Funding for Cornish language confirmed

A new forum dedicated to Kernewek - the Cornish language, Cornish culture and the history of the Duchy of Cornwall
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Post by WillinChina » Thu Jun 16, 2005 3:55 am

"Meur ras" is Kemmyn, the other two are Unified. As AndyQ stated, the difference is only in the writing. Whichever system is used, Cornish is Cornish. There are some differences between speakers but that is the case in any language. Kemmyn (Cornish for "common") was introduced in 1987, if I remember correctly, and represents a phonemic system i.e. one where the letters consisently correspond to the speech sounds they represent. It is now the most widely used system, both in terms of people currently learning the language and in print. It is also the system I personally favour; in my opinion Unified tries too hard to look like English. For example the /k/ phoneme can be represented by k, c or q depending on which letter follows (as is the case in English). Kemmyn takes a more consistent and systematic approach (sticking to "k" in this case), and I also feel it gives a characteristic unique "look" to the written language, in a similar way in which written Welsh is instantly recognisable as Welsh (although we might not understand the words).

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Post by Lyskerrys » Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:35 am

Ah, the joys of which spelling system to use...

My 2p-worth: I learnt Kemmyn because that was what was being taught where I started lessons, no other reason, but I do find that its phonetic / phonemic spelling makes learning it much easier as you immediately know how to pronounce a written word. As we are trying to get as many people as possible to learn Cornish, an easier and consistent spelling system is surely an advantage.

OTOH, I appreciate people's concerns that it doesn't reflect historical spellings, and would be happy to change to a system closer to Unified if it was necessary to reach a consensus.

My take on Modern is that it has become more Anglicised and the grammar abbreviated or compressed (not sure if that's quite how to describe it!). As a Kemmyn speaker I can understand Unys speakers with no problem but Modern is different enough to cause me problems. Check out the Kernewek Wikipedia front page for examples of Kemmyn (top left), UCR (top right), Modern (bot left), and Unified (bot right).

There is now momentum behind the drive to reach agreement on a single system, and there is going to be a meeting in September to try and further this. The new funding money means that a sort of Language Manager can now be appointed who will hopefully be able to oversee the process of reaching an agreement.

As for 'perfect Kernewek' Mike :oops:, not so sure about that - not enough time to keep up the practise!

Dyw genowgh hwi oll.

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Post by Porthia1947 » Thu Jun 16, 2005 1:30 pm

My head says Common, my heart says Modern (mainly due to the sound - just loved Dick Gendall's pronounciation) and I started out learning Unified many years ago. At one point got fed up with the arguements and then realised it was probably an indication of a dynamic revival and a positive thing (even though frustrating at times). Now finding it hard to find the extreme enthusiasm I once had, but always pleased to hear of its progress onwards and upwards thanks to the hard work of the few.

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Post by Masterclass » Thu Jun 16, 2005 2:19 pm

80k isn't an awful lot of wedge though, is it?

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Post by Lyskerrys » Thu Jun 16, 2005 4:43 pm

Quoth Joe:

When Caxton invented the press, that's when the arguments over languages started.

The putting down of English onto paper is why the spellings are sometimes way off the present-day pronunciation (e.g. the spelling of "Gloucester" reflects the way it was said a few hundred years ago, as the written word stayed fixed when the usage changed). Lots of languages have been updated and modernised: French, Irish, Norwegian, American English etc., which is why I'm not bothered about preserving precisely the Kernewek spellings of 400 years ago (which in any case were phonetic to the individual writers). Better to make it reflect current usage and be regular and easy to learn. Thanks to the variation of OUGH in Cough, Bough, Though, Through and Thought, I've also come round to being in favour of a very light touch of regularising within British English spellings... *ducks*

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Post by CJenkin » Thu Jun 16, 2005 5:15 pm

For my 2p-worth, I tend to agree with Jo and Lyskerrys. I started off learning Unified, I even have a Grade 1 CSE in Cornish, from when I was at school!

But I find Common (Kemmyn), much better and more logical from a learning point of view. In fact, the more Cornish I learn the better Kemmyn actually seems.

However I'm just glad the language has more recognition and that as a whole it can continue to move forward, if need be using more than one spelling system.

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Post by Masterclass » Fri Jun 17, 2005 1:03 pm

Not really. Two full time members of staff? Perhaps four on Cornish wages.


I reckon it'll be run as a lunchtime only course, probably with minimal attendance from the kids.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's a great idea, but I can't see the youth of today getting all that behind it.

Look at Latin for example, an incredibly useful language (albeit dead) not just for learning but the other applications are tremendously useful, too. And this has been dropped by and large due to a lack of demand.

Given the reluctance of most of the population to speak a second modern language, I'd be really really surprised for this to work.

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