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The main language of Brittany nowadays is French, however the traditional language of Breton (Brezhoneg) is much older. Records can also be found in Latin. Although for most purposes Brittany, and the Bretons, are treated as part of France, many Bretons do not perceive themselves as being French, but rather as a separate Celtic people in France. There is a long-running significant Breton nationalist movement. To add confusion to the matter, Loire-Atlantique, which is historically part of Brittany is no longer treated as such for official purposes.

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Breton language

The Breton language is one of the Brythonic Celtic languages and is closely related to Welsh and Cornish. And more distantly to Manx, Scottish and Irish Gaelic.

It is most prevalent in western parts of Brittany, but many people throughout Brittany have sent their children into Breton-medium education.

Gallo

Gallo, depending on one's viewpoint is either a patois or dialect of French or a closely related language. It was not really written down until the 20th century, but was spoken long before that in eastern parts of Brittany.

Breton surnames

Locational:

  •  Kerguelen
  •  Morvan


Descriptive:

  •  Le Bihan (French "le" meaning "the", plus Breton "bihan" meaning small)
  •  Le Guen (meaning "the fair")


Occupational

  •  Goff (meaning a smith)


Personal names

  •  Tanguy (from Breton "Tangi", meaning fire dog), originally the name of a saint.

Lord's Prayer

The Lord's Prayer is shown here as an example of Breton. Breton orthography (spelling) was not standardised until recently.


Hon Tad,
c'hwi hag a zo en Neñv,
ra vo santelaet hoc'h ano.
Ra zeuio ho Rouantelezh.
Ra vo graet ho youl war an douar evel en neñv.
Roit dimp hizio bara hor bevañs.
Distaolit dimp hon dleoù
evel m' hor bo ivez distaolet d' hon dleourion.
Ha n' hon lezit ket da vont gant an temptadur,
met hon dieubit eus an Droug.

For those who are interested in learning Breton, the following
Breton site includes online lessons.




 

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