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Template:Language Guernésiais, also known as Dgèrnésiais, Guernsey French, Guernsey Norman French, is the variety of Norman language spoken in Guernsey. It is sometimes known on the island, by the semi-disparaging name "patois". As one of the Oïl languages, it has its roots in the Latin language, but has had strong influence from both Norse and English at different points in its history.
There is intercomprehension (with some difficulty) with Jèrriais-speakers from Jersey and Norman-speakers from mainland Normandy. Guernésiais most closely resembles the Norman dialect of La Hague in the Cotentin Peninsula (Cotentinais).
Guernésiais has been influenced less by French than has Jèrriais, but conversely has been influenced to a greater extent by English. New words have been imported for modern phenomena "le bike", "le gas-cooker".
There is a rich tradition of poetry in the Guernsey language. Guernsey songs were inspired by the sea, by colourful figures of speech, by traditional folk-lore, as well as by the natural beauty of the island. The island's greatest poet was Georges Métivier (1790-1881), a contemporary of Victor Hugo, who influenced and inspired local poets to print and publish their traditional poetry. Métivier blended together local place-names, bird and animal names, traditional sayings and orally transmitted fragments of medieval poetry to create his Rimes Guernesiaises (1831). Denys Corbet (1826-1910) was considered the "Last Poet" of Guernsey French and published many poems in his day in his native tongue in the island newspaper and privately.
Que l'lingo seit bouan ou mauvais / J'pâlron coum'nou pâlait autefais (whether the “lingo” be good or bad, I’m going to speak the way we spoke back then), wrote Métivier.
The last dictionary of Guernsey French was titled "English-Guernsey Dictionary, Dictiounnaire Angllais-Guernesiais" and published by La Societe Guernesiais, April 1967 written by Marie De Garis - she received an MBE for her work.
The 2001 census showed that 1,327 (1,262 Guernsey-born) or 2% of the population speak the language fluently while 3% fully understand the language. However most of these, 70% or 934 of the 1,327 fluent speakers are aged over 64. Among the young only 0.1% or one in a thousand are fluent speakers. However, 14% of the population claim some understanding of the language.
- L'Assembllaïe d'Guernesiais, an association for speakers of the language founded in 1957, has published a periodical. Les Ravigoteurs, another association, has published a storybook and cassette for children.
- The annual Eisteddfod provides an opportunity for performances in the language, and radio and newspaper outlets furnish regular media output.
- There is some teaching of the language in voluntary classes in schools in Guernsey.
- Dgèrnésiais is recognised (along with Jèrriais, Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Manx and Lowland Scots (in Scotland and Northern Ireland)) as a regional language by the British and Irish governments within the framework of the British-Irish Council.
- BBC Radio Guernsey and the Guernsey Press both feature occasional lessons, the latter with sometimes misleading phonetics.
- A Guernsey language development officer was appointed (with effect from January 2008).
Despite the clear historical development of the Norman languages, many believe that Dgèrnésiais is not a language in its own right, instead viewing it as a dialect of French. As the writing system of Dgèrnésiais is based on that of French, a native French-speaker can understand much of written Dgèrnésiais.
- Guernsey poet, George Métivier (1790-1881) - nicknamed the Guernsey Burns, was the first to produce a dictionary of the Norman language in the Channel Islands, the Dictionnaire Franco-Normand (1870). This established the first standard orthography - later modified and modernised. Among his poetical works are Rimes Guernesiaises published in 1831.
- Prince Louis Lucien Bonaparte published a translation of the Parable of the Sower in Dgèrnésiais in 1863 as part of his philological research.
- Like Métivier, Tam Lenfestey (1818-1885) published poetry in Guernsey newspapers and in book form.
- Denys Corbet (1826-1910) described himself as the Draïn Rimeux (last poet), but literary production continued. Corbet is best known for his poems, especially the epic L'Touar de Guernesy, a picaresque tour of the parishes of Guernsey. As editor of the French-language newspaper Le Bailliage, he also wrote prose columns in Dgèrnésiais under the pen name Badlagoule ("chatterbox").
- Thomas Henry Mahy (1862-21 April 1936) wrote Dires et Pensées du Courtil Poussin, a regular column in La Gazette Officielle de Guernesey, from 1916. A collection was published in booklet form in 1922. He was still publishing occasional pieces of poetry and prose by the start of the 1930s.
- Thomas Alfred Grut (1852-1933) published Des lures guernesiaises in 1927, once again a collection of newspaper columns. He also translated some of the Jèrriais stories of Philippe Le Sueur Mourant into Dgèrnésiais.
- Marjorie Ozanne (1897-1973) wrote stories, published in the Guernsey Evening Press between 1949 and 1965. Some earlier pieces can be found in La Gazette de Guernesey in the 1920s.
- Métivier's dictionary was superseded by Marie de Garis' (born 1910) Dictiounnaire Angllais-Guernésiais; first edition published in 1967.
- When the Channel Islands were invaded by Germany in World War II, Dgèrnésiais experienced a minor revival. Many locals did not always wish the occupying forces to understand what they were saying, especially as some of the soldiers had some knowledge of English.
- Victor Hugo includes the odd word of Dgèrnésiais in some of his Channel Island novels.
Metathesis of /r/ is common in Guernésiais, by comparison with Sercquiais and Jèrriais.
Other examples are pourmenade (promenade), persentaïr (present), terpid (tripod).
aver - have (auxiliary verb)
|il a||il aëut||il avait||il éra||il érait|
|all' a||all' aeut||all' avait||all' éra||all' érait|
|vous avaïz||vous aeutes||vous avaites||vous éraïz||vous éthêtes|
|il aönt||il aëurent||il avaient||il éraönt||il éraient|
oimaïr - to love (regular conjugation)
|il oime||il oimit||il oimait||il oim'ra||il oim'rait|
|all' oime||all' oimit||all' oimait||all' oim'ra||all' oim'rait|
|vous oimaïz||vous oimites||vous oimaites||vous oim'raïz||vous oim'raites|
|il' oiment||il' oimirent||il' oimaient||il' oim'raönt||il' oim'raient|
|Quaï temps qu’i fait?||What's the weather like?|| Quel temps fait-il ?|
Colloquial: Quel temps qu'il fait ?
|I' fait caoud ogniet||It's warm today||Il fait chaud aujourd'hui|
|Tchi qu’est vote naom?||What's your name?|| Comment vous appelez-vous ?|
Quel est votre nom?
|Coume tchi que l’affaire va?|| How are you? |
Lit. How's business going?
| Comment vont les affaires ?|
Coll: comment que vont les affaires ?
|Quaï heure qu'il est?||What's the time?|| Quelle heure est-il ?|
Coll: Quelle heure qu'il est ?
|À la perchoine||See you next time|| Au revoir|
À la prochaine
|Mercie bian||Thank you very much|| Merci beaucoup|
Coll: Merci bien
- Dictiounnaire Angllais-Guernésiais (most recent edition 1982) ISBN 0-85033-462-4
- What is Dgernesiais?
- Guernesiais today by Julia Sallabank - from the BBC
- Texts in Dgèrnésiais
- Guernesiase songs "Les Travailleurs de la Mer"
- La Societe Guernesiaise