The British government Friday awarded a grant of 223,000 U.S. dollars to help develop one of the rarest languages in Britain — Cornish.
million dollarsOnce an ancient kingdom, Cornwall is today home to more than 500,000 people living in the most southerly part of Britain, typified by a scenic beauty spot known as Land’s End, literally the very tip of Great Britain.
Just a few hundred Cornish people today can speak their language fluently, though it is often used in wedding and other formal ceremonies.
Four members of parliament (MPs) in 2010 spoke their oaths of office in both English and Cornish. And today Cornish is being taught in a number of schools.
Cornish people are proud of their Celtic history, with recent campaigns for the region to be given self-rule with its own Cornish Assembly — similar to its next door neighbor, Wales.
Campaigners have also called for the reinstatement of their own government, the Cornish Stannary Parliament, last held in 1753.
The funding package was announced by British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Communities Minister Stephen Williams.
Cornish is the only language in England recognized under the Council of Europe’s Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. There is even a Cornish flag.
Last year, the distinct identity of Cornish people was recognized by the granting of minority status under the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. This affords Cornish people the same status as Britain’s other Celtic people, the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish.
The new funding will sit alongside money from local partners to help promote the Cornish language.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “I’m delighted to have secured additional funding to preserve the Cornish language. It is clear to me that language is central to Cornwall’s heritage and I am determined to keep it alive and thriving.”
“The language virtually died out in the 19th century, but in recent years great efforts have been made to revive and return Cornish to common use. It would be a crime to let such a distinct language disappear again. The funding I pushed for will continue to ensure Cornish is spoken and heard across the county for generations to come,” added Clegg.
Cornwall was once famed for its tin mines, but today it is a major holiday destination, known as the Cornish Riviera, with tourism accounting for more than 25 percent of income. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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