LEARNING TO SPEAK CORNISH
Interest in the Cornish language is on the rise – but it’s not just the county’s newly recognised Celtic race that are turning Kernow
Interest in the Cornish language is on the rise – but it’s not just the county’s newly recognised Celtic race that are turning Kernow. CAROL BURNS meets the man helping to keep the language alive...
One of the first things to strike visitors to Cornwall is the smattering of Cornish that can be found on every corner. Street signs proudly declare their Cornish names, places appear in Cornish (although many still use Cornish terms – where would be without Tre, Pol and Pen?).
And it’s not just Cornwall that wants to be part of this ancient Celtic nation; there is also plenty of overseas interest in the language – and its presence on social media is evidence of a very vibrant language, says Julian German, Cornwall Councillor and their Portfolio Holder for Economy and Culture – who is himself fluent in the language.
People in Cornwall recognised the importance of Cornwall having its own language. And like many languages words survived that had special meaning, such as glas’ to describe the colour of the sea. The language comes from the geology of the place, the people and the industry'
But it was all very nearly lost: by the 19th century, the use of Cornish within families was dying out. But a renaissance soon followed.
People in Cornwall recognised the importance of Cornwall having its own language,’ says Julian. And like many languages words survived that had special meaning, such as glas’ to describe the colour of the sea. The language comes from the geology of the place, the people and the industry.’
- 1 Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday Celebrations in Hertfordshire
- 2 These are the Cornwall beaches awarded Blue Flag status in 2022
- 3 What's on in Norfolk June 2022
- 4 10 Derbyshire events celebrating the Queen's Platinum Jubilee
- 5 10 Cheshire events celebrating the Queen's Platinum Jubilee
- 6 Ball and Boe announce a new album for 2022
- 7 10 Yorkshire events celebrating the Queen's Platinum Jubilee
- 8 Queen's Platinum Jubilee: 13 events to celebrate in Cornwall
- 9 20 of the best places to eat out in St Ives
- 10 Win a Stay at The Merchant's Yard, Tideswell in the Peak District
We are seeing more and more people use the language. It’s not exclusive, it’s inclusive: the speakers we come across, include people who have lived for generations in Cornwall; equally you have people who have moved to Cornwall and have embraced the culture, and the language as part of that,’ says Julian.
As we live in Cornwall why not grow up with knowledge of the Cornish language?’ says Julian. Learning a second language, any language, teaches mental dexterity and there is a lot of research showing that being bilingual has a positive impact on academic prowess and earning potential.
But the Cornish language is not a hobby. In the future we see people using Cornish in the street, Cornish in the classroom, in the pub, when we shop and talking to friends, and on social media – and people enjoy and celebrate that rather than being afraid of it,’ says Julian.
GOING NATIVE: THE BLUFFER'S GUIDE TO CORNISH
Dohajydh da! Good afternoon!
Gorthuher da! Good evening!
Fatla genes? How are you?
Pur dha, meur ras. Very well, thanks.
Da lowr, meur ras. Ok, thanks.
Ha ty? And you?
Dha weles! See you! (to one person)
Agas gweles! See you! (to more than one person)
Duw genes! Goodbye! (to one person)
Duw genowgh hwi! Goodbye! (to more than one person)
Nos da! Good night!
Meur rasThank you
Gav dhymmExcuse me
Na vynnavNo thanks
Gans gorhemynadow a’n gwellaWith best wishes
Oll an gwellaAll the best
Gool Peran Lowen!Happy St Piran’s Day!
Chons da!Good Luck!
Gwrys yn KernowMade in Cornwall
... a’gas DynnerghWelcome to ...
Courtesy of the Cornish Language Partnership – for more language and to hear the correct pronunciation visitmagakernow.org.uk