Jurassian patois


Category:
Oral expressions
Canton:

Description

“Î se sôle, î veus bïn dremi “ – “I’m tired. I need to get some sleep”. This might be how someone from Jura answers the question of “côli vait?” – “How are you?”. Although it varies slightly from one region to another, patois was long the sole language spoken by rural communities. It would not be until the early 20th century, if not later, that French entered into widespread use, relegating patois to a minority language, spoken only by research working groups, local associations and other private circles. Today there are four variants of Jurassian patois: Vâdais in the Délémont valley, Aidjolats in Ajoie, Taignons in the Franches-Montagnes, and finally “dgens di Çhô di Doubs” in the Clos-du-Doubs.

They are the only Swiss dialects which belong to the family of Oïl languages. Commonly heard during parades, in songs and plays, Jurassian patois is sometimes used to celebrate mass, much to the delight of patois speakers. There is a sizeable number of private individuals and groups who are dedicated to preserving and cultivating Jurassian patois. Under the patronage of the Fédération des patoisants du canton du Jura, they endeavour to keep patois alive, both as a spoken and written language through articles, texts, dictionaries, glossaries and studies of a practical or scientific nature. There is also a patois website “Djâsans patois”, as well as a special patois programme on the Fréquence Jura radio station.

Image gallery

  • Buix, 1993: Théâtre patoisant © Archives cantonales jurassiennes (ArCJ)
  • Charmoille, 1988: Scene from a play performed in patois © Archives cantonales jurassiennes (ArCJ)
  • Saignelégier, 1992: patois enthusiasts parade in traditional dress © Archives cantonales jurassiennes (ArCJ)
  • Delémont, 1990: Cantonal patois festival, children from Franches-Montagnes parade in traditional dress © Archives cantonales jurassiennes (ArCJ)
  • Porrentruy, 1987: The «Amicale des patoisants vadais» below the Porte de France, Porrentruy © Archives cantonales jurassiennes (ArCJ)
  • Delémont 1985: The choir of the «Amicale des patoisants vadais» © Archives cantonales jurassiennes (ArCJ)
  • Buix, 1993: Théâtre patoisant © Archives cantonales jurassiennes (ArCJ)
  • Charmoille, 1988: Scene from a play performed in patois © Archives cantonales jurassiennes (ArCJ)
  • Saignelégier, 1992: patois enthusiasts parade in traditional dress © Archives cantonales jurassiennes (ArCJ)
  • Delémont, 1990: Cantonal patois festival, children from Franches-Montagnes parade in traditional dress © Archives cantonales jurassiennes (ArCJ)
  • Porrentruy, 1987: The «Amicale des patoisants vadais» below the Porte de France, Porrentruy © Archives cantonales jurassiennes (ArCJ)
  • Delémont 1985: The choir of the «Amicale des patoisants vadais» © Archives cantonales jurassiennes (ArCJ)

References and documentation

Publications
  • Gaston Brahier : Vétçhans l'houre qu'ât li; vivons le moment présent. Moutier, 1996

  • Jean Joliat : Orthographe du patois du Jura suisse. In : Actes de la Société jurassienne d'Emulation. Porrentruy, 1998, p. 179-189

  • Sabine Lehmann : Vestiges d'un patois, la situation des patois jurassiens. In : Actes de la Société jurassienne d'Emulation. Porrentruy, 1994, p. 115-144

  • Gilbert Lovis : Contes fantastiques du Jura, recueillis par Jules Surdez (1878-1964). Introduction de Gilbert Lovis, texte en patois de Jules Surdez, traduits par Gilbert Lovis. Enregistrement des contes en patois dits par Djosèt Barotchèt, réalisé par Michel Terrapon. Bâle, 1987

  • Gilbert Lovis : Vieux contes du Jura, recueillis à Ocourt par Jules Surdez, patois-français (Livre et CD audio). Ed. Association pour la Sauvegarde du Patrimoine Rural Jurassien. Develier, 1991

  • Société suisse des traditions populaires (Ed.) : Chante Jura (disque sonore). Berne : 1988

Documentation