The orthography of revived Cornish as an attempt at pluricentricity

Merryn Davies-Deacon*

*Corresponding author for this work

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After over twenty years of debate over Cornish orthographies, recognition by the UK government according to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in 2003 led to the creation of what was initially intended as a “single written form” for use in official contexts. However, the inevitable impossibility of finding a compromise that pleased opposing groups of speakers with differing ideologies meant that the eventual Standard Written Form (SWF) was pluricentric, comprising two “main forms”. While these were initially stated to be of equal status, this has been hard to maintain since the SWF's implementation: with more speakers using Middle Cornish forms, the Late Cornish forms are less visible and commonly believed to be subsidiary. Drawing on such perceptions, along with learning materials and other resources, this paper examines the status of the SWF today and offers some reflections on this unsuccessful attempt at pluricentricity in a minoritised language.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-86
Number of pages21
JournalLanguage Problems and Language Planning
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© John Benjamins Publishing Company

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Cornish
  • Ideology
  • Language revival
  • Orthography
  • Pluricentricity
  • Standardisation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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