Guernésiais is a Romance language spoken on Guernsey (Guernési), one of the Channel Islands. It is one of the langues d'oïl and is related to Norman, Jèrriais, and other languages of northern France. Guernésiais has influences from Norse and English. It is also known as Dgèrnésiais, Guernsey French and Guernsey Norman French. There is some mutual intelligibility between Guernésiais, Jèrriais and Norman.

According to the 2001 census, 1,327 people in Guernsey speak Guernésiais fluently, and several hundred more can understand it. Some three quarters of the fluent speakers are over 50.

There are a number of organisations that promote Guernésiais language and culture, including L'Assembllaïe d'Guernesiais, Les Ravigotteurs and Lé Coumité d'la Culture Guernésiaise (Guernsey Cultural Committee) who put on social evenings at which people are encouraged to speak Guernésiais.

Since 2003 the language has been taught in a three primary schools as an optional after-school activity, which is popular with the children, parents and teachers. There are also evening classes in the College of Further Education, and occasional programmes in Guernésiais, mainly for learners, on local radio and TV stations.

There is a rich tradition of poems and songs in Guernésiais, with many of them inspired by the sea, characters from folklore and by nature. Notable Guernésiais poets include Georges Métivier (1790-1881), who also encouraged other poets to publish their work, and Denys Corbet (1826-1910), whose work was pubished privately and in the local newspaper.

There is no standard way of writing Guernésiais, and there are many variations in spelling between different writers.

Guernésiais alphabet and pronunciation

Guernésiais alphabet and pronunciation<

Download an alphabet chart for Guernésiais

Sample text in Guernésiais - Sarnia Chérie (Guernsey national anthem)

Sarnia, chière patrie, bijou d'la maïr,
Ile plloinne dé biautai, dans d'iaoue si cllaire
Ta vouaix m'appeule terjous, mon tcheur plloin d'envie,
Et mon âme té crie en poine, mes iars voudraient t'veis.
Quaend j'saonge, j'té vaie derchier, mesme comme t'étais d'vànt,
Tes côtis si vaerts et ton sabllaon si bllànc,
Tes bànques et tes rotchets. Ah! Dé toutes la pus belle.
Mon réfuge et mon r'pos, chière île qu'est si belle.

Sarnia Chérie, ma chière patrie,
D'l'île dé ma nèissance, mon tcheur a envie
Ta vouaix m'appeule terjours,
Et j'pense à té chaque jour.
Ile plloinne dé biautai, Sarnia Chérie.

Sàns saver ta valeur, j'm'en fus en colère,
Je v'yagis si llian, à l'aute but dé la terre.
I m'dirent dé biaux pays, et j'm'en fus brâment
Oueque la terre baillait à haut d'l'or et dé l'argent.
Nous 'tait tous amis et i fit bal chaque jeur,
Mais ta vouaix m'applait terjours, a m'déteurtait l'tcheur.
Ch'est pourtchi qué j'm'en vians. Ah! té veis, la millaeure.
Ma chière île dé répos, dé chenna j'sis saeure.

Sarnia Chérie, ma chière patrie,
D'l'île dé ma nèissance, mon tcheur a envie
Ta vouaix m'appeule terjours,
Et j'pense à té chaque jour.
Ile plloinne dé biautai, Sarnia Chérie.

Vèrsion Dgèrnésiaise par Hazel Tomlinson

Sample videos in Guernésiais

Information about Guernésiais | Numbers


Information about Guernésiais

La p'tite carre du Dgèrnésiais (a collection of texts in Guernésiais)

Learn a bit of Guernésiais

Recordings in Guernésiais

Books in and about Guernésiais are available from:

Romance languages

Aragonese, Aranese, Aromanian, Asturian, Catalan, Corsican, Dalmatian, Emilian-Romagnol, Extremaduran, Fala, Franco-Provençal, French, Friulian, Galician, Gallo, Gascon, Genoese, Guernésiais, Istro-Romanian, Istriot, Italian, Jèrriais, Ladino, Ladin, Ligurian, Lombard, Lorrain, Megleno-Romanian, Mirandese, Moldovan, Monégasque, Mozarabic, Neapolitan, Occitan, Occitan (Auvergnat), Occitan (Languedocien), Occitan (Limousin), Occitan (Provençal), Picard, Piedmontese, Portuguese, Romanian, Romansh, Sardinian, Sicilian, Spanish, Valencian, Venetian, Walloon

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 05.07.24


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