Fading into obscurity, eh?

There are fears the Cornish language could fade into obscurity, as the organisation that promotes it faces closure.

The Government has said it will not fund the Cornish Language Partnership or MAGA beyond the current programme which ends on March 31.

The organisation was set up in 2005 to promote and develop the Cornish language

Cornish is terribly lovely, of course it is. Similar to Welsh and Breton fairly obviously. And the last native speaker died in, what was it, 1780?

Sure, there’s a few who try to learn it as a hobby n’ all that but shouldn’t they be the people paying to do so, not the rest of us through taxes?

14 thoughts on “Fading into obscurity, eh?”

  1. bloke (not) in spain

    Dunno about this. There was a Cornish bloke I knew, back in the eighties, seemed to know a lot of Kernow & he was well under 200. Bit like the Occitan I hear in SW France, I’d imagine. No-one speaks it all the time but there’s a lot of it in their speech.
    But surely this is purely a market decision. If there’s a benefit to speaking it, people will. if there isn’t they won’t. Government funding it is a bit like funding plow horses.

  2. My wife once received death threats in Cornish, well we think they were, no one could understand them being written in a Cornish.

    She’s still alive though Cornish isn’t.

  3. This will set the radical linguists going. I know, I have one in the family who is an expert in bilinguilism and Basque working for the Regional Basque Government. Not bad for an Anglo-Saxon.

    In Val d’Aran in Cataluña the people do really speak Aranés (which is similar/same as Occitan) Everything is trilingual: Aranés, Catalán and Spanish. The valley used to connect only to France (the local football team has been playing in French local footbal since the 20’s, I think) until Franco built the first tunnel which allowed easier access from the rest of Spain.Up till then it was smugglers over the mountain passes with donkeys). The language is alive and well (for now)

    This is a bug*er for Catalán nationalists c’os the people of Aran want their own status and language and aren’t too keen on an independent Cataluña. Got the biggest and best ski resort in Spain too. (I admit to being a Polly T and owning….. disclosure)

    Here in the Basque Country, we have spent a fortune on ‘National Construction’ and supporting the language. The radical Basque left, who until yesterday (and have only changed for tactical reasons, i.e. they were losing their ‘war’) thought it was a good thing to have killed over 800 people in order to get everybody in line, have speaking Basque as the final defining factor between ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’.

    Cornish has gone. The difference is we have and can maintain a historical record. There, however, is no point whatsoever in flogging a dead horse. Forcing people to learn a language nobody uses consumes enormous resources and will fail everytime. Social engineers love it.

  4. Let me rewrite that:

    “There are fears the cozy gravy train of jobs for ex-government staff could fade into obscurity, as the Cornish language fades out of usefulness.”

  5. It’s another example of the state ‘picking winners’ isn’t it? No one but a handful of people give a shit but everyone has to pay for the whining minority to have their wish.

  6. I’m not convinced that funding Cornish in a small way – and it is a small way, we’re talking ~£100k a year, not millions – is actually a bad idea. It could be rather a good investment in tourism, since it promotes Cornish culture/identity. It’s somewhat similar to the government subsidies for the opera and ballet in London – no-one wants to go to them, but most are happy to know they’re there.

  7. bloke (not) in spain

    @ dearieme
    Since I have plow spelt plow, yes PLOW pee-ell-oh–double-yew in a document written in rural Essex in the mid-C17th, yes. Plow. Get used to it. I’d imagine they were much more familiar with agricultural implements pulled by ‘orses than you are.

  8. ““There are fears the cozy gravy train of jobs for ex-government staff could fade into obscurity, as the Cornish language fades out of usefulness.”


    And much the same could be said about Scottish Gaelic: dying out and useful for nothing, but being forcibly preserved on the taxpayers’ tab.

  9. bloke (not) in spain

    Even the sign outside the village pub spelt it with the W, dearieme. And continues to do so. In this case I go with the spelling used by those who actually do plowing, rather than that of academia who wouldn’t know one end of a plow from the other.

  10. bloke (not) in spain

    Incidentally, I always find it amusing; many of the vagaries of English spelling are simply the invention of printers attempting to render what. was for them, a foreign language

  11. Dave – it’s implausible that people decide to go somewhere on holiday because some people happen to speak a different language that no-one else understands. And even if it “fostered Cornish identity” which in turn increased tourism, most of the tourism would be by people from elsewhere in the UK, for which any gains to Cornwall would be balanced out by losses to the rest of the country.

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