Env’yer – to send

May 5th, 2015

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Env’yer – to send

Office du Jerriaisgrammar, La Société Jersiaise

At the May meeting of La Section de la langue Jèrriaise of La Société Jersiaise, there was some discussion of the conjugation of the verb env’yer – and in particular, what was described as the “hit and miss apostrophes” that pop up in the standard spelling. Members were not unanimous as to the desirability or otherwise of the inclusion of apostrophes in certain forms of the verb, but no-one could explain why the apostrophes were so inconsistent.

The view was expressed among members that the apostrophe was useful for etymological reasons – to show the absence of a letter that had historically been written in the verb env’yer. So the question was: which letter was assumed to be absent? And further, if a letter was absent: what was the point of including an unpredictable apostrophe in modern spelling? And even further along: surely, if a letter was absent, that letter must logically be presumed to be absent throughout the paradigm – so why is the apostrophe intermittent?

The point was raised that our env’yer is the equivalent of French envoyer, and that therefore writing an apostrophe here and there in the Jèrriais verb is helpful in highlighting to those who know French that there is a “o” in the French verb that doesn’t exist in the Jèrriais verb. To counter that, it was pointed out that the Jèrriais verb has never had an “o” in it and there is no “missing letter”. In a comparable case in English, a “b” is inserted in the word debt on the grounds that Latin debitum has a “b” in it – but the English word has never lost a “b“: it’s a borrowing via Norman, attested in Anglo-Norman as dette, and used in modern Jèrriais in the same form, dette (without the need to put in an apostrophe, for once!)

At the root of the verb env’yer is a stem that derives from Latin via. The verb is attested in Anglo-Norman in various forms including envier, enveer, envaier and enveier. Modern Mainland Norman manages perfectly well without apostrophes in verb enviaer.

Apostrophes in env’yer: good or bad? You decide!

env’yer – to send


il envyie
oulle envyie
ous env’yez
il’ envyient


il env’yit
oulle env’yit
ous env’yîtes
il’ env’yîtent


il env’yait
oulle env’yait
j’env’yions / j’env’yêmes
ous env’yiez
il’ env’yaient


il enviêtha
oulle enviêtha
ous enviêthez
il’ enviêthont


il enviêthait
oulle enviêthait
j’enviêthions / j’enviêthêmes
ous enviêthiez / ous enviêthêtes
il’ enviêthaient

Présent Subjonctif

qué j’envyie
qué (qu’) tu’envyie
qu’il envyie
qu’ oulle envyie
qué j’env’yions / qué j’enviêthêmes
qu’ous env’yiez / qu’ous enviêthêtes
qu’il’ envyient

Împarfait subjonctif

qué j’envyîsse
qué (qu’) tu’envyîsse
qu’il envyîsse
qu’oulle envyîsse
qué j’env’yîssions
qu’ous env’yîssyiz / qu’ous env’yîssiez
qu’il’ envyîssent

Temps composés

Présent continnu j’sis à env’yer, etc.
Pâssé continnu j’tais à env’yer, etc.
Futur continnu jé s’sai à env’yer, etc.
Parfait j’ai env’yé, etc.
Pus-qu’parfait j’avais env’yé, etc.
Futur Parfait j’éthai env’yé, etc.
Conditionnel Parfait j’ethais env’yé, etc.


Présent env’yant
Pâssé env’yé


envyie, env’yons, env’yez