La Section de la langue Jèrriaise

Nièr et Blianc - Black and White


If things are explained in black and white, then they should be clear. The same is true in Jèrriais if something is en nièr-et-blianc - but because the words change depending on whether they are masculine or feminine not all is so straightforward.

Black Butter, which everyone is familiar with, is lé nièr beurre, and a Black Butter Evening is eune séthée d'nièr beurre.

The Jèrriais name for Noirmont is Nièrmont (the black hill), and the Jèrriais equivalent of the pot calling the kettle black is ch'est la peile tch'appelle lé trépid nièr tchu.

However, in the East of the Island, Jèrriais-speakers are more likely to use a slightly different form of the word for black - . And they may instead say things are blianc-et-né (white and black)!

But regardless of which Parish one comes from and which form one uses, here are some useful phrases - such as nièr coumme un ramonneux (as black as a chimney-sweep), nièr coumme d'la tathe (as black as tar) and nièr coumme lé Vendrédi (as black as Friday).

If the word described is feminine, then the Jèrriais word for black is néthe or naithe - two different possible spellings. Why not have a look out for “La Néthe Rue” (the black road) in St. Ouën?

When we are teaching Jèrriais in schools we do not now often come across eune néthe plianche (a blackboard) in modern classrooms - each classroom is now equipped with eune blianche plianche (a whiteboard). Les mousses aiment bein ches p'tits mots tchi riment! (The children really like these little words that rhyme!)

Temps pâssé when people were more superstitious they were afraid of la néthe méthe (the black mother - the leader of a witches' coven) and la blianche femme (the white lady - a ghost or apparition). If you bumped into one of these spinechilling beings in a dark country lane, you might turn blianc coumme un lîncheu (white as a sheet).

If everything, though, is not as clear as black and white, then perhaps it is all bonnet blianc et blianc bonnet (bonnet that's white and white bonnet) - six of one and half a dozen of the other!


La Section de la langue Jèrriaise
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