Cornish Language Gets Funding Boost

The 10 year Cornish Language Strategy, approved in 2013, targets the promotion of the Celtic tongue of Cornwall and sets out the broad direction for the development of the language in the next ten years.  The plan is intended to increase opportunities to use the Cornish language (Kernewek).

In support of the goals of the 10 year plan the Cornish Council have announced funding for four initiatives which serve to promote the use of Cornish. Included in the earmarks is the Lowender Peran, the annual Cornish music festival held at Newquay (see Transceltic’s index of Celtic festivals linked below).

In 2015 the Cornwall Council launched an internal Language plan to promote the tongue. Although language plans have been a requirement in Wales and Scotland for some time this was the first of its kind in Cornwall. The Council’s plan sets out a number of actions including the use of Cornish phrases by call centre and reception staff, the use of Cornish in signage and on business cards and emails. It also commits the council to maintaining its support through a language officer and working towards further recognition for the language.

In addition to its support for the well known Lowender Peran Celtic festival the funding scheme also supports The Cornish Language Fellowship, The Looe Music Festival and Radyo an Gernewegva. Radyo an Gernewegva is a weekly radio program in Cornish. 

In making the announcement the spokesman for the Cornish Council, Julian German – Cabinet Member for Economy and Culture, is quoted in news reports as follows: “These projects aim to enable local groups in Cornwall to meet the increasing interest in Cornish and contribute to the vitality and colour of Cornwall. With some schools starting to teach Cornish as well, this all reflects a growing confidence and pride in the future of the Cornish language”

In many ways Cornish is an inspiring case of language revival. Growing numbers of Cornish speakers are active in the community and a number of children are being raised in the language and recent years have seen the advent of Cornish Medium education. The language is also famous for a decades-long dispute over orthography (conventional spelling system) that had hindered the revival movement in many ways.  The good news is that in 2008 many of the major figures in the language community came to an agreement on a Standard written form for Cornish.

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