Friday, 24 April 2015

U is for Unite the Realm …



Bounded on three sides by sea, partly cut off by the River Tamar on the fourth … Cornwall (Kernow) has always been a place apart.

Cornwall's Peninsula-like county

The Romans didn’t bother to try and administer it … and when the Tudors sought to Unite the Realm, the Cornish “proved Unbiddable” – twice rising up in armed revolt.



In the reign of Henry VIII … it was stated “In Cornwall is two speches, the one is naughty Englysshe, and the other is Cornysshe speche”.


A map showing the westward
decline of Cornish: 1300 -  1750


As for the Cornish Language, it was so prevalent that Elizabeth I learnt a few words with which to greet her West Country subjects.




Dolly Pentreath from an
engraved portrait of 1881

Dolly Pentreath (1692 – 1777) from Paul (west of Penzance) is meant to have been the last fluent, native speaker of the Cornish language.


The Cornish anthem, Bro Goth agan Tasow, to unite this westerly realm:


Old land of our fathers, your children love you!
Dear land of the west, what country is your equal?
Across the whole world, we are spread far and wide,
But our love is for you.

Chorus
Cornwall! Cornwall, we love Cornwall!
As long as the sea may be
As a wall around you,
We are one and all for Cornwall!

Kingdom of King Arthur, ancient saints and the Grail,
No other land is more beloved by us;
In you every tor, valley, mountain and house
Speaks to us in Cornish.

In the darkness of the mine and on the waves of the sea,
When we are wandering through overseas lands
In whatever place, and in however many countries,
May we turn our hearts to you.


The view from Carn Brea in Penwith
- the westerly tip of Cornwall

There’s a resurgence now … with Cornish names appearing in streets, welcome signs, on touristy goodies, Cornish language courses taking place … “Better Together” isn’t just a slogan: the kingdom is at its strongest when its parts feel secure, and respected.


The logo



Long Eared Owl
c/o the Screech OwlSanctuary



This unique county will retain its identity by uniting under the Cornish banner of all things pertaining to Cornwall.






That is U for Unite this Realm, the Unique county that is Cornwall with Unbiddable residents, where the Ula keeps watch – the wise owl ... from Aspects of British Cornish …


Re Marja's comment ... I'll be explaining where the language comes from tomorrow ...!

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

47 comments:

Marja said...

Great to read about the proud Cornish people with their own language. I wonder where the language comes from. Is it derived from other languages or a sort of slang. You must love the area as well, knowing all the ins and outs.
All the best

Empty Nest Insider said...

It's fascinating that there's a "resurgence" in the Cornish language! I love how Ula the owl is the lookout for this magical place that could be right out of a storybook. A very unique find, Hilary.

Julie

Susan Scott said...

Ah that song, so full of pride and joy! I love it thank you Hilary. King Arthur is popping up in one way or other in the last few days in my world ...

Friko said...

Cornwall is truly unique in these isles, the Celts left a stronger legacy here than in other parts of the west of the UK.

Hi, Hilary, glad to be back blogging, have a great weekend. we had such wonderful weather but it seems it’s over for the moment and much needed rain is on the way.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Love to hear of the independent nature of the Cornish people! And very cool that QEI even learned a few words to communicate. That's really saying something. :)

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

Bolshy Cornish! - Just kidding :) I think you're right, when all parts of a land are respected it makes for a better whole.
Tasha
Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

Out on the prairie said...

Many languages were lost here. The resurgence is small, too many speakers in one area. My family spoke German until just after WWI. We arrived here from Bohemia, now an area in Czech.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

This is interesting. I know we are a melting pot world of languages, but I do hate when languages are lost.

Chrys Fey said...

I love the Cornwall anthem. That would be fun to sing. :)

Queen Elizabeth 1 is one of my favorite inspirational people. She was so smart and the fact that she learned some Cornish words proves it.

Jo said...

Could have some Phoenician roots LOL. I hadn't realised they had their own language. One doesn't realise how language changes, that excerpt from Henry VIII is so very different from today. Come to think of it the Oxford Book of English Verse has some early poetry which I certainly am unable to read.

Sophie Duncan said...

It is good to have a cultural identity, because when many different parts make up a whole, it makes that whole stronger.
Sophie
Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles
FB3X
Wittegen Press

Robyn Campbell said...

Hil, I enjoy your posts so much. Plus, they really help me in homeschool. :-) Dolly must have been really something. Ha. I giggled at the Cornysshe speche. I wonder if I've heard anyone actually speak it. I'm not sure. But I would love to listen to it.I sure don't want it to be lost forever. :( That anthem is lovely. The words really touched me. Maybe it's because here in America, we have lost that love of country. So sad. xoxo

Bob Scotney said...

Quite right that the Cornish feel they have a unique identity. I live in North Yorkshire - all Yorkshire feels the same although there might be an argument about what their language is.

J Lenni Dorner said...

That is fascinating. I never knew about that language before.

Sara C. Snider said...

"Naughty" English, that made me chuckle. It's good to be "unbiddable", keeps the monarchy on their toes. ;)

TexWisGirl said...

i would think unity is best in most circumstances. :)

Carole Anne Carr said...

I do remember the very last elderly woman who was Cornish speaking, there was an article about her, and that she was passing on some of her knowledge.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It's good they are keeping the language and the culture alive. Wild to think the native tongue could've died out completely.

A Lady's Life said...

We have a city called Cornwall but I am sure it doesn't have this kind of history. lol
England is fascinating.

cleemckenzie said...

I had no idea the language had died that long ago. And how sad it is to lose a language. So much of the culture is lost when that happens. However, the Cornish sound like they gave everyone a run for their money--from the Romans to the present.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Marja - tomorrow I go into where the language came from .. I don't know it that well - but having been back and forth once, twice or three times a year nearly every year of my life .. and having my mother down there - the Cornish gets into you!

@ Julie - they're doing their best to keep Cornish going somehow .. but I loved the Owl too ... and had to put Ula in for the U blog post ..

@ Susan - yes it's a good rousing song ... and that's good if King Arthur is out there keeping an eye on you!

@ Friko - lovely to see you ... it seems to have been left alone for much of its history - too far to get to etc ...

Thanks for the note - I'll email you and good to see you back ..

@ Elizabeth - they've got some good things going for them - the Cornish. I know I was interested QE 1 learnt a few words .. buttering up the locals! I think she was some diplomatic lady -even if she was Queen ..

@ Natasha - bolshy Cornish - I guess that could apply! The cultural identity is giving Cornwall something to aspire to .. and I expect they feel proud of their roots - til the Poldark tourists hit!!

@ OOTP - I'm sure many of the indigenous languages have been all but lost, but too many of the dialects. I'd love to speak more than one language, but as youngster I never did make the effort ... I gather Bohemia is wonderful ...

@ Teresa - we are a melting pot - in tomorrow's post you'll be even more surprised ...

@ Chrys - thanks .. it's a very rousing anthem .. and Queen Elizabeth 1 was an amazing lady .. as you say smart too

@ Jo - wait til tomorrow's post - yes Cornish is a Celtic language, with lots of changes over time ... and I loved the Henry VIII excerpt .. fun isn't it. Beowulf .. I couldn't read or the Sagas ... English has dramatically changed over the centuries ..

@ Sophie - yes that cultural identity rings very true for the Cornish ... and I expect it does for some of the other Counties ...

@ Robyn - good to see you .. I am so glad my posts help with your homeschooling!! Dolly does seem to have been a real character .. but no-one really realised the language was disappearing at that stage ...

There are snippets in google with people with Cornish accents - and now I expect there'd be Youtube video clips ..

Yes - we have a lot going for us here in the UK, despite our smallness in land area ..

@ Bob - Cornwall certainly feels different to other areas .. but I know that feelings run very true in specific county areas .. but I don't know enough about linguistics ... perhaps it's something I'll get into at some stage ...

@ J - that's good that you now know about the Cornish language ..

@ Sara - I know Naughty Englishee!! And the Cornish .. still unbiddable and wanting to do their own thing ... I suspect that's not happening so much now-a-days .. but Prince Charles does tend to support the minorities.

@ Theresa - unity is an interesting word at the moment with the next election coming .. the Cornish won't go it alone - insufficient funds!!

@ Alex - I think a great deal of the Cornish language knowledge has died out .. there not being any native speakers left .. but some are doing their best in the revival stakes ..

@ Carole Anne - her story does pop up occasionally .. sadly they realised too late what they were losing, I think.

@ A Lady's Life - I saw mention of the other Cornwall - but think yours is a town and I'm certain without the history that we know about .. England is fascinating ..

@ Lee - yes it is sad to lose a language and that knowledge of its roots etc ...

In romantic terms .. it does look like the Cornish gave all comers a good run for their money doesn't it - sadly it's a very poor county .. but we have character!

Thanks everyone .. so pleased you're all still reading - it's great .. cheers Hilary

Joanne said...

I'm thinking Cornwall shall stay a tad unruly no matter what. Cheers

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Sounds like a proud stubborn people in Cornwall who liked their independence. But United is better for this day and age.

Margie said...

That is a wonderful anthem ..
So enjoyed this post, as always , thanks Hilary

Nilanjana Bose said...

Great to know that Cornish is being revived, always terrible when a language is lost, a rich heritage of song, poetry and folktales closed off to future generations.

Jerralea said...

I'm glad Cornwall is united in its people and identity. A divided people are easy to conquer!

Stephen Tremp said...

Now that's a beer drinking song if I ever heard one!

Bish Denham said...

I'm longing to be Cornish... :)

Jeffrey Scott said...

I am always fascinated by the history of language. Funny how a simple language can actually evolve over time. Acquiring words from other languages while certain words are developed or become archaic. Some are extinguished as more prominent languages are spoken. I find that to be a sad thing. It's nice to see languages such as this, or even Welsh still being utilized and encouraged. Even if just as a secondary language.

Sorry for the long-ish comment.

samantha mozart said...

I'm glad there is a resurgence in learning the Cornish language, Hilary, that it won't be lost. Uniting the parts for the good of the whole -- I believe in that. It provides a richer and more colorful society, whereby, hopefully, we will learn about one another and be more accepting of others' cultures.

Cornwall must be such a beautiful place. As I have said before, I love the open country and the idea of standing on the edge of a windswept cliff overlooking the sea. That I could do when I lived in Southern California, and it's such a free feeling.

Samantha Mozart
http://thescheherazadechronicles.org

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Interesting and fascinating about the Cornish. I'll look forward to learning more about the language!

Janie Junebug said...

I didn't know about the Cornish language.

Love,
Janie

D.G. Hudson said...

That will be interesting Hilary, I like learning about languages and the sources of phrases, etc. They, the Cornish, must have been a strong people to stand up to the big guys and opt out. . .

Sue McPeak said...

Very interesting about the Cornish language...let's hope it has been recorded for posterity and apparently some of it is making a come back in signs. As in many countries histories, uniting the parts for the good of the whole is a good thing.
Sue at CollectInTexas Gal
AtoZ 2015 Challenge
Minion for AJ's wHooligans

Jean Davis said...

It's it great how things come back around? Glad the Cornish language isn't lost.

Lisa said...

I have always felt Cornwall to be a magical, almost romantic place. I'd love to spend more time there... Lisa, co-host A to Z Challenge 2015 and @ http://www.lisabuiecollard.com

Sharon Marie Himsl said...

From the photo Cornwall seems quite flat in terrain, although I remember some high cliffs along the coast. Beautiful region with its own language and history.
Inventions by Women A-Z
Shells–Tales–Sails

Nick Wilford said...

It does almost seem like its own country. I didn't know there was an anthem, which I imagine is quite rousing. And nice to see the language making a comeback, it's a part of the heritage that shouldn't be lost.

Valerie-Jael said...

Very interesting to read about the old names, and hope the language gets revived. Popped over to visit you from Spitalfields Life. Valerie

A Cuban In London said...

What a beautiful and instructive post. I loved Cornwall when I was there a few years ago. Still have a bunch of bookmarks I bought there (I collect bookmarks from the places I visit).

Greetings from London.

A Cuban In London said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rhonda Albom said...

Sad that languages die out, glad this one is getting a chance. Interesting as always.

Deniz Bevan said...

Aww, love the owl :-) The one time I visited Land's End, I remember looking across the ocean...to Canada!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Joanne – I suspect you’re right!

@ Susan – we like to be different, but we will fit in .. and as you say united is better today …

@ Margie – thanks the anthem is indicative of the land ..

@ Nila – I’m not sure how far they’ll be able to save it – but it’s worth recording as much as possible, while it still does exist .. and get it into the British Library … which holds a great deal of our language heritage … song, poetry, folktales etc …

@ Jerralea – at the moment Great Britain is interesting times … but I hope we remain united …

@ Stephen – it is a very rousing song isn’t it … and I bet it has been sung in many a pub …

@ Bish – they’d love to have you as a member! Even honorary one …

@ Jeffrey – yes I totally agree with you re the history of language. I do look at it occasionally for the blog – I wrote one post on the Viking influence. And I take note as these sorts of posts come up – always thinking about another subject for a post.

English is a very evolving language, and always has been – back to the times when it wasn’t the main language … and we were still speaking and writing in Old English (Anglo Saxon origins), then the Middle English influenced by the Normans, before the printing press really cemented English as our main language, which has ultimately gone on to be spoken around the world.

I’m very happy for all comments and long ones in particular – thank you for your interest. Much is being recorded now …

@ Samantha – now we are learning to record and hold our dialects etc … so we’ll have those recordings, writings etc – the British Library is a wonderful historical resource of many things – not just books.

Learning to appreciate others’ cultures is an essential, which I wish we’d all pay more attention to … and be taught to appreciate, understand and be responsible towards: you make a really good point.

I don’t live in Cornwall … but we’ve always been down over the years … I’m lucky I live by the sea now – and can get out to our chalky Downland and watch the sea … I did miss it, when it wasn’t nearby – so can empathise with you.

@ Monti – that’s great … thank you.

@ Janie – it’s good to learn isn’t it ..

@ DG – I hope the V post stands up – I’ll be replying to comments there next! I’m way behind. Cornwall is so far away – well it was when you had to walk there, or ride a horse … so it was ‘relatively easy’ to opt out …

Thanks to you all – lovely comments, fun to read, good to answer as my knowledge increases … cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sue – we have a few dictionaries going back a few centuries, and we’re good recorders … now the British Library is adding as much new material to its resources. Uniting for the common good is a good thing, but we need to keep our identity and uniqueness too … losing all the quirks and becoming homogenous would be horrible!

@ Jean – yes we just managed to remember to record things – and so will have some idea and the resources for researchers to look at.

@ Lisa – I hope you get a chance to visit and spend some time in Cornwall … it is different …

@ Sharon – no it’s not flat – the photo isn’t brilliant from that point of view … it is in fact 650 feet high here: and if you look carefully it is possible to see that … as the granite outcrop looks out over the moor towards the sea. We are at the edge of land here … and our cliffs are craggy – they may not be very high … but they are very rough and rugged. It is a stunning region with its own history and language … as you rightly noted.

@ Nick – yes it definitely was its own country … if it’s not too overcome with 2nd homes etc. The anthem is rousing ... but most Cornish songs are! They are at least trying to recover as much of the language as they can … and thankfully the British Library has a resource of the old languages and dialects …

@ Val – glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for popping over from Spitalfields Life – appreciate the comment. I doubt it’ll get revived, but at least it won’t be forgotten … and teaches us much as we see it around the county.

@ ACiL – that’s great you’ve got the bookmarks to remind you of your Cornish visit. Thanks for checking in.

@ Rhonda – yes language evolves … what are we doing about Txt!??? But Libraries now are recording so much for posterity and our future generations to refer to …

@ Deniz – yes Ula the owl is beautiful … they are amazing creatures. I stood at Land’s End and thought of America and Canada …. way over the ocean waves!! So can quite imagine you thinking of home, as you stood and watched the ocean crash in ..


Thanks to you all – lovely comments, fun to read, good to answer as my knowledge increases … cheers Hilary

Michelle Wallace said...

There's lots of pride in that song...
I love language and etymology...
As languages evolve, they sometimes die out. Glad to hear that this is not the case.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Michelle - yes you can imagine the pride booming out as the song is sung .. and the camaraderie. I too love seeing new words and relating them across the different root bases ... I hope we can keep Cornish going ... but it's going to take some doing .. but the British Library is recording language and dialects now.

Cheers Hilary