Language death and revival: Cornish as a minority language in UK

  • Zsuzsanna Renkó-Michelsén University of Helsinki
Keywords: endangered languages, minority languages, language death, language revival, GIDS, Cornish

Abstract

The paper introduces the worldwide phenomenon of language death, and briefly elaborates on the arguments for saving endangered languages. The main focus of the paper is revived Cornish. Cornish is a Celtic language that was spoken in Cornwall, UK between the 7th and 16th century. Due to Anglicisation, it became gradually endangered and finally died out as a community language during the 18th century. The revival of Cornish started with the publication of Henry Jenner's Handbook of the Cornish Language in 1904. Today Cornish is recognised by UNESCO as a 'critically endangered' language. The paper presents an analysis of revived Cornish along Fishman's Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale (GIDS).

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Published
2013-05-27