The Cornish Language

The Cornish Emblem, illustration by Simon Riordan

The Cornish Emblem

Cornish is one of the family of Celtic languages.The language began to die out in the 17th century but thanks to the work and research by individuals such as Henry Jenner in 1904 and Richard Gendall in the 1980s, this wonderful language has been resurrected with many local schools using teaching packs supplied by Maga, the Cornish Language Partnership, to help Cornish become a living language once more.

Many of Cornwall’s place names have their origins in the Cornish language and are probably Cornwall’s greatest asset with respect to its language. Below are some examples of parts of Cornish place names with their English translations alongside.

Bos Small house
Chy House or dwelling
Pen Head – hill
Pons Bridge
Pol Pool
Tre Homestead – settlement or farm
Hal Cliff
Nans Valley
Caer Enclosed – fort

For more information about the Cornish Language visit