The Cornish Bible
While parts of the Bible have been translated into Cornish over the centuries, the complete Bible in Cornish has only been published in August, 2011. It is translated by Nicholas Williams and edited by Michael Everson. Here is a description,
This is the first translation of the entire Bible to be published in Cornish. The translator of the Cornish Bible is Professor Nicholas Williams, the foremost present-day translator into the language. The first draft of his translation was based on the original languages together with a collation of several other versions. Next the translation was reviewed by a number of competent Cornish speakers, whose comments helped improve the readability of the work. Thereafter the translator searched the Middle and Late Cornish texts — miracle plays, homilies, and portions of scripture, to find all those passages where native Cornish renderings could be used in the translation. Such passages by speakers of traditional Cornish have been incorporated throughout the Cornish Bible, and add to its authenticity. Wherever possible, personal and geographical names are those attested in traditional Cornish. The volume contains ten maps, in which all the place-names appear in Cornish form. An Beybel Sans is written in Standard Cornish.
This translation in a language that has not been spoken as a mother tongue for 2oo years, raises an important question: to what extent can a Bible translation contribute to language maintenance? Nicholas Williams told BBC Radio Cornwall:
“One of the reasons we lost the language was because there was no Bible in Cornish.
“The Welsh had one (in Welsh) from the time of Elizabeth I, but the Cornish didn’t.
“As well as being the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures it is one of the defining books of our culture.
“Once you have the Bible you have created your literary heritage and I hope this book will be influential in the Cornish revival.”
Here is another reaction,
But a lecturer in Cornish studies, Dr Bernard Deacon, believes there are more relevant ways to attract new Cornish speakers.
He said: “There could be an argument that the time might have been better spent translating Harry Potter perhaps. Having a bible in Cornish is an interesting feat but whether it will do much for spoken Cornish, one is left in doubt.