SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Marquis, Yan and Sallabank, Julia (2017) '‘Spelling trouble: Ideologies and practices in Giernesiei / Dgernesiais / Guernesiais / Guernésiais / Djernezié…’.' In: Jones, Mari C. and Mooney, Damien, (eds.), Orthography Development for Language Maintenance and Revitalisation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 235-253.

Text - Accepted Version
Download (415kB) | Preview


The indigenous language of Guernsey is not standardized, and has no official orthography. It is highly endangered, but there is a significant increase in demand for written Giernesiei. Examination of writing practices reveals a wide range of spellings, and inconsistencies between rhetoric and practices. Some speakers and learners, influenced by diglossic notions of ‘correctness’ and prestige, favour French-style spellings for Guernesiais; but most islanders are literate in English only. Language activists may focus on differentiation from dominant or related languages. Learners, meanwhile, may benefit from a systematic, transparent, practical spelling which recognizes the lack of ease of typing accents on English-style keyboards. The resolution of such tensions does not depend on impartial assessment of which orthography is the most efficient, but on community dynamics which may be fluid and not immediately obvious. Given that the future of Dgernesiais rests with learners, it is important to develop an orthography which is useful for learners and teachers, yet acceptable to the remaining native speakers.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics > Department of Linguistics
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of Linguistics
ISBN: 9781316562949
Copyright Statement: This is an accepted manuscript of a chapter published by Cambridge University Press in Creating Orthographies for Endangered Languages, available online:
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2015 10:26

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item