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Cornouaille (Traditional province, Brittany, France)

Kernev, Kernew, Bro Gernev

Last modified: 2013-12-29 by ivan sache
Keywords: kernev | kernew | bro gernev | cornouaille | ram (white) |
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[Flag of Cornouaille]

Flag of Cornouaille - Image by Mikael Bodlore-Penlaez, 29 December 1999

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Presentation of Cornouaille

Cornouaille,located in the south-west of Brittany, is an ancient bishopric and county with Quimper (Kemper) as its capital.

Mikael Bodlore-Penlaez, 29 December 1999

Flag of Cornouaille

The flag of Cornouaille, designed by Yoran Delacour in 1996 and approved by the Breton Vexillological Society, is blue with a white ram.
The design is based on the flag of the Swiss cantons of Grishun and Schaffhausen. The ram is thus projecting and has a more combative bearing.

The canting arms of Cornouaille, dating from 1426, indeed represent a ram passant. Kernev, the Breton name of the province, comes from the words kern, "horn" and knev, "fleece".

Mikael Bodlore-Penlaez, 29 December 1999

The Breton name of the province of Cornouailles is normally spelt Kernev in the most commonly used Peurunvan "the completely unified" orthography (sometimes Zedachek from its use of ZH, plus -ek), although Kernew is possible in the Skolveuriek "the university" and Etrerannyezhel "interdialectical" orthographies.
However, the etymology kern+knev "horns"+"fleece" is wrong. In fact the same word is used for Cornwall, although usually the suffix -Veur "great" is added, on the model of Breizh-Veur "Britain". The real etymology is */kornowi:/ with i-affection giving *kernew. The element -ow- is apparently linked to the plural ending -ou in Breton (-ow in Cornish, -au, -eu in Welsh) and the whole apparently means "(land) of the horned ones", being a genitive of *kornowes. It is presumably a reference to an ancient tribal badge or perhaps a head-dress, possibly linked to the horned tribal god Kernounos (*kernowonos?). The etymology given above is a mere folk etymology, although an understandable one given the form.

Talat Chaudhri, 8 March 2005