Learn Cornish!



To learn Cornish is to include yourself in a very small but active community. There are only a few hundred fluent speakers and perhaps a few thousand with some knowledge of the language, but it is growing. There is a real drive to reclaim the language and make it a permanent part of the broader community. When compared to other less commonly spoken languages or even endangered ones, Cornish is in fine shape.

Cornish is a Celtic language closely related to Welsh and Breton, and a little less closely related to Irish, Scots Gaelic and Manx. Although it is an Indo-European language, and therfore related to English, there is little recognizable vocabulary and grammar.

It is easy to read once the rules of pronunciation are learned. There are only a few sounds not in English, and in fact, the rhythm and overall sound of the language is not so different from English, perhaps due to its small number of bi-lingual speakers with English over the last few centuries.

The last native monolingual speaker of Cornish (Dolly Pentreath) died in 1777, but the language was continued by Cornish enthusiasts and linguists until a general revival began among the people of Cornwall. Read my article - Cornish Never Died.

The use of Cornish continues to grow in public and private life in Cornwall, and throughout the world by Cornish enthusiasts. There are very few resources to learn Cornish, as is the case with many other less commonly spoken languages. But, in time I think more and more resources (podcasts etc) will become available.


There is an excellent introductory course to learn Cornish entitled Kernuak Es. It is a newer version than had been available previously will be updated later this year in a new standardized form of Cornish. You can obtain Kernuak Es from :

Spyrys A Gernow Gordon Villa, Sunnyvale Rd, Portreath, Redruth, TR16 4NE, 01209-842394 Price £7.95 (CD also available). ray@spyrys.org




Warlinnen The Cornish Language Fellowship maintains this site (warlinnen means 'online') with lots of links to Cornish music and culture sites. There is also a dictionary, basic phrases with audio, place names and information on learning Cornish.

Agan Tavas The Society for the Promotion of the Cornish language has lots of news and links on Cornish culture and language. Some features are for registered users only, but registration is free.

Kernewek Dre Lyther Course to learn Cornish either online or by correspondance. Has audio cassettes and is graded by a real teacher of the Cornish language.

Blas Kernewek - A taste of Cornish Try BBC Cornwall’s easy course of simple Cornish phrases. There are twelve easy to follow lessons which take you through everyday situations.

An Buro Welcome to the Cornish Language News Website This is the Cornish Branch of the European Bureau for Lesser Used Language's own website. It aims to provide a mix of news and information about Cornwall, Cornish culture and particularly Cornish Language. You can view nearly everything in either English, or three versions of Cornish.

Cornish Translator Free downloadable English to Cornish translator.


Software/Inexpensive
Teach Me Cornish
This small package by Linguashop actually covers a lot of ground. It is primarily a software program, but it has a couple of very simple but helpful extras. There is a small booklet that contains the text for the stories used in the program to demonstrate the use of Cornish. In addition, there is an accompanying audio cd that provides the audio for the stories and some of the audio from the lessons. This makes it easier to learn as it gives you more options to study at your convenience. Overall, the most complete package you will find to learn Cornish.


Don't forget, look for more ways to study and learn Cornish, find penpals, language exchanges, language forums, internet radio stations and more resources at the Language Resources page.


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"Perhaps of all the creations of man language is the most astonishing"

- Giles Lytton Strachey