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 12, 2011

The Priaulx Library

Mr G. from La Société Guernesiaise has not yet replied to my email (which I've mentioned in an earlier post) in which I asked him if he knew where I could acquire a copy of Dr. Harry Tomlinson's "A Descriptive Grammar of Guernsey French".  So, I've contacted the Priaulx Library in Guernsey to see if they know how I may find a copy, and if they may know of any other relevant books.  They carry a few titles by Dr. Tomlinson.  Another publication by Dr. Tomlinson that may be of interest to me is "An Examination of the Teaching of Guernsey French 1994)".

The Priaulx Library seems to be a website dedicated to all things Guernsey. As the website states:

The Priaulx Library promotes and celebrates Guernsey life, language, history, culture, and literature, and enables access to our unique rare book collection. Our staff also undertake paid family history research.

I really enjoyed browsing through the Unsolved... section of the website.  This is where old photographs are posted and the library asks for assistance in figuring out who the people are in the photos, where the photo was taken, or any other information that their site visitors may be able to provide.  They keep the photos up even after they receive information and post the updates to share.