Saturday, 25 April 2015

V is for Vocabulary various …



Who are the Cornish?  They are the second smallest of the six Celtic nationalities – the Irish, Manx and Scots (Goidelic Celts [Goidelic or Gaelic language]) and the Welsh, Bretons and Cornish (Brythonic Celts [Brittonic languages]).




The Cornish are the only Celtic 'country' to have lost their language (the last native speakers dying out in the 19th century).   Interestingly two other major Celtic settlements have retained some of their Celtic roots … one in Nova Scotia settled by the Scots, and one in Patagonia, settled by the Welsh.



For more information on this map
please see Wikipedia

These Celtic nationalities are all that is left of an ancient civilisation which left its mark from Asia Minor to Ireland.







A rhyming couplet gives us an introduction into Cornwall its place names and its peoples, a version of this was recorded by Richard Carew in his Surveyof Cornwall, published in 1602.


Carew says as the Cornish names hold an affinity with the Welsh, so is their language deduced from the same source, and differeth onely in the dialect.  But the Cornish is more easie to be prononounced, and not so vnpleasing in sound with throat letters, as the Welsh.


By Tre, Pol and Pen
Shall ye know all Cornishmen


Many Cornish surnames and place names still retain these words as prefixes …


Tre, a settlement or homestead
Pol, a pond, lake or well
Pen, a hill or headland


Richard Trevithick … we’ve met – the inventor of the high-pressure steam engine … with that wonderful Jword Jynjy for an engine house … I’m still no wiser as to how it’s pronounced … he was born at Tregajorran …


Dolly Pentreathyou metyesterday under “U”


Pentire Point taken
from Polzeath

Polzeath (ironically in Cornish meaning dry creek) … but with a very sandy beach, where we once had a surfing holiday.

St Piran's Chapel, Trethevy



Trethevy is a very interesting Cornish hamlet, this one being between Boscastle and Tintagel, with Roman occupation confirmed and still visible … and a Saint whom we have met under P for St Piran.  (More under X).





Penwith is the peninsula area: Helston and
Camborne and Redruth ( the mining areas)
are fall outside


I have to mention Penzance (Pennsans), or “Holy Headland” in the Cornish language in the Penwith district (penn: headland) with (wydh: at the end) ...




... where the railway terminus is and is the main town in the Penwith district of west Cornwall … and which was my mother’s base for a few decades, though her family were St Ives’ folk.


I have mentioned a few meanings, as I’ve posted, of Cornish names … but a few more to give you a flavour of the lingo:

Edhen:      Bird

Bara and Pysk        Bread and Fish


Tyak and Margh:       Farmer and Horse


Hogh and Bugh        Hog and Cow
Pons and Chy:    Bridge and House
Medieval Bridge, Newlyn: west of Penzance

Lor and Howl:        Moon and Sun


Yesterday under “U” you will have noted the resurgence in all things Cornish … also there are serviettes and tea towels, bearing words in the language …  and F for foods and drinks being given “Cornish” as an adjunct … I hope this has been a good way to glean a glimpse into the Cornish language: I’m not going into grammar …?!




Land's End to Cape Cornwall: the end
of Penwith and the Cornish mainland
… though I noted Deniz Bevan said she’d consider learning Cornish ... on top of wanting to learn Welsh … the woman has to be mad – or highly intelligent … I rather think the latter is the best description!!  Her comment appeared in my O post:  Onen Hag Oll and Oddities



That is V for Various Vocal Vocabultry as one of my brother’s, aged 7 or 8, described the Latin he was learning (it took us a long time to work out what vocabultry was?!) ... from Aspects of British Cornish …

Now here's a treat ... you'll hear a tyak talking about life on his farm with hoghs and emmets (see my O post) ... it's two minutes long .. but you'll hear the accent ... 

YouTube: John Benalleck - farmer from St Wenn village in north Cornwall  (it's only 2 minutes)


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

48 comments:

Maria said...

A lot of really nice photos! I wish I could request a postcard from you from Cornish! I like traditional food postcards.

Deniz Bevan said...

Thank you for the shout out, Hilary! I hadn't realised there were no native speakers of Cornish left. A shame! Forgot to mention what got me started on Welsh in the first place (well, besides my being an Anglophile (or all things UK)) -- trying to learn the lyrics of a couple of my favourite bands!

Susan Scott said...

Och and aye, what a way to start my day. Thank you Hilary, my imagination's in overdrive. Thankfully the pig speaks English. Love all the graphics ... the strangest of words was once in a dream from a while back. I think I'll do a google search to see if it's part of Ancient Language and Dialect of Cornwall..

fabfortee said...

Hello Hilary,
There is such a wealth of information in your posts.
Love the pictures that go with the information. :)

Lisa said...

I am going for the youtube shortly, this is so interesting Hilary

Gattina said...

Interesting post ! I didn't know what Penzance exactly meant !

Sophie Duncan said...

Whenever I'm on holiday somewhere, there are two types of books I look our for, local hauntings and mysteries, and books about local linguistics. I have a couple of touristy books about Cornish place names and surnames, interesting reads - I like the couplet. :)
Sophie
Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles
FB3X
Wittegen Press

Keith's ramblings said...

I thought I knew quite a bit about Cornwall, until that is I read your remarkably informative piece. Makes East Sussex sound very dull in comparison!

Rosie Amber said...

Such a shame that the language has died out.

Sara C. Snider said...

I agree with the others, it's a shame the language has died out. Loving all the words, though.

Jennifer Hawes said...

I'd love to visit that chapel. Looks so quaint!

Bob Scotney said...

Local vocabulary and dialect can teach you a lot wherever you live and there is so much crossover between different areas. Tysk for farmer made me sit up as tyst in Norwegian means German.

Jo said...

Boy that video took me back. When we stayed in Cornwall we made friends with a bunch of fishermen who spoke like that. Used to tickle me when they called Matt love. They'd offer him a bar stool and say "'ere you are my love". I am sorry the language has died out. Talk of revival, but are there books of the language or is it intended to use other Celtic languages to help revive it?

Chrys Fey said...

They lost their language? That's a real shame!

I think Deniz is very intelligent. :)

And I love that image for the moon and sun.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Cornwall are trying to reclaim the language. We're getting dual language street signs. And I worked with a lady who spoke Cornish - although she was originally from the north (Wilshire, I think :-))

Annalisa, writing A-Z vignettes, at Wake Up, Eat, Write, Sleep

Stephen Tremp said...

I'm afraid there will be many more languages and local dialects that will be lost as we enter the age of globalization.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sun is howl - interesting.
I've heard Welsh spoken. That's a tough language.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Such a surprise that there are/were so many languages there! Thanks!

Nilanjana Bose said...

Much enjoyed the video, very educational. So is your post..all of them, thanks Hilary

Jeffrey Scott said...

What an interesting post today. Love learning more about different languages. Some of those words look frightful to pronounce.

Jannie Funster said...

You especially had me at the Nova Scotia part!! Such a rich history of settlers in NS, a lot of Germans in the part my hubby is from.

They are pretty feisty, methinks the unbiddable Cornish, and a hard place to get to.

VERY interesting, Hilary!!

Tasting Cornish pastry in my mind now.....

xooxoxooxo

Margie said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this post, Hilary
I was born in Nova Scotia and have a lot of family there.
I left Nova Scotia to go to university in Boston, met my husband there and the rest is History ..

Anabel Marsh said...

Oh, just found this! We had a fabulous holiday in Cirnwall last year (St Ives), my first visit. Will need to read up some more.
Anabel's Travel Blog
Adventures of a retired librarian

Out on the prairie said...

I enjoyed the You tube. It took me to another video,"17 accents" where she described Cornish as a bit piratey.

samantha mozart said...

So interesting, Hilary. Thank you again for writing about Cornwall, long a place of vague fascination in the back of my mind, now to be brought to the fore and learned about.

I really enjoyed the video. To use a bit of my own American dialect, "Very cool." :-)

Samantha Mozart
http://thescheherazadechronicles.org

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Maria – thank you – you could request a postcard from me .. my email’s off to your left .. but I’m not sure about the food postcards … as I’m up the coast south of London …

@ Deniz – thanks for coming by – yes sadly Dolly’s death was the end of truly native speakers. Oh ok .. to learn the lyrics in Welsh – sounds a good reason to try and learn something of the language ..

@ Susan – yes finding that pig picture was a good thing! How fascinating to think that one of the words came up in one of your dreams .. and could you find it via Google?

@ FabforTee – glad you enjoyed them … and there is quite a lot of information in the posts ..

@ Lisa – that’s great – hope you enjoyed listening to the farmer ..

@ Gattina – thanks for coming over … glad I’ve enlightened you re Penzance …

@ Sophie – you must have a very happy haul of hauntings and mysteries and local linquistics .. – interesting hobby … and I’m glad you like Carew’s recorded 1602 couplet ..

@ Keith – thanks so much … my mother lived down there and we holidayed there … but it does form part of my past .. and living in East Sussex, as you do … I suspect isn’t as dull as you think …

@ Rosie – they are trying to bring the language back … but …

@ Sara – I agree too … there is certainly a surge in trying to bring some of it back; glad you’ve enjoyed the words ..

@ Jennifer – the chapel is beautiful isn’t it … and quaint’s a good word ..

@ Bob – I found out quite a lot too searching some of these posts … and there is that cross-over of different invaders … Tyak for farmer and tyst for German … the ty must mean something …

@ Jo – the video was good wasn’t it … the real Cornish folk do talk like that … and ‘love’ seems to be a Cornish thing … I remember as a kid being called ‘love’ and not being too chuffed about it!

There are records of the Cornish language … I think there’s a dictionary of the 1800s … but I’ve some books here …

@ Chrys – yes .. it has been lost and I agree I think Deniz is very intelligent! Glad you enjoyed the moon and sun image ..

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Annalisa – I gather they’re trying to reclaim the language .. and I’ve seen the street signs .. how interesting your colleague learnt Cornish - it must have been fun working with her …

@ Stephen – yes, sadly I think you might be right … the British Library are working to record our dialects in sound ..

@ Alex – I’m not sure how you pronounce ‘howl’ for sun … and Welsh is very difficult isn’t it …

@ Monti – it’s surprising how far people travelled and thus languages went too … or evolved as they settled …

@ Nila – so glad you enjoyed the video … and thanks re the post and your comment …

@ Jeffrey –glad you enjoyed the contents … and if I can learn slowly then I enjoy learning the intricacies of different cultures or peoples … Once you get the hang of the way a language works – then it becomes easier … I discovered that living in South Africa – but doesn’t mean I can understand any of the languages …

@ Jannie – how amazing to see you .. and I wondered if you’d pick up the Nova Scotia bit .. so glad you did. I bet that part of the word is full of different languages – Scandinavian, Icelandic, Germanic … and our real mix up of Anglo-Saxon which we speak … I hadn’t realised hubby came from NS …

I suspect many of the Cornish are fairly feisty, and as you say unbiddable … now it’s not so difficult to get down to … Very happy you enjoyed it Jannie .. and oh yes a Cornish pasty would be good …

@ Margie – how great you came from Nova Scotia and then moved down to Boston and met your man … and as you say the rest is history. Lovely having Nova Scotia in your roots …

@ Anabel – what fun .. St Ives is just beautiful … my part of the world. I hope you get to visit again … and enjoy your read through the posts ..

@ OOTP – ok that’s interesting about the “17 accents” .. I’ll check it out… and yes I guess describing the dialect as piratey would make sense …

@ Samantha – thanks so much … well I’m delighted if I’ve stirred your mind to think more about Cornwall … I thought the video was a good addition … at least everyone can hear the dialect .. “very cool” .. thanks!!

Cheers everyone – so pleased you’ve enjoyed the posts and learning more about Cornwall – hope you’re enjoying your weekend .. Hilary

cleemckenzie said...

I loved reading the Cornish gloss for English words. Of course, a true Cornish speaker wouldn't understand me at all. When I was in Wales, I was pathetic at pronouncing anything. They were quite patient with me, however, and repeated the words so I could get close to saying them right. As always, this has been an informative and interesting visit.

TexWisGirl said...

glad some of the language is retained!

Joanne said...

very informative. Wow - Cornish is challenging that's for sure, but glad so much of the language history is retained. I'd like to buy a vowel please....

Nick Wilford said...

It's such a nice sounding language, I'm glad there is some attempt being made to bring it back. I like the place names too. My best friend at school was Jon Trewin but everyone just called him "Trewin" - another good Cornish name!

Melissa Sugar said...

Beautiful photos. How awful that they lost their language. It's terrible.

Hilary, you are kicking butt and taking names on my crime fiction murder mystery. I mean nothing get by you. I am very grateful to you for all your visits and for truly paying close attention. I see that I finally stumped you with the letter Q clue - quarter. You're hard to stump.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

This has nothing to do with anything, just my random thought after reading your post. We have a Celtic festival every summer in our little town in MO. Very interesting.

Deborah Weber said...

Wow Hilary, I feel like I'm coming away from your series with such a rich new understanding and interest! My brain however is resisting any suggestions it might be able to master any of the pronunciations.

Elizabeth Los said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elizabeth Los said...

I was curious, was Cornwall considered "West Country" at one point? I ask because when I had written my novel, I wanted one of my main characters to be from West Country, but seeing the map this morning (and its been a while since I've looked at a map of England), it looks like maybe it's the same area?

Ann Best said...

One of my favorite of your all wonderful posts. The photographs at the end are JUST delicious ((( )))

Lynn said...

Love the inventive ways you are posting the alphabet letters. :) Good job, Hilary!

Entrepreneurial Goddess said...

Hello there.
Always wanted to go visit Cornwall, but never got around to it. Growing up, I remember we used to eat a lot of Cornish Pasties. They were delicious. Nice photos too!
Thanks for sharing.

Entrepreneurial Goddess

Vallypee said...

Fascinating, Hilary. A feast of old words!! What interests me too is the way English no longer uses the inverted verb as is seen in the Carew quote. It is still used in Dutch.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Lee – getting to grips with the way a language sounds is so difficult isn’t it – Welsh is even worse I think! Thankfully I have the advantage of having worked with E European names and lived in South Africa .. still things can be difficult even so ..

@ Theresa – thankfully the words are here, the grammar is known ..

@ Joanne – the language is challenging yes – you may buy a vowel .. not sure what I should charge … and would you like the “y” from Jynjy?

@ Nick – the rough brogue of the dialect is wonderful isn’t it ... and I guess there’ll always be linguists around who will try and keep it going. Your friend … Trewin sounds a good Cornish name ..

@ Melissa – it’s one of those things .. it faded away and of course the internet wasn’t around .. but the British Library are recording dialects from around the UK.

Your crime fiction for the last couple of posts has had me stumped somewhat .. still can’t quite work it out .. well the clue bits anyway!

@ Teresa – the Celts like to remember their festivals and it’s a good way of having a get together, keeping some of the traditions going …

@ Deborah – that’s fantastic if through my posts you’re getting an understanding of Cornwall and a ‘new’ interest. Working out how to say words is so difficult … I can understand you there …

@ Elizabeth – I tried to find your blog on Google+ - but failed … the West country is not a strictly defined area … but is usually Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, and Somerset; the City and County of Bristol, while the counties of Gloucestershire and Wiltshire are often included. I hope you pick this up! I’ll have another look for you …

@ Ann – thanks for coming by … glad you and Jen had a happy viewing ..

@ Lynn – it’s good and necessary to be creative – thanks

@ EG – how lovely to see you here .. and thanks for your comment … perhaps you can get down to visit sometime ..

@ Val – it’s interesting to read your comment about the inverted verb … my grammar is appalling – and perhaps that’s why I struggle with language … Dutch (Afrikaans) and German …

Thanks so much everyone – nearly there now … enjoy the last few days …. Hilary

Lisa said...

Love John Benalleck's accent and story! That clip was very well done. Thanks for sharing. I added it to my "Videos I like" list on YouTube. I have a friend who lives here now but is from Cornwall. I'm sending him a link to your blog so he can reminisce... Lisa, co-host AtoZ 2015, @ http://www.lisabuiecollard.com

Empty Nest Insider said...

It's interesting that the Cornish language died out centuries ago. I'll have to checkout your link after A to
Z. Sorry I've slipped so far behind, Hilary.

Julie

Marian Green said...

Love all the Cornish stuff. Such a lot in your posts - you must be at it full time.
See my words at:
gramswisewords.blogspot.com

J Lenni Dorner said...

J here, stopping by from the #atozchallenge. Thank you for visiting by my blog recently.
Fascinating stuff. The language of my tribe isn't totally lost, though several of the regional dialects have vanished.
-J @JLenniDorner

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Lisa - glad you had a chance to listen to John Benalleck - it was a good find .. thanks for adding it to your "Videos I like" list on YouTube.

I wonder what your friend thought of my posts on Cornwall ... ?

@ Julie - yes the true language I think went 250 years ago .. and of course then we didn't have recording machines etc ... they are certainly doing all they can to remember/ hold on to what's available today.

@ Marian - thanks for visiting .. I will be over! I hope you enjoyed all the content ... it does take a lot of time - but I enjoy it .. and usually only post once a week or so ...

@ J - sad about your tribe losing their regional dialects, yet thankfully they've retained their language: long may it continue.

Cheers to you all ... thanks - Hilary

Michelle Wallace said...

Interesting lingo!
I love the rhyming couplets in the different English sonnets!! I've studied quite a few of those...

Love the quaint chapel.
I'll take a peek at the Youtube link when I have a moment...
Deniz is probably intelligent and brave too... with a flair for languages!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Michelle - it is interesting to read the words and see where they stemmed from ... with your interesting in song, and poetry .. I can see you'd have a lot of interest in the Cornish language and its songs ... the Chapel looks delightful - I'd better stop off next time I go to Cornwall I think.

I hope you had a chance to get to the Youtube link ... and yes Deniz is those things .. that I'm certain of: quite agree! Cheers Hilary