Edward Lhuyd (1660-1709) played a significant role in the efforts to study and preserve the Cornish language during a time it was facing decline. Below are some key points about Edward Lhuyd’s involvement with the Cornish language, extracted from various sources:

  1. Initial Engagement:

    • In the late 17th century, Lhuyd was contacted by a group of Cornish scholars led by John Keigwin of Mousehole, who were looking to preserve and further the Cornish language. Lhuyd accepted their invitation and traveled to Cornwall to study the language (Wikipedia).
  2. Serious Study:

    • Edward Lhuyd, a Celtic philologist, is noted as possibly the first qualified scholar to make a serious study of the Cornish language. In the year 1700, he spent four months in Cornwall learning Cornish (Kent Academic Repository).
  3. Contribution to Language Preservation:

    • Without Lhuyd’s dedication and studies, a number of Cornish manuscripts might not have survived until today (National Library of Wales).
  4. Intended Publication:

    • Lhuyd had plans to include a Cornish-English vocabulary in his work “Archaeologia Britannica”. However, due to the extensive length of the book, the publication of his Cornish vocabulary, named Geirlyfr Kyrnweig, was postponed to a later volume, which unfortunately never came to fruition due to Lhuyd’s death in 1709 (Kent Academic Repository).
  5. Methodologies:

    • Lhuyd devised his own phonetic script based on an extended Latin alphabet and the use of diacritics for his work on the Cornish language. His work included comparative etymology and vocabulary concerning the original languages of Britain and Ireland. His Cornish vocabulary, Geirlyfr Kyrnweig, was discovered in the National Library of Wales years after his death. Lhuyd obtained much of his knowledge of Cornish from manuscripts of dramas provided by Sir Jonathan Trelawny, Bishop of Exeter, and from the Vocabularium Cornicum, besides the field notes he made during his stay in Cornwall (Kent Academic Repository).
  6. Legacy:

    • His efforts laid a foundation for future scholars and enthusiasts looking to revive and study the Cornish language, and his work is often referenced in discussions regarding the preservation of Cornish manuscripts and the language (National Library of Wales).
  7. Cornish Vocabulary:

    • Pages from Edward Lhuyd’s Cornish vocabulary, dated A.D. 1702, are preserved in the National Library of Wales, showcasing his direct contributions to the documentation of the Cornish language.