Question from a Cornish learner

This question has come through in an email to Admin. I’m not a Cornish speaker, so I’m hoping someone here will know the answer :slight_smile:

Loving the Cornish lessons. Thank you for those. Just a quick question:

The vocab notes say “why do you have to?” is written “Prag eus res dhis?”, however in the audio it sounds much more like “Prag yth eus res dhis?”. I wanted to know if this is a pronunciation thing, or if there was a typo in the notes (level 1, lesson 4).

Couldn’t find the answer online anywhere! So any advice appreciated.

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Hi Deborah,

I’m no expert on Cornish, but I have done the Cornish SSIW lessons a couple of times, and indeed “Prag yth eus res dhis” is what is said on the recordings. I have never read the vocab notes, so was unaware of the discrepancy.

Looking at a text book “Desky Kernowek” by Nicholas Williams, it states that: “the verb does not come immediately after prag, but is preceded by the particle y/th, eg Prag yth esta ow leverel hedna? Why do you say that?”.

For a better answer, I suggest the person contacts someone like Matt Spry (former Welsh learner of the year), who is currently learning Cornish. Here is a link to his Facebook page:

Or alternatively, contact someone at the University of Exeter Celtic Studies department. They have excellent Cornish teachers there.
Hope this is of some help.


Thanks Kevin! That’s very useful. I’ve given the enquirer the link to this thread, so hopefully he’ll see your answer. (Have you read this, Ben?)

I’ve started working through the Cornish course myself and just about to do Lesson 4. I’m really enjoying it - it’s fun to kewsel Kernewek :slight_smile:


Great stuff, thanks very much for the help guys!


It should be “Prag yth yw res dhis?” - it’s just a small mistake… no biggie


Cool! That’s what I thought I was hearing :slight_smile:

But overall, there seems to be quite a lot of variation in the pronunciation, and not just between the man and the woman. Even the man says the same thing differently at times, so I’m just going with the theory that as long as I say something vaguely similar, in context, a Kernewek speaker is going to understand me.

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Yes, most learners tend to use English sound substitutions, with similar variation found in English. There are rules, but it takes some dedication to follow them … :wink:

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