This morning, we were so glad to discover the Les Bibides class, run once a month by the Guernsey Language Commission, and Jo in particular – to teach Guernésiais (Guernsey French patois) to pre-schoolers. Held in Le Grand Courtil in St Martin’s, we popped along there for an hour or so with my three-year-old and his eight-year-old sister and they really enjoyed it.
My littlun has really got into his French (French) sessions at the library so I had to explain that, well, it was going to be a bit like that, but that the language was kind of different. Confusing, you’d think, and yet it’s amazing how biddable and sponge-like little children can be. Unlike me. I’m a French graduate and I remember first coming to the island, seeing all the French place names and thinking I had it nailed. How wrong could I be? A little ‘knowledge’ is a dangerous thing.
We started off with the Warro (Hi!) song, to the tune of Frère Jacques, did Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, our numbers to 10 (with helpful prompts on pronunciation – thanks, Jo) a sweet ‘hunt the donkey’ game (learning ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ while we were at it) and some lovely monster (La Bait) drawings. There were refreshments provided and the room at Le Grand Courtil was very comfortable. I was interested to learn that there are no formal spellings for the language – as it’s all spoken, I guess.
We even left with some cute Guernésiais stickers, left over from the Sark Folk Festival. One ticked off the Guernsey Museums ’60 Things to do this Summer‘ list. Tchi qu’tu veur à bère? What would you like to drink? Mine’s a coffee, please!