cornwall comes of age

My first post. Ever. Well, on my own site. What is it to be? What was it that came to mind when I stared at the blank page? It was the news that Cornwall has been recognized as a new minority group within the UK, ensuring that the preservation of its language and culture is given some sort of priority. Marvellous news. I love the idea that a small area can punch above its weight by having its own language – having lived in South London for years I’d argue that that’s true around here, too, with the melting pot of linguistic influences creating, amongst the young, its own spoken dynamic. But Cornish has history and it’ll take a few decades for Brixton to be granted the same status. It set me thinking, however, about languages and their creation. My son has recently introduced me to the TV epic that is Game of Thrones. I didn’t think I’d like it – bonking with swords I’d been told – but, after a couple of episodes, and still desperately keen for Sean Bean to get a haircut/wash, I was hooked. And one thing I enjoyed was the creation of the Dothraki language. To create something coherent yet novel is to me a real skill. As it was with Tolkien and his Elvish. Or in Will Self’s Book of Dave (a bit of a struggle this but undeniably the languages were an achievement – getting used to them was a bit like the first ten minutes of Letter to Brezhnev until I sorted out the Scouse accents). I’ve not tried this new language thing in my own books yet – will I ever have the time and patience, I wonder – but it is quite something for those who get it right. What I have confronted is the use of a language other than English where some of my characters come from another country (in my case Poland); of course you would expect them to talk to each other in Polish. So how do I achieve that without confusing the reader or clumsily providing a translation? My simple method was for the first few words to be in Polish and thereafter the characters speak as if in English; I hope the readers understand and it is neither over-simple nor in any way patronising. I wonder how other achieve this? Maybe there’s a convention I’ve missed (wouldn’t be the first time). In the meantime, Meur rás, Nos dá  as they say in Cornwall.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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4 Responses to cornwall comes of age

  1. Jenni Le Pard says:

    “Bonking with swords” – there aren’t many daughters out there who can say they AREN’T surprised when their Dad says something like that….Great first post, keep up the good work!


  2. somemaid says:

    Ha ty me handsome! Proper job. I’m no expert in the wonderful language of Kernow, but I have the vernacular down pat. I recently discovered the wonderful music of Brenda Wooton, her tunes really encapsulate the Cornish mindset and history. She also did some songs in Cornish, to my shame I don’t understand a word but the tunes are good. (The exception is Going up Camborne Hill, celebrating the invention of the steam engine by Richard Trevithick that sounds much better in the original Cornish!)


    • TanGental says:

      I had a friend at uni who spoke Cornish and was a hoot when drunk. It seems to be a great language to swear in much like Welsh. You don’t need to know what it means to know it means angry. Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll look out for the songs


  3. Pingback: First Post and a couple of quotes | TanGental

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