Cornwall Language and Languages

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Gotoarrow.png Cornwall Gotoarrow.png Languages

'Welcome to Cornwall' sign near the Tamar railway bridge

The main language of Cornwall is English, however the traditional language of Cornish (Kerneweg) is much older.

The Cornish language is one of the Brythonic Celtic languages and is closely related to Welsh and Breton. Cornish shares roughly 80% of its basic vocabulary with Breton, and 75% with Welsh. The language continued to function as a community language in parts of Cornwall until the late 18th century, and there has been a revival of the language since Henry Jenner's "Handbook of the Cornish Language" was published in 1904.

In the 20th century a conscious effort was made to revive Cornish as a language for everyday use in speech and writing

A study in 2000 suggested that there were around 300 people who spoke Cornish fluently. Cornish however has no legal status. Nevertheless, the language is taught in about twelve primary schools, and occasionally used in religious and civic ceremonies. Two of the current Cornish Members of Parliament in the UK Parliament, Andrew George, MP for St Ives, and Dan Rogerson, MP for North Cornwall, took their Parliamentary oaths in both English and Cornish.

In 2002 Cornish was officially recognised as a minority language and in 2005 it received limited Government funding. A Standard Written Form was agreed in 2008 replacing the Unified Cornish, Unified Cornish Revised, Common Cornish and Modern Cornish variations.