A Glossary of the Norman Language in the Channel Islands, compiled and edited by Prof Mari C. Jones

When a collection of several hundred jumbled slips of paper were discovered in the Priaulx Library – the work of the late Professor J.P. Collas, a native of Vale, Guernsey – it was unclear precisely what they were.

As Professor Mari Jones of Cambridge University set about analysing the slips it became apparent that they were intended as a glossary of the Norman language in the Channel Islands. She also discovered that a significant proportion of the slips had become separated from the original collection and traced them to an archive in Wales. 

In this book, Mari has reunited the collection and, by transcribing and editing the slips, has made J.P. Collas’s work accessible to a broad readership for the first time – providing a record of Guernésiais, Jèrriais and Sercquiais terms that will be an invaluable resource for scholars and students alike.

Following a successful crowdfunding campaign in late 2021, this book is being published in March 2022.

About the Author

Mari C. Jones is Professor of French Linguistics and Language Change at the University of Cambridge, Fellow in Modern and Medieval Languages at Peterhouse, Cambridge and Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales. Her research focuses on French linguistics, Romance dialectology, language contact and change, language obsolescence and language revitalisation. She has published extensively on the Norman language in the Channel Islands, including the monographs Variation and Change in Mainland and Insular Norman (Brill, 2015), The Guernsey Norman French Translations of Thomas Martin (Peeters, 2008) and Jersey Norman French (Blackwell, 2001). Her commitment and support for the revitalisation of Guernésiais, Jèrriais and Sercquiais have been steadfast and sustained.

“If you have an appetite to learn and understand more of the history and culture of the Channel Islands in order better to appreciate the value of our heritage, this work will be an important addition to your bookshelves … the islands owe an enormous debt of gratitude to [Professor Jones] for compiling and editing my late uncle’s work and creating a source of reference material that will endure for all time and for all people.”

Sir Richard Collas, Bailiff of Guernsey (2012-2020)

“Without Professor Jones’s meticulous and painstaking work, J.P. Collas’s material would probably have remained inaccessible and largely forgotten. The Glossary she has produced will be of enormous importance to scholars and students of Norman. The wealth of vocabulary that it makes available will also assist greatly in the ongoing endeavour to revitalise our precious indigenous Channel Island languages”

Ben Spink, Head of Jèrriais Teaching Service