Here's a book with a difference for Cornish learners!

The author of an unusual new handy pocket-sized book is hoping to use humour to inspire people to learn a few basic bits of Cornish. Unlike many traditional phrasebooks, Teach your Dog Cornish (Y Lolfa) shows that learning useful expressions doesn’t have to be boring or daunting, and makes picking up a few basics accessible to everyone – and Dawn French is already a fan, commenting:


“At last, my dog and I will be able to understand each other!”


Every phrase is shown in both Cornish and English, accompanied by appealing 1950s-style retro illustrations as well as help with the Cornish pronunciation. There are over 100 expressions to practise, from Na wra kravas (‘Don’t scratch’) to Ny vedhav vy pell (‘I won’t be long’) to A allav vy kavos pasti? (Can I have a pasty?). It’s an excellent and really fun introduction to learning Cornish for all ages – and most of the phrases can also be used in non-dog related situations!


“In 2010 UNESCO classed Cornish as a language that was in the ‘process of revitalization. I want to help promote language-learning, especially languages such as Cornish and Welsh as they are of huge cultural and emotional value as well as being important to communities,” says author and illustrator Anne Cakebread.


The book is part of a series designed to help you learn a language while engaging with your favourite furry friend and was inspired by illustrator Anne Cakebread’s bestseller Teach Your Dog Welsh (Y Lolfa, 2018).


“The popularity of the series has been amazing! I was thrilled when Teach Your Dog Welsh was reprinted for the first time – but I’m amazed that it’s been reprinted three more times since!” says Anne Cakebread.


The inspiration for the original book came to Anne after she rehomed Frieda, a rescue whippet. Anne came to realise that Frieda didn’t understand English and would only respond to Welsh commands. Slowly, whilst dealing with Frieda, Welsh-learner Anne realised that she was overcoming her nerves about speaking Welsh aloud by talking to the dog, and her Welsh was improving as a result – this gave her the idea of creating a books to help other would-be language learners whilst also using her skills as an illustrator.


Summoning up the confidence to use a language you’re learning can be intimidating at first. A number of books are available to help with vocabulary and pronunciation, but the light-hearted context and the beautiful illustrations mean that this book is a bit out of the ordinary. It will especially appeal to people who haven’t had much success with languages in the past.


Carolyn Hodges, Head of English Publishing at Y Lolfa, who developed market-leading language-teaching materials for Oxford University Press for many years, said: “One of the key factors in motivating someone to start learning and using a new language is to make it enjoyable.”


The book is intended to help Cornish learners, tourists and people who are completely new to Cornish.


 “It’s about revitalising the language of the original inhabitants of our islands,” said Anne Cakebread, adding, “The book has also been translated to reo Māori, and Gaelic and Irish versions will be available later this year.”