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Page last updated at 11:39 GMT, Tuesday, 15 June 2010 12:39 UK
Guernsey French promoter Marie De Garis is 100
Marie De Garis
Marie was made an MBE for her services to Guernsey culture in 1999

Marie De Garis was born on 15 June 1910 and has lived for all but five years in St Pierre du Bois in Guernsey.

On the eve of her 100th birthday she said she expected to feel "just the same" as she turned 100, "I'm only a day older than I was yesterday".

From a young age Marie was interested in Guernsey's culture.

In her time she has written a dictionary of Guernsey French as well as a book of local folklore and a history of St Pierre du Bois.

Marie's interest in Guernsey culture began with Guernsey French when she was at school.

She explained that at St Peters School: "We had to speak English in lessons, but to each other we always spoke Guernsey French."

Guernsey passage grave
As well as Guernsey's language Marie wrote about local folklore

She continued: "My grandmother and her friends were always bemoaning the fact that Guernsey French was on the decrease and I thought when I'm grown up I'm going to write a list of all the Guernsey French words I know so they won't be lost."

This idea developed into the Dictiounnaire Angllais-Guernesiais which was first published in the mid 1960s.

Marie explained that though the book was published: "It's not finished yet, I still find words and add them to my own copy of the dictionary... my son and Bill Galliene are writing a new edition."

As well writing a dictionary of Guernsey's language Marie also compiled the local folklore stories she heard throughout her life into a book in an attempt to keep another aspect of the island's culture alive.

In 1999 Marie was appointed MBE for her services to the preservation of Guernsey culture and though she said she was "very excited" with the appointment she said it does not get spoken about so much now.

Having lived all her life, save the Occupation, during which she was evacuated with her young children, in St Pierre du Bois, Marie said life had changed in Guernsey: "The cars, the radio, the television and the way of life [have all been changes] and of course English [being spoken] everywhere."

Mapping the folklore of Guernsey
25 Feb 10 |  History


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