Cornish (Kernewek)

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Cornish is a Celtic language primarily spoken in Cornwall on the west coast of England. As a Brythonic language, it shares roots with both Welsh and Breton, and is thought to have some mutual intelligibility with Breton. In fact, it is this relationship that has helped Cornish revitalization efforts in recent years. While Cornish all but disappeared as a community language in the 18th century due to the cultural and linguistic persecution of its speakers (Dolly Pentreath (1692-1777) is considered the last native speaker of the language), a Celtic revival gained traction in Cornwall during the 20th century. 

The trajectory Cornish has taken during this period of revival has been largely manipulated by the individuals working directly on its reconstruction. Today there are three revived Cornish languages that compete for use and prestige: Modern Cornish, Common Cornish, and Unified Cornish Revised (UCR). Modern Cornish was developed in the early 1980s and is reconstructed from Late Cornish texts. Common Cornish was originally known as Phonemic Cornish and was devised during the late 1980s; it is based on Medieval Cornish manuscripts and employs a spelling system unlike those used for other versions of the language. UCR was developed in 1995 after the original Unified Cornish devised in 1929 was found to be inadequate. The most popular versions today are Common Cornish and UCR but all three are spoken by revivalists today; they are all mutually intelligible and subject to a Standard Written Form. The debate surrounding language revitalization philosophy and academic approach is one borne out by this unique Cornish example.

Language learning