20 Endangered Languages in 2020: 3. Guernésiais

20 langs in 2020 3 guer

A little late on the draw with this intro post but it’s time to talk about Guernésiais—or, a name you’re more likely to have heard of, Guernsey French. That’s right, I’m onto my third language in my 20 Endangered Languages in 2020 challenge, so let’s get cracking!

A note on this post’s lateness: first of all, I’ve been studying Guernésiais since the 6th February anyway. Between some stuff that piled up at the end of last week (I spent Friday out and Saturday working) and my slow slow internet over the weekend, I guess as a result of Storm Ciara, posting this was proving to be a lot of trouble. But, it’s here now, and I’ll be posting tomorrow’s first progress report on time regardless, don’t worry! 😀


What is Guernésiais?

Guernésiais, also known as Guernsey French, is the variety of the Norman language that is spoken in Guernsey. It has Latin roots but has been influenced heavily by Old Norse and English—particularly in recent years. In 2014, it was estimated that there were around 200 native speakers of the language remaining, with 70% of all speakers being over the age of 65 (2001). The Guernsey Language Commission was founded in 2013 and works to revitalise the language.

Why did I choose Guernésiais?

This was another language that was a little closer to home—Guernsey may not, strictly speaking, be part of the UK, but it more or less is and Guernésiais is recognised as a regional language by the British Government. Plus, I was interested in the way it looks a lot like French but retains some of those Norman traits.

What can I expect to achieve in 18 days?

I’m going to push as hard as I can with this one, especially after my recent time with Ainu. There aren’t many resources for Guernésiais, either, so it’s going to be lots of YouTube videos and then adapting anything else I can find.

I’d like to get through at least one set of lessons on the YouTube channel for the Guernsey Language Commission; having more than 250 words under my belt by the end of this time would be amazing.

What resources am I using?

  • YouTube videos from the Guernsey Language Commission (specifically: A Course with Alan McKane).
  • The only (!!!) Memrise course I could find—sadly with no audio.
  • The Warro! Activity book.

Links to all of the above can be found on the Google Sheet I created for this challenge here.

Like I said, I’ll be back tomorrow with my first update! See you all again then!

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