Page last updated at 11:07 GMT, Saturday, 16 January 2010

Toddlers get lessons in Cornish


Toddlers get lessons in Cornish

A new creche has opened teaching toddlers how to speak Cornish.

Movyans Skolyow Meythrin, Cornish for the Nursery Schools Movement, aims to teach children the language through play while parents also get lessons.

Seven children were registered for the Saturday creche at Cornwall College, Camborne.

The language fell out of use in the 19th Century but there are now believed to be several hundred fluent Cornish speakers in Cornwall.

The first session included lessons in Cornish and songs well-known throughout the county.

Organiser Rhisiart Tal-e-bot said: "This is an idea which I have had for several years.

The Cornish St Piran flag
19th Century: Cornish fell out of use as spoken language
2002: Recognised by the UK Government as minority language
2006: Cornish Language Development Office starts
2008: Written form of language agreed
2009: First bilingual road signs in Cornwall

"This is about teaching parents how to bring up their children alongside our local heritage.

"There will also be classes run at the same time as the creche so that adults can learn a little about the county."

The Cornish creche is the latest in a number of initiatives designed to boost recognition of the Cornish language.

In November 2009, Cornwall councillors voted in favour of bilingual street signs.

Mr Tal-e-bot said his creche was vital to help engage the next generation with their culture.

He said: "It is important to develop the language in this way and encourage children to think about how Cornwall fits in with their lives."

Father-of-two Conan Jenkin only uses Cornish at home.

He said: "Children can easily distinguish between the two languages from an early age.

"My three year old knows one is daddy's language and one is mummy's language.

"That helps her realise there are two different ways of saying things."

The creche is funded by Cornwall Council through the Cornish Language Partnership which promotes the language.

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