Cornish Dialect Introduction.

Cornish dialect or Cornu-English is to some extent influenced by Cornish grammar, and often includes words derived from the Cornish language. The Cornish language is a Celtic language of the Brythonic branch as are the Welsh and Breton languages. In addition to the distinctive words and grammar, there are a variety of accents found within Cornwall from the north coast to that of the south coast and from east to west Cornwall. The speech of the various parishes being to some extent different from the others. Other common features of Cornish Dialect include retention of archaic features of Middle-English or even Old-English.

The following have been listed as common grammatical features of Cornish Dialect.

  • reversals (e.g. Her aunt brought she up)
  • archaisms (e.g. give ‘un to me – ‘un is a descendant of Old English hine)
  • the retention of thou and ye (thee and ye (’ee)) – Why doesn’t thee have a fringe?
  • double plurals – clothes-line postes[clarification needed]
  • irregular use of the definite article – He died right in the Christmas
  • use of the definite article with proper names – Did ‘ee knaw th’old Canon Harris?
  • the omission of prepositions – went chapel
  • the extra ‘y’ suffix on the infinitive of verbs I ain’t one to gardeny, but I do generally teal the garden every spring
  • ‘they’ as a demonstrative adjective – they books
  • frequent use of the word ‘up’ as an adverb – answering up
  • the use of ‘some’ as an adverb of degree – She’s some good maid to work

It must be noted that their are wide variances in dialect between Cornish communities even when located near to each other.  In its strongest form Cornish Dialect could be considered as distinct from modern English as the Scots language.

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