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Talk celebrates Guernésiais literary legend

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Thursday 14 March 2019

How did a working-class man from St Martins in the late-nineteenth century translate the Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare into Guernésiais?

All this and more will be discussed in the upcoming talk, 'The Guernésiais Translations of Thomas Martin', led by Professor Mari Jones, Professor of French Linguistics and Language Change at the University of Cambridge. The talk will take place on Saturday 23rd March at 2.30pm at the Priaulx Library. It is free of charge and there is no need to book.

The Martin Manuscripts form the largest corpus of prose from a single pen in Guernésiais. Dating from the turn of the twentieth century, the manuscripts consist of 295 exercise books, which contain a complete translation into Guernésiais of the Bible and of 100 plays from the work of Shakespeare, Longfellow, Pierre and Thomas Corneille, Voltaire and Molière. The talk will discuss the way in which the translations were undertaken, examining features such as the spelling system used by Martin, the Guernsey 'flavour' that he consciously gave his translations, the insight that this work can give into the local language of the time and the new grammatical information the manuscripts provide about Guernsey's native tongue.

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