Cornish Language and Culture

                                                     A brief overview of the Cornish language and culture


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Cornish Language and Culture

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The Cornish language is one of the Brythonic group of Celtic languages. It is spoken in Cornwall. Cornish continued to function as a community language until the late 18th century, and was revived early in the 20th century.

The culture of Corwall shares much of its culture with the other six Celtic countries of Brittany, Ireland, Isle of Man, Scotland, Wales, but it also has some distinct customs and traditions.




Today, the Cornish language is an integral part of Cornish culture. Why the Cornish language stopped being the language of the community and later died is still the subject of a lengthy debate, but it is generally accepted that the loss of the Cornish language involved language shift from Cornish to English. However, by the 1980s interest in the language had grown tremendously, including overseas.

In 5th November 2002 the UK Government decided to recognise Cornish as falling under Part II (Article 7) of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. This gave the Cornish language, for the first time, official state recognition and heralded the way for Government funding for the promotion and protection of the Cornish language. 


Cultural features


There are many distinct aspects to the culture of Cornwall, even though many are shared with the other different Celtic nations. These include its music (e.g.bag pipes), dance (e.g. Floral dance), sports (e.g: wrestling and hurling), liturature (e.g. Passion Plays), and folklore (e.g. piskies).


Distinct symbols of Cornwall include its flag (flag of St Piran), the Duchy of Cornwall shield of 15 gold bezants and the chough bird (in Cornish = palores).

Cornwall also has its own unique Constitution, laws and a Stannary Parliament.