What Is Cornish and Who Speaks It?
Cornish is a Celtic language that was once spoken in Cornwall, England. However, due to the decline of Cornish speakers over the years, the language is now considered “endangered.” There are currently only about 2,000 people who speak Cornish fluently, and most of them are over the age of 50. Despite its small population size, there are efforts underway by the Cornish translators to revive Cornish and keep it from dying out completely.
Cornish is one of the earliest documented languages in England, with evidence of its use dating back to at least the fifth century. It has evolved over time and today is classified as a Brythonic language, which refers to Celtic languages spoken in Britain. The Cornish language was used officially up until the 19th century when it began to decline due to cultural assimilation and the spread of English.
Today, there are three main dialects of Cornish still spoken – Unified Cornish (Kernuak), Standard Written Form (Stenkan Kernewek) and Traditional Unstandardised Cornish (Taves Kernewek). All three are recognised by the Cornwall Council and actively encouraged for learning and usage. The Cornish Language Partnership also offers various resources for those interested in learning and preserving the language.
The number of active speakers is slowly increasing, with efforts from organizations such as the Cornwall Council to promote its usage among younger generations. There are also a variety of multimedia materials available, including books, dictionaries, websites and even apps for helping people learn Cornish. In 2019, the government of England even announced that it would provide grants for schools teaching the Cornish language.
In conclusion, Cornish is an ancient Celtic language that has been around since the fifth century and continues to be spoken by a small but growing population of 2,000 individuals. Despite its decline over time, there are ongoing initiatives to ensure that this unique language is preserved and passed on to future generations. If you’re looking to learn more about Cornish, there are plenty of useful materials available online and in local communities.