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Linguistic Relativity and Linguistic Determinism: Idiom in 20th Century Cornish

Mills, Jon Linguistic Relativity and Linguistic Determinism: Idiom in 20th Century Cornish. In: New Directions in Celtic Studies Conference, November 2000, Institute of Cornish Studies, Newquay. (Unpublished)


It has been understood for decades that language and thought are closely related. If one accepts that the thoughts that we construct are based upon the language that we speak and the words that we use, then it follows that the language that we speak influences the way that we think. It is necessary that we possess the words to describe objects, processes and conditions, in order that we are able to think about them. The world is percieved in different ways by different cultures, and culture is, to some extent at least, shaped by language. During the course of the 20th century, the Cornish language has undergone a revival. Though estimates understandably vary, the speakers of Cornish today are usually thought to number several hundred. Cornish is currently being used by its speakers in home life, socially outside the home, in the work place, and for public ritual, ceremony and church services. In the world of business, there are now shops that will sell to you in Cornish or sign, label and brand their goods in Cornish. It is also being used in the arts and in the media. This emergence of a Cornish speech community has entailed the adaptation of the Cornish language to the needs of the world in which its speakers live today. Whilst revived Cornish is based on historical Cornish, it has, thus, been necessary for the Cornish language to evolve. Many neologisms have emerged. Although the English language has inevitably had some influence in this process, 20th century Cornish retains its particular world view in the way that its structures its vocabulary.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
Subjects: P Language and Literature
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Jon Mills
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2011 14:44 UTC
Last Modified: 28 May 2019 13:44 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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