❤ Learning the language
The best way, but the hardest one, is, of course, to start learning the beautiful ancient Norman language of the island of Sark, known as “Sérčê” in Sarkese – you may easily do so together with us in our weekly evening classes, which are provided for free. We meet online every Tuesday (7pm UK time) throughout the year and anyone interested in the language is most welcome to join us.
❤ Using the language
A language survives as long as it is actively spoken, cherished, and evolving. In today’s world, however, one of the many aspects of a language being truly alive is its visual presence and use in public. Sarkese, in order to survive in the new era has to retake its rightful place as the native language of the island not only via education, but also through its open use by the community, which at the moment, represents the island’s completely unexplored asset in local tourism – written Sarkese, on signs, leaflets, souvenirs or menus, be it simple words, phrases, names or texts, automatically attracts the attention of tourists, interested in local heritage, for its exotic nature and direct connection to the history, past and Norman identity of the island. We provide translations and consultations for the community.
❤ Volunteering (proofreading, graphic designs)
Martin’s writing can be a little bit too academic with Euro-English mixed in 🙂 We are always looking for volunteers who are English native speakers, willing to check and proofread our texts and entries for the SNDO (Sark Norman Dictionary Online) and the SNGO (Sark Norman Gazetteer Online), a database of Sarkese place names. Some entries are short and simple, meaning it’s mainly about looking for typos, but some texts present complex linguistic problems, so editing is necessary in order to keep the text accessible and comprehensible for non-linguists. We are also often struggling with graphic design for studying materials.
❤ Financial support
All our services are provided for free for the community and general public (both the primary, teaching and language documentation, as well as secondary, such as language consultations for individuals or organizations and basic translations for non-commercial purposes).
After our first success in 2016-2017, we received in 2018 a three-year grant form the Charles University in Prague, which covered most of the costs for Martin coming over and staying in Sark over the course of the following years in order to initiate a long term language documentation with our four last native speakers. In 2022, we received a subsequent financial support from la Société Sercquaise to continue with the documentation and to cover the costs for the year. In 2023 we received a grant from Wikitongues for the given year.
Every week, throughout the year, we do one consultation with at least one native speaker (when Martin is in Sark it’s several times a week), at least one class for children at the Sark School and one class for adults, if the health permits and except for holidays.
Moreover, with regard to our main activity (language documentation), every consultation has to be thoroughly analysed and sometimes reanalysed, which means hours and hours of professional work, including overall continuous analysis of the system. Additionally, since a language is a vessel of its community’s memory and past, our documentary activities concern not only the language itself, but also local customs, historical events and stories with regard to the recorded vocabulary, which entails consultations of historical sources and materials too.
Since our services are provided for free and our work is unpaid, without a grant for the year, we have to cover even the basic costs by ourselves. Any financial support of any magnitude, even symbolic, to help us cover the costs for language documentation, our work, teaching or producing educational materials, is always very much appreciated.
If you wish to support us with a donation, please contact us to determine the form and details, ideally via firstname.lastname@example.org. We can receive donations both in 🇬🇧 GBP and 🇪🇺 EUR.
The main anticipated expenditures in 2024 are the publication of teaching materials, especially the grammar and dictionary, as well as accompanying materials for the SNGO (a place name database), an illustrated guidebook for tourists with QR-codes linked with the SNGO and the SNDO.