The Cornish Language

Cornish is a Celtic language closely related to Breton and Welsh. In 2002 it was recognised as a living language under the European Charter for Regional and Minority languages.

In 2008 the main forms of Cornish – Unified, Common and Late Modern were combined to form the Standard Written Form (SWF) and this has been primarily steered by the Cornish Language Partnership.

The number of people able to speak Cornish fluently is steadily rising. In 2000 it was estimated that 300 people were fluent and by 2008 this number had risen to 2000. Since the introduction in 2008 of the Standard Written Form (SWF) which is recognised for use in education and public life, Cornish is now being taught in many of the County’s schools and therefore the number of speakers will continue to rise.

Hundreds of thousands of people know a few words of Cornish and we have detailed some of the common words on this page so that you can join them!

The Basics

Good Morning – Myttin da
Good Afternoon – Dohajedh da
Good Evening – Gordnewer da
Good night – Nos da
Please – Mar pleg
Thanks – Meur ras
Yes – Eus
No – Nag eus
Monday de Lun
Tuesday de Meurth
Wednesday de Merher
Thursday de Yow
Friday de Gwener
Saturday de Sadorn
Sunday de Sul
one – onan six – whegh
two – diw seven - seyth
three – teyr eight - eth
four – peder nine – naw
five - pymp ten – deg
January - mis Genver
February - mis Whevrel
March - mis Meurth
April – mis Ebrel
May – mis Me
June – mis Efen
July - mis Gortheren
August - mis Est
September – mis Gwynngala
October – mis Hedra
November – mis Du
December - mis Kevardhu

The Important Words!

Beer – Korev
White wine – Gwin gwynn
Red wine - Gwin rudh
Whisky – Dowr tomm alban
Cider – Sider


Place Names

Cornish place names include the following words and their meanings….
Lan – Sacred enclosure like a church
Bos or Bod – Home or dwelling
Perran – St Piran, patron Saint of Tinners
Porth – Cove, bay or port
Wheal – Mine
Pen – Headland
Pol – Pool
Tre – Homestead or town
Towan – Sand dunes
Ros – Heath or common

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