‘Island’s own language faces extinction on our watch’
GUERNSEY’s language will fade into obscurity unless the States backs spending £300,000 on fresh efforts to preserve it, Education, Sport & Culture has argued.
It wants to provide £100,000 a year for the next three years with a reformed Guernsey Language Commission.
‘Guernesiais has been a unique feature of the island’s history and culture for hundreds of years, but the language is now facing the possibility of extinction in just the next few years,’ said committee president Matt Fallaize.
‘We have come to a crossroads on the language: we need to provide this limited additional funding to maintain and develop its use or it will become extinct on our watch.
‘That is putting it bluntly but accurately, but that is how it needs to be put so that the States can come to an informed decision knowing the consequences of the vote which we hope will take place in August.
‘Our committee currently has a budget of just £26,000 for the language, which we will continue to invest in initiatives, but the additional grant now proposed is the only way of giving the new commission a real chance of success in its goals.
‘Realistically, this is the last opportunity for the States to demonstrate its commitment to the survival of its island’s language.
‘We will, of course, accept the outcome, which will be either to get behind the language and give the community a fighting chance of retaining it or accept that it is going to become extinct very soon.’
The reformed Guernsey Language Commission will be an umbrella body to help the work of existing institutions and groups and it will have four core objectives:
. Raise awareness of Guernesiais and encourage participation, giving it a relevance to the present-day population and economy.
. Facilitate the effective teaching of Guernesiais.
. Research, record and archive Guernesiais.
. Raise funding.
Its first task will be to consult with the community to develop a business plan with short-, medium- and long-term goals.
The grant funding would allow a full-time development officer to be appointed.