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SERCQUIAIS also known as SARKESE or SARK-FRENCH (Lé SèRTCHAIS) is the Norman dialect of the Channel Island of Sark
Sark
(Bailiwick of Guernsey
Guernsey
). In the island it is sometimes known, slightly disparagingly, as the "patois ", a French term meaning "regional language ".

Sarkese is in fact a descendant of the 16th century Jèrriais
Jèrriais
used by the original colonists, 40 families mostly from Saint Ouen, Jersey , who settled the then uninhabited island, although influenced in the interim by Guernésiais
Guernésiais
(the dialect of Guernsey
Guernsey
). It is still spoken by older inhabitants of the island. Although the lexis is heavily anglicised, the phonology retains features lost in Jèrriais
Jèrriais
since the 16th century. Most of the local placenames are in Sarkese. In former times, there may have been two subdialects of Sercquiais. It is also closely related to the Auregnais ( Alderney
Alderney
) dialect, as well as Continental Norman.

It has suffered greatly in recent years due to a large influx of tax exiles from England
England
who have moved to the island, as well as official neglect.

CONTENTS

* 1 Written Sercquiais * 2 Phonology * 3 Conjugation of verbs * 4 See also * 5 Footnotes * 6 References * 7 External links

WRITTEN SERCQUIAIS

Relatively little Sercquiais has been transcribed, and as there is no widely accepted form, it has received a certain amount of stigma as a result. A ruler of Sark, Sibyl Hathaway
Sibyl Hathaway
, who was a speaker herself, claimed that it could "never be written down", and this myth has continued in the years since then.

The earliest published text in Sercquiais so far identified is the Parable of the Sower (Parabol du smeaux) from the Gospel of Matthew . Prince Louis Lucien Bonaparte
Louis Lucien Bonaparte
, linguist, visited the Channel Islands in September 1862 in order to transcribe samples of the insular language varieties, which he subsequently published in 1863: : (3) L'chen qui sème s'n allit s'mai; (4) Et tàndis qu' i s'maitt une partie d' la s'menche quitt le long du ch'mìnn et l's oesiaux du ciel vìndrint et i la màndgirent. (5) Une aûtre quitt dans d's endréts roquieurs, où alle n'avait pas fort de terre; et ou l'vist ossivite, parçe que la terre où al' 'tait n'était pas ben avant. (6) Mais l'solé se l'vitt et ou fut brulaie; et coumme ou n'avait pas d'rachinnes, ou s'quitt. (7) Une aûtre quitt dans d's épinnes, et l's épinnes vìndrent à craitre, et l'etoupidrent. (8) Une aûtre enfin quitt dans d'bouanne terre, et ou portit du fritt; quiq' grâins rèndirent chent pour un, d'aûtres sessànte, et d'aûtres trente. (9) L'chen qu'a d's oureilles pour ouit qu' il ouêt. (S. Makyu. Chap. XIII. 3-9)

Which in the NIV is translated as: (3) " A farmer went out to sow his seed. (4) As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. (5) Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. (6) But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. (7) Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. (8) Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop — a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. (9) He who has ears, let him hear."

PHONOLOGY

(Note: Sercquiais not possessing a standard orthography , examples are given according to Liddicoat's Lexicon of Sark
Sark
Norman French, Munich 2001)

Sercquiais does not have the voiced dental fricative which is such a distinctive characteristic of St. Ouen in Jersey
Jersey
where most of the colonists came from.

SERCQUIAIS JèRRIAIS ENGLISH FRENCH

lyer liéthe to read lire

kuoradj couothage courage courage

fere féther to iron repasser (ferrer: to clad in iron)

palatalisation of velars /k/ and /ɡ/ (see Joret line ) is less fully developed in Sercquiais than in Jèrriais
Jèrriais
. Palatalisation in Jèrriais
Jèrriais
of /k/ to and /ɡ/ to has the equivalent in Sercquiais of /kj/ and /ɡj/. For example, hiccup is hitchet in Jèrriais
Jèrriais
and hekyet in Sercquiais; war is respectively dgèrre and gyer.

Palatalisation of /tj/ in Jèrriais
Jèrriais
leads to , but in Sercquiais /t/ is generally retained: profession, trade in Sercquiais is meeti, whereas Jèrriais
Jèrriais
has palatalised to mêtchi.

is retained in Sercquiais where Jèrriais
Jèrriais
has reduced to , as in to eat: mãdji (Sercquiais) - mangi (Jèrriais).

Final consonants of masculine nouns in the singular are in free variation with null in all positions except in liaison . Final consonants are usually pronounced at ends of phrases. Final consonants are always lost in plural forms of masculine nouns. A cat may therefore be kat or ka in Sercquiais, but cats are kaa. For comparison, Jèrriais
Jèrriais
cat is usually pronounced /ka/, and the plural has the long vowel as in Sercquiais. It can also therefore be seen that length is phonemic and may denote plurality.

Sercquiais has also retained final consonants that have been entirely lost in Jèrriais, such as final /t/ in pret (meadow - pré in Jèrriais
Jèrriais
as in French).

Metathesis of /r/ is uncommon in Sercquiais, and in Jèrriais, by comparison with Guernésiais.

SERCQUIAIS JèRRIAIS GUERNéSIAIS ENGLISH

krwee crouaix kérouaïe cross

mekrëdi Mêcrédi méquerdi Wednesday

The palatalised l, which in Jèrriais
Jèrriais
has been generally palatalised to /j/ in initial position and following a consonant, is maintained in Sercquiais.

SERCQUIAIS Jèrriais (li representing /j/) ENGLISH

blyakyĩ bliatchîn shoe polish (blacking)

klyüt cliu patch

plyechi pliaichi to place

lyef lief roof

Gemination occurs regularly in verb conjugations and gerunds , as in Jèrriais
Jèrriais
but in distinction to Guernésiais.

SERCQUIAIS JèRRIAIS GUERNéSIAIS ENGLISH

machunnii machonn'nie machounn'rie masonry

dje dmãdde jé d'mand'dai je d'mànd'rai I'll ask

However, Sercquiais does not geminate palatal fricatives, unlike Jèrriais:

SERCQUIAIS JèRRIAIS ENGLISH

brachii brach'chie brewery

brachii brachie armful

mãdji mangi to eat

mãdji mang'gie eating

CONJUGATION OF VERBS

The St. Ouennais origins of Sercquiais can be seen in the 2nd and 3rd person plural forms of the preterite . Sercquiais uses an ending -dr which is typical of the St. Ouennais dialect of Jèrriais, but generally not used elsewhere in Jersey
Jersey
(nor nowadays by younger speakers in St. Ouen).

SERCQUIAIS Jèrriais (St. Ouennais) STANDARD JèRRIAIS ENGLISH

i vuliidr i' voulîdrent i' voulîtent they wanted

uu paaliidr ou pâlîdres ou pâlîtes you spoke

i füüdr i' fûdrent i' fûtent they were

uu prẽẽdr ou prîndres ou prîntes you took

SEE ALSO

NORMAN LANGUAGE (INCLUDING SERCQUIAIS) EDITION of , the free encyclopedia

* Norman language
Norman language

FOOTNOTES

* ^ Jèrriais
Jèrriais
at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) * ^ "Voices - Multilingual Nation". BBC. 2005-09-30. Retrieved 2013-07-24.

REFERENCES

* Liddicoat, Anthony J. (1994). A Grammar of the Norman French of the Channel Islands: The Dialects of Jersey
Jersey
and Sark. Berlin: Mounton de Gruyter. ISBN 3-11-012631-1 . * Liddicoat, Anthony J. (2001). Lexicon of Sark
Sark
Norman French. Munich: LINCOM Europa. ISBN 3-89586-411-0 . * ^ Société Jersiaise

EXTERNAL LINKS

* Lé Sèrtchais (including comparative glossary) * Jèrriais
Jèrriais
and Sercquiais