Getting more people to speak Cornish

Topical debate
Ben
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Post by Ben » Fri Mar 05, 2010 11:48 am

ThingsThatGo


It was interesting to read your post, I’ve never used the Pimsleur method but have heard it praised, particularly by Americans.


Have you ever come across the Michel Thomas language tapes and CDs? His method is absolutely brilliant. He teaches spoken language, not written, and you learn, or brush-up, your skills at great speed and with relative ease. They are very expensive to buy, but most libraries seem to keep them. They really are a huge improvement on the old book style learning practised when I was at school in the sixties.


I’m not sure if there are any similarities between the Pimsleur and Thomas methods, other, of course, than neither being available for learners of Cornish… yet!




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Marhak
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Post by Marhak » Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:15 pm

If the Americans think the Pimsleur method to be good and easy, then it must surely be so!

ThingsThatGoFlirInTheShla
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Post by ThingsThatGoFlirInTheShla » Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:21 pm

Ben said:
ThingsThatGo


It was interesting to read your post, I’ve never used the Pimsleur method but have heard it praised, particularly by Americans.


Have you ever come across the Michel Thomas language tapes and CDs? His method is absolutely brilliant. He teaches spoken language, not written, and you learn, or brush-up, your skills at great speed and with relative ease. They are very expensive to buy, but most libraries seem to keep them. They really are a huge improvement on the old book style learning practised when I was at school in the sixties.


I’m not sure if there are any similarities between the Pimsleur and Thomas methods, other, of course, than neither being available for learners of Cornish… yet!




I was using the Michel Thomas French method before having to switch to Pimsleur for Norwegian.
I used to think Michel Thomas was an excellent and quick way of learning a language and encouraged everyone to use it. Since moving to Pimsleur my ease of learning and fluency have grown a huge amount. there's just no comparing the two seeing as the Pimsleur method appears to be in a league of its own.

Ben
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Post by Ben » Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:17 pm

marhak said:If the Americans think the Pimsleur method to be good and easy, then it must surely be so!



Now there's an endorsement that won't appear on the packaging!

Ben
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Post by Ben » Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:36 pm

ThingsThatGoFlirInTheShla said:

I was using the Michel Thomas French method before having to switch to Pimsleur for Norwegian.
I used to think Michel Thomas was an excellent and quick way of learning a language and encouraged everyone to use it. Since moving to Pimsleur my ease of learning and fluency have grown a huge amount. there's just no comparing the two seeing as the Pimsleur method appears to be in a league of its own.




Well, the Pimsleur method certainly seems to work for you ThingsThatGo, maybe I’ll take a look at it sometime.
I think the important point here is that there are now many different learning methods around, well at least for some languages. People should try one or two and find the one that suits them. Things really have come a long way from those dreary old verb tables of my youth.
I don’t know how Cornish is taught, but I’ll guess there’s plenty of room for a further method. The few phrases I once knew (alas, mostly now forgotten) were picked up about forty years ago when I had a landlady who used to occasionally come out with them, and even longer ago I had a relative who would drop the odd phrase. I don’t think either was fluent, but they were certainly enthusiastic.
 Good luck with your efforts to create a Pimsleur style course.

ThingsThatGoFlirInTheShla
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Re: Getting more people to speak Cornish

Post by ThingsThatGoFlirInTheShla » Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:42 pm

We managed to get three lessons of this scripted and then it just stopped. I only ever recieved replies to my messages in Cornishs so not sure why.
Anyway, would anyone be up for restarting this project?

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factotum
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Re: Getting more people to speak Cornish

Post by factotum » Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:56 am

People who only speak major languages often say things like "X is not a real language", where X=Cornish or Manx or Catalan or Welsh etc. Of course we *know* these are all 'proper' languages because they have literatures both ancient and modern, standards of grammar and spelling, dictionaries and so forth. Linguistically they are indeed as proper and complete as any other. And because we know this, when we hear such statements we generally feel insulted and angry.

But maybe the detractors do have a point, maybe they're coming from a different more pragmatic point of view. I was listening to a feature about Catalonia, and there was this English writer who somehow found himself there as a young adult, and because all his new friends and neighbours spoke Catalan, he quickly learned the language, one he hadn't even known existed before. Most people are like that, pragmatic. So maybe the test of what is a 'proper' language is to ask, "Where can I go, where said language is the normal means of at least informal everyday communication?" A normal person (i.e. not a language or heritage geek) going to live in such a place would then quite naturally learn the language.

Here the Celtic languages are in a fix. Even where our languages are still used by local between themselves, they will rarely be used with outsiders, in some cases not even if an outsider is within earshot. So only academics and 'language fanatics' will ever get to learn them. Normal people will see no need and have no means. My Welsh is pretty good and I sometimes use it to comment on the internet, but never when I have been in Wales have I been spoken to in Welsh, except once and that was on the Eisteddfod 'Maes'. I lived in Scotland for many years but only ever heard Gaelic spoken on a handful of occasions, and never met anyone in a personal capacity who owned up to being a Gaelic speaker. I'm sure the same would be true if I went to Brittany, and in Ireland everyone in theory learns Irish at school but no one really uses it.

As for Cornish, well there is afaik no place where I could direct and interested party who wished to hear the language used naturally, let alone be immersed in a situation where its use would be expected.

So from a pragmatic POV the Celtic languages, with the possible exception of Welsh, are not 'proper' languages, and that plain and simple is why people don't learn them.

An unfortunate chicken and egg problem. Wish I knew an answer, but I don't.

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Re: Getting more people to speak Cornish

Post by Rosko » Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:28 am

I think overall your point is valid, Factotum.

However, you're anecdotal evidence is floored and limited, and I would also say that to put all the Celtic languages into one basket is wrong, as they're at very, very different stages in their 'revival'.

You're certainly correct about Catalan, except that it's actually a dialect (more French than Spanish!), not a language, albeit spoken widely, and Catalunya being the most prosperous 'Spanish' region, it's also a very successful and entrenched business language (if you're a foreigner settling there, they'll give you about 12 months to convert from Spanish!).

But as for the Celtic languages, I think you'll find Breton & Welsh - which were never actually extinct - far more widespread & common place than you seem to portray, especially the former, which is still spoken by some older folk (with limited knowledge of French) as a first language.

Just my own perceptions and observations.

Rosko
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Re: Getting more people to speak Cornish

Post by Rosko » Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:32 am

As for the answer, I'd say a good start would be far greater support by local government and the community alike, for language schools, especially the early years, like the DIWAN model in Brittany (great success).

ThingsThatGoFlirInTheShla
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Re: Getting more people to speak Cornish

Post by ThingsThatGoFlirInTheShla » Tue Oct 23, 2012 2:07 pm

All I was suggesting was creating a far easier way of learning. The Pimsleur approach is unimaginably good at creating fluency and understanding and the fact of the matter is, whether Factotum finds it relevant or not, lots of people are learning or want to learn Cornish.

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factotum
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Re: Getting more people to speak Cornish

Post by factotum » Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:04 am

You can give people a technical knowledge of the language by teaching it, or better still using it in school, but it's still just another subject. Even if it's the home language it needs outside reinforcement as kids become independent, before and into their teens. That means they have to grow up in and identify with a *community* that speaks that language. E.g. kids in Welsh medium education are perfectly fluent in Welsh, but outside of Welsh speaking communities they drop it like a brick the moment they're through the school gates. I can't comment on the Breton situation, but I be interested to hear from anyone here with first-hand experience. The thing is, if you're a 'language/culture tourist' then you'll deliberately seek out these suppressed languages, by paying for arranged courses and events etc. But your experience will be totally different from the 'normal' visitor or even resident, since these things go on behind closed doors, closed doors usually with an entrance fee.

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