Language - Breton

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Breton came to this part of northwestern France with migrants from Britain in the 5th-6th centuries AD and the language has much in common with Welsh and Cornish. Breton was the dominant language in the region for several hundred years before going into decline from the 16th century.

Government efforts to stamp out all minority languages in the name of promoting French national unity intensified from the middle of the 19th century and Breton was banned from schools for 100 years. However, in 1951 a law was passed to allow Breton language and culture to be taught in schools, and the language revival movement has gathered steam since then.

But the Breton language remains in a precarious position. Although it is recognised as a minority language by the EU, it has no official status under French law and is not a recognised regional language. Nevertheless, there are estimated to be 210,000 native speakers today, mainly in the west of the region, with around 35,000 using it as their everyday language.

Some words to get you started:

Breton Brezhoneg
Welcome Degemer mat
Good morning Demat
How are you? Mat an traou?
Goodbye Kenavo
Please Mar plij
Thank you Trugarez


Breton Language Resources
Learn Breton