A journey to Cornwall

I recently published three books by Nicholas Williams about Revived Cornish, and we discovered a small but irritating typographical error on the title page of one of them. Normally correction of typos is left for an errata sheet, but in this case we decided it would be best to print a correction on an adhesive sticker and paste it down on the title page. This gave me the chance to visit Cornwall for the first time in some years.

And what a splendid trip it was! I flew to Heathrow and took the Heathrow Express to Paddington—what a pleasure such a quick train is—and then took the train down to Truro. It was bright sunny November day, and the four-and-a-half hour journey passed very quickly. I spent some of it correcting an edition of Nicholas Boson’s story “Jowan Chy an Hor" as transcribed by Edward Lhuyd as “Dzhûan Tshei an Hɐr” in his 1707 Archaeologia Britannica. Quite a pleasure it was correcting it, too, as I recently acquired a copy of the original 1707 publication, rebound in red morocco in 1955 by “Nanquelsek”, an American bard of the Cornish Gorsedd. (I have a photo of the book's original binding and am thinking of having it rebound again in that more authentic style.)

At Truro I was met by Neil Kennedy, who has been living in Brittany for the past few years, but who is one of the people who have been using a form of Richard Gendall’s Revived Late Cornish orthography for the past 18 years or so. Neil and I spent several hours over dinner discussing the varieties of Revived Cornish orthography and our thoughts about how the current work towards a Single Written Form for Cornish is going. Later we drove to Portreath on the northwest coast to meet with Ray and Denise Chubb, proprietors of Spyrys a Gernow and members of Agan Tavas. Ray and Neil and I retired to Ray’s local for a few pints of real ale and more talk of orthography. There’s nothing like writing out comparisons of long and short vowels in different orthographies on beer mats with good company and tasty ale! Much has been written about the animosity between different factions of the Cornish Revival. The road ahead looks hopeful to me, though. Certainly seems to me to be nothing but growing mutual respect and friendly regards on the side of those who prefer authentic Cornish orthography for Revived Cornish.


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