Rural – Jersey Country Life Magazine


We continue our celebration of the Jèrriais language on the run up to European Day of Languages with Joan Tapley’s poem, Lé Jèrriais. Marianne Coutanche provides a translation.

Joan is a native speaker and Jèrriais teacher. She is a prolific writer and has produced countless pieces for the Jersey Eisteddfod. This is a twist on an acrostic poem. Each line describes the letter it is fronted with, whilst reflecting the character of the Jèrriais speaker and highlighting the plight of the language.

Lé Jèrriais

L         Un haut homme mâté èrgardant vèrs l’av’nîn,

é          Eune femme accliutchie, ses pensées vèrs démain,

J          Un bâton touônné sus sa tête, janmais sèrvi i’ né s’sa,

è          Not’ langage comme eune balle, codpîsée ‘chîn et là,

r          Eune femme baîssie à assemblier des lettres et des affaithes,

r          San janne homme baîssi étout à chèrchi des mémouaithes,

i           Un p’tit garçon, pour ouï not’ vielle langue il arrête,

a          Un ballot d’vièrs livres pitchis oubliés dans eune boête,

i           La p’tite mousse qu’apprendrait vite, car oulle est bein sage,

s          Les gens agenouoillis, suppliant dé sauver not’ vièr langage!

Lé Jèrriais

L         A tall man stands looking to the future,

é          A woman crouched, her thoughts toward tomorrow,

J          A walking stick turned on its head, never to be used,

è          Our language like a ball, kicked here and there,

r          A woman stooped collecting letters and documents,

r          Her young man bent also searching for memories,

i           A little boy stops to hear our old language,

a          A bundle of old lost books thrown away in a box,

i           The little child fast learning, because she is so clever,

s          The people on their knees, imploring us to save our old language!



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