Hawaiian a bigger influence on English than Cornish

It certainly came as a surprise to us to find out that British languages Welsh, Scottish Gaelic and Cornish have had less of an impact on the English language than Hawaiian, Swahili and Zulu.

Given the geography, it would be natural to assume that our neighbours from Wales and Scotland and the inhabitants of the South West had contributed a significant amount to English. However, the Oxford English Dictionary found that Cornish has donated just 40 words to English, making it the 45th biggest influencer of the language.

Even those words we have adopted from our British relatives are not in particularly common use. When was the last time you spoke about a fugou (a Cornish word for a house dug into the ground) or took your coracle for a whirl on the lake (a Welsh word for a small round boat)?

The theory behind this is that the Anglo-Saxons felt that the native British languages at the time were insignificant, and that this snobbery led to their being sidelined. As these languages have continued to decline and English has fully established itself as the overwhelming language of choice in the UK, there has been little pressure to adopt words from other indigenous languages of the British Isles.

Unsurprisingly, Latin and French are the two biggest influencers, giving us 40,000 and 20,000 words respectively. Latin arrived in the UK with the Romans, while French became highly influential during the Roman invasion. Our other Western European cousins have also had a significant impact on English, as well as Scandinavian languages from the Viking invasion, with many modern place names being derived from their Viking names.

Read more about the influence other languages have had on English>>

LANGUAGES A – C (USA)

Here are our recommended language courses for languages A – C.


These links will take you to our language course stores – click on the TOP COURSES tab and then use the search box to find your language course.

Language Best Bet 1 Best Bet 2 Best Bet 3
  (audio/book) (cd-rom) (ipod/mp3)
      coming soon!
A      
Afrikaans Teach Yourself: Afrikaans Talk Now!: Afrikaans  
Albanian Pimsleur: Albanian Talk Now!: Albanian Pimsleur: Albanian
Alsatian   Talk Now!: Alsatian  
Amharic   Talk Now!: Amharic  
Arabic (Egyptian) Pimsleur: Egyptian Arabic    
Arabic (Gulf) Teach Yourself: Gulf Arabic    
Armenian Pimsleur: Armenian Talk Now!: Armenian Pimsleur: Armenian
Assamese   Talk Now!: Assamese  
Azeri   Talk Now!: Azeri  
       
B      
Basque   Talk Now!: Basque  
Bengali Teach Yourself: Bengali Talk Now!: Bengali  
Breton   Talk Now!: Breton  
Bulgarian Teach Yourself: Bulgarian Talk Now!: Bulgarian Teach Yourself: Bulgarian
Burmese   Talk Now!: Burmese  
       
C      
Chinese (Cantonese) Pimsleur: Cantonese Chinese Talk Now!: Cantonese Collins: 40 minute Cantonese
Catalan Teach Yourself: Catalan Talk Now!: Catalan  
Chichewa   Talk Now!: Chichewa  
Chuvash   Talk Now!: Chuvash  
Cornish   Talk Now!: Cornish  
Corsican   Talk Now!: Corsican  
Croatian Pimsleur: Croatian Talk Now!: Croatian Collins: 40 minute Croatian
Czech Pimsleur: Czech Talk Now!: Czech Collins: 40 minute Czech

top of page

Learn to Speak Other Languages

Learning another language?
We have language courses for over 100 other languages!
Get the language advantage!


LANGUAGES A – Z: Find the language you are learning and then click through for the best and most innovative language courses.

Top 10 world languages

Languages A – C:  visit UK site | USA site

Afrikaans | Albanian | Alsatian | Amharic | Arabic (Egyptian) | Arabic (Gulf) | Armenian | Assamese |

Azeri | Basque | Bengali | Breton | Bulgarian | Burmese | Chinese (Cantonese) | Catalan | Chichewa |

Chuvash | Cornish | Corsican | Croatian | Czech

Languages D – I: visit UK site | USA site

Danish | Dutch | English (American) | Esperanto | Estonian | Farsi (Persian) | Finnish | Frisian | Gaelic

| Galician | Georgian | German (Swiss) | Greek (Ancient) | Gujurati | Haitian-Creole | Hausa |

Hawaiian | Hebrew | Hebrew (Biblical) | Hungarian | Icelandic | Igbo | Indonesian | Irish

Languages J – O: visit UK site | USA site

Jèrriais | Kannada | Khmer | Kirghiz | Klingon | Korean | Kurdish | Latin | Latvian | Lithuanian | Luganda |

Luxembourgish | Macedonian | Malagasy | Malay | Malayalam | Maltese | Manx | Maori | Marathi |

Mongolian | Navajo | Nepali | Norwegian | Ojibwe

Languages P – S: visit UK site | USA site

Papiamento | Pashto |   Persian (Farsi) | Pidgin | Polish | Portuguese (Brazilian) | Punjabi | Romanian |

Romansh | Rwanda | Saami | Sanskrit | Sardinian | Scots Gaelic | Serbian | Sesotho | Setswana | Shona |

Sindhi | Sinhala | Slovak | Slovenian | Somali | Spanish (Latin American) | Spanish (Mexican) |

Swahili | Swedish

Languages T – Z: visit UK site | USA site

Tagalog | Tamazight | Tamil | Telugu | Thai | Tibetan | Turkish | Twi | Ukranian | Urdu | Uzbek |

Vietnamese | Welsh | Xhosa | Yiddish | Yoruba | Zulu


top of page

LANGUAGES A – C (UK)

Here are our recommended language courses for languages A – C.


These links will take you to our language course stores – click on the TOP COURSES tab and then use the search box to find your language course.

Language Best Bet 1 Best Bet 2 Best Bet 3
  (audio/book) (cd-rom) (ipod/mp3)
       
A      
Afrikaans Teach Yourself: Afrikaans Talk Now!: Afrikaans  
Albanian   Talk Now!: Albanian  
Alsatian   Talk Now!: Alsatian  
Amharic   Talk Now!: Amharic  
Arabic (Egyptian) Michel Thomas:  Arabic    
Arabic (Gulf) Teach Yourself: Gulf Arabic    
Armenian   Talk Now!: Armenian  
Assamese   Talk Now!: Assamese  
Azeri   Talk Now!: Azeri  
       
B      
Basque   Talk Now!: Basque  
Bengali Teach Yourself: Bengali Talk Now!: Bengali  
Breton   Talk Now!: Breton  
Bulgarian Teach Yourself: Bulgarian Talk Now!: Bulgarian Teach Yourself Conversation: Bulgarian
Burmese   Talk Now!: Burmese  
       
C      
Chinese (Cantonese) Teach Yourself: Cantonese Chinese Talk Now!: Cantonese Collins: 40 minute Cantonese Chinese
Catalan Teach Yourself: Catalan Talk Now!: Catalan  
Chichewa   Talk Now!: Chichewa  
Chuvash   Talk Now!: Chuvash  
Cornish   Talk Now!: Cornish  
Corsican   Talk Now!: Corsican  
Croatian Teach Yourself:  Croatian Talk Now!: Croatian Collins: 40 minute Croatian
Czech Teach Yourself: Czech Talk Now!: Czech Collins: 40 minute Czech

top of page

The Beatles go Cornish – Yeah, Yeah … No!

Skywardya, the Cornish folk band who translated some of the songs of The Beatles into Cornish but were subsequently banned from recording a Fab Four covers album by Sony, have gone on to make an album of other rock, pop, blues and folk tunes completely in the Cornish language.

The Cornish Language Fellowship (Kowethas an Yeth Kernewek) launched the CD called ‘An Eledhva’ (The Domain of Angels) to give a new vision of Cornish.

Read more about The Beatles in the Cornish language>>

Find out how to learn to speak Cornish and get the Cornish language advantage>>