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Monday, 22 July, 2002, 17:49 GMT 18:49 UK
Cornish language 'to be recognised'
Cornish landscape
More than 3,000 people have knowledge of Cornish
The government is set to officially recognise the Cornish language for the first time, an MP has claimed.

Andrew George, the MP for St Ives, said he expected Local Government Minister Nick Raynsford to make an announcement to Parliament by the end of July.

Cornish campaigners have pushed for the language to be recognised under the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages.

Mr George said it would be "the most significant news for the language in living memory".

Cornish bards
Cornish culture is enjoying a revival.

About 3,500 people have knowledge of Cornish, an estimated 500 use it and a further 100 are fluent speakers, according to latest estimates.

Mr George said: "I am confident the government will specify the Cornish language under the European charter.

"To not to would be rather scandalous to say the least."

He added: "It is the most significant news for the language in living memory.

"It is not just important for those for whom the language is of significance, but it is of greater significance to the economy of Cornwall.

"The best way to promote ourselves is through our unique selling point, our distinctiveness, and the best way of this is through language."

Wella Brown, spokesman for the Cornish Language Board, said the last 10 years had seen a revival of the language.

More support

He added: "Recognising the language would be a step in the right direction. It would be received with a great deal of pleasure in Cornwall."

Cornish, a Celtic language closely related to Welsh and Breton, died out in the late 19th Century.

It was revived during the 20th Century following the work of Henry Jenner who published a pamphlet in 1908 promoting its use.

A spokesman for Nick Raynsford refused to comment.



See also:

19 Mar 02 | England
12 Mar 02 | England
11 Dec 01 | England
24 Jan 00 | Wales
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