You may have no ambition to gain formal qualifications in Cornish. You just want to be able to say a few things like, ‘What would you like to drink?’ or ‘Good morning. What a lovely day!’ That’s fine, and our teachers will help you go as far as you want with conversational Cornish. If, however, you have some linguistic ability and want something more structured, we can take you through the various grades for the examinations set by the Cornish Language Board. There are four grades, and it is possible to complete each grade in one year, although you can progress at your own speed. The exams take place in the summer and cover both spoken and written Cornish. If you choose this latter route, you will obviously need to do a bit of homework and study in your own time between the classes.
Beginners usually start by working their way through an easy-to-use book called Cornish This Way - Holyewgh An Lergh by Graham Sandercock.Your local bookshop would order you a copy, or you can get it online via Amazon or from the Cornish Language Fellowship. But your teacher will also provide additional notes and materials.
The weekly classes
Normally we start at 7pm and work with the teacher for an hour, doing a variety of spoken and written exercises, with games and other activities. Then we break for a cuppa and a biscuit, which enables the different groups to mingle and get to know each other better. We then go back to our groups for a further half hour or so of teaching. A small charge is made for each session. This is currently £3. Once a month we finish the class at 8pm and walk along the road to the local pub, The Sportsman’s Arms, for a drink. There, we are usually joined by some former class members, and other Cornish enthusiasts, for a bit of Cornish conversation or discussion of anything to do with Cornwall and the Cornish. These pub sessions are called Yeth an Werin (‘People’s Talk’).
The class play
Each year, as part of our Cornish language activities, the class usually prepares a short play which is performed before a friendly audience later in the year. It is not compulsory to take part, but most students want to as it enriches their Cornish and is a good way to get to know the students in the other groups.