Federation of Old Cornwall Societies

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Cornish Dialect

Hello everyone,


I feel it is time I updated my introduction to this topic.  You will all have recently received, or are about to receive through your Society Secretaries a most interesting and in depth document originating from the, ‘Old Cornwall – Future Committee.’  I am pleased to say that despite all their deliberations and proposals the Cornish Dialect section has been largely untouched and the Post I hold will still be known as ‘Recorder’ which is what I attempt to do and spend many hours searching and posting material to our Webmaster for inclusion on our web-pages.


Since I was honoured to receive the Grand Bard’s Community Award in 2018 more material came forward and I received it from as far away as Germany, through a Cornish exile there. Some of this work was quite easy to manage and only required reading through, scanning and sending on to Tony Mansell, our Webmaster.  But amongst other material there was a large collection of stories, poems and even plays that were not in such good order, but I pledged to go through them and present them in as good a format as I could.  Some were produced on old typewriters where the ribbon was of a varying quality and often clogged with ink.  Some were hand written and with bits either missing or folded to the extent of being illegible.  This is where I had to do some judicial ‘pruning’ and adaption.  Having said that it was all of great interest and gave me much enjoyment; it also gave me the opportunity to read dialect aloud as I read each completed piece to my late wife in her last days.  Strangely enough the Doctor at the hospital asked me to read to her, especially poetry in the last two days of her life. And one of the nurses asked me to write a poem about her, which I did.  Sorry, I digress, so back to the job in hand.


As result of receiving the award mentioned above I was interviewed on Radio Cornwall by presenter Tiffany Truscott and out of a few minutes of interview she constructed a dialect spot in each of her programmes for nearly a week!  It was a result of this publicity that I received a considerable amount of material albeit short-lived, much of which was from abroad.  These sources have now dried up so am once again looking to our worthy membership for more and now my ‘Caring’ days are over, I can once again receive telephone contributions, if that is your preferred way of communication.


I have been in conversation with at least two university students seeking help with dialect, one of whom is Spanish and writing a thesis on the subject.  He has promised to copy me his final draft so we shall see.  There has been one other reliable source of material from a gentleman who I understand is not an Old Cornwall member but attends Perranzabuloe meetings regularly.  As he remembers something from his past he sends it on and I always look forward to receiving from him as in fact I do from anyone; it gives me great encouragement.


So dear friends I will close by reminding you of the urgency to gather up all the fragments we can and as soon as we can before they are lost forever!  I say again and without apology, please do not hold back because you think I have probably got it already.  Let’s have an abundant, dialect 2019.


God bless you all.

Paul Phillips, (Federation Dialect Recorder)


Paul Phillips Downside, Casterills Road, Helston, Cornwall. TR13 8BJ

Email: paul.downside@gmail.com Tel: 01326 573317

Cornish Dialect Words

Click on a letter and the link to a pdf file will appear at the bottom of your screen

Dialect Alphabet Sayings (Revd 3rd Jan 14) Dialect On-line Books English Dialect Dictionary On-line

Dialect Poems

Carn Brea Cathedral Johnny Fortnight Ole Blood The Fox The Taaty Paasty

Dialect Stories

Father Put an Ad in the Paper Mother and Boy Willie Go Shopping The Cooker The Washing Machine Glossary of Cornish Mining Terms Youth by Val Lutey Herbie Lean by David Oates Up along Padstow Way with Betsey Dialect Card Dialect Postcard (1) Dialect Postcard (2) The Cornish Pixey Dialect Sayings from Perrzanzabuloe Allo Sam. back then Sam's Engagement Her At Home Day About Ralph Bennett

Ralph Bennett Stories and Poems

Aunt Bella at the Fair Aunt Bella's Visit to Trehayes Family Recollections Aunt Bella's First Motor Boat trip Ode To The Pasty His Mother-in-law Our Christmas Dinner Me First Trip to Plymouth The 'Arvest Festival Cornwall a Hymn From Peak Hill The Alternative Mermaid of Zennor Mermaid of Zennor photo How We De Pass Our Ebbnins