Swimming Against the Tide
Language Planning on Jersey
A variety of Romance has been spoken on Jersey for some two thousand years. However Jèrriais, the Norman dialect spoken on the Island today, is now obsolescent. Its decline in fortune has recently prompted a number of corpus and status planning initiatives which, largely devoid of State support, lie in the hands of a small, non-linguistically trained, group of enthusiasts. This paper examines the different agencies of language planning on Jersey and the progress they have made hitherto, comparing the corpus and status planning undertaken in this context with that which occurs in countries where more support is forthcoming from the State, and situating the position of Jèrriais within the contemporary language planning literature. It also suggests some possible avenues for the future and discusses the factors which are likely to determine the success or otherwise of the outcome. The paper highlights the fact that, by themselves, high-prestige domains such as the school do not necessarily hold the key to successful language maintenance.
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