An Gowsva : haf 2012

Posted: July 3, 2012 by Peter J in book review, feature, news, poetry
Tags: , , ,

The new edition of An Gowsva (number 45, summer 2012) is available from Agan Tavas. One of several bilingual Cornish language magazines, An Gowsva covers the unified and revised unified spellings of Kernewek/Kernowek. An Gowsva, which, for Kernewek novices like me, means “the talking place” — if you take Cows “to talk”, append va “place” and mutate C to G after An “the” – even I can see how that works 🙂 — it does indeed function as a talking shop, since it’s reliant on contributions from readers. With my grade zero grasp of Kernewek, a basic dictionary and a primer, I found it a feasible and enjoyable challenge to explore and reduce my Cornish’s known unknowns.

This edition contains an extensive list of Agan Tavas contacts across Cornwall, and then an editorial from chairman / editor Ray Chubb (in revised unified). In this he advocates formally earmarking some of the lately allocated Cornish Language Partnership resources to make Cornish language instruction available in schools. The editorial asks where money will come from, for necessary teachers – it’s a good question but I wasn’t sure that I found a sufficient solution in the editorial, though I am sure there must be one – something worth looking into.

(If readers will excuse me, my op-ed is thus: Had this opportunity been available, extra-curricular but inside the validating boundaries of School, in primary & secondary days, I and, I reckon, many others would have made good use of it (a Welsh exam board briefly offered GCSE in Kernewek in the ’80s, not at my school). There have certainly been many good textbooks for Kernewek written in recent years. Ha my a-wruk scryfa pup hemma oll y’n yeth lemmyn, “lurrups” o ef – mes ny gans dalleth da. Wisely and perhaps less sanguine than myself, the editorial recommends that any such provision first be dependent on canvassing students’ demand for such instruction. This consultation, I suggest, ought to be directly with students and parents, not their representatives or curriculum managers. I hope that CLP will not be backward in coming forward to put the case for Cornish learning.)

Back to An Gowsva: A Cornish language weekend is reported on (report in English), including what sounds like a technical and useful session on the subjunctive clause – if only I belonged to use that more frequently, I’d be better at un 😉 ! After this is the obituary of a language student (translated). Gans an Nerth a Ster ha Men (translated, rhyming in English) by Elaine Gill was a prize winning poem in a lyric, millenial tone, published in the Western Morning News. From stars to more mundane flingers of photons, and appropriately for the time of Golowan (on the 50th anniversary of the invention of Light Emitting Diodes), there’s a discussion in unified of Nick Holonyak’s innovations.

There then follows a book review of Desky Kernowek (Learning Cornish), published 2012 by Evertype, written by Nicholas Williams, UCD linguist – who provided the first translation from Greek to Kernewek (revised unified) for the 2002 Testament Noweth (pymp cans bledhen re dewedhes, mes gwella dewedhes es nefra), and wrote the Kernowek Standard portion of Alan Kent’s 2010 The Cult of Relics. Using historic Cornish texts and Nicholas Williams’ own inventive aids, the reviewer is pleased that the book indicates which figures of speech are endorsed by precedents in preserved Cornish language literature. Desky Kernowek‘s spelling (viz the title) is primarily in Kernowek Standard, but as the review notes, it’s not hard for those used to unified to understand (or, by my own inference, anyone experienced in kemmyn, SWF or any other spellyans, who has the will to read). Indeed in scraping through the review I only gradually realised that the review was in revised unified (which I dimly recognise from noticing when 3rd person “to be” is conjugated yw instead of yu or ew) – which goes to show what an interesting, immensely do-able, brain-training and natural challenge the constant learning of Cornish is. The review concludes with an exhortation to all Cornish speakers to obtain a copy, the better to authenticate their command of the language. Well, that is one motivation, and I feel that there are also surely many others.

The Boy’s Reply (Gorthyp an Meppyk) is in the tradition of language training by anecdotes, followed by a feature on Cornish industrial heritage in New Zealand (in English) and a novella set loosely in historic Mousehole/Porth Enys (in somewhat unrefined unified ;-)). Dydh Yn-mes Agan Tavas (Agan Tavas’s Day Out) chronicles an expedition in mid-Cornwall by members of the language society. Howlsedhas (Sunset) is a short and laid-back poem, its theme both literal and metaphorical, by Keith Rundle (translated), rhyming in unified Kernewek. The penultimate item’s a brief biography of, and interview with, Penzance/Stenalees visual artist Terry Pope (in English). Concluding the magazine is a cunning word search puzzle.

Submissions are requested for the next edition of An Gowsva by the end of August 2012 – material along the lines of items above will, I know, be gratefully received. For submissions or subscriptions, please contact Ray Chubb of Agan Tavas at Portreath. Ray and Denise Chubb also run the active publisher Spyrys a Gernow (Spirit of Cornwall). 🙂

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