“I' n'peuvent pon même trouver lus tchu auve les deux mains.”
(States of Jersey -28 September 2016)
[A speech by Deputy Tadier in the States (Jersey Parliament) during a debate on the Medium Term Financial Perspective led to this humorous exchange.
To note: (i) Jèrriais is the local patois, derived from Norman French and spoken by very few, if any, islanders; (ii) the Deputy Bailiff's vague recognition of the crucial word in the sentence; (ii) Deputy Tadier's double stitching job.
This is not a joke. It is for real. But it is so funny that I couldn't resist including it in my Jokes page.]
Deputy Tadier: If you wanted to perhaps find an expression about the political attitude that we have and perhaps various administrations over the years have had to Jèrriais one might say: “I' n'peuvent pon même trouver lus tchu auve les deux mains.”
The Deputy Bailiff: Deputy, I am going to ask you to translate that into English, because that is not something that I am entirely familiar with.
Deputy M. Tadier: That is right, Sir. Just before I do that, in English we might have an expression which quite concisely says: “They cannot organise a party in a brewery”, but the beautiful thing about Jèrriais, that I have come to understand and appreciate, is that Jèrriais is a much more earthy language, and I think that has partly come about … and I am getting to the point. [Laughter]
The Deputy Bailiff: I am not wholly familiar with Jèrriais, but I thought I recognised one word in what you were saying, but I think it would be entirely unparliamentary. So are you proposing to translate it for the benefit of the Assembly?
Deputy M. Tadier: Yes, Sir. As I said, the way I understand it to be translated and so to be within the realms of parliamentary acceptability is that they cannot find their backside even with both of their hands. That is what I am reliably informed it means, but I may be wrong, Sir.
The Deputy Bailiff: Could I ask you to withdraw that; that is not a parliamentary expression?
Deputy M. Tadier: I withdraw that, Sir, and particularly the word “tchu”.
The Deputy Bailiff: Yes, perhaps you could withdraw that as well.
[Just by way of illustration, this is the phrase again in Jèrriais and a rough equivalent word for word in French:
I' n'peuvent pon même trouver lus tchu auve les deux mains.
Ils ne peuvent pas même trouver leur cul avec les deux mains.]
[Thanks to Bailiwick Express]