Rural – Jersey Country Life Magazine

EUNE FROUQU’THÉE D’JÈRRIAIS – (A FORKFUL OF JÈRRIAIS)

We continue our series of article in Jèrriais – Jersey’s own traditional native language. The ‘frouque’ in question is a digging fork, rather than a table fork. An English translation follows. This contribution comes from Laurence Curtis

Bouônjour bouonnes gens.

Ch’est Laurence Curtis îchin tch’ êcrit eune p’tite lettre auve deux’-trais mémouaithes et pensées duthant chu c’menchement d’Dézembre deux mille vingt-tch’ieune.

Jé c’menchis à êtudgi not’ langue un mio tard. Jé n’pâlions pon l’Jèrriais à la maîson, mais j’ai c’menchi à l’êtudgi achteu.

La méthe à man péthe, Angelina Jeanne,  fut née en Jèrri dans eune fanmil’ye Française tchi ‘taient des fèrmièrs.  Ou pâlait bein l’Français et ch’est pôssibl’ye qu’ou pâlait l’Nouormand étout mais ou n’înstruithit pon ses mousses dans ches langues – p’têt’ pouor respecter san bouônhomme, Arthur Curtis, tchi pâlait l’Angliais car i’ v’nait d’ Bristol en Angliéterre.

Lé péthe à ma méthe ‘tait Sydney Falle tchi travaillait dans l’affaithe à sa fanmil’ye – AE Falle & Son – des mèrtchants dans La Rue d’Bas.  Il acatait et vendait des patates et d’aut’ choses comme dé la flieu.  Man grand-péthe mathit Lilian Michel dé St Pièrre.  Un Villais et eune femme d’la campagne. Jé n’rencontris janmais ma grand’mèthe mais ses soeurs ‘taient des charmantes femmes. 

Et mé?  J’mathis ma bouonnefemme en Angliéterre et dans sa fanmil’ye i’ sont d’s Angliais et d’s’Irlandais.  

Un tas d’mathiages mêlés !

Bein seux, y’a un tas d’histouaithes dans la fanmil’ye.

Ch’tait difféthent pouor la généthâtion à mes grand-pathents – pus simpl’ye, mais pus dû étout – et j’ m’èrsouvîns bein comme ma tante avait pitchi pouor les j’vaux tchi d’vaient haler les hernais tout d’pliein d’vraic, et comme man grand-péthe vit la preunmié vaituthe en Jèrri !

Y’a d’s histouaithes d’la preunmié dgèrre et d’l’otchupâtion – tchiques-unes tchi sont conmiques et întéressantes, comme muchi des « crystal-sets » (et eune vaituthe), mais d’aut’s  étout comme chârer des nouvelles du radio auve eune vaîsinne (ou gardait toutes l’s informâtions dans sa maîson!), lé temps quand il’ avaient trouvé qu’la nouôrrituthe avait ‘té volée dans l’gardîn, et quand i’ r’gardaient les pouôrres gens forchis à travailli.   

Man péthe et ma méthe s’mathîtent en mille neuf chent chînquante-quatre.  I’ vîtent lé tourisme à san pus haut – auve Caesar’s Palace, Swansons et Le Pav, et toutes les hôtels au Vouêt, à l’Êt et en Ville.

Et mé, j’grandis dans l’s années souaixantes et septantes.  I’ n’y’avait pon trop d’ trafi en chu temps-là et, auprès l’âge dé siêx ans, j’aimais bein pédaler sus ma bike jusqu’ à l’êcole et dans l’s aut’s parts dé l’île. Pus tard, ch’tait sus eune motobike – eune p’tit BSA. 

Y’avait un tas d’ fèrmes, des tonmates dans les clios et eune espéthance pouor l’île. 

Mais touos les jours not’ île changeait…

Pouor l’unnivèrsité, jé d’meuthis en Galles et pis en Angliéterre pouor travailli, et j’èrtouônnis en Jèrri en mille neuf chent nénante.  D’pis ma naissance, i’ y’a ieu un tas d’changements.  La fèrméthie des tonmates a dispathu. L’s hôtels ont ‘té dêmolis, l’îndustrie dé « fulfillment » a arrivé et a tchitté, et la populâtion s’èrgrandit dé chinquante-neuf milles à pus d’chent dgiêx milles.

Y’a un tas d’maîson dans la campagne et pus d’appartéments en Ville et partout. Tchiquefais, i’ m’ sembl’ye que not’ île a c’menchit d’êt’ eune Île Urbainne, eune Île d’Appartéments.

Un jour, l’îndustrie d’la fînnanche tchitt’ta étout.  Mais i’m’ sembl’ye qué, chutte fais-là, ch’est possibl’ye qu’i’ étha eune chose difféthente.  Not’ île a c’mmenchi à emprunter et ch’est possibl’ye qué nou n’pouôrra pon affaûrder les sèrvices pouor les gens tchi sont îchîn. 

Un jour p’t-êt’ j’vouos donn’nai d’aut’s histouaithes et d’aut’s mémouaithes dé ma fanmil’ye et d’ Jèrri.  Mais aniet, j’ai eune tchestchion – Man bieau p’tit Jèrri, reine d’la mé, éyou qu’tu vais ? -et, tch’est qué j’pouvons faithe pouor t’âidgi ?

Eh bein, th’est tout pouor chutte fais – j’espéthe qu’ous éthez un Bouan Noué.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Hello everyone

It’s Laurence Curtis here who is writing a little letter with a few memories and thoughts at the start of December 2021.

I started to learn our language a bit late.  We did not speak Jerriais in our house, but I have started to study it now.

My father’s mother, Angelina Jeanne, was born in Jersey in a French family who were farmers.   She spoke good French and may have spoken Norman French, but she did not teach her children – possibly to respect her husband, Arthur Curtis, who spoke English and came from Bristol in England.

My mother’s father was Sydney Falle who worked in the family business – AE Falle and son – merchants in Commercial Street.  They bought and sold potatoes and other things like flour.  My grandfather married Lillian Michel from St Peter.  A country girl marrying a townie!  I did not meet my grandmother, but her sisters were charming ladies.

And me? I married my wife in England and her family includes English and Irish.

A lot of mixed marriages!

Of course, there are lots of stories in the family.

It was different for my grandparent’s generation – simpler but harder – and I remember how my aunt was sorry for the horses that had to pull the carts full of vraic and how my grandfather saw the first car in Jersey.

There are stories of the first war and the occupation – some are funny and interesting, like hiding crystal sets (and a car) but also others like sharing news from the radio with a neighbour (who kept all the notes in her house!), the time when they found the food had been stolen from their garden and seeing the poor forced workers.

My father and mother married in 1954.  They saw tourism at its height with Caeser’s Palace, Swansons and the Pav and all the hotels in the West, East and in town.

And me, I grew up in the sixties and seventies. There was not too much traffic then and I enjoyed cycling to school and other parts of the island from the age of six.  Later it was on a motorbike – a little BSA. 

There were lots of farms, tomatoes in the fields and a hope for the island.

But all the time the island was changing.

I lived in Wales for university and then in England for work and I came back to Jersey in 1990.

Since I was born there have been lots of changes.  The tomato industry has gone, the hotels are demolished, the fulfilment industry came and went, and the population increased from fifty-nine thousand to more than one hundred and ten thousand.

There are lots of houses in the countryside and more flats in town and everywhere.  Sometimes it seems to me that our island has started to become an Urban Isle, an Apartment Island.

One day, the finance industry will go. But it seems that this time things will be different.  Our island has started to borrow, and it is possible that we will not be able to afford the services for the people here.

One day perhaps I will give you more stories and memories of my family in Jersey.  But today I have a question – my beautiful Jersey, queen of the sea, where are you going – and what can we do to help you?

Ah well, that’s all for this time – I hope you have a good Christmas.

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