CORNISH-L ArchivesArchiver > CORNISH > 2000-11 > 0975274657
From: "John Coles" <>
Subject: Re: Cornish differences
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 2000 21:37:37 -0000
'Unified' Cornish is based on the researches of Henry Jenner at the
beginning of this century... he wrote a handbook of the language in 1904 and
the revival of interwest in the 'dead' language started from this. The most
widely used dictionary was compiled broadly by R Morton-Nance based on
something like 200 years of previous scholarship and work by others (and
himself) looking at the Celtic languages... especially, in this context,
Welsh and Breton, and studies among the West Cornish in the mid eighteenth
century, when the language was dying out.
(However, the myth that Dolly Pentreath was the last speaker is wrong, and
there were still isolated families and speaker alive and well 100 years
Jenner and Morton-Nance held the first 'Gorsedd' to bring together all the
strands of people who had this revival instint, and they met near St Buryan
in 1928... there are now over 500 bards in the Gorsedd, which meets every
Language classes started on a proper organised basis in 1933 and
Morton-Nance published his dictionary in 1938, and it has been republished
since... it has been regarded as the most widely spoken version of the
language until recently.
'Simplified' Cornish (and it is NOT very simple, believe me,) is Kemmyn, and
this tries really to revise the spelling and pronunciation of words to make
them more logical and consitent... this is now the version used by something
close to half the current speakers of the language.
The dictionary for this has been under constant revision (latest version
just published) by Dr Ken George.
Richard Gendall, who is associated with the Institute of Cornish Studies,
has based his version of the language 'Late Cornish' on the way it was used
in dialect (which is not a language, but contains elements of the dead
language) as well as his academic studies. This is a lesser used version,
though it has been adopted as the official version by the Institute, and is
used on my road signs and maps in Cornwall.
There used to be furious --- FURIOUS--- rows between protagonists of the
different versions (which often have different ways of pronouncing words)
but I'm delighted to say that, generally speaking, folks are just glad to
see any version used or spoken now!
Penty is variously described as being from West Cornish and Middle Cornish
(period) and meaning anything from a cottage to a hermit's cell. Chy can
have all sorts of bits tagged on to mean almost any kind of house, including
chy-cok (cookshop) or chy-marghas (market house).
Best wishes, John in Cornwall.
From: Kathy Atwood <>
Date: Sunday, November 26, 2000 7:44 PM
Subject: Cornish differences
>Aren't there two 'types' of Cornish, especially as regards spelling. I
think one was called 'unified' or 'simplified', or something like that?
Perhaps that explains the differences.
>The book "Cornish Names for Cornish Homes" , by Crysten Fudge uses these
>cottage - penty
>house - chy
>In her examples, she has:
>Chy an Mor = House of the Sea, or Sea House
>Penty an Ros = Cottage of the Roses, or Rose Cottage (pg. 5)
>Crysten Fudge is a teacher of Cornish, a Bard of the Cornish Gorsedd, and a
member of the Cornish Language Board.