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More than £1million spent on Cornish Language

By WBMiles  |  Posted: February 04, 2014

The Cornish Oafs, Luke Stevens and

Comments (19)

How much is the Cornish language worth?

More than £1 million has been spent since 2006 on promoting and developing the language that had almost disappeared.

Cornwall Council is currently putting together a bid for another £400,000 a year from central government for the next three years, with the council adding £100,000 a year.

For some, it is a small price to pay for the resurrection of a language that is at the heart of Cornish cultural identity. For others, it is a waste of public money at a time when toilets and libraries are being closed due to lack of funds.

Luke Stevens is one of the Cornish Oafs, a young duo who use comedy and social media such as Facebook and Twitter to spread their passion for the Cornish language.

They have not sought or received public funding but believe the work carried out to codify the language has been worthwhile and its contribution to the culture of Cornwall is invaluable.

Luke said: “We don’t think everyone should speak Cornish but there is a hell of a lot of people who do want to and it’s money well spent if that’s the case.

“There are definitely people out there whose lives have been enriched by that money.”

A standard written form of Cornish was agreed upon in 2008 and two years later Unesco announced that its former classification of the language as extinct was no longer accurate.

“The fact there is now a standard written form has improved my life,” said Luke.

“Not everyone was for the Olympics but a lot of public money went into that.”

Luke said the organisations that had received public funding such as Maga, the Cornish Language Partnership, had “done all the legwork” essential for the Cornish language to thrive.

Cornwall Council said the funding for the Cornish language had supported three full-time jobs.

Luke said: “It was deemed extinct and now it’s not. Three people to resurrect a whole language is pretty good value.”

When the West Briton previously revealed the latest plans to spend £500,000 a year on the Cornish language, some readers expressed dismay.

Oscar Burnett captured the views of many when he wrote on the West Briton website: “In my view the Cornish language is an unnecessary luxury at a time when there are more pressing issues.

“It has nothing to do with being for or against the Cornish people and more to do with a lack of common sense by a load of well off do-gooders.”

Cornwall Council defended the amount of money spent and said the Cornish Language Partnership provided advice, information and translation services to the general public.

A council spokesman said: “There is an emphasis on education, where work has taken place with a large number of schools to introduce Cornish language and culture via a range of projects, short courses and in some cases more sustained provision, working in with local studies.”

The council said the money received from the Department for Communities and Local Government was linked to the UK responsibilities under the European Charter for regional or Minority Languages and could not be drawn down by Cornwall Council for any other purpose.

Communities Minister Stephen Williams said: “The Cornish language is an important part of our heritage, and so the Government, along with local partners such as Cornwall Council, has contributed to funding its promotion as a living and growing language.

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  • AnBalores  |  February 08 2014, 5:34PM

    Strange. It doesn't sound dead to me! Radyo an Gernewegva: https://audioboo.fm/boos/1906549-towlen-157 I guess English people don't have ears? Good job us Cornish do! Dwygenes! Kernow of vy, nys yw Sawsneck!

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  • VexedKernow  |  February 05 2014, 9:16PM

    It would appear that most of these 'Anti-Cornish' comments have been posted by emmets. That's right, emmets. That's Cornish for ants. Which are a common pest. Especially in summer. Now, I have started learning the language of my seafaring forefathers. I see it as my right to learn any language I like. Cornish is helping me to learn more about my Counties history, the origins of it's place names, and remembering it's place in the world of Celtic nations before the English came, took our County as theirs, and disrespectfully tore up it's history and language. Remember, us Cornish gave you emmets a lot, tin for electronics, steam engines for transportation, fish for your tea. We still let you have a nice place to come for your holidays, a nice place for you to retire to, and a nice place for you to set up your overpriced fancy tat-shops and restaurants to cater for your own kind. (As well as a nice place to buy your second homes). So all we want is to learn and teach our own language. The cost of our history being taught is actually priceless, so £1M is a good investment. So remember, to the nay-sayers: this is Cornwall, it is still Cornish, and it's natives are still proud to be so, and if you don't want your council tax wasted, or signs written in Cornish, or listen to its natives being proud, not 'nationalistic', then maybe you should 'avodya!'

    |   8
  • dtreth  |  February 05 2014, 12:42PM

    How much has been spent on the Cornish language by Cornwall Council (£1 million since 2006 seems quite a high estimate), compared with how much spent on six-figure salaries of management at the council. I reckon former CEO Kevin Lavery alone would account for more than the entire expenditure on Cornish. How much would Cornwall's share of the UK's expenditure on Trident nuclear weapons systems compare to the expenditure on the Cornish language?

    |   5
  • TheGeofflane  |  February 05 2014, 10:07AM

    Every week I read the obit. columns in the West Briton. For every worthy Cornish-born man or woman there is a so-called 'Incomer'. Usually the incomers died here because they loved Cornwall. I hope to do the same. I also love Yorkshire and the Lake District, the lands of my ancestors. They spoke different languages once, but we are all English now. Even St. Piran was an incomer. I find the so-called Nationalism tiresome. Every English county has its heroes. Since Athelstan we have been ONE AND ALL English. Maybe we should celebrate that.

    |   -4
  • Newquaygreen  |  February 04 2014, 11:11PM

    Extinct language spoken by a minority of people purporting to be Cornish whatever that actually meansn in an English county lived in by a majority of English people. Get over it!

    |   -4
  • Doitdreckley  |  February 04 2014, 7:35PM

    Of course there is a difference between Council and Government money. It might all originate from taxpayers but if the government does not give it to the council they cannot spend it. Cornish is not a dead language as people speak it and clearly want to learn it. Media and other discrimination against Cornish accents and people is a reason why language and distinctiveness should be supported. You need a lot more than 100k for toilets and libraries. As for loosing the airport and Eden that would loose thousands of jobs and the ability to pay for all sorts of things.

    |   3
  • TheGeofflane  |  February 04 2014, 4:09PM

    One quick way to end this farce: insist on a Cornish-speaking solicitor in court. Only accept evidence from a policeman in Cornish. Only deal with Cornwall Council in Cornish, demanding reply in Cornish. I spent the first two weeks of this year wishing you all 'A Happy New Year'. ONE PERSON twigged, purely because of the date. Maybe we could have a Cornish Pobl Y Cwm (apologies to the Welsh who do have a living language) on TV and the viewing figures to discuss. ANY council that can give tens of thousands of pounds for an obscene sculpture while closing toilets, care homes etc. and so on has lost its way. Give us back the local councils we voted for 4:1. We'd keep our libraries, care homes and toilets, and if you want to learn Cornish, PAY FOR IT.

    |   -2
  • wringer  |  February 04 2014, 3:58PM

    doitdreckly. just look into how much tax payers money smits pit has had over the last 15 years. you will be staggered. The airport takes £3,000,000 a year in subsidy - that is £8,200 PER DAY or £5.70 a minute. and you think this is good value for money? really? if all the funding the airport has had and eden had been given to say a Cornish food business you think they would have employed less people? how about spreading it out to all Cornish attractions. sure there is economic benefit from eden and the airport but at what cost and could that money like this be spent wisely elsewhere and achieve the same or better results. and as chert say cornwall council are adding in £100,000. I call that local council funding myself.

    |   -1
  • TheGeofflane  |  February 04 2014, 3:41PM

    Cornish, like Latin, is a dead language, NO ONE has spoken it for a couple of centuries as their first language. It survives as a means of promoting Cornish Nationalism and obtaining funds for making money for those who can turn a penny from it. The street signs are ridiculous, but doubtless make a job for someone at County Hall. Cornish Dialect survives, and is worthy of research, but not a penny heads that way. And when did you even hear a Cornish burr on local news. The BBC can even send us an Asian weather presenter as they champion 'Diversity', but can't provide a decent Cornish accent. As with everything, it's all about money. And Chacewater unisex public toilets remain closed awaiting demolition. Want to learn Cornish? Fine. Pay for it yourself. Tourists prefer Toilets!

    |   -3
  • TWINSCREW  |  February 04 2014, 2:15PM

    There is NO difference in Council or Government money.....It is Taxpayers money at source. Its like people who say "Resources" what they mean is money.

    |   -10