Learning cornish

A new forum dedicated to Kernewek - the Cornish language, Cornish culture and the history of the Duchy of Cornwall
orathbone
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Learning cornish

Post by orathbone » Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:19 pm

Forgive me if this question has been asked before but I am keen to learn Cornish but very confused as to which 'version' I should learn? (and indeed the differences between the various versions). Can anybody recommend which is the most popular/easiest/relevant etc etc.
Many thanks.

Kathlovenn
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Re: Learning cornish

Post by Kathlovenn » Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:20 pm

How do you want to use Cornish?

orathbone
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Re: Learning cornish

Post by orathbone » Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:57 pm

Good question. I guess mainly conversation and reading modern writings. Less so the ancient stuff. I'm interested in it as a living language.

Kathlovenn
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Re: Learning cornish

Post by Kathlovenn » Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:14 pm

Is there a group of speakers who you are likely to be in contact with? Can you get to a class or a Yeth an Werin? If so, I'd learn the kind of Cornish you find there. There are only two significantly different "versions" of revived Cornish, the one based on Middle Cornish and the one based on Late Cornish. All the other differences are to do with spelling, preferences about usage, and most of all, pedantry. Learn whichever one you like, you'll still be able to understand the others.

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Anselm
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Re: Learning cornish

Post by Anselm » Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:12 pm

Although the expressions 'based on Middle Cornish' and 'based on Late [sic} Cornish' are in fact rather highly contentious declarations of attitude rather than empirically-verifiable descriptions, I agree more or less with the conclusion, Just take in what you hear of the anguage, and sing or spit it out with all your heart and mind. Or something like that.
Anselm

'Against a promontory my ship' Rump L. Stiltz-Kinn

'With regret I feel that unless you have a serious change of heart your presence at the Mennaye on Cornish Pirates match days is no longer desired.'
Rod Coward
CEO
Cornish Pirates

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Ellery
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Re: Learning cornish

Post by Ellery » Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:56 am

I would suggest the following two free courses for learning spoken Cornish to start you off:

Say Something in Cornish - http://site.saysomethingin.com/communit ... ction-kwen

Desky Kernowek - http://www.kernewegva.com/deskikernowek.html

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Anselm
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Re: Learning cornish

Post by Anselm » Sun Jan 06, 2013 5:45 pm

Tybyans da!
Anselm

'Against a promontory my ship' Rump L. Stiltz-Kinn

'With regret I feel that unless you have a serious change of heart your presence at the Mennaye on Cornish Pirates match days is no longer desired.'
Rod Coward
CEO
Cornish Pirates

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factotum
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Re: Learning cornish

Post by factotum » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:34 am

I've still to see evidence that anything that might remotely be called literature has been composed in so called "Revived Late Cornish". Nothing more than the odd short passage in beginners' books. Nothing even on a par with JCH or Nebbaz Geryow, fwiw. I have to conclude that RLC is more an intention than a reality. Quite a lot has been written and published in version of so called "Revived Middle Cornish", so called because even after more than a century there is still no Cornish speaking community and no effective or lasting intergenerational transmission, it is simply an old language that people learn from time to time. Like say ancient Greek, many more people learn AG than learn Cornish, but no one afaik has suggested that AG has been 'revived'. I question therefore the claim that Cornish has been revived, as opposed to studied. It is well worth studying btw, but go to the source, the original texts written by actual fully fluent native speakers.

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Anselm
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Re: Learning cornish

Post by Anselm » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:21 am

Full reply must wait till later, but here are a few points:

1) Both the terms 'Revived Late Cornish' and 'Revived Middle Cornish' are conceptually incoherent and thoroughly misleading (Bernard Deacon's piece on this topic in Cornish Studies) is less than helpful - Bernard must still be wondering what came over him);
2) As editor of some collections and lifelong student of this subject, I'll direct you attention to some evidence you've overlooked;
3) You (like the librettist for My Fair Lady) may need to re-examine assertions about Greek; and
4) It would be a good idea to define what you mean by 'revival', in the context of the vast amount of work available on language development and standardization.
Anselm

'Against a promontory my ship' Rump L. Stiltz-Kinn

'With regret I feel that unless you have a serious change of heart your presence at the Mennaye on Cornish Pirates match days is no longer desired.'
Rod Coward
CEO
Cornish Pirates

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Anselm
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Re: Learning cornish

Post by Anselm » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:07 am

Links for some useful books on Cornish literature:


http://www.francisboutle.co.uk/index.ph ... 31331474a5
Last edited by Anselm on Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
Anselm

'Against a promontory my ship' Rump L. Stiltz-Kinn

'With regret I feel that unless you have a serious change of heart your presence at the Mennaye on Cornish Pirates match days is no longer desired.'
Rod Coward
CEO
Cornish Pirates

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Anselm
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Re: Learning cornish

Post by Anselm » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:59 am

Useful publication list here ...

http://www.cornish-language.org/publications

...
Anselm

'Against a promontory my ship' Rump L. Stiltz-Kinn

'With regret I feel that unless you have a serious change of heart your presence at the Mennaye on Cornish Pirates match days is no longer desired.'
Rod Coward
CEO
Cornish Pirates

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Anselm
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Re: Learning cornish

Post by Anselm » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:00 am

... and here...

http://www.kesva.org/publications

,,, much to the chagrin of certain chaps!
Anselm

'Against a promontory my ship' Rump L. Stiltz-Kinn

'With regret I feel that unless you have a serious change of heart your presence at the Mennaye on Cornish Pirates match days is no longer desired.'
Rod Coward
CEO
Cornish Pirates

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Anselm
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Joined: Sat Aug 15, 2009 10:04 pm

Re: Learning cornish

Post by Anselm » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:01 am

Anselm

'Against a promontory my ship' Rump L. Stiltz-Kinn

'With regret I feel that unless you have a serious change of heart your presence at the Mennaye on Cornish Pirates match days is no longer desired.'
Rod Coward
CEO
Cornish Pirates

User avatar
Anselm
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Joined: Sat Aug 15, 2009 10:04 pm

Re: Learning cornish

Post by Anselm » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:04 am

Anselm

'Against a promontory my ship' Rump L. Stiltz-Kinn

'With regret I feel that unless you have a serious change of heart your presence at the Mennaye on Cornish Pirates match days is no longer desired.'
Rod Coward
CEO
Cornish Pirates

User avatar
factotum
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Re: Learning cornish

Post by factotum » Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:08 pm

I don't really want an argument with you Tim, den stout dell os, but I maintain that there is nothing to speak of worthy of the title Literature in RLC. The publications you list are all grammars, dictionaries and teaching books, and in one case a collection of *historical* Late Cornish works, i.e. Padell's book on the Bosons. This slim(ish) volume contains about half of all the LC we have. I have a copy of Wmffre's opus btw. I was expecting a scholarly work, but it just a hack job run up for a European institute that spend their time publishing grammars of everything and anything, nothing new there, don't waste your cash. So you've still to prove your case. I mean even UC had a novel, possibly the worst novel ever written, but it's there! :-)

As to revival, to me it means making a language a 'real' language in the social rather than the linguistic/grammatical sense. There is no question that Cornish is a real language in the second sense (with or without official standardisation). It has its own grammar, vocabulary, idioms etc. and in that sense is as viable as any other language. But a 'real' language in the first sense is one that's self-perpetuating. That means that it's used as the normal means of communication in some communities, which in turn means that 'normal' people (well maybe not English monoglotts, but are they normal?) will learn it, and want to learn it, not for scholarly or sentimental reasons, but simply because it's there. This applies both to incomers and older children/young adults from the language community. There's this fellow, a nice enthusiastic guy, who believes he's discovered the secret of gaining fluency in a foreign language. Don't put much faith in classes, he says, just speak it he says, just go where it's spoken and pitch in! Fine. So if you want to speak Italian you go to Italy, physically, or failing that virtually online, or maybe find a local italian community. Nothing special about Italian, substitute any 'real' language of your choice, it works even for small languages (Icelandic? Estonian?) But I wonder if it would even work for Welsh, borderline at best these days. Certainly not for Irish, and Cornish ... don't even ask! People attend Cornish classes and have done for year, and many pass their exams. But few in fact could actually speak Cornish, even if they had the opportunity, which mostly they don't. When I lived in Scotland, I attended a Gaelic class, next door was an Italian class (IIRC). They learned to speak Italian for their holidays, no one really learned to _speak_ Gaelic, because they'd never realistically be called upon to use it, the class was a purely academic exercise. Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't revive a language.

One last attempt to make my point. A 'real' language stands on it's own, but languages like Welsh, Gaelic and most certainly Cornish are 'embedded' in English. Breton likewise is 'embedded' in French. Everyone who speaks the minor language is also fully fluent in the 'surrounding' bigger language. It's as if there's no direct access to the outside world. Everything is mediated through the major language, the minority is surrounded, held hostage and slowly smothered. As indeed happened to Cornish historically.

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