The Cornish Revival - Final Standard Written Form for the Cornish Tongue

In a watershed event for the Celtic language of Cornwall, the Cornish Language Partnership (MAGA) have announced the finalisation of the Standard Written Form (SWF) for the Cornish language.  The announcement last week that the final SWF has been adopted is the culmination of a process that dates back several years.  The initiative came from recognition that a vital component of the restoration of the Cornish tongue was a sanctioned written form of Cornish, or SWF. The Initiative dates from conferences held in 2006 and 2007 to establish guidelines for a Standard Written Form of Cornish.  The completion of this process now allows placement of a keystone on which the Celtic tongue of Cornwall can be restored to its rightful place. 

The working SWF was ratified in 2008 with allowance for a review in 2013 to provide an avenue for final amendment . It is that final review which has now been completed. The MAGA web site defines the basis for the project and progression to the adoption of the final SWF.  The full text is available on the link below and has been summarised in the following paraphrase:

“Put simply, the written sources we have (in Cornish) span several centuries and reflect different periods in the life of the language.  While the existence of different forms of Cornish was a tribute to the vibrancy of the language movement, given a small language base it also proved a barrier to development…The Cornish Language Partnership therefore established a process to which all could contribute their ideas and involving external expertise …..(a) Commission recommended the setting up of a user group to undertake the detailed work…This group met several times and an agreement on a SWF was reached and ratified by the Partnership in 2008.  A review will be held in 2013, at which time it will be possible to evaluate progress over the intervening five years.”

MAGA, the organisation who recognised the need for a SWF, who took action and then gave this gift to future generations of Cornish speakers, defines itself as follows on their web page: “The Partnership includes language organisations, local authorities and a number of other organisations who have come together with the aim of promoting Cornish and developing it further in Cornish life. The programme of work it is undertaking is funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government and by Cornwall Council."

This blog is provided for general informational purposes only. The opinions expressed here are the author's alone and not necessarily those of