Sunday, 15 November 2009

Cornish Language Policy update

It has been “interesting” to see how the decision of Cornwall Council’s Cabinet to agree a Cornish Language Policy has been reported.

The headline in the Western Morning News, for example, stated “Council divided over dual language signs” while the The Daily Mail said that “moves to make Cornwall officially bi-lingual have sparked a furious row.” Strange that – as the actual vote of the cabinet was unanimous!

The reaction of posters on the Worldwide Web was very varied, though it was good to see the results of the poll on The question was: Should signs in Cornwall be bilingual? The result was that 71% of people said that we should embrace the Cornish language.

There was sadly a lot of negative and many nasty comments on internet forums. Here are a selected sample:

“They are a funny lot down in Pointy-head Land. I lived in a Cornish village for 12 years and after about 10 years a local asked me if I was settling in alright.”

“Another example of the minority tail wagging the majority dog.”

“Yet another set of council idiots. Is this the begining of a campaign for a Cornwall parliament? I don't believe it!”

“Oooh arrr. Should keep the yokels on the right road.”

“What a sensitive lot some of you pastie eaters are!!”

“Just like Welsh … Cornish isn't a real language … it's just an ugly noise.”

Such attitudes are concerning, when all the Council is trying to do is support and positively enhance Cornwall’s cultural distinctiveness.

There were also numerous comments about the cost such as “What's the Cornish for "Complete waste of money, m'dear"???” And that was even after the newspapers had made it clear that the “changes would not cost the Council any extra as manufacturers would add the translations at no extra charge and will only apply for new signs or for signs that need replacing” (Western Morning News).

One last thing, in my previous post on this debate I neglected to record that Cllr Julian German, the Cabinet member with responsibility for the Environment, used Cornish in the actual debate to rightly illustrate that Cornish is a living language with a real future.

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