Professional interpreters might not have featured on the President’s to-do list for his G7 debut in Cornwall. But it’s an oversight he might have regretted if he was confronted with “Wasson me cock?”
Lee Trewhela, Chief Reporter at Cornwall Live explains it’s… “not an instruction to look at a gentleman’s nether regions, but yet another variant of How are you?” in Cornish.
As the President and First Lady were photographed admiring the view over Carbis Bay, the regional news channel reported –
“President Biden admitted he has already fallen in love with Cornwall. He said: ‘It’s gorgeous. I don’t want to go home. I’m very pleased to be here.’”
Professional interpreters describing his enchantment to native Cornish speakers might have simply said, “That’s splann” meaning “That’s really rather marvellous”.
I experienced the bewildering Cornish vernacular first hand several years ago. I was lucky enough to get tickets for one of the Eden Sessions at the Eden Project in St Ives.
It would be an exaggeration to claim we needed professional translators. But we struggled to understand what the locals meant by “Bleddymizzle”. Our hairstyles were dampened but our high spirits weren’t by the “Irritating fine rain that only falls in Cornwall”.
The professional interpreters assisting the non-English speaking foreign dignitaries at the G7 Summit might not have bargained for Cornish.
In fact, the same can be said for the English-speaking representatives.
Summing it up perfectly, Lee Trewhela concludes, “To foreign ears – meaning anyone north of Saltash – many of Cornwall’s phrases and sayings are akin to a different language.”
Which really does make you wonder what the First Lady’s reaction might have been if President Biden asked her “Gotunavee?” – “Did you remember to purchase me a pasty?”
At Accutranslate, our professional interpreters have been trusted by business leaders, government officials (at a past G7 Summit) and sportspeople for years.
We tell them “Madderdoee” when Cornish interpretation is requested. “Don’t worry about it.”
US president Joe Biden says he doesn’t want to leave ‘gorgeous’ Cornwall in Boris Johnson meeting, Charlotte Becquart, Cornwall Live
45 Cornish phrases that will confuse anyone outside Cornwall, Lee Trewhela, Cornwall Live