Lesson 31

If he were picked for the team, he'd bring more strength to the midfield. or If he’d been picked for the team, he’d have brought more strength to the midfield.

If you knew this, you’d know the one thing that’s most important. or If you’d known this, you’d have known the one thing that was most important.

I'd buy a new dress if I had enough money. or I’d have bought a new dress if I’d had enough money.

I’d go to town if the weather was better. or I’d have gone to town if the weather had been better.

If we made up our mind first, we could avoid unnecessary argument later. or If we’d made up our mind first, we could have avoided unnecessary argument later.

If we were to agree, we'd be betraying his trust. or If we’d agreed, we’d have been betraying his trust.

If you really wanted to help me, you wouldn’t offer such batty advice. or If you’d really wanted to help me, you wouldn’t have offered such batty advice.

If you could clarify your intentions, that would be easier for everybody. or If you could have clarified your intentions, that would have been easier for everybody.

I’d be calmer if only you were more polite. or I’d have been calmer if only you’d been more polite.

If only the thing were a joke, we’d all be laughing. or If only the thing had been a joke, we’d all have been laughing.

Lesson 32

“Na ve unweyth pycher pîsa! Mar pe coraj dhodho gelwel orty, leverel cabm dell o va, ha dell yw res assaya treveth moy, neb for’, rag ev dh’y hara, ha fol y fara ev, dhana gorra taclow y halsens arta warbarth. Sur ov iredy. Saw gelwel ny vydn nefra. Gelwel y fensa hyhy, lyckly lowr, na ve mar stowt. My mar mydnyf mos dhe gows orty ... a via vas? Ha hy ’colsowes pàr hap. Pe unweyth me dhe wodhvos pandra wrama. Te sos, pëth a wrusses a pes i’m tyller vy?”

Lesson 33

The Cornish Language Society met for the first time at Demelsa’s school, and she was in the chair. Here’s a summary of what Sûsan Hendry had to say.

“There’s no doubt our language is important as heritage. But you’re aware the majority of Cornwall’s population speaks English without knowing Cornish, except for a few words. The work of a politician is to take action in the interest of the whole of society. Preserving a heritage – that’s in the interest of society. Listening to the voice of every minority = that’s likewise in the interest of society. But taking action on behalf of a minority against the majority, or without paying attention to the majority – no – that wouldn’t be democracy. We politicians are servants of the fundamental rights of the minority, certainly. But one always has to decide what rights will be regarded as fundamental, and there are widely differing opinions on this question. There’s never enough money for everything. One must understand where the money comes from: local taxation in Cornwall, payments into the Treasury in London. And it’s not possible always to ensure in laws for the whole of England that no problem will arise for speakers of Cornish. Every Member of Parliament for a Cornish constituency is, however, a voice in Parliament in order that the claims of Cornish may be heard.”

And here is a précis of what Tybalt Angwin said in his address.

“In my view, politics doesn’t really matter that much. The living language is deeply rooted in our families, in our many personal relationships, in our minds and our thoughts. Our language is part of our identity, no matter what the attitude of those who administer the country. I write poetry in Cornish because it’s only through Cornish that I wish to capture the essence of life. And I write novels because we must fortify the language as a vehicle for all kinds of ideas, we must bring richness into its ability to represent the world as we Cornish people see it, we must provide patterns for all who wish to stop using English as a prop for their imagination. Literature is oxygen. Breathe everything I publish. You’re welcome. And may you thereby, perhaps, be inspired to apply your own talent to write more things, better things, wonderful things.”

There was a lively discussion after the two presentations. In Cornish. What discussion can you have about the various points in each speech? At first in Cornish. And in English too.