How to record a spoken language? A vital project is currently underway in Jersey to save the island's indigenous language Jèrriais (Jersey French) and create an audio archive of spoken words. Linguists Dr Mari Jones from Cambridge University and Dr Julia Sallabank, SOAS are currently in Jersey leading community workshops on how to record conversations among native speakers. At Archisle we will soon be embarking on a new project, The Last 100, making a set of large-format portraits of islanders who indicated in a recent consensus that Jèrriais were their first language. Other images will also be made that conceptually explore the language of Jèrriais' unique sound, symbolism and semantics, including its common use in Jersey place-names, such as rocks.
True Jerseyman, Francois Le Maistre, son of Frank Le Maistre from St Ouen who in 1966 published his remarkable dictionnaire Jersiais-Français - a collection of more than 17,000 words and phrases in Jèrriais will be one of the first to be photographed as part of our visual anthropology of first language speakers. In the meantime if you want to get involved with the above Jerriais community audio recording project click here.