Decline of Cornish

Kernowek (Cornish) speaking areas, 1300-1750

Kernowek (Cornish) is the native Celtic language of the Kernowyon (Cornish people), who live in the in the Southwest peninsula of the island of Breten Veur (Great Britain). For many centuries, the language was in perpetual decline as the Kernowyon gradually adopted English as their common language. Some time in the 18th or 19th centuries, the language may have gone extinct. Since the 20th century, a conscious effort has been made to revive Kernowek, and today it is estimated that there are 2,000 fluent speakers.




    • Kernowek is not a dialect of English, it’s part of an entirely separate language group. English is an amalgam of Anglo Saxon (a Germanic language) and Norman French (a Romance language).

      The Celtic languages are divided into two groups, Brythonic (Welsh, Breton, Cornish) and Goidelic (Scots Gaelic, Irish Gaelic, and Manx).


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