Cornish language on an 'upward wave' with new Bible app

Bible Society/ Clare Kendall
Surfers Matt Timms and Emily Owen, who are running a beach mission, were struggling to read the language

It's a big day for the Cornish-speaking community. It's taken six translators more than 20 years to complete, but at last the Cornish Bible app is here.

From today the surf-loving, pasty-eating folk of the southwest, who were given National Minority status in April, will be able to read the New Testament and Psalms on the go in their native tongue.

The app was put to the test in some of Cornwall's churches on Sunday, including Truro Cathedral, marking the end of Speak Cornish Week.

"Cornish is on an upward wave. It's gaining in popularity," said Rev Jane Kneebone, associate priest of St Michael's Newquay and chairman of the Bishop's ecumenical group for services in Cornish.

She said the new app, which was produced with the help of Bible Society, helped to ratify the existence of the language.

About 500 of the 532,200 people who live in the county are fluent Cornish speakers, and a further 3-4,000 are thought to be able to hold a conversation.

Translator Graham Sandercock said it was "disgraceful" it has taken so long to see the New Testament produced in Cornish.

"The Cornish are very proud of their heritage," he said. "The language is becoming more respectable. The National Minority status has made a difference, but there was impetus before that."

The app was translated from Hebrew and Greek, and drew on other Celtic languages including Breton, when Cornish words weren't available.

To give you a taster of what the app has to offer, John 3:16 reads: "Rag kemmys y karas Duw an bys". Which, for those who aren't yet fluent in Cornish, says: "For God so loved the world".

The New Testament & Psalms joins a small number of books that are translated into Cornish, including Tin-Tin, A Christmas Carol and Alice in Wonderland.

Click here to see the app.

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