I regard myself as an absolute beginner when it comes to languages. Despite being a teacher and writer, I came to learning Jèrriais with a limited knowledge of English grammatical terms and a very basic understanding of the different language tenses. I have, therefore, devised this course with that in mind.
In each lesson you will find definitions of grammatical terms and explanations and comparisons of English and Jèrriais language composition and structure. I have done this simply because I found it helped me as a beginner language learner. I hope it does the same for you. There are also sound buttons throughout for you to click and listen. The best way to learn a language is to practise speaking it, so I thought it may be helpful to use the sound buttons to listen and repeat. Furthermore, at the end of each lesson are four activities that each focus on a different aspect of communication - reading, listening, speaking and writing - to help you consolidate what you have learned.
I should point out there are 14 different dialects in the Jèrriais language. Over the past six months I have spent time with many Jèrriais speakers and come across a range of dialects, accents and pronunciations. I have been in awe of how rich and varied the Jèrriais language is, especially considering the size of our Island.
However, this variation makes learning difficult and so for the time being I have decided to focus on learning one way of saying each word and phrase, with the full intention of going on to learn other ways as I become more confident. I have taken the same decision when it comes to teaching Jèrriais, as is the case with this course. The language is ‘standardised’ so as to offer one way of saying each thing. This is done in full knowledge of the fact that there are many other possibilities. Please forgive me if my pronunciation and language choice differs to that of your parish or experience.
If you would like to hear a range of different dialects and accents and have the opportunity to learn from native speakers you are welcome to come along to our popular coffee and conversation sessions at St Martin’s Village Tea Room every Wednesday morning at 10.30am, Expressions Café in Jersey Museum, St Helier every Thursday at 10.30am, and Jersey Pearl café in St Ouen every Friday at 10.30am.
L'Office du Jèrriais also offers a number of classes for adult learners at different levels. Find out more information here. And if you fancy some conversation over a drink on an evening, you will find Jèrriais language students at The Adelphi pub in the Parade in St Helier every Tuesday at 5.30pm.
In a way this course is following my own personal progress - I am devising each lesson as I learn. If you decide to take up the challenge, you will be learning alongside me. Therefore, I would like to invite you to share your progress, comments and difficulties with me online via Facebook or Twitter. It is always more enjoyable to learn with other people.
All that is left for me to say is bouonne chance and have fun.