20th anniversary of Cornish language recognition
20ves Pennbloodh aswonnvos an yeth Kernewek
(20th anniversary of the recognition of the Cornish language)
Children from Trewirgie Infants and Nursery School in Redruth will gather and sing at Kernewek (Cornish) in Kresen Kernow on November 4, joined by pupils from 8 other primary schools as part of the ‘Go Cornish’ scheme. This celebration marks the eve of the 20th anniversary of the official recognition of the Cornish language by the British government under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.
Thousands of languages around the world are in danger of disappearing, but some are resurgence and Cornish is internationally recognized for its successful revival.
Currently 23 schools, with over 4,000 pupils, are having fun with the Cornish language through the free Go Cornish for Primary Schools scheme, commissioned by Cornwall Council.
Will Coleman of Golden Tree Productions, the brains behind the Go Cornish programme, said: “We are delighted that so many primary schools have signed up for the ‘Go Cornish’ programme. The awards program is only in its second year and nearly 5,000 students have already taken part. More and more schools are getting on board and having fun with the Cornish language.
There are now Cornish language books, films and an album sung almost entirely in Kernewek (Tresor de Gwenno) has been nominated for this year’s Mercury [Music] Price. Many businesses use Cornish words in their marketing and branding, such as St Austell’s Brewery’s Korev – the Cornish word for ‘beer’ – and more than 3,000 bilingual road signs are now in place across the Duchy.
Cornwall Council Leader Linda Taylor said: “We are committed to encouraging the use of the Cornish language as a unique cultural asset which underpins Cornwall’s distinctive character and has an important role to play in our cultural, economic and social life.
“More and more people, including children in our schools, are learning Cornish. Musicians such as Mercury Prize-nominated artist Gwenno compose and sing in Cornish, and local hero and filmmaker Ed Rowe has just released a short film in Cornish. It was also a proud moment when the proclamation of the accession of King Charles III was first read by the High Sheriff of Cornwall and then in Cornish by the High Bard of Cornish Gorsedh.
It’s not just the kids who are emstrengthen Kernewek as more and more adults also learn the language through lessons. New technologies are making it easier to learn online, with over 2 million searches in the online Cornish dictionary and over 1,500 people using the Memrise app to learn Cornish.
More than 20 years ago, the people of Cornwall began campaigning for the Cornish language to be officially recognised. The then Secretary of State announced on 5 November 2002 that after careful consideration and using the results of an independent academic study on language commissioned by the government, it had been decided to recognize Cornish falls under Part II of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages of the Council of Europe.
This means that Cornish has joined Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Irish, Scots and Ulster-Scots as protected and promoted languages under the Charter, which commits the government to recognize and respect these languages.
If you want to learn Cornish, you can find out more about the tools, resources and courses available on the Go to the Cornish website. If you would like your local elementary school to enroll in the program, find out about the Go to the Cornish website.
Press release of November 1, 2022