A Conversation for A History of Modern and Extinct Celtic Languages

DIED!!?!? I think not!

Post 1

TheOkapi - Sensitive Scout...So Do It PROPERLY!

Don't let Cornish people hear you say that their language died in the 19th Century! It is very much alive and still being spoken by people who actively campaign for Cornish to taught in schools and used on road signs etc. in much the same way as Welsh is taught and used today - not to mention Irish Gaelic. Check it out and don't rely on English mis-information! Were not the Druid's in some part responsible for the survivial of the Celtic langauges in Breton and Cornwall during the Saxon incursion? Perhaps an update on their influence and tenacity in helping these ancient languages to survive might be appropriate?
TheOkapi smiley - sadface

DIED!!?!? I think not!

Post 2


Quite right, Okapi, you tell em. I am sure there are at least 12 people (or was it thirteen) who could speak Cornish fluently, and that must have been 5 years ago! Many more can speak a few words "buggeroffyougrockles" being one.

DIED!!?!? I think not!

Post 3

Norton II

Well, Cornish was dead for about a century and only got restarted by referring to dictionairies. It currently has about 2,000 speakers.
I was in Cornwall last month and all the English Heritage roadsigns had been vandalised because cornish nationalists don't see themselves as being part of England.

DIED!!?!? I think not!

Post 4

TheOkapi - Sensitive Scout...So Do It PROPERLY!

'Grockles'...nice to see someone else speaks Devonian! The Cornish word you're looking for is 'emmet's' in reference to ants ( no offence Amy! ).
Or other, less polite folk from Kernow, would call the tourist types piles - they come down in Summer, turn red and are a pain in the a**e!
TheOkpai smiley - winkeye

DIED!!?!? I think not!

Post 5


I only knew because I had a Cornish visitor this afternoon. Mind you he was from Bodmin, so I suppose he is allowed some Devonian influence. Norton is of course technically correct, as the last native speaker, with Cornish as a natural tongue was a lady whose name I forget but died around 1850. And my brother was born in Padstow, though that hardly counts theses day, being a suburb of Kensington etc.

DIED!!?!? I think not!

Post 6


I dont mean to interupt the conversation about cornish stuff, but the cornish nationalists cant be as bad as ours. I'm Welsh, and they are rampant.

DIED!!?!? I think not!

Post 7


A rampant Welshman, now theres a sight to conjure!

DIED!!?!? I think not!

Post 8


Claws out and tongue lolling, sound like Newport on Friday.

DIED!!?!? I think not!

Post 9

Grandad Ugg Keeper & Minister of Distant Relatives {Greeblet} (Scout, Sub-Ed) [1+(7x5)+9-5+2 = 42]

Irish Gaelic has not died. You only have to type the words into a search engine and it will bring up reams and reams of information, dictionaries and even places to learn to speak it.

I have an English father and Irish mother. My mother knows a small amount of Gaelic and together she and I are trying to re-learn our language. I have not got very far yet.smiley - erm

smiley - biggrinSo far I can count to 20 maybe higher, say my name, and hold a basic conversation.

Why not include some words in your entry. I can help you with the Irish Gaelic.

Slan (N.B. There should be a grav accent [\] on the a)

Grandad Ugg Keeper of Distant Relatives smiley - wizard

DIED!!?!? I think not!

Post 10


The Grav accent is known as a fada. It lengthens the sound of a vowel; a becomes aw, e becomes ey, i becomes ee, o becomes oh (as in go) and u becomes oo. So slan is pronounced slawn. Except in Ulster Irish, where they ignore the fada on the a and say slan.

Slan go foill (there's a fada on the o in foill),



Post 11


à = Alt 133


Post 12

Don Malvado, so bitter my cat won't even lick me

Is there a Cornish dictionary worth looking at on the internet?

I'm from mid Cornwall and criticised by my flatmates at Plymouth Uni for not being able to speak much Cornish.

And I think that Cornish nationalism and pressing the Cornish language on schools etc is a bad idea, although I agree that Cornwall is very different from England


Post 13

Ozzie Exile

There is a Cornish lexicon at www.pauldavies.net/cornish/lexicon.cfm,which is the best that I have seen.

For those interested there is a conversation on Celtic Devon (rather than Cornwall) on the BBC Devon web-site (sense of place/folklore and tradition)


Post 14


Hi I'm just adding in the bit for the Scots :o) Gaelic in Alba (the scots name for Scotland) is dying out all over the country due to the English taking over. However the Scottish Excutive is trying to do its best to keep the language alive and kicking. It is mostly spoken on the West coast as well as the Highlands and Islands. Up there, there are quite a few road signs, etc in Gaelic, but most are in two languages or just english. In the Scottish Parliament, all the signs are in English and Gaelic, MSP's can take their oath in either language and all written documents can be obtained in either language.

Lets keep English in England!

DIED!!?!? I think not!

Post 15

Sea Otter - a tool-using animal

Unfortunately (?), the desire to revive Cornish came *before* the dictionaries, in large part. A man called Nance constructed a modern
Cornish dictionary for prescriptive purposes, in which a considerable number of the entries were the results of guesswork,
modifications of Breton words, and words borrowed from Cornish English without much regard to whether they had any known Celtic provenance. In general, of course, intellectuals and others who want to revive a language or establish a standard literary language
have always done this sort of thing, particularly in the cases of languages spoken in countries with lowish literacy rates; the histories of literary Romanian and Serbo-Croat are examples.

The Tool-using carnivore


Post 16

Ozzie Exile

Following on from the discussion on Celtic Devon, there was now been a competition to design a flag for Devon.

The website address is


Have a look - make your choice - vote!


Post 17

Ozzie Exile

I have pulled together a website on Celtic Devon.

It has pages on Ancient Dumnonia, Mining history and Stannary Parliaments, the Western Rebellion, and Customs, Culture, Folklore and Language.

I can't claim credit for all the ideas contained therein - I have openly plagiarised from family (esp my brother), friends, and thigs picked up from discussion boards and hazy recollections from books that I read in the dim and distant past.


Any feedback or additional info would be gratefully received.

Warning - Soapbox moment! (Re: Rampant Welsh nationalists.)

Post 18


LoFiAllstar is so right about the rabid nationalists we have on this side of the border.

I live on the Llyn Peninsula - which is almost as far west as you get get in North Wales without getting very wet feet! smiley - smiley
About 80% of the population up here speak Welsh and it's considered
'bad form' not to bait the English at every possible opportunity.
A lot of people up here spend a lot of time moaning about our awful situation - high unemployment, unrealistic house prices, degradation of the langauge etc., etc., - but seem very loathe to actually DO anything.

Part of the problem is that the Welsh Assembly don't seem to know we exist sometimes... Resources are ploughed into regenerating the Valleys but the rest of the country is virtually left to rot. The money sometimes gets as far as the North East but never this end of the world...

OK. Sorry. Rant over....

DIED!!?!? I think not!

Post 19


"Dorothy Pentreath who died in 1777 said to have been the last person to have conversed in the ancient Cornish" it says here, according to a photo of the monument on her grave, in Saint Paul parish.

DIED!!?!? I think not!

Post 20


Dorothy Pentreath was the last monoglot speaker of Cornish. The last native speaker was probably John Davey of Zennor who died in 1891. There are now about 150 people who speak Cornish fluently and maybe 3,000 people how have some knowledge of the language.

For more details see: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/cornish.htm

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