Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced that the Coalition Government will be investing £120,000 in promoting and developing the Cornish language.
The announcement comes after campaigning from local Lib Dem MPs Dan Rogerson, Andrew George and Stephen Gilbert, as well as from the Lib Dem Communities Minister Stephen Williams, to continue to provide support for MAGA, the Cornish Language Partnership.
The Government funding announced today will sit alongside money from local partners, including Cornwall Council, and will be used by the Cornish Language Partnership to promote Kernewek.
MAGA, The Cornish Language Partnership, works with businesses on the use of Cornish in branding and marketing Cornish products, and works with schools to increase the knowledge and use of the language.
Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said: “Cornish is central to Cornwall’s heritage and a living and growing language is part of what makes the region distinct. The funding will help the Cornish Language Partnership use the language to encourage more visitors to the area by promoting this unique identity. This means that local people can boost Cornwall’s economy and culture, building a stronger economy and fairer society.”
MP for West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Andrew George said: “Though the number of regular Cornish speakers may be small the significance and symbolism of the Cornish language and its growing use makes an important contribution to local pride and as an economic driver.”
The UK Government ratified the Council of Europe’s Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in 2001, and in 2003 recognised the Cornish language under the Charter. The Department for Communities and Local Government has provided funding to MAGA, the Cornish Language Partnership, as part of fulfilling the Government’s responsibilities under the Charter to carry out “resolute action to promote regional or minority languages in order to safeguard them”.
The Cornish Language Partnership brings together a range of voluntary organisations and statutory bodies and for the first time established an office and dedicated staff for the language. The organisation works with schools, businesses and community groups, produces resources, oversees work on the language itself and promotes Cornish widely at home and through Europe.
The Partnership also support a web-based Cornish radio service; provide translations and promotional stands at events and festivals; run language sessions to around 100 schools and organise marketing campaigns for Cornwall’s very important tourism and visitor industry.
Andrew George was the first MP to speak Cornish in Parliament, during his maiden speech in 1997. Dan Rogerson MP was the first government minister to speak Cornish from the despatch box earlier this month.
All three Cornish Liberal Democrat MPs swore their Parliamentary oath in Cornish when elected in 2010. Dan Rogerson MP and Andrew George MP have also featured in an episode of ‘Tamm ha Tamm’, a series of videos produced by MAGA and designed for beginners learning the language.