Cornish takes its rightful place at International Mother Language Day

The Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site Office has been invited by the Korean National Commission for UNESCO to take part in a global event to celebrate International Mother Language Day today.

The celebration is part of UNESCO’s International Year of Indigenous Languages.

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The Korean National Commission are launching an online project to gather recordings of extracts from “The Little Prince” read aloud in as many of the world’s languages as possible.

The Little Prince is a novella first published in April 1943, the most famous work of French aristocrat, writer, poet, and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

It is philosophical tale, with humanist values, shared from one generation to another for more than 75 years.

The story transcends borders; The Little Prince is a sustainable development icon, a World Peace actor, and a childhood Rights ambassador. His character the little prince is as wise as they come, and his messages of compassion and goodwill continue to endure.

The novella has been voted the best book of the 20th century in France. Translated into 300 languages and dialects, including Kernewek; Cornish Language. Selling nearly two million copies annually, and with sales of over 200 million copies worldwide, it has become one of the best-selling and most translated books ever published.

Working closely with Cornwall Council’s Language Lead, the World Heritage Site Office was able to submit two recordings of The Little Prince in Kernewek; Cornish Language.

We were lucky enough to have Taran Spalding-Jenkin otherwise known as “The Cornish Writer”; a local spoken word poet and storyteller submit a reading.

We were also thrilled to have a recording made by Edward Rowe; who the World Heritage Office has had the pleasure of working with on a number of projects including the recent production of Hireth in St Just Miner’s Chapel.

Ed (pictured above) took time out of his busy schedule, which has recently included travelling to Berlin Film Festival for the World Premiere of the critically acclaimed film “Bait”, in which he stars.

Mark Trevethan, The Cornish Language Lead for Cornwall Council said of the project; “The Little Prince was translated into Cornish a few years ago and it’s fantastic to be able to use the translation to join up with over 300 languages from around the world. UNESCO’s International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019 is a great way to raise awareness of endangered languages such as Cornish and for people around the world to hear our language.”

The website, which will be launched on the 21st of February includes recordings from all over the world and all spoken languages, including indigenous languages,

it will be shared on Twitter via @CornishMining, Facebook via and Instagram via @Cornishmining.

This celebration of Global language culture is a great example of what opportunities our World Heritage Status and relationship with UNESCO brings to Cornwall.

Julian German, Deputy Leader of Cornwall Council and Chairman of the World Heritage Site Partnership Board, said; “As a Kernewek speaker and supporter of our language I am thrilled to hear that the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site status has allowed us the opportunity to celebrate our own indigenous language at a global level.

"Our language is an important part of Cornish culture and heritage, something that I am thrilled we will be celebrating as part of International Mother Language Day and UNESCO’s International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019.”

Published 21 February, 2019