The 1,000th Cornish street sign has been installed as part of a plan to increase the number of bi-lingual street names in the county.
Since its inception in 2010 the Place-name and Street Signage Panel of the Cornish Language Partnership has provided 1,000 Cornish language translations for street names all across Cornwall.
Cornish language and bi-lingual signage in Cornwall are nothing new. A few streets in Cornwall were historically named in Cornish when the language was more widely spoken. Some streets were named in Cornish in the 1930s and more still during the later part of the 20th Century. The former Kerrier and Carrick District Councils also erected over 600 signs. It is now estimated that 17% of the signs across Cornwall are in Cornish or are bilingual.
Cornwall Council encourage developers to name new streets in Cornish and in other cases ensure that our streets are named bilingually. In a recent survey in Cornwall 88 per cent of people surveyed were aware of the Cornish language street names whilst almost 80 per cent agreed that our language helps to make Cornwall a distinctive place.
The street name project aims to helping to make this important part of Cornish culture much more visible. It is also playing a useful role in enhancing Cornish distinctiveness, and in developing a "Cornish brand" which is increasingly important for our economy.
‘Marina Drive’ / ‘Rosva Vorek’ was put up in Looe on January 29. "Rosva" is the Cornish word for a "drive". It is made up of "ros" the word for wheel, and "-va" a suffix meaning "place", so literally "Wheel-place". "Mor" is the word for "sea" in Cornish whilst "-ek" is an adjectival suffix, so "morek" literally means "sea-like". Like most languages, nouns in Cornish have a gender and are either masculine or feminine. In this case the word "rosva" is feminine. In common with the other Celtic languages, in certain cases the first letter of an adjective is changed, or mutated, after a feminine noun. So in this case Rosva Morek becomes Rosva Vorek.
The translations of street signs are undertaken for Cornwall Council by a panel of volunteers, supported by MAGA, the Cornish Language Partnership. The Panel also works with developers and others on the naming of new sites, for example Taylor Wimpey’s “Penn an Dre” in Truro. More information on their work can be found on the MAGA website.
Nev Meek, chairman of the panel said, “Working with developers is really rewarding since we can we can ensure that the names for developments and streets preserve something of their history and can be in keeping with their surroundings.”
Julian German, portfolio holder for economy and culture, said: “Using the Cornish language is really important for many reasons and I would like to thank all of those involved in reaching this milestone. It’s great to see we now have one thousand bi-lingual signs across Cornwall. The Cornish language is an important part of Cornwall‘s heritage and was recognised officially in 2003. Since then the use of Cornish is growing in all walks of life and the opportunities to learn and use it are increasing all the time.”