1848: “a peculiar intonation”

December 12th, 2010

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1848: “a peculiar intonation”

Office du Jerriaishistory

From The Island of Jersey: its advantages and disadvantages as a place of residence for old Indians; in Literary Chit-Chat, David Lester Richardson, Calcutta, 1848

The Natives of Jersey are a brave and loyal people, devotedly attached to England. They literally detest the French nation — which considering their Norman descent and their immediate proximity to the coast of France, is singular enough. They even yet use the old Norman French amongst themselves, and in the Senate, the Pulpit, and their only Court of Law, though they can speak English with fluency and correctness. Most of the Jersey gentry speak our language quite as well as we do ourselves, though the less educated classes have a peculiar intonation, which reminds one of the English of an Irishman. The tradespeople of St. Helier are almost all British people, and the few Jerseymen amongst them address their customers in English. An English visitor, unacquainted with the French language, or unwilling to use it, may pass all over the island without uttering a single word of any other language than his own. It is true that he may now and then fall in with an old peasant who may fail to understand him ; but any little boy or girl will act as an interpreter; for the “rising generation,” even amongst the poorest classes, all speak English.