Mentrau Iaith Cymru

Magi Ann Inspiring the Next Generation of Cornish Speakers

Posted Thursday January 31st, 2019 in the News category

The Magi Ann apps, which are a brainchild of Menter Iaith Fflint a Wrecsam is the inspiration behind a new Cornish equivalent launched in Truro, Cornwall today (Thursday January 31st 11am – 12pm at Truro Bus Station, Lemon Quay).

The Welsh apps were launched with the aim of helping young children and their families to learn to read Welsh, but now the apps will be inspiring the next generation of Cornish speakers get off to a flying start.

Forging a Partnership

A direct result of a partnership they forged with Menter Iaith Fflint a Wrecsam at the 2017 National Lottery Awards in London, Cornish cultural trailblazers, Golden Tree Productions, will be unveiling a new Magi Ann Kernewek (Cornish) app this morning.

The Cornish version goes by the same name as its Celtic cousin and contains 12 simple stories to help the next generation of Cornish speakers. Today’s unveiling in Cornwall forms part of the wider launch of ‘Go Cornish’, a new online resource from Golden Tree Productions for learning and teaching the Cornish language. The app’s main character, Magi Ann along with the team behind the Welsh version will be joining today’s celebrations in Cornwall.

The Magi Ann apps bring to life a series of traditional Welsh language books of the same name which were originally penned by Flintshire teacher, Mena Evans. The animated interactive apps allow parents to tap on a word to find out how to pronounce it, as well as displaying the English translation.

Quarter Million Downloads

The Welsh Magi Ann apps was voted as the UK’s Best Education Project at the 2017 National Lottery Awards – the annual search for the UK’s favourite National Lottery-funded good causes. The Welsh apps, are celebrating smashing through the quarter of a million downloads barrier this month. They are also used across the world, with families from Japan to Patagonia and from America to Sweden learning to read Welsh with Magi Ann and her friends.

It was during the 2017 National Lottery Awards in London that the idea of creating a Cornish version of Magi Ann was forged. It was here that the winning team in the Education category from Menter Iaith Fflint a Wrecsam met up with the team victorious team from Cornwall behind the Man Engine (the largest touring mechanical puppet ever built in Britain) which scooped up the UK’s Best Arts project at the ceremony.

As Rhian Davies, Menter Iaith Fflint a Wrecsam Communications Officer, recalls:

“During the Awards, we got to know the Man Engine’s creator Will Coleman and his team from Golden Tree Productions who were behind the project. We got on really well and Will explained that he spoke Cornish. After the Awards, and as you do as fellow Celts, we were all up late dancing and singing songs together in Cornish and Welsh. We realised that we had a lot in common and that’s when the concept of creating a Kernewek (Cornish) Magi Ann app came into fruition. Things developed swiftly from there and we have since had expressions of interest from other places in Europe such as Brittany in northern France about developing a Breton language version of the app. The sky’s the limit really with regards to how far Magi Ann can go to inspire people to maintain and preserve minority languages.”

Will Coleman, the Artistic Director for Golden Tree Productions, said:

“It has been a pleasure working with the Magi Ann team to create the Cornish Magi Ann Kernewek app, for pre-school, nursery and family learning. We are very grateful to the National Lottery for making this relationship possible, and along with our new Go Cornish website, this app is already inspiring the next generation of Cornish language learners.”

Menter Iaith Fflint a Wrecsam is one of a network of 22 language initiatives who work to increase and strengthen the use of Welsh in our communities across Wales.

Lowri Jones, Chair of Mentrau Iaith Cymru, says:

“We are very pleased to see an app produced by a local Menter Iaith being developed and used to promote another minority language. The success of the Magi Ann apps demonstrates the power of technology in developing bilingualism at home. It also recognises the hard work of the Menter Iaith that identified the need in the local community. Recognising and answering communities’ needs underpins the work of the local language initiatives in increasing and strengthening the use of Welsh in our communities.”

The Director of the National Lottery Community Fund in Wales, John Rose, said:

“By supporting the development of the Magi Ann app, National Lottery funding has enabled parents and children in Wales and further afield to enjoy learning Welsh together. It’s fantastic to see that this award winning project is now supporting other minority languages and is inspiring the next generation of Cornish speakers. This project truly is a prime example of how small amounts of money can make a really big difference.”

The Welsh and Cornish Magi Ann apps are available to download by following the links below:

Welsh Magi Ann app
Cornish Magi Ann app