A Jersey Bishop fails to understand

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A Jersey bishop
fails to understand

Bishop Jeune 2.jpg

Bishop Jeune

This story is from The Bailiwick of Jersey by George Balleine

The old Norman-French which William the Conqueror spoke still survives in the country districts. If a Jerseyman says vaisin for voisin or tchithue for charrue, so did William.
One sample will be sufficient. Bishop Jeune of Peterborough was a Jerseyman. On a visit to the Island he wished to show a friend that he had not forgotten his native tongue. Meeting two little girls, one of whom had something rolled up in her apron, he asked her what she was carrying. "Tches-un-cakjai", she replied. When the Bishop looked puzzled, her companion explained, "Tchts-un-cakoulfl".
The Bishop had to own himself beaten. In modern French the sentences would run, C'est un chat que j'ai (It's a cat I have); C'est un chat qu'elle a (It's a cat she has).
The older Jersey folk are trilingual (English, French and Jèrriais), speaking each language with equal facility, and sometimes a mixture of the three. On market day one can overhear such phrases as "It a boussété san tyre" or "J'soumes okay; et tel" and even "Le Docteur m'a dit que je better remain in bed", clearly quoting what the doctor had said in the language in which it had been said.
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