Anyone else doing the Cornish course?

Yes, there is a section of language learners (of all types probably) who seem to spend more time talking ‘about’ than talking ‘in’. I remember the first time a friend and I decided to try just speaking in Irish - It was not easy as the temptation to just switch back is enormous. However any group of people, however lukewarm, who meet regularly are still doing their bit.

In the Irish context the language I felt we were ‘ridding ourselves’ of was Irish. I probably didn’t make that too clear! Sorry I was being a bit sarcastic about us Irish and the lip-service we pay to our heritage. :slight_smile:

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Sorry for intruding, I hope you won’t find me rude. I’m just very interested in Irish Gaelic (as in all the Celtic languages). Several people have told me that in recent years things have started to go slightly better for the Irish language in Ireland, would you say it is truly so? They mentioned that the young people were starting to be rather keen on the language and finding it fashionable. I myself have an acquaintance who’s a 20-something year old boy, and he’s fluent and teaches Irish himself.

Oh dear, sorry — I assumed you were talking about Irish people wanting to rid themselves of English and its historical baggage! :smile: I read that entirely the wrong way round. Hope I didn’t offend you at all.

It’s very true, what you say about the temptation to talk “about” rather than “in”. That’s probably also reflected in the question of why one would choose to learn a language that “nobody speaks” — we can all speak English, so why not just speak that? But I know most of the members of that Yeth an Werin are planning to be at the annual Cornish Language Weekend in Newquay next month (I’ll be there too) and are keen to take their Cornish exams, so they definitely do have a commitment to it.

No offense at all - I should have composed that message more clearly :slight_smile: Love the sound of that Language Weekend… Maybe next year!

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You’re not intruding at all! It’s hard to say if things are going better. People certainly have a better all round attitude than when I was a boy (60’s - 70’s) but there are far fewer true native speakers left. Despite Galway having just declared itself a ‘Bilingual City’ I can’t see how this can transform a city unless people themselves actually try to speak. It is rare to hear Irish spoken in public in Galway city but there certainly are people who speak it and are committed to its use - many are young so that is hopeful. One unfortunate aspect (in my opinion) is that a certain section of the language revivalists here are often also committed to a particular political outlook which not everyone agrees with (myself included!) and this creates a group-mind that is not always helpful or inclusive.


Thank you for your answer!

Oh yes, I know what you’re talking about. It is very unfortunate when language learning becomes a political thing, I think. I remember a sad (though funny) story about a young man who kept asking for the translation of what he thought was an Irish song about “freedom for Ireland” but which in fact was a well-known Breton song with a rather lighthearted text:)
But I’m glad to know that many young people are learning Irish. It’s a language that I’m very interested in and it’s good to know that people are willing to overcome its incredible complexity and learn it and teach it to their children.
There are some learners here, in Russia and Belarus, too. I actually think it’s the most popular Celtic language internationally.


Of interest: Henry Jenner’s “Handbook of the Cornish language” available online. There’s a list of source texts (including the Medieval ones) and what seems to be very good, though dry, information on grammar rules.


I did see a programme on Irish tv a couple of years ago where they visited Russia and spoke to some people who were into playing Irish music and some who had learned quite a bit of Irish. It always amazes me how people in other countries can learn Irish so well when they did not have the basics drummed into them in school in Ireland and have little contact with Irish speakers. We have so much ‘baggage’ with our history and language.

I think it is inevitable that language revival is in some sense political (e.g. campaigns against too many holiday homes and people changing house/place names from Celtic languages to English etc) but I feel that a language, to be fully functional, should be a vehicle for all varieties of opinion and that people should not feel excluded from the community of users of that language because of their political views. Anyway - enough of that! :slight_smile:

By the way, should we start a new thread here for the sake of variety? I wouldn’t mind asking how many people are currently actively doing this course.


A thread on Irish, you mean? Why, that would be great! I was just thinking of a thread on Breton, too:)

Well I don’t mind a thread on Irish at all… but is there a SSi Irish course? (I haven’t checked to see) I actually meant another Cornish thread: just to ask who is actively doing this course or revising it at the moment. Maybe both?

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There isn’t yet, but I think I’ve read somewhere that it could appear in future. And there are some people who speak/are learning/planning to learn Irish so I can’t see why we couldn’t open a thread on it:) And on Cornish too, of course.

Ceart go leor (OK)… But as you have been a member of this longer I think you should start it off :slight_smile:

I was secretly hoping you would - I’ve been a little bit over-active recently :slight_smile:

HA! How do say “Pass the buck” in Cornish? :slight_smile:

I don’t even know what it means in English, forgive me, Russian’s my mother-tongue.

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I might ask the admins first - As I am quite new here and they might want to keep discussion more on the languages that are already being learned here? What about a topic that looks at connections between the various Celtic languages? That would make a link to Irish and Breton while staying connected to Cornish and Welsh learners here. @aran Beth dach chi’n meddwl?

It means to avoid doing something by passing it to someone else (usually said jokingly but with care as it could possibly be taken the wrong way!)

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I don’t think Aran would mind any threads, he rules this kingdom with kindness:) Though I would maybe divide the languages into the Goidelic (Scottish, Irish, Manx) and the Brythonic (Cornish, Welsh, Breton) threads.


Mychterneth Aran! (Aran’s kingdom - if Google is right…) Will think about how to phrase it (following your suggestion above) and get back to it a bit later. I’m sure anything that gets people communicating is good.

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That would be great. I’m learning Welsh (and Old Welsh) and I’m starting to read some Cornish and Breton right now. They are really rather similar. Not sure I’ll ever attempt Irish (beyond some basic sentences) but I like it very much. The mutations are marked wonderfully, very convenient for learners.