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Old January 9th, 2018, 12:14 PM   #1
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Cornish revival?


Cornish hasn't fared as well as its sister language Welsh. Welsh language study is mandatory in Welsh schools and some govenment jobs. It is commonly used in Wales. None of this is true for Cornish in Cornwall. The last native speaker is said to have died in in 1777 but its decline goes back to late Anglo-Saxon times. Nevertheless a revival movement exists. Is it real? Is their a latent Cornish nationalism?

My personal view as an outsider is fewer languages are to be preferred over more, although I respect antiquarian language science.

http://www.economist.com/node/9991331

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Old January 9th, 2018, 12:23 PM   #2
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I know that date must be wrong. Don't ask me too find it?, but I distinctly remember reading about Cornish miners in the American West gold rush era late 1800s & difficulty with supervisors finding translators & about how English supervisors mistreated them & made fun of them because of their backward gibberesh.

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Old January 9th, 2018, 12:34 PM   #3
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I know that date must be wrong. Don't ask me too find it?, but I distinctly remember reading about Cornish miners in the American West gold rush era late 1800s & difficulty with supervisors finding translators & about how English supervisors mistreated them & made fun of them because of their backward gibberesh.
I'm just going by the linked article. It said "fluent speaker". Maybe these miners weren't fluent?
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Old January 9th, 2018, 12:55 PM   #4

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I'm just going by the linked article. It said "fluent speaker". Maybe these miners weren't fluent?
I've read that it died out in the late 18th early 19th century except for the odd speaker but would an 'American' really know the difference between Welsh, Cornish or Breton speakers?

There are attempts to revive it now based mainly on Welsh
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Old January 9th, 2018, 01:04 PM   #5
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I'm just going by the linked article. It said "fluent speaker". Maybe these miners weren't fluent?
They couldn't speak English.
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Old January 9th, 2018, 01:11 PM   #6
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I've read that it died out in the late 18th early 19th century except for the odd speaker but would an 'American' really know the difference between Welsh, Cornish or Breton speakers?

There are attempts to revive it now based mainly on Welsh
A lot of the mine supervisors were Americans then, but born & raised in England. The book didn't mention what "gibberish" they were speaking but they were Cornish & spoke something other than english. I assumed they meant Cornish. The book could have been mistaking Welch miners for Cornish I suppose, but I doubt it.
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Old January 9th, 2018, 01:14 PM   #7
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They couldn't speak English.
I was joking. As if an American could understand fluent Cornish. In fact as Kevinmeath pointed out, who knows what they were speaking?. It might have been heavily accented regional English with possibly some Cornish words or as you say, Welsh. Personally I can't understand a strong Yorkshire accent.

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Old January 10th, 2018, 01:10 AM   #8

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Quote:
Originally Posted by M9Powell View Post
A lot of the mine supervisors were Americans then, but born & raised in England. The book didn't mention what "gibberish" they were speaking but they were Cornish & spoke something other than english. I assumed they meant Cornish. The book could have been mistaking Welch miners for Cornish I suppose, but I doubt it.
Most likely just English with thick Cornish accents and regional dialect vocabulary mixed in.
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Old January 10th, 2018, 02:15 AM   #9

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There's a lot of nonsense spoken about Cornwall and it's language. Cornwall is one of England's counties, nothing else. Cornish was spoken in more remote areas - when I was younger the last old lady who spoke Cornish as a native lived somewhere down St Ives way and was about 96 when she died.

Nowadays some clowns have revived it as a language (heaven knows why), people study it and there are said to be about 200 speakers of 'Cornish'. It's a measure of how stupid things get when we have had to pay (government grant of course) to have all out road signs in dual language. A language which some committee or person makes up new words for every day to take account of the modern world. Another ridiculous point - it's long been inherent in Cornish dialect that the word Parc be used instead of Park. Everyone assumed it's just been around forever. So now if you get a road like xxxxx Parc, the English name version of the name is xxxxx Parc, whilst underneath is the alleged Cornish version xxxxx Park - can you believe that!

You have to remember that the ports of Fowey and Falmouth were strong naval ports, that there were significant battles of the Civil War in Cornwall. It's just like any other county. No mention of funny languages. It's just like someone said, the remote hill mining areas will have held it longest - but a long time ago!

As Edric says the accent can be something else, maybe not recogniseable as English. In the salad days of my 18-30s holidays if we didn't want Greek waiters to understand what we were talking about, the lads and I could slip into a deep, fast Cornish accent!
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Old January 11th, 2018, 01:52 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Kevinmeath View Post
I've read that it died out in the late 18th early 19th century except for the odd speaker but would an 'American' really know the difference between Welsh, Cornish or Breton speakers?

There are attempts to revive it now based mainly on Welsh
The average American has never heard of Cornish of Breton and doesn't know they exist, let alone that they're related to Welsh.
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