Volume 44, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0272-2690
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9889
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



After over twenty years of debate over Cornish orthographies, recognition by the UK government according to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in 2003 led to the creation of what was initially intended as a “single written form” for use in official contexts. However, the inevitable impossibility of finding a compromise that pleased opposing groups of speakers with differing ideologies meant that the eventual (SWF) was pluricentric, comprising two “main forms”. While these were initially stated to be of equal status, this has been hard to maintain since the SWF’s implementation: with more speakers using Middle Cornish forms, the Late Cornish forms are less visible and commonly believed to be subsidiary. Drawing on such perceptions, along with learning materials and other resources, this paper examines the status of the SWF today and offers some reflections on this unsuccessful attempt at pluricentricity in a minoritised language.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Akademi Kernewek
    Akademi Kernewek (n.d.). Akademi Kernewek – TRE | Home. RetrievedApril 26, 2019, fromhttps://akademikernewek.weebly.com/
  2. Blackwood, R.
    (2011) Language beliefs and the polynomic model for Corsican. Language Awareness, 20(1), 17–30. 10.1080/09658416.2010.529912
    https://doi.org/10.1080/09658416.2010.529912 [Google Scholar]
  3. Bock, A., & Bruch, B.
    (2008) An outline of the Standard Written Form of Cornish. Truro: Cornish Language Partnership.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Burley, S.
    (2008) A report on the Cornish Language Survey conducted by the Cornish Language Partnership. RetrievedMay 2, 2016, fromwww.magakernow.org/default.aspx?page=404
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Clyne, M.
    (1991) Pluricentric languages – Introduction. InM. Clyne (Ed.) Pluricentric languages: Differing norms in different nations (pp.1–10). Berlin & New York: De Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110888140.1
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110888140.1 [Google Scholar]
  6. Cornish Language Partnership
    Cornish Language Partnership (2014) SWF review: final report. Unpublished report.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Cornish Language Partnership
    Cornish Language Partnership (n.d.[a]). “Middle” and “Late” Cornish forms/Formys “kres” ha “diwedhes”. RetrievedOctober 16, 2018, fromwww.cornishdictionary.org.uk/content/middle-and-late-cornish-forms-formys-kres-ha-diwedhes
  8. Cornish Language Partnership
    Cornish Language Partnership (n.d.[b]). Search. RetrievedDecember 29, 2018, fromwww.cornishdictionary.org.uk/search?keys=house
  9. Cornwall Council
    Cornwall Council (2016) An yeth Kernewek. RetrievedOctober 15, 2018, fromhttps://www.cornwall.gov.uk/leisure-and-culture/the-cornish-language/an-yeth-kernewek
  10. Council of Europe
    Council of Europe (1992) European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. RetrievedApril 26, 2019, fromhttps://www.coe.int/en/web/conventions/full-list/-/conventions/rms/0900001680695175
  11. Cunliffe, D., & Harries, R.
    (2005) Promoting minority-language use in a bilingual online community. New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia, 11(2), 157–179. 10.1080/13614560500350750
    https://doi.org/10.1080/13614560500350750 [Google Scholar]
  12. Cussel an Tavas Kernôwek
    Cussel an Tavas Kernôwek (n.d.). Modern Cornish – Home. RetrievedDecember 30, 2018, frommoderncornish.net
  13. Croome, S.
    (2015) Accommodation and resistance in the implementation of a minority language: A survey of headteacher attitudes across primary schools in Cornwall. SOAS Working Papers in Linguistics, 17, 113–145.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. (2018) Discourse, ideology and function: Dominant themes in the discursive construction of present-day Cornish (Unpublished PhD dissertation). School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, London, UK.
  15. Davies-Deacon, M.
    (2016) Orthographies and ideologies in revived Cornish (Unpublished MA dissertation). University of York, York, UK.
  16. Deacon, B. W.
    (2006) Cornish or Klingon? The standardisation of the Cornish language. InP. Payton (Ed.) Cornish Studies: Fourteen (pp.13–23). Exeter: University of Exeter Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Ferdinand, S.
    (2013) A brief history of the Cornish language, its revival and its current status. e-Keltoi: Journal of Interdisciplinary Celtic Studies, 2, 199–227.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. First Group & Golden Tree
    First Group & Golden Tree (n.d.). What’s Cornish for …. RetrievedDecember 30, 2018, fromhttps://whatscornishfor.co.uk
  19. Gendall, R.
    (1988) The Cornish language: Information sheet. Menheniot: Teere ha Tavaz.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. (2000) Tavas a ragadazow: The language of my forefathers. Menheniot: Teer ha Tavas.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. George, K. J.
    (1986) The pronunciation and spelling of revived Cornish. Penzance: Cornish Language Board.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. (1995) Which base for revived Cornish?InP. Payton (Ed.) Cornish Studies: Three (pp.104–124). Exeter: University of Exeter Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. (2017) Accommodating Middle and Late bases in Cornish orthography. Unpublished paper. RetrievedOctober 15, 2018, fromwww.cornishlanguage.info/spell/variants.pdf
  24. GoCornish
    GoCornish (2019) Go Cornish – get into the Cornish language revival. RetrievedJanuary 17, 2019, fromhttps://gocornish.org
  25. GoCornish
    GoCornish (n.d.). Go Cornish 1. RetrievedDecember 30, 2018, fromhttps://www.memrise.com/course/1569471/go-cornish-1/
  26. Harasta, J. O.
    (2013) In search of a single voice: The politics of form, use and belief in the Kernewek language (Unpublished PhD dissertation). Syracuse University, Syracuse, USA.
  27. Harris, S., Harris, D., Harvey, P., & Harvey, R.
    (2018) A learners’ Cornish dictionary in the Standard Written Form (2nd ed.). Redruth: An Kylgh Kernewek & Ors Sempel.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. I pledge to become more fluent in Cornish
    I pledge to become more fluent in Cornish (n.d.). RetrievedDecember 30, 2018, fromhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/245714002161986
  29. Jaffe, A.
    (2003) Misrecognition unmasked? “Polynomic” language, expert statuses and orthographic practices in Corsican schools. Pragmatics, 13(4), 515–537. 10.1075/prag.13.4.04jaf
    https://doi.org/10.1075/prag.13.4.04jaf [Google Scholar]
  30. Johnson, S.
    (2005) Spelling trouble? Language, ideology and the reform of German orthography. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. 10.21832/9781853597862
    https://doi.org/10.21832/9781853597862 [Google Scholar]
  31. Kennedy, N.
    (2005) Verbal hygiene and purism. Unpublished paper.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Kerneweger
    Kerneweger (2013) Lyver pur deg. RetrievedOctober 18, 2018, fromhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/customer-reviews/R3ACTT4CO4KVMN
  33. Kristiansen, G.
    (2013) Introduction: Pluricentricity, language-internal variation and cognitive linguistics. InA. Soares da Silva (Ed.) Pluricentricity: Language variation and sociocognitive dimensions (pp.1–16). Berlin & New York: De Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110303643.1
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110303643.1 [Google Scholar]
  34. Lane, P.
    (2014) Minority language standardisation and the role of users. Language Policy, 14, 263–83. 10.1007/s10993‑014‑9342‑y
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10993-014-9342-y [Google Scholar]
  35. Le Pipec, E.
    (2010) Diglossie et conflit linguistique, contribution à un vieux débat. InH. Boyer (Ed.) Pour un épistémologie de la sociolinguistique: Actes du colloque international de Montpellier, 10–12 décembre 2009 (pp.233–244). Limoges: Lambert-Lucas.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Lowenna, S.
    (2004) “Noscitur a sociis”: Jenner, Duncombe-Jewell and their milieu. InP. Payton (Ed.) Cornish Studies: Twelve (pp.61–87). Exeter: University of Exeter Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. MacKinnon, K.
    (2000) An independent academic study on Cornish. Dingwall: SGRÙD Research.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. (2004) “As Cornish as possible” – “Not an outcast anymore” – Speakers’ and learners’ opinions on Cornish. InP. Payton (Ed.) Cornish Studies: Twelve (pp.268–287). Exeter: University of Exeter Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Mills, J.
    (1999) Reconstructive phonology and contrastive lexicology: Problems with the Gerlyver Kernewek Kemmyn. InP. Payton (Ed.) Cornish Studies: Seven (pp.193–218). Exeter: University of Exeter Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. (2013) Oxford Children’s Cornish–English Visual Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Nakassis, C. V.
    (2016) Linguistic anthropology in 2015: Not the study of language. American Anthropologist, 118(2), 1–16. 10.1111/aman.12528
    https://doi.org/10.1111/aman.12528 [Google Scholar]
  42. Nance, R. M.
    (1929) Cornish for all. St Ives: Federation of Old Cornwall Societies.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Ó Murchadha, N. P.
    (2016) The efficacy of unitary and polynomic models of codification in minority language contexts: Ideological, pragmatic and pedagogical issues in the codification of Irish. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 37(2), 199–215. 10.1080/01434632.2015.1053811
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01434632.2015.1053811 [Google Scholar]
  44. Padel, O.
    (2017) Where was Middle Cornish spoken?Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies, 74, 1–31.
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Payton, P. J.
    (1999) The ideology of language revival in modern Cornwall. InR. Black, W. Gillies and R. Ó Maolalaigh (Eds.) Celtic Connections: Proceedings of the Tenth International Congress of Celtic Studies (pp.395–424). East Linton: Tuckwell Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Renkó-Michelsén, Z.
    (2013) Language death and revival: Cornish as a minority language in UK. Journal of Estonian and Finno-Ugric Linguistics, 4(2), 179–197.
    [Google Scholar]
  47. Sallabank, J.
    (2010) Standardisation, prescription and polynomie: Can Guernsey follow the Corsican model?Current Issues in Language Planning, 11(4), 311–330. 10.1080/14664208.2010.533343
    https://doi.org/10.1080/14664208.2010.533343 [Google Scholar]
  48. Sayers, D.
    (2012) Standardising Cornish: The politics of a new minority language. Language Problems and Language Planning, 36(2), 99–119. 10.1075/lplp.36.2.01say
    https://doi.org/10.1075/lplp.36.2.01say [Google Scholar]
  49. Sayers, D., & Renkó-Michelsén, Z.
    (2015) Phoenix from the ashes: Reconstructed Cornish in relation to Einar Haugen’s four-step model of language standardisation. Sociolinguistica, 29, 17–37. 10.1515/soci‑2015‑0004
    https://doi.org/10.1515/soci-2015-0004 [Google Scholar]
  50. SaySomethingin
    SaySomethingin (2019) Cornish: Course 1: Introduction. RetrievedJanuary 17, 2019, fromhttps://www.saysomethingin.com/cornish
  51. Simons, G. F., & Fennig, C. D.
    (Eds.) (2018) Ethnologue: Languages of the world (21st ed.). Dallas: SIL International. Retrieved onJanuary 4, 2019, fromwww.ethnologue.com
    [Google Scholar]
  52. Szczepankiewicz, P.
    (2016) Language authenticity and language ownership in the case of Cornish (Unpublished MA dissertation). Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu, Poznań, Poland.
  53. Williams, N. J. A.
    (1995) Cornish today: An examination of the revived language. Sutton Coldfield: Kernewek dre Lyther.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Cornish; ideology; language revival; orthography; pluricentricity; standardisation
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error