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Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

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Jèrriais: Jersey's traditional language

​​What is Jèrriais?

Jèrriais is the traditional language of Jersey, which is closely related to French. It's an important part of Jersey's heritage.
Did you know that Jèrriais:

  • ​used to be Jersey's first language
  • was important during the Occupation, as locals could talk without being understood by the Germans
  • is still evolving, new words are added to the Jèrriais vocabulary just as they are in English

According to the 2001 census there were 2,874 people (3% of the population) who speak Jèrriais, with around 15% having some understanding of the language.

Learning Jèrriais

It's important that Jèrriais remains a living language and that by teaching Jèrriais to children we can make sure it has a future. 

One way we can make sure Jèrriais is preserved is by teaching it at school. 

It's common throughout Europe to teach and learn through lesser-used languages.

Jèrriais for children

Before the 1960s there was no Jèrriais education in schools. 

Jèrriais lessons are offered in all States primary schools across the Island and some private and secondary schools too.​

Children can learn Jèrriais in a variety of ways through sessions provided by the Jèrriais Teaching Service. Some sessions take place as ‘pallions’ or after school clubs.

To find out more go to Learn Jerriais.

Schools are also offered the Alentou d’Jèrri (Around Jersey) cross-curricular programme, where children learn about Jersey's: 

  • ​history
  • geography
  • culture
  • heritage
  • music
  • dance
  • folklore 

All with Jèrriais woven throughout.

The benefits of teaching Jèrriais to children include: 

  • ​increasing their intellectual development, mental agility and alertness 
  • making it easier for them to learn other languages when they are older   
  • helping them understand their cultural identity as Jersey citizens 
  • respecting people who speak different languages   
  • introducing them to a rich tradition of prose, poetry and music

Jèrriais for adults

Online and in-person Jèrriais lessons are available for adult learners from beginner to proficient. 

To find out more you can contact L’Office du Jèrriais at +44 (0) 1534 449292. 

Phrases in Jèrriais​

10 Jèrriais words and phrases to learn:​

English Jèrriais  
Good morning Bouônjour 
Where do you live? Où'est qu'tu d'meuthes? 
Thank you Mèrcie bein des fais 
How are you? Comment qu'tu'es? 
Goodbye À bétôt 
Happy birthday Bouôn annivèrsaithe
What is your name? Tch'est qu'est vot' nom? 
Happy Christmas Bouan Noué 
How much is it? Combein qu'ch'est?
See you next week À la s'maine tchi veint 

​ ​
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