Cornwall in focus

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Cornish today

Cornish language as it survives today

Cornish language today

Other relics include the adding of 'do' before the verb, as in "They do go" and "I did walk" especially around the Lizard, and the use of 'weem' and 'youm' - in Mid Cornwall, although the entymology of these words are uncertain. For the visitor, place-names and some surnames give an insight into the ancient language very quickly. For instance:

Hayle - Hayl- Estuary;
Carnkie - Carn-Ki - Dog Hill;
Mevagissey - (St.)Meva hag(St.)Issey - from (St.) Meva and (St.) Issey;
Marazion - Marghas Yow (Thursday Market);
Camborne - Kamm-Bron - Crooked Hill;
Redruth - Ryd Rudh - River Red;
Pednandrea (Redruth)- Pedn-an-Drea - Head of the town;
Pedn-men-an-mere - Pedn-mên-an-mere - Rocky headland by the sea;
Trenoweth - Tre-Noweth - New Homestead;
Penzance - Penn-Sans - Holy Headland;
Porthpean - Porth Byghan - Little Cove;
Port Quin - Porth Gwynn - White Cove;
Polglase - Pol-Glas - Blue Pool;
Chegwin - Chi Gwynn - White House;
Poldhu - Pol-Du - Black Pool;
Maenporth - Mên Porth - Rocky Cove;
(The) Manacles - Mên Eglos - (The) Church Rocks, and
Kynance - Ki Nans - Dog Valley?

Of course there are very many places named after the Celtic Saints of Ireland, Wales and Brittany such as:

  • St. Ives (Porth Ia) after St.Ia;
  • St. Day (Ste. Dé);
  • Gwithian (Ste. Gwithyen);
  • Zennor (St. Senara);
  • Kea (St. Ké);
  • St. Austell (Ste. Austol);
  • St. Mawgan;
  • Paul (Ste. Pol de Leon);
  • Lelant (Lan-Anta); and
  • Gunwalloe after Ste. Winwalloe.

Saxon influence in certain areas confuses matters as they added the suffix -ton to the towns and villages, but a little research normally unearths the former name: Helston is Hellys+ton and Launceston is Lan-stefan+ton.

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