briais||les braies||trousers|
|rale||eune râle d'ieau||water rail|
|la pièche de mier||la louême||wave|
|eune panche||un bouothé||whiting pout|
|pourtyi pas?||pouortchi pas?||why not?|
|la fi||la laine||wool|
|l'laboreu||lé labouotheux||yellow wagtail|
Sark Ken Hawkes 1992 éd.
Birds of Sark F.R.G. Rountree 1974
Vocabulaithe des paîssons Le Maistre & Le Sueur (dotchûment)
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