What is Guernésiais?

What is Guernesiais? Guernesiais used to be the primary language that was spoken on Guernsey, one of the British Channel Islands. It is also known as Dguernesiais, Guernsey French, Guernsey Norman French, and Patois, French for dialect. It is now considered to be an endangered language since less than 2% of the population of Guernsey are able to speak Guernesiais fluently, and most of these speakers are over the age of 50. The language is no longer being taught to children, and English has become the dominant language on the island. Some of the reasons for this language change are trade and tourism with Britain, and impacts from WWII, such as the evacuation of Guernsey children to Britain during the German occupation. If you'd like to learn more about the history of Guernesiais, here is a link to Julia Sallabank's BBC article.

This blog is where I will record my progress and challenges in my attempt to learn Guernesiais.

Monday, December 5, 2011

How do you pronounce Guernesiais?

I realized that after all my research, I'm still unclear how to even pronounce Guernesiais! - which I've also seen spelled - Dgernesiais, Dgèrnésiais, Guernésiais.

Looking back, I've found it said once in the youtube video I posted earlier of Jan Marquis, and it is also included in the very first Learn a Bit of Guernsey French BBC recording.

From my amateur ears, they seem to be saying:

Jer - nay - zee - ay

Jer - is like the beginning of the name Jeremy
Nay - like the horse says "neigh"
Zee - the beginning of zebra
Ay - rhymes with "neigh"

Hehe, I will attempt IPA at a future date (once I figure out how to download the IPA font onto Linux).


Here's my attempt at IPA! (Font and consult courtesy of Suzanne - Thanks!)


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