Channel Islands Languages

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Description[edit | edit source]

The official languages are French and English, but English is gradually supplanting French. The language commonly used is English, but in the county districts of Jersey and Guernsey and throughout Sark some people also speak a Norman-French dialect. A majority of the records are written in French.[1]

The Norman language predominated in the islands until the nineteenth century, when increasing influence from English-speaking settlers and easier transport links led to Anglicisation. [2]

There are four main dialects/languages of Norman in the islands

  • Auregnais (Alderney) - extinct in late twentieth century. The last known native speaker of Auregnais died around 1960. [3]
  • Guernésiais (Guernsey) - also known as Dgèrnésiais, Guernsey French, and Guernsey Norman French. It is sometimes known on the island simply as "patois". [4]
  • Jèrriais (Jersey) - also known as the Jersey Language, Jersey French and Jersey Norman French in English. It is a Romance language and the traditional language of the Jersey people. [5]
  • Sercquiais (Sark) - an offshoot of Jèrriais. Also known as Sarkese or Sark-French (lé sèrtchais). Sarkese is in fact a descendant of the 16th century Jèrriais used by the original colonists. [6]

Word List(s)[edit | edit source]

Alphabet and Pronunciation[edit | edit source]



Language Aids and Dictionaries[edit | edit source]


  • Marie De Garis, English-Guernsey dictionary; Dictiounnaire Angllais-Guernesiais, St. Peter Port] La Societé Guernesiaise, 1967 - Available at WorldCat
  • Marie de Garis, Dictiounnaire Anglais-Guernesıais, Chichester : Phillimore, 1982 - Available at WorldCat

Online Dictionaries

Language Aids

  • Paul W Birt, Lé Jèrriais pour tous : a complete course on the Jersey language, Jersey, C.I. : Le Don Balleine, 1985 - Available at WorldCat
  • Société jersiaise, Des noms d'maîsons en Jèrriais : Jèrrais house names (and what they mean), Saint Hélyi/Saint Helier, Jèrri/Jersey : La Société Jersiaise, 2003 - Available at WorldCat
  • Anthony Liddicoat, A grammar of the Norman French of the Channel Islands : the dialects of Jersey and Sark, Berlin ; New York : Mouton de Gruyter, 1994 - Available at WorldCat
  • Jèrriais Grammar - Wikipedia

Additional Resources[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Channel Islands,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1990-1998.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Channel Islands," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,and%20Sercquiais%20(Sark%2C%20an%20offshoot%20of%20J%C3%A8rriais)., accessed 4 Sep 2021.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Auregnais," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 4 Sep 2021.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Guernésiais," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 4 Sep 2021.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Jèrriais," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,the%20traditional%20language%20of%20the%20Jersey%20people., accessed 4 Sep 2021.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Sercquiais," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,century%20J%C3%A8rriais%20used%20by%20the%20original%20colonists, accessed 4 Sep 2021.