Exercise 1

Elen Tonkin is a nursing sister, Powl her husband is a solicitor. They live in Truro. Demelsa is Elen’s daughter, and her father is Perys Pentreath, an official at Cornwall Council. Mark and Danyel are Elen and Powl’s sons. Her mother has custody of Demelsa. The family’s language at home is Cornish. Danyel is in Year 5 at primary school. Mark is in Year 8 at secondary school. Demelsa too is at this same school. She succeeded very well in the GCSE examinations. Now she’ll be starting Sixth Form. Her course of study is physics, chemistry, maths. The School’s Head Teacher has asked Demelsa to establish a Cornish language society among the students.

Exercise 2

In the Cornwall in which the Tonkin family lives the Cornish language is spoken by approximately fifteen per cent of households. Did Cornish never die? Was Cornish restored much more than has happened in our Cornwall? You can decide what to believe. But today, in the Tonkin family’s Cornwall, there are big questions. How much Cornish can be allowed in schools? What rights will the Cornish speakers have to use the language in public life? What attitude will there be towards the many people who are not prepared to learn it?

Elen and Powl speak Cornish in their professional work. This is welcome when English is not the first language of the patients and the clients. But relations with colleagues are not always easy when these cannot understand everything that is being said.

Danyel Tonkin’s primary school is one of the schools where children learn in Cornish. But there aren’t enough teachers to achieve this for every subject. In Danyel’s school there are two streams: English and Cornish. Whenever there is a teacher to teach the pupils in Cornish, the streams study separately. One teacher, Mr Teague, visits from the secondary school to teach the children basic geography in Cornish. Powl is the chair of the school’s governors and very much wants to see a great deal more elementary learning in Cornish. And Elen vigorously supports that wish.

In Mark and Demelsa's school there are lessons in Cornish in a handful of subjects, and some Cornish is used in sport and activity time. Mr Teague, for example, is a teacher of geography in Cornish. He coaches some of the football teams as well. Mark was captain of the Year 7 First XI last year, and Mr Teague can often talk to him in Cornish.

Exercise 3


Will you be captain of the First XI this year just like last year?


No idea. Mr Teague was responsible for all the football in Year 7 last year. It’s fantastic news he’s coming now to take responsibility for Year 8, because a new teacher has joined who’ll take Year 7 going forward.


I know Mr Teague. He comes to my school to teach us geography. In Cornish. He taught us lots about global warming.


Yeah, he’s a good chap. Better, I think, than most of the teachers. And he’s great with the ball. When a team of teachers challenged the Sixth Form First XI last year, the guy scored three times! One goal placed brilliantly in the very corner of the net. One came off a header from a corner kick. And the third was a penalty. Amazing power. The keeper had no chance!

Exercise 4

A wrussowgh [why] prena chy nowyth?

Have you bought a new house?

Ny wrussyn [ny] gorfedna an whel.

We didn't finish the job.

Y whrussons y dos in udn rew.

They came all together.

Ny wrug vy gweles an pëth esa ow wharvos.

I hadn't seen what was happening.

A wrussys [jy] (or wrusta) pôtya an bel dres an ke?

Did you kick the ball over the fence?

Ny wrug vy vysytya Dama Wydn agensow.

I haven't visited Grandma recently.

Y whrug an vowes cria uhel hy lev.

The girl shouted out loud.

Ny wrug ev gelwel ma’s tysk bian a gothmans dh’y gyffewy.

He only invited a few friends to his party.

A wrussys [jy] (or wrusta) clôwes oll an tros?

Did you hear all the noise?

Y whrug pùbonen wherthyn.

Everyone laughed.