Listen to Cornish being spoken thanks to the BBC

Sunday, October 18, 2009


A recording of Cornish has emerged in a bit of an unexpected place today - an article here from the BBC on the death of languages, as well as their revival. Hebrew is given as an example of a very successful revival and Cornish as a language that is currently in the process of doing so, and includes at the bottom of the article a short story read first in English, then in Common Cornish, then in Modern Cornish, two varieties of the language. Note though that since last year there seems to have emerged an agreement on a single form to use - the Standard Written Form or Furv Skrivys Savonek.

As for the subject behind the article itself - it's something often written about here, but here is my view again: languages are not like rivers where smaller ones flow into larger ones and then disappear but rather like settlements. Small settlements are usually based on one industry and can be wiped out quickly, and opportunities in small towns are few. When a city reaches a certain size though it becomes largely self-sustaining, as once a city is capable of providing its people with the ability to study and work in just about any field there is then little reason to move from one city to another, unless one happens to be particularly ambitious and needs a particularly large city in order to thrive. In this way, languages of a certain size are in no danger of being swallowed up by English or any other language, and well-documented languages once spoken by people who are now living in well-developed and peaceful countries can easily be revived/strengthened if so desired, and this can be seen with languages such as Cornish, Basque, Welsh, and so on.

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