[Spellyans] The recent englyn

Ken MacKinnon ken at ferintosh.org
Tue Jul 26 10:37:15 IST 2011

Craig ha gowetha-oll,

I have generally taken the original meaning to signify that if you do not
stand up vociferously for your rights you will have your 'real estate' taken
away.   In a non-literate society without written documentation this piece
of folk-wisdom doubtless stood its tradition bearers in very good stead.

In more recent times when it became not just a case of the local power elite
expropriating your property, but an intrusive and more powerful neighbouring
ethnicity taking over your whole society and 'patrimony', the saying came to
acquire its secondary and more modern meaning.

In the modern 'Anglo-British' state such processes as the enclosures and the
clearances represented a transitional phase whereby the local power elite
was able to mobilise and utilise the state power and act locally on its
behalf as the local agent.   These processes continue at the present time
more covertly as economic pressure, loss of local economic opportunity,
acquisition of local property by incomers who are better off.   These
processes are all conducted as part of legitimised market economics played
out on a local to global spectrum.

Local language is one possible bulwark against all that. - an ken ken

-----Original Message-----
From: spellyans-bounces at kernowek.net [mailto:spellyans-bounces at kernowek.net]
On Behalf Of Craig Weatherhill
Sent: 26 July 2011 10:16
To: Standard Cornish discussion list
Subject: Re: [Spellyans] The recent englyn

Except, Andrew, that all the Celtic nations have a similar saying:

IRISH:  Tir gan teanga, tir gan anam (A country without a language is a
country without a soul)
GAELIC: Tir gun teanga, tir gun anam
MANX: Gyn chengey, gyn cheer (Without a language, without a country)
WELSH: Cenedl heb iaith, cenedl heb galon (A nation without a language is a
nation without a heart)
BRETON: Hep Brezhoneg, Breizh ebet (Without Breton, no Brittany)

All these languages have been, or still are, threatened by that of the
adjoining majority nation, sometimes forcibly.  It's not that long ago that
Welsh children heard speaking their own language in school would be publicly
humiliated, and the Bretons are still having big problems with the Paris
government.  Even the threat of extinction would prompt the people into
realising that loss of their language would mean the loss of the most
visible symbol of their identity, and that assimilation will quickly follow.
Once that takes hold, then the very identity dies.

Here, the Cornish have the problem of so many of their own number believing
what they have been told at school, and still told by the  
media - that they are English (which is appalling behaviour).   
Happily, other Cornish people know different and are actively countering
this fallacy.  The internet has been a massive boon in that regard, but we
encounter Anglocentric editing and worse in the process.


On 26 Gor 2011, at 09:42, A. J. Trim wrote:

> The recent englyn is a curious piece of writing.
> I find it difficult to accept the usual interpretation:- i.e. that  
> you should use the Cornish language else you'll lose "national"  
> identity - however true that might be.
> This was apparently written in Middle Cornish times, and already it  
> claims to have been an old saying that had always been true. I don't  
> believe that the people then would have been saying this about any  
> loss of their language. Who else would they have known about who had  
> lost their language and had suffered in some way? - certainly not  
> enough to make this a generalised rule that was worth committing to  
> memory by way of a rhyming saying.
> So, does anyone know what it really meant?
> Regards,
> Andrew J. Trim
> _______________________________________________
> Spellyans mailing list
> Spellyans at kernowek.net
> http://kernowek.net/mailman/listinfo/spellyans_kernowek.net

Craig Weatherhill

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