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Spoken in: Dûnein, Kemr, Cornouaille, France, NAL, Australasia
Region: Southern Kemr
Total speakers: several millions worldwide

   Western Romance

Extra information
Discoverer: Padraic Brown | Elemtilas


     So, what is Kerno anyway? This is how it was (somewhat tongue-in-cheekly, but rather well) described back in 2010: Kerno is meant to be "in the place of Cornish", to imitate Cornish somewhat in sound but also to imitate French somewhat -- after all, Kerno is spoken on both sides of the British Sea and in close proximity to Norman and other varieties of French. There's also quite a bit of poking fun at the competing orthographies and Language Board(s) we can find in Cornwall.

     Most of all, it's supposed to be a fun frolic through the worst aspects of both Romance and Celtic languages. It's got mutations (which nobody bothers with, and when they do, as often as not get em wrong), it's got case and number declension (which everybody screwed with so badly over the years they're practically unintelligible to a Latinist), it's got funky Insular Celtic word order and something closer to Continental Celtic verb morphology all of which have been considerably transmogrified, plus all kinds of other curious features like middle voice participles, relative verb forms, conjugated prepositions/preverbs, semantically discreet negative particles (like French, only much worse), three discreet forms of BE, an "instrumental absolute", two radically divergent forms of the same language (the so-called "literary register" and the so-called "spoken register", merci Marianne!), plus a whole host of retained Celtic vocabulary undoubtedly far in excess of what French has retained from Gaulish. It also slinks along the streets of Ill Bethisad's cities, coshing other languages on the head and stealing whatever words and ideas it fancies and whoring itself in dark corners, picking up God only knows what oddments and grammatical detritus in a way that gives English a run for her money. Quite possibly those two are in some kind of race to see who can become the most bastardised language on earth!

     Some people have said it's fairly natural sounding language, and it has indeed been confused for "some kind of French" on several occasions. But I've often wondered how natural a Romance language can be that has got the Top Five Hardest Features of Both Welsh and Latin in it. I have the feeling most people run screaming from the room when Kerno is brandished. Or at least recoil in horror when someone starts with random mutations.

     But is it a Graftlang? No. A graftlang (in some quarters also called a bogolang) is where you take the historical sound changes of one particular L2 language and apply them, diachronically, to the L1 language. For example, taking the known sound changes of English, from modern times all the way back to Common West Germanic, and applying those to ancient Greek will net you a Teuto-Helladic graftlang. Some conlangers have done this in order to create a "historically plausible" conlang.

The design of Kerno did indeed take into account some historical sound changes of (Vulgar) Latin, as it meandered its way into Romance, and it also took into account the overall form and accent of insular Celtic (in specific Cornish); but to say that Kerno is the product of such a mechanically and precisely applied system is well beyond the pale. It is perhaps more of a mosaiclang -- where the conlanger takes seemingly ill-fitting and incongruous bits of this and that and creates a "plausibly artistic" conlang.


     Kerno is one of several Western Britanno-Romance languages that exist in Ill Bethisad. Kerno was born of the proliferation of Vulgar Latin and British Romance in the aftermath of the evacuation of Roman troops during the 5th century. Three principal dialect centres coalesced: the Eastern at Londinium, the Northern at Castra Legionis (Castreleon) and the Western at Esca Dumnonum (Ysca). Between 700 and 1350 AD, Kerno flourished as a literary language, and much prose, poetry and scholarly material was produced. The Arthurian legendarium was also expressed in Kerno. After the late XIV century, Brithenig became ascendant and by turns became the official language of government, business and society in general. Between 1425 and 1875 practically nothing of note was written in Kerno; but the last quarter of the XIX century saw a cultural renaissance in Kemr. It was this movement that spurned the resurgence of Kerno as a literary language and paved the way for the dismantling of the Brithenig only policies that had become enshrined in law and tradition. In the first decade of the XXJ century, one finds that Kerno is moribund in its own homeland. Much blame has been placed on the Language Boards who were charged with choosing a standard form of the language and devising a standard orthography. They failed in their challenge, leaving the province's schools a shambles and causing about 75% of the population to become L1 Paesan (Brithenig) speakers. The language is flourishing in all the lands it has colonised.

     Kerno's immediate relatives include Brehonecq (the form spoken in France) and Duro, spoken in the southeastern quarter of Dûnein. Near kin include various dialects of Brithenig itself.

     Dûnein is a rather cosmopolitan province, and especially its capital city, Ysca. Other languages spoken in the province are Castilian, Francien, Angli, Cantonese and Gaulhosc.

Sample Text

     The Tower of Babel myth is a very common sample text, and can be found in the texts page linked to below. Here, I'll offer a little snippet from Lla Sul, one of Kemr's preeminent news papers, from 14 July, 1898:

dol' omèn il sezlonds le llongfrangeièn: Pernauigasot c' om perry vor, et durant ke az al isel, rompus sa la sew llonga. Gouiuefas y pluzeor ans; et-z-eliverasot-el la Armada Reyal. Dondrhuasot-li il capetans: Quhit wye daes ye hae twae kirkes, mon? Savus il capetans, Albaneck, ionte a nemez y Chomrow, mays y chapeuw y zew per li yen omèn ast po en var! Doponus il wortó a-z-el yen et deckis: C' aquel, moniem a nemez y Zi la Sulis. An at yin thonder? rhuasot il capetans. Ay, c' aquels. Ieo n' moniem pass nonck a nemez y Zi la Sulis!

The Story of the Shipwrecked Man: A man was sailing upon the sea and as he approached an island, his boat wrecked. He lived several years and at last was recued by the Royal Navy. The captain asked him: "Why do you have two chapels here?" The captain, a Scot, knew that the Comro were ardent church goers, but two chapels for one man is too much! He pointed out one of them and said: "That's where I go to church of a Sunday." "And the other?" asked the captain. "Ah, that one. I don't never go there of a Sunday!"

To get a feel for what the Kerno speaker is actually reading, this is a word by word rendition:

At the man, the story of the shipwreck: Sailed this man upon the sea, and while that he came on to the island, broke she his ship. Lived several years; and rescued-him the Royal Navy. To him asked the captain: "Quit wye daes ye hae twae kirkes, mon?" Knew the captain, a Scot, goers to church the Comro, but chapels two for the one man is at the beyond! He put-to the finger at the one and said: "That thonder, go I to church the Sunday." "An at yin thonder?" asked the captain. "Ay. That thonder. I don't never go to church (there) at all the Sunday!"


Complete book including grammar, texts, translations & lexicon.

Here at Kerno Texts are some good samples of Kerno in use.

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