BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

27 November 2014

BBC Homepage

Local BBC Sites

Neighbouring Sites

Related BBC Sites

Contact Us


You are in: Jersey > People > Jèrriais > What did you say?

Christa and Graham in bed

Will you talk in Jerriais?

What did you say?

If your mate came out and said: “J'allons-t-i' clober à ces sé?” What would you say in reply?

Language is a funny old beast. If you’re reading this you more than likely speak English – unless you’re using an online translator, in which case "very much welcome are you."

In Jersey there are several languages spoken by our diverse populous. Most speak English but some converse in Portuguese, others in Polish and others still in French.
Occasionally though you’ll heard snippets of conversation in the islands own tongue, Jerriais – but very rarely.

Phill Jupitus

I need a faster eune connexion d'laîze

According to the 2001 Jersey Census just 2,874 of the Island's 87,186 population, or 3.3% of people living in Jersey could speak Jerriais and two-thirds of these speakers were aged over 60.

The Census also recorded that only 113 speakers declared Jèrriais to be their usual everyday language.

Well now a new English to Jerriais dictionary is hoping to change that and encourage more people to use the language.

The publication is planned to coincide with the annual celebration of Norman language and culture, La Fete Normande.

The new dictionary is being produced by L'Office du Jerriais. The publisher says it will include old and rare words as well as a botanical reference providing Latin names as yet unpublished in previous dictionaries.

LUGRadio Live 2007 at the Light House

J'allons-t-i' clober à ces sé?

But it will also include all the words any language student usually looks up first when being given their French or German dictionary.

We can’t include any of them here, this is a family site after all. But we can include some more useful words than botanical references.

To get you started we asked Jerriais expert, Geraint Jennings to give us a few words and phrases in the islands language.

Here are a list of some of the more eye-catching (but suitable for a family audience) entries in the new dictionary, plus a couple of short example texts with translations.

Being social

  • go clubbing - clober
  • clubbing - la clob'thie
  • piercing - eune pèrchéthie
  • nipple ring - eune boucl'ye dé bouton
  • girlfriend - eune douoche
  • boyfriend - un gallant
  • go out with, date - scôr'ter
  • burger - eune bourgaille
  • microwaveable chips - des frites micro-louêmabl'yes
  • sandwich shop - eune sannouich’chie
  • surfing - la seurféthie


"J'allons-t-i' clober à ces sé? As-tu veu Jînmîn à ches drein?"

"Il a eune nouvelle douoche. Il est à scor'ter ch't' hardelle tchi travâle dans la sannouich'chie en Ville."

"La cheinne tch'est enann'lée? Auve les tatouéthies?"

"Véthe. Jînmîn dit qu'oulle a des pèrchéthies dé bord en autre! J'm'en vais lî texter pouor l's înviter au clobe."

"Y'a du bouon!"


"Are we going clubbing this evening? Have you seen Jimmy lately?"

"He's got a new girlfriend. He's seeing that girl who works in the sandwich shop in Town."

"The one with the nose ring? With the tattoos?"

"Yes. Jimmy says she's got piercings all over! I'll text him to invite them to the club."


Getting a round in

Oh and if it's your turn to order a round of drinks you could just say "Ch'est mé, l'convieux" or even just "un convieux".

For the geeks

  • Podcast - eune côssée d'audgo
  • laptop - un p'tit compiuteu
  • texting - la textéthie
  • mobile phone - un téléphone dé pouchette
  • to download - dêchèrgi
  • broadband connection - eune connexion d'laîze
  • random play - la jouêthie à Dgi l'adèrt
  • 4x4 - quat'-quat'
  • network - drannetter
  • megabyte - eune mégabouochie
  • video - un vidgo
  • Web - l'Ithangnie


Achteu atout eune connexion d'laîze nou peut dêchèrgi un tas d'musique et d'vidgos dé sus l'Ithangnie. Y'en a tch'aiment les dgaîngues dé garçons, et d'aut's tch'aiment mus rotchi.


Now with broadband you can download loads of music and videos from the Web. Some people like boy bands and others prefer to rock.


Want some des frites micro-louêmabl'yes with that?

What about you?

So why not try getting a few of those words and phrases, or others from the Jerriais to English Dictionary into your every day conversations.

I’m not sure eune boucl'ye dé bouton is going to be as easy to get into a normal conversation as scôr'ter is but it could be fun trying.

Plus – it would be a good way of confusing visitors to the island or your friends at university – time for a new trend of J’anglais slang!

The Jerriais to English Dictionary is due to be released in May 2008 and should be available from the Societe Jersiaise.

last updated: 29/04/2008 at 13:23
created: 14/04/2008

Have Your Say

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

This is a great idea. My motives are similar to Phil's. It'd be so cool to speak freely walking down King Street (for example) without fear of being eavesdropped upon, as well as reigniting some interest in the lamentable language. Reserve me a copy.

I think this is pretty cool, its good to be able to talk to your mates/locals without anyone else understanding

"The Jerriais to English Dictionary is due to be released in May 2008 and should be available from the Societe Jersiaise."It will be interesting to see how may copies of this fascinating read are actually sold.............NOT !!!!!!

Ryan (Host)
Millsy - I don't know personally but will ask our sports producer when he gets in tommorow.

If you have any problems or complaints about our sports coverage please feel free to e-mail me.

Ryan - Why hasn't there been any news regarding Grouville FC C team winning their 4th title and reaching the G4 final for the 4the time in a row been put on the sports page as of yet?

Yoo goo doo
Make Jersey Back chat part of the island school curriculum. Yoodgooyou goodarare goodgay

Ryan (Host)
J - given that this part of the site (ie not News & Sport) is supposed to be about features and island life - what would you like us to do instead?

Over the last few days we've had an article on the islands Dawn Chorus, on a lack of entrants for Miss St Helier, this Jerriais article (it's good to learn about your heritage) and one on the shortlists for the Jersey Anthem Competition.

I'm also working on a piece about growing your own fruit and vegetables and another about party politics.

We can't do news as that is managed by our news team - give me some ideas of stories you would like us to cover and I'll add them to our list.


The BBC has too much time on it's hands. The hybrid language is dying is already's just waiting for islanders to catch up. What tired "news" this article is!

What a load of crappaud!


You are in: Jersey > People > Jèrriais > What did you say?

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy