Kernewek/Kernowek/Kernuak/Curnoack

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 held this month to discuss this matter. If an agreement is reached on a single written form, it will be used in schools and for official purposes.

I understand that the lack of a standard spelling system is discouraging some people from taking Cornish seriously. If a standard can be agreed on, this could lead to more people learning the language.

Here are a few Cornish-related sites I found yesterday.

Cornish for Absolute Beginners
http://www.howlsedhes.co.uk/dallether/dlan0.shtml

Radyo an Norvys – a pod cast in Cornish
http://www.dasunys.net/podcast.htm

Cornish forum – discussions in and about the Cornish language
http://www.dasunys.net/php/

Tablys leveryans – Cornish pronunciation tables
http://www.dasunys.net/tables.htm

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This entry was posted in Cornish, Language, Language revival.

3 Responses to Kernewek/Kernowek/Kernuak/Curnoack

  1. GeoffB says:

    I recently picked up the Assimil Breton sans peine, and have been running into the same thing with Breton. I keep my own journal of what I’m learning in which I use the same spellings and vocabulary options throughout – I’ll speak it consistently if incorrectly!

    The Breton case is both encouraging and discouraging. It’s discouraging because they’ve been working at it some time without coming to a unified spelling. On the other hand, they’ve done some ingenious things to help the dialects pull together:

    In the Leon dialect, a “z” between vowels sounds as in English. But in most dialects, it doesn’t. The solution: write the “z”s in all dialects but don’t pronounce them outside of Leon. Then there’s a dialect split that even affects the name of the language: In most parts, they say “Brezoneg,” but in Vannetais, they say “Brehoneg.” (This comes from the same source as the word “Brythonic.”) The solution: It’s written “Brezhoneg,” honoring both pronunciations and giving all Breton speakers a way to know which sound they’re talking about. Because of tricks like this, while the different writing systems can be a challenge, they’re not insurmountable, and there’s some delightful symbolism in how the writing system brings the dialects together, instead of making their contrasts seem all the greater.

  2. Pokorny says:

    @GeoffB:
    Kalon vat dit evit da studioĆ¹! Plijet bras on o welout ez eus tud er bed a-bezh hag a zo o teskin~ ar yezh vrav-man~.
    The problem with Cornish is a little different in that there are only two main dialects (Revived Middle Cornish and Revived Late Cornish) – but still more than one orthography for each of them. Only recently have there been attempts to design spelling systems which would be usable by speakers of both dialects, namely KS (Kernowak Standard) and KD (Kernewek Dasunys). In the case of Breton, the first interdialectal orthography, Peurunvan, was designed in the 1940s and a second one, Etrerannyezhel, in the 1970s. The Breton Spelling Debate from ca. 1950 to the present has basically been following ideological and not linguistic criteria. Only recently the balance seems to be shifting towards a universal recognition of Peurunvan – the system which first introduced the digraph. This is mainly due to the fact that the Diwan schools adopted Peurunvan early on. In the Cornish case, the decision about the future official orthography will be announced next week-end. Maybe this will, after a period of transition, make the spelling debate subside.

  3. Here are two sites that will be developed as Cornish Language Resources.

    Online dictionary (still quite basic but already useful) :

    http://www.howlsedhes.co.uk/cgi-bin/diskwe.pl?hwilger=kernow

    A wiki for learners’ and reference material (nothing really there as I write, but please leave a comment to tell us what you need)

    http://kernewek.wikidot.com/