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It's not just black butter and tractors, you know

Because Jèrriais was spoken in temps passé, there is a tendency to believe that the only application of the language lies in the brave old days when Jerseymen were like brothers, and people kept their own cows and went to black butter evenings.

To prove that Jèrriais is also a contemporary language, Société Jersiaise (section de la langue Jèrriaise) member Geraint Jennings was asked to provide a few useful examples of vibrant and up to date Jèrriais - the sort of thing one might use every day. He began by quoting top UK chanteuses Les Fil'yes d'Êpice:


Les Fil'yes d'Êpice

Êpice Haûtaine

Êpice Bébé

Êpice Sportive

Êpice Êpeuthante


'Dis-mé chein qu'tu veurs, chein qu'tu vraîment, vraîment veurs . . .'
('Tell me what you want, what you really, really want . . . ').

Showing an impressive command of current affairs, Mr Jennings continued:

'J'tais brantchi la niet enchiéthé à seule fin dé dêchèrgi lé rapport dé Starr entouor lé Président Améthitchain sus l'ithangnie,'
('I was online the whole night in order to download the Starr report about the American President on the Web. ')

As for fashion . . . 'Mais M'mée, si la fil'ye à la Princesse Rouoyale peut aver la langue pèrchie, mé j'peurs aver eune boucl'ye d'bouton!'
('But mum, if the Princess Royal's daughter can have a pierced tongue, I can have a nipple ring!').

Moving on, and demonstrating a heartwarming degree of political incorrectness, Mr Jennings was prepared to brave the wrath of the animal rights harpies:

'Av'ous veu la dreine gamme dé compiuteu pouor les mousses Jèrriais? Lé gângnant est l'chein tchi tue lé pus d'mauves!'
('Have you seen the latest computer game for Jersey kids? The winner is the one who kills the most seagulls!').

And it becomes quite clear that Mr Jennings, too, watches television's most compulsive investigators of the paranormal. This is his convincing example of Foxtalk:

'Es "Dossièrs-X", à la télévîsion, Mulder dithait en Jèrriais: "Véthe, Scully, ma soeu fut enl'vée par eune souotâsse volante. La véthithé est là-horte. I'faut êt' ouvèrt ès possibilités extrêmes."
('In the "X-Files"on TV, Mulder would say in Jèrriais: "Yes, Scully, my sister was abducted by a flying saucer. The truth is out there. One must be open to extreme possibilities.")

More examples of Jèrriais can be found on the Internet at http://members.societe-jersiaise.org/geraint/jerriais.html


Jersey Evening Post 29/9/1998  

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