[Spellyans] The recent englyn

Craig Weatherhill craig at agantavas.org
Tue Jul 26 10:15:38 BST 2011

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
> _______________________________________________
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> Spellyans at kernowek.net
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Craig Weatherhill

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