Guernsey French

A letter from Quebec, 1817

25th August 2016
'Report from the missions: a letter from Monsieur de Putron, to the Editor. Quebec, January 1, 1817.' From the Magasin Méthodiste, 1818, p. 91, addressed to Jean de Queteville, Methodist pioneer and founder and editor of the magazine. Guernsey began very early to export French-speaking missionaries all over the world; poor Jean de Putron, however, felt let down by his Guernsey accent and inferior French, as spoken in Guernsey.

Guernsey patois and its preservation, 1905

7th July 2016
The introduction to 'The Guernsey dialect and its plant names,' by E D Marquand, Associate of the Linnean Society of London, and Membre Correspondant de la Société des Sciences Naturelles et Mathématiques de Cherbourg. 'The old Norman language which is still spoken in the Channel Islands deserves more study than it has yet received, because in all its main features it is the same that was used by the cultured classes of England as far back as eight centuries ago.' From the Transactions of the Guernsey Society of Natural History and Local Research, V (1905-1908), pp. 32 ff. The illustration is of the Haye du Puits, Castel, by Celia Montgomery, c. 1832.

A m'en Pierro

17th June 2015
A poem about love, a proposal and marriage, by 'Nannon.' Love conquers all. First published in The Star of June 18, 1881, which provided Guernsey French vocabulary help for readers who might need it. The photograph is a carte de visite style portrait of an unidentified young lady, photographed by Maguire of the Grange, from the Library collection.  If you can tell us who this 'Nannon' was, please let us know!

Christmas Time, Or the Passage from Southampton to Guernsey, 1814

From Le Miroir Politique, January 15th, 1814. The packet for Guernsey is held up by the weather; a familiar tale! You may have to spend Christmas at Southampton; how do you fill your time as you wait for the wind to die down? You can gossip, or take a walk for the day to nearby Netley Abbey; you can eat and drink, but the passengers for Guernsey will insist on confusing the waiting staff by speaking Guernsey French: 'Of all the gibberish, linguos, tongues unknown, Methinks there’s none that beats our Guernsey own.' Interestingly, the poet has written the Guernsey French to reflect its pronunciation. The visit to the Abbey and the quays of Southampton are exactly as described by William Money in his account of a visit to Guernsey many years earlier.