More than £1million spent on Cornish Language
How much is the Cornish language worth?
More than £1 million has been spent since 2006 on promoting and developing the language that had almost disappeared.
Cornwall Council is currently putting together a bid for another £400,000 a year from central government for the next three years, with the council adding £100,000 a year.
For some, it is a small price to pay for the resurrection of a language that is at the heart of Cornish cultural identity. For others, it is a waste of public money at a time when toilets and libraries are being closed due to lack of funds.
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Luke Stevens is one of the Cornish Oafs, a young duo who use comedy and social media such as Facebook and Twitter to spread their passion for the Cornish language.
They have not sought or received public funding but believe the work carried out to codify the language has been worthwhile and its contribution to the culture of Cornwall is invaluable.
Luke said: “We don’t think everyone should speak Cornish but there is a hell of a lot of people who do want to and it’s money well spent if that’s the case.
“There are definitely people out there whose lives have been enriched by that money.”
A standard written form of Cornish was agreed upon in 2008 and two years later Unesco announced that its former classification of the language as extinct was no longer accurate.
“The fact there is now a standard written form has improved my life,” said Luke.
“Not everyone was for the Olympics but a lot of public money went into that.”
Luke said the organisations that had received public funding such as Maga, the Cornish Language Partnership, had “done all the legwork” essential for the Cornish language to thrive.
Cornwall Council said the funding for the Cornish language had supported three full-time jobs.
Luke said: “It was deemed extinct and now it’s not. Three people to resurrect a whole language is pretty good value.”
When the West Briton previously revealed the latest plans to spend £500,000 a year on the Cornish language, some readers expressed dismay.
Oscar Burnett captured the views of many when he wrote on the West Briton website: “In my view the Cornish language is an unnecessary luxury at a time when there are more pressing issues.
“It has nothing to do with being for or against the Cornish people and more to do with a lack of common sense by a load of well off do-gooders.”
Cornwall Council defended the amount of money spent and said the Cornish Language Partnership provided advice, information and translation services to the general public.
A council spokesman said: “There is an emphasis on education, where work has taken place with a large number of schools to introduce Cornish language and culture via a range of projects, short courses and in some cases more sustained provision, working in with local studies.”
The council said the money received from the Department for Communities and Local Government was linked to the UK responsibilities under the European Charter for regional or Minority Languages and could not be drawn down by Cornwall Council for any other purpose.
Communities Minister Stephen Williams said: “The Cornish language is an important part of our heritage, and so the Government, along with local partners such as Cornwall Council, has contributed to funding its promotion as a living and growing language.