No - the Cornish language is NOT dead!

"The Cornish Language is Dead" is something anti-Cornish bigots often say. Instead there is a growing group of speakers, so why does this lie get repeated? In part it is due to what we call "Twistory" or the way the English Authorities twist our history to erase our unique language and culture. 

Three times the English Authorities have raided and burned our archives, destroying our Cornish voice, and yet we are still here. They tried to wipe out the Cornish language, and yet it survives. One myth that has caused confusion is that of Dolly Pentreath. 

She is credited as the "last native speaker", but this has been misinterpreted (deliberately) to mean the "last speaker". The point is that Dolly Pentreath was credited as the last monoglot speaker - the last one who was born and raised speaking no English. When she died, there were still polyglot speakers. There is debate over whether Dolly was indeed monoglot, and whether there were other people in the Mousehole fishing community who were monoglot at the time. When Henry Jenner started his research, there were still people in Mousehole who could speak Cornish. On the centenary of Dolly's death, they gathered at her grave and spoke Cornish, the same year that Henry Jenner discovered the "Charter fragment" in the British museum. 

So when anyone says the language "died with Dolly", they are repeating a lie perpetuated by the English authorities. The truth is messier than that. 

This portrait of Dolly was painted from life by John Opie, Cornwall's celebrated eighteenth century artist. It hangs in St Michael's Mount.

Bledhen Noweth Da dheugh why oll!

Kernow bys vyken!

This blog is provided for general informational purposes only. The opinions expressed here are the author's alone and not necessarily those of