Keeping minority languages alive is a personal way of connecting us to the history of our land. The number of Cornish – Kernewek – speakers is slowing creeping upwards, so here are some words and phrases to try out if you’d like to dip your toes into the language:
Hello: Dydh da
The Cornish language: Kernewek
Welcome to Cornwall: Kernow a’gas Dynnergh
Good morning: Myttin da
Good afternoon: Dohajydh da
Good evening: Gorthuher da
How are you? Fatla genes?
Very well, thanks: Pur dha, meur ras
Ok, thanks: Da lowr, meur ras
Right mate: Ha sos
Reading signposts with just a small amount of knowledge of the Cornish language can reveal something about its landscape. Penn means head or end, Porth means cove or entrance, Poll is pool, and Tre means farm or settlement. For example, the beach Porthtowan is an anglicised way of saying Porth Tewyn, meaning ‘cove of sand dunes’.
Penryn: penn (head, end) + rynn (point of land)
Penzance: penn (headland) + sans (holy)
Redruth: res (ford) + rudh (red)