Holiday Cottage Mousehole Cornwall

Cornwall: The Cornish Language

Onen hag Oll
One and All is Cornwall's motto

How is Cornish Related to other Celtic Languages?
Between 1500 B.C. and the first encounters with the Romans, around 350 B.C., the Celtic languages are believed to split into two distinct groups, the 'p' and 'q' Celtic branches. Cornish, Welsh and Breton (to which Cornish is most closely related) are the three remaining 'p' Celtic languages. Irish, Scots Gaelic and Manx being the 'q' Celtic tongues.
The Decline of Cornish
Cornish developed pretty much naturally into a modern European language until the 17th Century, after which it came under pressure by the encroachment of English. Factors involved in its decline included the introduction of the English prayer book, the rapid introduction of English as a language of commerce and most particularly the negative stigma associated with what was considered by Cornish people themselves as the language of the poor.

Agan Tavas exists to promote the Cornish Language in all its traditional forms. You can hear Cornish on this site.
The Cornish Language Centre
The Cornish Language Fellowship
Cornish Language Learning Centre

The following phrases are taken from:

Vedo whye cawas tabm? Do you want a bite to eat?

Durdatha whye! Good day to you!

Darzona! God bless (on meeting)

Me venga cawas..... I'd like to have......

Bolla tay/coffy. A cup of tea/coffee.
* Cor. Beer.
* Gwyne. Wine.
* Dowr. Water.
* Hoggan. A pasty
* Tezan saffern. Saffron cake.

Durdalada whye! or Merastawhye! or Gra'massy. Thank you.

Fatla gena whye? How are you?

Ma genam a ehaz. I am well.

Betho whye lowenack! Happiness to you!

The Rebirth of Cornish
Cornish died out as a native language in the late 19th century, with the last Cornish speaker believed to have lived in Penwith. By this time however, Cornish was being revived by Henry Jenner, planting the seeds for the current state of the language. 

Standard Cornish
Standard Cornish was developed from Jenner's work by a team under the leadership of Morton Nance, culminating in the first full set of grammars, dictionaries and periodicals.  Standard Cornish (Unified) is again being developed through UCR (Unified Cornish Revised), and incorporates most features of Cornish, including allowing for Eastern and Western forms of pronunciation and colloquial and litery forms of Cornish. 




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