20 Endangered Languages in 2020: Progress Report #05

20 langs in 2020 progress 05

Six days of Guernésiais and with the help of the Guernsey Language Commission and, well, Shakespeare, I’ve definitely learnt something!

If you have no idea what this blog series is about, then click here to get a quick run-down before moving on.

Baonjour! I’ve got to say, I’ve been having fun with Guernésiais—or Guernsey French, if you prefer. I went into this language not knowing much about it at all, beyond the fact it was, of course, related to French in some way, and it’s been interesting to discover new things every day about how the language has come to be and what’s influencing it now.

In terms of resources, I’d say I’m actually more restricted than I even was with Ainu—there’s absolutely no dictionary I can find that I have access to, for instance—but learning from English is obviously much easier, so I’m still progressing quickly.

I’ve started with the Guernsey Language Commission’s YouTube channel and have settled on the 20-video course ‘Guernsey French with Alan McKane’ (find the link in the Google Sheet I’ve made with all my resources here) for now. It seems pretty comprehensive and I’m up to lesson 8 already, though I know I’m going to have to go back and repeat a few videos.

I’ve also spent some time on Memrise, having a look through the Warro! activity book (there’s a video series that goes with this, I believe, but I’m using it to cement what I’m covering in the YouTube lessons I’m already watching), and a nice quarter of an hour copying out the first introduction from the Guernésiais translation of Romeo and Juliet (Romeo et Juliette). It’d be nice if I could read the whole paragraph aloud at the end of this—which leads me to the main issue I’ve come up against so far.


Sadly, aside from the YouTube videos I’ve already found and a few floating around here and there, there seems to be little in the way of Guernésiais audio and I’m worried about my pronunciation. The obvious answer is to go over things again, which is absolutely my plan, and I’m sure I’ll be able to pronounce the words I’ve learnt; it’s new ones I come across that are my concern. I have learnt some French before and my tendency is to lean into that accent with the Guernésiais words, as they often look so similar, even though that isn’t really how the language works!

Hopefully, I’ll fix that!

Here’s some stuff I can write, though:

Baonjour! Comme tchi que l’affair va? Mon naom est Charlotte. J’ai vignt-huit ans. Je fus naï en Anglléterre. Je d’meure à London. Á la perchoine!

Stats time!

So far, I’ve spent 198 minutes (or 3.3 hours) learning Guernésiais the past six days. That averages out to 33 minutes (0.55 hours) per day, so I’m above that 30 minute minimum, but I definitely want to push this higher. I had a couple of busy days in there with last-thing-before-I-fall-asleep study, so I’m going to have to work on that.

I’ve learnt 32 words on Memrise so far, but I haven’t put all that much time into it, since the course doesn’t come with audio. Still, I’ll try and push that up in the next six days; the course is organised by topic so I’ll make sure to go through and work on the words I’ve covered in the YouTube videos.

Here’s my breakdown:

chart (9)

Obviously, the vast majority of my time has been spent watching and taking notes on the YouTube videos and, aside from Romeo et Juliette, I’d like to push the other two activities up to take up a slightly bigger share.

Here’s my goals before my next post (17th or 18th February):

  • Go through all the ‘Guernsey French with Alan McKane’ videos at least once. (Currently: 7/20)
  • Learn 100 words on Memrise. (Currently: 32/100)

If anyone has links to any other Guernsey French resources, please let me know!

But, either way, ès aoutes jours! See you soon!

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