A new fun and colourful way to learn island’s patois

A COLOURFUL guide to the basics of Guernesiaise has been produced by Island Language in an effort to help children – and adults – learn the equivalents of many key English words.

My First Guernesiais Word book launch at Castle Cornet. The book has been produced by Island Language to help teach children Guernesiaise from a young age. Left to right, back, Chris Dye and Bethan Batiste. In front, left to right, Eben Laine (7), Martine Dye (3), Charlie Mahy (7), Geoffrey Dye (6). (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29849703)
My First Guernesiais Word book launch at Castle Cornet. The book has been produced by Island Language to help teach children Guernesiaise from a young age. Left to right, back, Chris Dye and Bethan Batiste. In front, left to right, Eben Laine (7), Martine Dye (3), Charlie Mahy (7), Geoffrey Dye (6). (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29849703)

My First Guernesiais Word Book features translation by long-time Guernesiaise promoter Yan Marquis.

It has sections on such essentials as the numbers 1-20, colours, shapes, rooms of the house, the farm, animals, food and the body and many more.

‘You have to start somewhere and this is palatable.

‘There’s clearly a demand and appetite for it,’ said Mr Marquis, who added that the book had been a goal for several years but he really started work on the translations last year.

Island Language director Chris Dye said the charity had noticed more interest in the language in recent years, including from people who have never had much connection with it previously, and have realised that it is a part of the island’s heritage.

While the new book is predominantly aimed at children, with its brightly-coloured simple illustrations, Mr Dye said that the charity works on all levels.

‘There’s an entire adult population that was not exposed to the language at all.’

As well as an A-Z list of all the words in the book, there is also a pronunciation guide.

The book was launched at Castle Cornet, since Guernsey Museums had helped produce a companion video featuring the words being spoken.

‘Guernsey Museums has worked closely with Island Language over the years, promoting and supporting the Guernesiaise language which is part of our responsibility,’ said access and learning manager Jo Dowding.

Among the youngsters who were taking part in a few songs and activities was seven-year-old Eben Laine, who had already attended lessons with teacher Bethan Batiste, and said he particularly enjoyed the learning games.

‘I like playing Twister,’ he said.

Guernesiaise Uno was another game popular with children.

Miss Batiste has given short lessons at pre-schools and at Hautes Capelles Primary and Ladies’ College as well as being one of the voices on the new video.

She said the book would help in any future lessons she was able to give.

Saturday also marked the first day of the museum’s Guernsey Language Week for families, with a Guernesiaise trail around the Castle.

n The book costs £7 and is available from Castle Cornet, Guernsey Museum at Candie, Lexicon, Cadeaux Gift Shop, St Peter’s Post Office, Richards Newsagent in Alderney and via www.speaking.gg.

n The learning video of the book can be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zok_CIpNRJs

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