Guernsey-French relevant in the modern world, says linguistics expert

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A LINGUISTICS doctor who has taken a keen interest in Guernsey-French has been giving talks around the island about why the language should be given more attention and what are the benefits of learning it.

Dr Mari Jones lectures on linguistics at Cambridge University, and as part of her personal research, became interested in the language of the Normans and, by extension, Guernesiais.

Now, after visiting the island, learning the language and its background and giving talks on it in countries around the world, she teaches it to many of her French students as an extension of their studies.

On Thursday night, she held a talk addressing 'why we should bother with the language' and said she believed learning Guernesiais could benefit anyone, including the younger generation.

'There are proven cognitive advantages of being able to speak two languages, and the learning skills are highly transferable so learning a third or fourth language is much easier,' she said.

'You might ask, why not start with a more worldly language like German or Spanish? But why not start with Guernesiais? Because you will get all of the cultural benefits of knowing it, but will also get the skills of learning a language.

'I am not saying people should be forced to learn it – what I am saying is it would be good for people to raise awareness about Guernesiais.

'It is such a unique linguistic heritage and it would be great for people to pay more attention to it.'

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