Archive for the Category: Cornish


An interesting word I heard yesterday on Raidió na Gaeltachta was tonnmharcaíocht or surfing – literally “wave riding”. I hadn’t heard it before, but was able to work out the meaning from its component words. Another word for this kind of surfing is tonnscinneadh (wave glancing / skimming). Surfing the internet is scimeáil ar an […]

Also posted in Breton, Etymology, Irish, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases 11 Comments

Skol dy’Sadorn Kernewek

Last week the first bilingual Cornish/English creche or Skol dy’Sadorn Kernewek (Cornish Saturday School) opened its doors for the first time. The group is being held on Saturdays at the Cornwall College in Cambourne and children between 2 and 5 years old are attending. The children are immersed in Cornish in one room, and their […]

Also posted in Language 5 Comments

Word of the day – cawl

Today’s word, cawl /kaul/, is a Welsh word meaning soup, broth, gruel or a mess. Cawl is also a traditional Welsh stew made with meat and vegetables. It’s the kind of dish that’s made from whatever is available so the exact ingredients vary, but it often includes lamb and leeks, and is often served with […]

Also posted in Breton, English, Etymology, German, Irish, Language, Scots, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Words and phrases 6 Comments

Falmouth / Aberfal

I just got back to Bangor after spending a few days with my family down in Falmouth (Aberfal) in Cornwall (Kernow). My brother has just finished a circumnavigation of the globe in Falmouth four years after setting sail, and we went to welcome him back. His adventures are recounted on his blog. While in Cornwall […]

Also posted in Language, Travel 11 Comments

When is a language extinct?

The recent publication of UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger has generated quite a few new stories and discussion. The Atlas has a list of 2,500 endangered languages ranked according to five different levels: unsafe (607), definitely endangered (632), severely endangered (502), critically endangered (538) and extinct (200). Of these languages, 199 have […]

Also posted in Endangered languages, Irish, Language, Manx, Scottish Gaelic Comments Off

Standard written form of Cornish

At a meeting of the Cornish Language Partnership last month, a new standard written form (SWF) of Cornish was ratified after much discussion, according to a report on maga. A specification of the SWF, which is also available on that site, states that: “The SWF is not meant to replace other spelling systems, but rather […]

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Celtic connections

Apart from the odd word here and there, the vocabularies of the two living branches of the Celtic language family, Brythonic (British) and Goidelic (Gaelic), appear to bear little resemblance to each other. So far I’ve only found two words that are exactly the same in Welsh, Irish and Scottish Gaelic: blas (taste/flavour) and glas […]

Also posted in Breton, Irish, Language, Manx, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh 8 Comments


Moves are apparently being made to establish a single written form of Cornish, which currently has four different spelling systems. The Cornish Language Partnership has set up a Linguistic Working Group consisting of Cornish speakers with a good knowledge of the language to recommend a solution to this excess of orthographies. A conference will be […]

Also posted in Language, Language revival 3 Comments