Cornish (Kernowek) is a revived language that became extinct as a first language in the late 18th century. It is a member of the Brittonic Southwestern branch of the Celtic languages of the Indo-European language family, that was native to Cornwall in south-west England. A revival began in the early 20th century. Some have expressed the opinion that the language is an important part of Cornish identity, culture and heritage. Cornish is currently a recognised minority language under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. It has a growing number of second language speakers. A few parents are inspired to create new first language speakers, by teaching their children the language from birth.
Along with Welsh and Breton, Cornish is descended directly from the Common Brittonic language spoken throughout much of Britain before the English language came to dominate. It was the main language of Cornwall for centuries until it was pushed westwards by English, maintaining close links with its sister language Breton, with which it was mutually intelligible until well into the Middle Ages. Cornish continued to function as a common community language in parts of Cornwall until the late 18th century and continued to be spoken in the home by some families into the 19th and possibly 20th centuries, overlapping the beginning of revival efforts.
A process to revive the language was begun in the early 20th century, with a number of orthographical systems still in use, although an attempt was made to impose a Standard Written Form in 2008. In 2010, UNESCO announced that its former classification of the language as "extinct" was "no longer accurate". Since the revival of the language, some Cornish textbooks and works of literature have been published, and an increasing number of people are studying the language. Recent developments include Cornish music, independent films and children's books. A small number of people in Cornwall have been brought up to be bilingual native speakers, and the language is taught in schools. The first Cornish language crèche opened in 2010.