Exercise 26

Perys Pentreath, Demelsa’s father, is an official at Cornwall Council. He's promised to provide advice to the new Cornish language society.


Our committee met yesterday. We talked a lot, decided very little. But Mr Mundy is keen to organize discussions. You know? Debating.


I’m not surprised. Isn’t he now in charge of the English Department? I’ve been friends with Brian Mundy and Cattern his wife for a long time. I used to visit their house, occasionally, after the divorce, when things were more difficult for me.


Like we don’t talk about that …


Right … Now, you can do two kinds of debating. First, competitively between the pupils themselves. To practise Cornish oratory. It doesn’t matter what the topics are. Whatever teenagers find interesting. Secondly, bringing in outside speakers, who get invited to the School so they can debate the state of Cornish today, in the home and in public life.


Yes. Oratory ought to please Mundy. But I want to find suitable guests, without his help, if I can. Would you come to us sometime perhaps?


Sure. You can organize a debate about Cornish in the workings and services of Cornwall Council – why not? I can’t argue against my employer. But I can explain what’s possible without turning into a lot of trouble, and mention operations that aren’t at all easy to change. It will be good to debate along with two or three other invitees, as the Floor will be asking questions and adding remarks. I’ve no wish to stand all alone in front of a crowd of sceptical noisy young people.


They’ll be sceptical – perhaps. Noisy – no, never. I won’t allow it. Remember, I’m the chair.


Well, controlling a meeting is a skill worth mastering early. Good luck!

Exercise 27

A long time ago there was a railway station in Helston. The trains used to stop in Nancegollan and Praze, and the branch line joined the main track from Truro to Penzance. The designers knew, when they drew up the plan for the line, that a viaduct across the River Cober would consume a large part of the budget. The length of this ‘Lowertown Viaduct’ is 114 meters and it has six arches.

The line was closed in 1962. Nowadays a private society exists to conserve the line, and a modest length has been restored so far, allowing visitors to take a short ride.

Exercise 28

It is common in conversation nowadays to disregard the rule of sequence of tenses. In that case the verb forms will be as given in brackets for information.

An radyô a dherivys fatell vydna (vydn) an penvenyster vysytya Kernow nessa seythen.

It was reported on the radio that the prime minister would (will) be visiting Cornwall next week.

An radyô a dherivys fatell vedha (vëdh) nessa myssyon NASA parys dhe launchya scon.

It was reported on the radio that NASA’s next mission would (will) soon be ready to launch.

An radyô a dherivys fatell wre (wra) prîsyow an hens horn cressya unweyth arta.

It was reported on the radio that train fares would (will) be going up again.

An radyô a dherivys fatell vydna (vydn) udn lyverva moy degea kyn pedn an vledhen.

It was reported on the radio that a further library would (will) be closing by the end of the year.

An radyô a dherivys fatell wre (wra) glaw ternos vyttyn.

It was reported on the radio that it would (will) rain the following day.

Exercise 29

Elen and Powl are talking about the new Society that Demelsa is chairing.


Demelsa has asked Perys to come to one of the discussions she wants to organize. Maybe you could offer something that’s helpful for her.


Attend a debate at the school?


There’s no need really for that. You could put her in touch with the Chamber of Commerce. So she can investigate the language’s relationship to the business world.


The business world is the world of profit. And it’s hard to make a profit from Cornish. It’s not a commodity. But it’s important to keep the customers happy, and speaking Cornish in the legal business when that suits the clients is certainly an advantage for any solicitor.


So have a chat with her. You’ve experience of the sort that says a lot. You know we don’t want to get into troublesome competition with Perys. But I’m sure Demelsa won’t be ungrateful if you take an interest in her project; something that’s going to be a big challenge for a girl whose only sixteen.


Seventeen next month. She’ll be an adult before we’re ready for it. But I do agree with you. It’ll be no bad thing to give a bit of guidance. Light touch.

Exercise 30


Mr Mundy, Head of English

Demelsa Pentreath, Sixth Form

I’m happy to report that Sûsan Hendry, advisor to our MP, and Tybalt Angwin, famous poet and novelist in Cornish, have agreed to come to the first meeting of our new Society. Sûsan will speak (in Cornish, naturally) about the position of the language in the political life of Cornwall. Mr Angwin will share some remarks about literature in the Cornish language and how it may develop.

I’m sure you will welcome these guests in an appropriate manner.

Alson Combellack

Head Teacher