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WHS Names in local languages - Cornish

Author Solivagant
#1 | Posted: 10 Aug 2009 17:00 | Edited by: Solivagant 
A few weeks ago we had a bit of a discussion here e=2
regarding the tendency to make official changes to WHS names first to include a local language name, then to swap the names round to give the local name pre-eminence and sometimes finally even to drop the non local name.

I have just discovered that there was pressure, during the development of the bid, to use the Cornish language in the "Cornish and West Devon Mining Landscape" nomination
"Colin Murley: (The) Cornish language (is) recognised by (the) British Government.(We) Propose that name of the Bid be Kernow and west Devon Mining Landscape.........
?: Is there scope for the Title to be both in English and Cornish on the documents?
NDJ: We had always been intended that this would be the case.
Neil Plummer: Surely this is a compromise that everyone should be able to agree with?
HR: The Title shall include both Cornish and English translations.
NDJ: Most documents in Cornwall dealing with heritage have both in English and Cornish. Bilingual title.
Proposal: The name of the WHS Bid shall be as proposed by NDJ and shall be translated into both Cornish and English. This was endorsed by Partnership 30 for, O against, 2 abstentions"

In fact they didn't get exactly what I suspect they had hoped for and the official name proposed to, and accepted by, UNESCO does NOT use the Cornish version but, as a sop to the Cornish language, we do have, in the nomination file, a page 3 consisting solely of
"Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape
An Tirwel Balweyth Kernow ha Dewnens West"

Rather strangely, although it fails to propose the Cornish version of the site name, the UK nomination file also introduces the concept of a "Popular name" possibly to enable it to give "Cornwall" higher billing :-

The discussion quoted above about the name claims elsewhere that the equivalent "Popular name" for the Dorset + East Devon coast site is "Jurassic coast". This may be true but, in fact, the title isn't actually used in its nomination file! Have any other countries introduced an official (i.e. in the documentation) "Popular name" for one or more of their sites?

At least a move to call the site "Duchy of Cornwall World Heritage site" was roundly defeated! We will have to wait and see if "Cornish Nationalists" push in the coming years for the Cornish version of the name to be given more prominence. It is perhaps all a bit academic. Wiki reckons the total number of Cornish speakers to be "~ 245 fluent in everyday conversation, 2,900 in simple conversation (estimate)"!! but the UK Government has recognised Cornish "as falling under Part II of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages" even though the UNESCO "Atlas of world Languages in Danger" branded it "extinct"! It could hardly accept a WHS name in an "extinct" language could it? Apparently it will be re-branded in a future version as "Under revival"!!

General discussions about WHS Forum / General discussions about WHS /
 WHS Names in local languages - Cornish

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