15 February 2008

Parturient montes nascetur…Kernewek mashup.

They have laboured and produced a new, credible, viable, seventh, version of Cornish. No doubt it will have an uplifting adjective attached until it becomes just Kernewek.

It is a mashup of the present varieties of Cornish (listed, if you are really interested, here) and tries to accommodate the various spellings and sounds in a single spelling system. It is intended – hoped – that this is the version that will be seen as the official, standard one and will be paramount for writing; a single written form of the language. The current others will become variants, probably still used by some of their present devotees. I think that over time the users will develop naturally a living standard as happens in every language and these days of disagreement will be an unhappy far-off memory. Of course controversy will always accompany language usage but it will be about the Cornish homologues of the intrusive r and different from/ to / than and the death of the subjunctive in English, the whole world to a few, nothing to most.

There’s still much to do: for example, a dictionary, the spelling of place names, how to invent new words for new things that will come along. Despite the welcome from most users and friends for the cooperative work and its fruits after years of factional disagreements, there has been much public contention from a few and if that spirit prevails all will be lost – you and I may fume about global warming, poverty, terrorism, inflation; these people rage about how to spell words in a reconstructed language. The silent majority of the level-headed among the present Cornish users must cry themselves to sleep.

By the way, what’s Cornish for mashup?