Cornish Folk Tradition: Songs Music Dance and Associated Customs
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Fish Menue

You are never far from a beach in Cornwall and likewise never far from our Celtic language, indeed for many of us Cornwall is synonymous with both. A fascinating part of the story of Cornish is that coastal communities in the west continued to use Celtic words and expressions long after it had ceased to be an everyday language.  Cornish is technically a revived language in that modern spelling and pronunciation are underpinned by considerable research but in practice it never died out completely. Early researchers were able to interview and record people with traditional knowledge of the language, especially around the coast.
This resulted in some delightful Cornish terms being recorded for the creatures to be found on our beaches and in our coastal waters. Walking across the beach we see brennik (limpets) and bessel (mussels) clinging to the rocks and a we pull aside gommon (seaweed) in rockpools to catch a glimpse of a kanker (crab) sliding across the sand. It is important not to forget the goolan (seagull) who is probably after your ice cream but my favourite creature name on the beach has to be bibyn bubyn, meaning shrimp.
The ocean safari extends our contact with creatures of the sea and as we set off the morvrini (cormorants) and reunes (seals) will eye us up to make sure we do not get to close. What we hope to see along the cliff edge of course is the palores, the Cornish chough which legend assures us is the spirit of King Arthur. Further out to sea we may be privileged to meet the morvil (whale), the morhogh (porpoise) and the delightfully named pyffer (dolphin). The name that captures the imagination out here is morvleyth, (shark) literally meaning seawolf.  
Back on land it is the harvest of the sea we are interested in. If you happen to be coming off the beach in Newquay, then my friend Gareth Horner of E Rawle & Co will tempt you in Cornish and English. What about a nice bit of dojel (pollack), line caught out in Newquay bay, some morbulhorn bras (whelks) or baramanynnow kanker (crab sandwiches)?  

   

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An Daras, doorway in Cornish, is an outreach project of Lowender Peran, Cornwall’s Celtic festival, and provides a portal to the distinctive traditions of Cornwall . The links on the site map will take you to the tunes, songs, dances and associated traditions of Cornwall. There are also links to teaching materials and further research work and publications on Cornish Folk Tradition.

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