[Spellyans] The Celtic Languages

Ken MacKinnon ken at ferintosh.org
Fri Jan 29 13:06:53 GMT 2010

A gowetha-oll,

The Celtic Languages 2nd Edition has been or is just about to be published 
( eds. Martin J. Ball and Nicole Mueller, Routledge 2009 ISBN 
978-0-415-42279-6 (hbk) ISBN 978-0-203-88248-1 (ebk)    I have recently 
received complimentary copies of this publication, having contributed a 
chapter on Scottish Gaelic today: social history and contempraray status. 
( Ch 13).

There are two chapters relating to Cornish: : Ch 11 dealing with linguistic 
issues, history, language varieties and orthography; and Ch 16 dealing with 
the revived languages, Cornish and Manx.  Dr Ken George has contributed Ch 
11and is joint author with Dr George Broderick of Ch 16.

The earlier historical chapter is presented in a factual manner but I felt 
that the account of the revived language might have dealt rather more fully 
with language planning, development and infrastructural matters in the past 
decade.   This section ( p. 760) may be of interest to the group:-


A group called Agan Tavas was formed to serve the interests of those who 
wish to write in Unified Cornish (and also UCR).  Those who use Revived Late 
Cornish may belong to another group called Cussel an Tavas.


In 2002, after a long campaign, Cornish was finally recognised by the UK 
government under Part II of the European Charter for Minority Languages.  In 
principle, this gave Cornish a measure of official status which it had never 
previously enjoyed.   In practice, it allowed a larger sum of money to be 
made available to the language than formerly.   This money is channelled 
though Cornwall Council, which set up a partnership on which serve 
councillors and representatives of language groups.

   The prospect of money caused the groups who do not use Kemmyn to cease 
squabbling among themselves and to attack Kemmyn,  They re-opened the 
question of orthography, placing it on the agenda of the partnership. 
Nicholas Williams criticized Kemmyn, claiming that it was linguistically 
flawed.   The partnership appointed a commission to look into the question 
of the spelling.  They were charged with determining which of the four 
principal existing oethographies (Kemmyn, Unified, UCR and revived Late 
Cornish) would be best for use in education and public life.   During the 
course of their deliberations two 'compromise' forms were devised.   The 
commission compiled its report without either ascertaining the numerical 
support for the various factions, or consulting the various bodies which 
suppport the language.   They stated verbally that the linguistic basis of 
Kernewek Kemmyn is sound.   They recommended that a new discussion group be 
set up to consider the question of orthography.

    Hitherto the Cornish language movement has been run by enthusiasts, who 
have made great progress with a notable effort of will.   If the possibility 
of increased financial support is realized, then it will fundamentally 
change the nature of the movement.   This prospect is already causing 
considerable internal strain.   It remains to be seen how the movement will 
cope.  We can no doubt learn from our Celtic neighbours and indeed from 
other minority language groups.

 ( Section ends.   The words Kemmyn and Kernewek Kemmyn are in italics in 
the original.   Upper case R is used for Revived Late Cornish in its first 
mention, and lower case r is used in the subsequent mention of revived Late 

My own observation on this are twofold.   It is very difficult for anyone 
who contributes material to a standard academic text such as this absolutely 
to ensure that all details are factually correct ( especially information on 
dates and events.)   I am very much aware of this myself and welcome 
challenge and correction in this respect.

I feel that the sentence commencing: ' In 2002......   could be better 
revised to : 'In 2003 ...the UK government declared that it recognised 
Cornish under Part II of the European Charter for Regional or Minority 
Languages ( declaration effective as of 18 March 2003).   HM Goverenment 
confirmed that it recognised such languages as official languages of the UK 
by an official statement in the Hoiuse of  Lords on 12 June 2003.

I discussed these issues in an article in Cornish Studies 12 ( 2004).

I find that the sentences commencing : 'They stated verbally...'  and 'They 
recommended...' are ambiguous.  Does the 'they' refer to the immediately 
preceding 'various bodies which support the language', or to the earlier 
mention of  'the commission' ?

There may be other observations on this text.  - an Ken ken

Ken MacKinnon is now on Broadband  with new e-mail addresses:-

ken at ferintosh.org
and also at:-
ken.ferintosh at googlemail.com

My former e-mail addresses are no longer able to be used.

(Prof) Ken MacKinnon
Ivy Cottage, Ferintosh,
The Black Isle, by Dingwall,
Ross-shire  IV 7 8HX
Scotland  UK

Tel: 01349 - 863460

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Craig Weatherhill" <craig at agantavas.org>
To: "Standard Cornish discussion list" <spellyans at kernowek.net>
Sent: Friday, January 29, 2010 11:53 AM
Subject: Re: [Spellyans] Place names

> Jon,
> My list has:  Seyntdeye 1351; Seynt Dey 1358, 1380, 1401, 1511: Saint
> Deie 1393; Sendey 1398; Seyndey 1399, 1420; Seint Dei 1435; Sent Dey c.
> 1510; St Degye c.1510; St Daye 1584; St Dye c.1700; St Day 1794.  The
> problem here is that these are all English or Latin records.
> The saint is pretty obscure but is though to be the St Dei who is
> venerated in Brittany.  Oliver Padel says: "He is widely honoured in
> Brittany, but nothing is known of him.  There is not even any record
> of St Day being venerated at this place, apart from the place name.
> The chapel here, a frequent object of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages,
> was dedicated instead to the Holy Trinity and so mentioned in 1269.
> The traditional pronunciation, 'St Dye', was still known in 1949."
> This last sentence supports the spelling 'Dei/Dey'.
> Craig
> On 29 Gen 2010, at 09:09, j.mills at email.com wrote:
>> Craig,
>> What do you have on the place name "St Day"?
>> Jon
>> _____________________________________
>> Dr. Jon Mills,
>> School of European Culture and Languages,
>> University of Kent
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Craig Weatherhill <craig at agantavas.org>
>> To: Standard Cornish discussion list <spellyans at kernowek.net>
>> Sent: Thu, Jan 28, 2010 4:05 pm
>> Subject: Re: [Spellyans] Place names
>> Tom - lenition to proper nouns does not occur after 'eglos' and
>> mustn't be introduced - you'll find Eglostetha, Eglosmadern,
>> Eglosberyan (never Eglosdetha or Eglosvadern - a very late
>> Eglosveryan does exist but is most likely a hypercorrection). Why
>> this is, we don't know for certain: it might a rule pertaining to
>> proper nouns or it could be that devoicing is caused by the final S
>> of eglos. Lan, on the other hand, nearly always causes lenition to
>> the following proper noun.
>> Craig
>> On 28 Gen 2010, at 14:07, Tom Trethewey wrote:
>> > There is a very good "reason for it". The Cornish form (I favour >
>> Eglosveryan) indicates the pronunciation, while the Anglicized St >
>> Buryan is ambiguous in this respect.
>> >
>> > Tom
>> >
>> > --- On Thu, 28/1/10, John Nash <mim.oldwellstudio at btinternet.com>
>> > wrote:
>> >
>> > From: John Nash <mim.oldwellstudio at btinternet.com>
>> > Subject: [Spellyans] Place names
>> > To: "Standard Cornish discussion list" <spellyans at kernowek.net>
>> > Date: Thursday, 28 January, 2010, 10:12
>> >
>> > How much support are people finding for Cornish to be used in
>> public > signage? I recently mailed St Buryan Parish council to ask
>> why our > very nice brand new village sign didn't include somehwere
>> the name > in Cornish, as this wouldn't have added to the cost. The
>> answer was > simply that "they saw no reason for it" and that "of
>> the eleven > councillors, ten were St Buryan born and bred".
>> > Oll an gwella
>> > John Nash
>> > Lamorna (Sadly, not born and bred in St Buryan)
>> >
>> > _______________________________________________
>> > Spellyans mailing list
>> > Spellyans at kernowek.net
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>> >
>> > _______________________________________________
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>> -- 
>> Craig Weatherhill
>> _______________________________________________
>> Spellyans mailing list
>> Spellyans at kernowek.net
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>> _______________________________________________
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> --
> Craig Weatherhill
> _______________________________________________
> Spellyans mailing list
> Spellyans at kernowek.net
> http://kernowek.net/mailman/listinfo/spellyans_kernowek.net


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