Archive for the ‘standardization’ Category

Cornish Language Partnership – Funding in Doubt

13 April 2011

According to “Fears for Cornish Language Partnership” on the BBC website, funding for the Cornish Langauge Partnership ran out at the end of last month and the British government has not approved any new funding yet. The CLP depends on the government for three-fourths of its budget. According to their site, the CLP was “set up in 2005 to oversee the implementation of the Cornish Language Development Strategy.”

Spoken in southwest England in the area known as Cornwall, Cornish (cor) went silent in the eighteenth century and began to be revived about a century ago.

According to an article last December, UNESCO had classified Cornish as extinct but revised that status to critically endangered. The article also says, “It is taught in a number of schools and is becoming increasingly popular for wedding speeches, house names and tattoos.” (Also see this page to listen to a recording of Cornish.)

One of the major hurdles the CLP had in promoting Cornish was deciding on a standard written form, that is, how to spell words and how to represent certain forms of speech. This is an issue many endangered languages face.

According to “Breakthrough for Cornish language” also on the BBC, there are four written forms: Unified Cornish, Unified Cornish Revised, Common Cornish and Modern Cornish. Without a standard form, there is the problem of which form to use, and if more than one form is in use, people become confused, making it difficult to promote fluency.

Probably most common among endangered languages is the issue that different dialects are spoken in different areas, making it difficult to decide on spelling and grammar standards that please everyone.