Creation or preservation? The interplay between identity and language planning on Jersey

Mari Catrin Jones

Peterhouse, University of Cambridge


Despite its long history on the Island, the Norman dialect of Jersey (Jèrriais) is now obsolescent. This paper will examine some of the corpus and status planning initiatives which have been prompted by its decline in fortune and which, devoid of state support, lie in the hands of small, non linguistically trained, groups of enthusiasts. It will be demonstrated that the revitalisation of Jèrriais incorporates large-scale identity planning, yielding a somewhat paradoxical situation whereby the dialect is currently being fostered as a quintessential part of Island identity, despite the fact that, at present, it is only spoken by some 3% of the population of Jersey. The success of the revitalisation movement will be discussed, including issues such as the need to 'sell' the linguistic component of Jèrriais identity to Xmen via Yish, as will the changing nature of Jèrriais linguistic identity.

Session: Paper session
Planning/Policy 1 (Identity)
Thursday, April 3, 2008, 10:30-12:00
room: 14