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> Breton And The Other Celtic Languages, Some info
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 30-May-2004, 05:07 PM
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Here is some info on Breton (and the other Celtic languages) collected from the internet:

Breton language is a Celtic language closely related to Welsh, Cornish, Manx, and Irish and Scottish Gaelic. It is the everyday language of an estimated 250,000 people in Brittany, the far western peninsula of France.

Their are online dictionaries for most of the Celtic languages at the following site:
http://www.yourdictionary.com/languages/celtic.html

The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001:

Celtic languages

subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages. At one time, during the Hellenistic period, Celtic speech extended all the way from Britain and the Iberian Peninsula in the west across Europe to Asia Minor in the east, where a district still known as Galatia recalls the former presence there of Celtic-speaking Gauls. Later, however, in the course of the Roman conquest, Celtic speech tended to yield to Latin, and by the 5th cent. A.D. Celtic had virtually disappeared from continental Europe. Today the Celtic languages that have survived into the modern era are limited almost entirely to the British Isles and French Brittany, where these tongues are spoken by a total of about 2 million people. The Celtic subfamily is made up of three groups of languages: the Continental, the Brythonic (also called British), and the Goidelic (also called Gaelic). 1

Continental Celtic
Continental Celtic, which includes all Celtic idioms on the Continent with the exception of Breton, died out following the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the late 5th cent. A.D. The principal example of this group is the now extinct language Gaulish, for little remains of any other Continental Celtic tongues. Gaulish was once the language of Gaul proper (now modern France). Evidence of Gaulish is found both in words and in personal and proper names referred to by ancient Greek and Latin writers as well as in more than a hundred Gaulish inscriptions from France and N Italy (ranging in date from the 3d cent. B.C. to the 3d cent. A.D.). Coins and Greek and Latin inscriptions in Europe also preserve Celtic place-names and personal names. Yet the material as a whole is quite limited, furnishing only a number of proper names, a small vocabulary, and certain indications regarding the sounds and grammar of Gaulish and of Continental Celtic in general. 2

Brythonic
The Brythonic group includes Breton, Cornish (now extinct), and Welsh. They are all descendants of British, the Celtic language of the ancient Britons of Caesar?s day. The emergence of Welsh, Cornish, and Breton from British as separate languages probably took place during the 5th and 6th cent. A.D. and was a result of the Germanic invasions of Britain. Welsh and Breton have discarded the originally numerous Indo-European cases for the noun and use only one case. Both employ the Roman alphabet for writing. The accent in Welsh and Breton generally falls on the next-to-last syllable, with the exception of a single Breton dialect that has the accent on the last syllable. 3
Breton today is spoken by more than 500,000 people in Brittany, most of whom are bilingual, speaking also French. It is not surprising that Breton, unlike Welsh, has many loan words from French. Breton is by no means descended from ancient Gaulish, but rather from the Celtic dialects taken by Welsh and Cornish immigrants from the British Isles who were fleeing Germanic invasions and found refuge in Armorica (now French Brittany) in the 5th and 6th cent. A.D. Surviving literary documents in Breton go back only as far as the 15th cent., but the earlier stages of the language are known through glosses and proper names (see Breton literature). 4
Cornish, once the Celtic language of Cornwall, became extinct in the late 18th cent. Cornish proper names in manuscripts of the 10th cent. A.D. are the oldest recorded traces of the language. A number of Cornish place-names have survived, and some Cornish words appear in the English spoken in Cornwall today. The Cornish language was written in the Roman alphabet. It is not noted for an outstanding literature (see Cornish literature). Modern efforts to revive Cornish have had little success. 5
Welsh (called Cymraeg or Cymric by its speakers) is the language today of over 600,000 people, chiefly in Wales (a western peninsula of Great Britain) but also in the United States and Canada, to which a number of Welsh people have migrated. Most speakers of Welsh in Great Britain also use English. The oldest extant Welsh texts are from the 8th cent. A.D. (see Welsh literature). 6

Goidelic
The third group of the Celtic subfamily is Goidelic, to which Irish (also called Irish Gaelic), Scots Gaelic, and Manx belong. The term Erse is used as a synonym for Irish and sometimes even for Scots Gaelic. All the modern Goidelic tongues are descendants of the ancient Celtic speech of Ireland. It is thought that the Celtic idiom first came to Ireland shortly before the Christian era. An official language of Ireland, Irish is spoken natively by approximately 75,000 people; roughly a third of Ireland?s population can speak and understand it to some degree. Most speakers of Irish also use English (see Irish language). 7
Scots Gaelic is the tongue of about 60,000 persons in the Highlands of Scotland and an additional 3,000 in Canada. Most of these people also speak English. Gaelic speech began to reach Scotland in the late 5th cent. A.D., when it was brought by the Irish invaders of that country. However, a truly distinctive Scots Gaelic did not appear before the 13th cent. The chief difference between Scots Gaelic and Irish results from the substantial Norse influence on the former. There are four cases for the noun (nominative, genitive, dative, and vocative) in Scots Gaelic, which uses the Roman alphabet (see Gaelic literature). 8
Manx is a dialect of Scots Gaelic that was once spoken on the Isle of Man, but it has almost entirely died out there. First recorded in writing in the early 17th cent., Manx does not have an important literature. It is written in the Roman alphabet and shows a strong Norse influence. 9

Pronunciation and Grammar
The rules of pronunciation for all the Celtic languages are extremely complicated. For example, the final sound of a word frequently brings about a phonetically changed initial consonant of the next word, as in Irish fuil, ?blood,? but ar bhfuil, ?our blood.? Another example is Welsh pen, ?head,? but fy mhen, ?my head.? In order to look up a word in the dictionary, one has to be familiar with these rules of phonetic change, or mutation. There are only two genders in the Celtic languages, masculine and feminine. Words of Celtic origin that have been absorbed by English include bard, blarney, colleen, crock, dolmen, druid, glen, slogan, and whiskey. An interesting feature of Celtic languages is that in several characteristics they resemble some non-Indo-European languages. These characteristics include the absence of a present participle and the use instead of a verbal noun (found also in Egyptian and Berber), the frequent expression of agency by means of an impersonal passive construction instead of by a verbal subject in the nominative case (as in Egyptian, Berber, Basque, and some Caucasian and Eskimo languages), and the positioning of the verb at the beginning of a sentence (typical of Egyptian and Berber).


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Slàn agus beannachd,
Allen R. Alderman

'S i Alba tìr mo chridhe. 'S i Gàidhlig cànan m' anama.
Scotland is the land of my heart. Gaelic is the language of my soul.
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celtica 
Posted: 31-May-2004, 06:45 AM
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Alas I don't speak breton ! sad.gif This is the case for many people of my generation who where born just before the revival of the celtic roots in the early seventies.
Maybe one day I'll learn ! wink.gif


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Que restera-t-il de notre sang mêlé au sel, sans trace dans les mémoires ? Une ultime navigation, trompeuse. Et des souvenirs, illuminés d'embruns. Mais condamnés au silence de la mer... Loïc Finaz.
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 31-May-2004, 08:37 AM
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Hello again!

Here's some more info about the Breton language from a website Celtica posted over in the About Brittany thread:

The Breton Language

THE Breton language is as different from French as Welsh is from English. Small devoted groups are trying to keep it alive, but young people generally are showing little interest, and though Breton is offered as an optional subject in schools, it is not a popular choice. There is now a TV channel in Breton, which seems to be helping.

However, you can easily find native Breton speakers among the older generation. There are plenty of elderly people who spoke only Breton until they went to a new school and had to start learning French. Breton is a celtic language and cannot be avoided by travellers in the Morbihan, as place-names are given in both French and Breton, and most of the latter contain some celtic root. The ubiquitous "Ker-" (or "Quer-" or "Guer-"), for instance, means hamlet, village or town. "Mor" means "sea" and "bihan" means "small", so Morbihan is the equivalent of "little sea".

As in Welsh, aber means a river estuary. Kastell is a castle and Gallaou is a French person or a Gaul. An English person is a Saoz. The English Channel is referred to as the Mor Breizh or Breton Sea.
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 01-Jun-2004, 09:12 PM
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Here's some more info about Breton. This is from:
http://www.brittany-bretagne.com/pg/langue.htm

The breton language


The breton language has suffered from a serious trauma. It will probably overcome its current difficulties and secure its future, but it is paying the price. The language is shifting extremely quickly. It was formerly a country language, it has become an urban language. The language of Basse-Bretagne (western Brittany) is now also spoke in Nantes and Rennes, as well Brest or Vannes).

The most important area which we must work on is of course schooling. There are about 800,000 school-going children in Brittany. Only 5,700 of them can benefit from bilingual schooling (Breton-French). This figure takes into account all types of schooling - Diwan, state and private schools. Despite this insignificant percentage, the impact of these schools is very important, particularly on the Bretons' perception of their language. The number of pupils in the bilingual schools has progressed every year by 15 to 20 %. Another important symbol for the Bretons is that the first students to have been educated at Diwan for their whole school years did their Baccalaureat (A-level/leaving cert/high school diploma) in June 1997. They all passed successfully. Otherwise, about 16,000 students are taught or introduced to the Breton language.
Adult learning courses are also highly successful. It is estimated that 9,300 people went to Breton language courses during 1998/1999 (evening courses, lessons, correspondence courses).
Brittany also has its Breton publishers. They produce about a tenth of the books published annually in Brittany, that is to say between 80 and 100 Breton titles. A great number of them are intended for children. The media is also relatively varied, including a general information monthly called Bremañ.
The proximity radio stations of Radio- France (national station), allocate time to the language, especially Radio-France Bretagne Ouest (West Brittany). This is often judged insufficient, and is currently inciting people into creating radio associations, which broadcast primarily in the Breton language. On television, the language is present every day in the Western half of Brittany only, and this is only for 5 minutes of local news. Otherwise two documentaries are televised, one 25 minute programme for all the Departments (except Loire-Atlantique) and one 45 minute programme for all Brittany. There is currently a private project for a bilingual channel called TV Breizh, which should be available shortly.
The Breton language is beginning to show its presence in institutional life. The Côtes d'Armor and Finistère departments now systematically provide bilingual signposts on all major department roads. A number of towns do the same thing in their area. The town of Kemper/Quimper and An Oriant/Lorient have started an ambitious programme of making all their signposts bilingual. This evolution is also visible in the economy. The language is now frequently used in advertising and shop sign-posting.
The T.M.O. poll for the Télégramme, in 1997, shows that the Bretons are very fond of their language. 88% of them think that the language should be preserved.

The Breton language is the only Celtic language spoken on the continent and it is now in a strongly contrasting situation. It was spoken by more than a million people at the beginning of the 20th century. Recent surveys (in the absence of a real census) show that 250,000 people speak the language daily and 600,000 people are capable of understanding it. (Source : I.N.S.E.E - Octant N°56-57-1994 - T.M.O Le Télégramme April 1997). A large majority of the Breton speakers are old and it is estimated that 15,000 of them disappear every year.
To cope with this situation, a real movement in favour of the Breton langue now exists in Brittany. It is supported by dynamic cultural associations and some local communities


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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 04-Sep-2004, 06:54 PM
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The following is just a small portion of an excellent dissertation I found on the Bretton language at the following site:

http://www.breizh.net/icdbl/saozg/breton.htm

This actual report is found at:

http://www.breizh.net/icdbl/saozg/endangered.htm

If you have any interest in the Breton language, I suggest you pay this place a visit!

The Breton Language is a Celtic Language

The Breton language is one of dozens of "lesser used" languages in Europe. It's a Celtic language. There are five others: Irish Gaelic and Scottish Gaelic, Manx, Welsh, and Cornish (yes, it is alive contrary to many things one will read). Some people also include Galicia and Asturias (in Spain) in the family of Celts. While these regions have a Celtic identity based on history and traditional culture, they do not have Celtic languages, although the languages spoken in those regions today are unique.

When you hear the word "Celtic" today in the U.S., it is mostly thrown about to sell something Irish or Scottish ? a music CD or festival. The noun "Celt" or adjective "Celtic" is more precisely used to apply to people, places or things where there is a link to a Celtic language. More broadly it refers to the cultures of the places where those languages have been found.

So why is there a Celtic language in France?
I am not a historian but we need to start with a little history to situate Brittany and the Breton language. This is a very simplistic summary. To understand Brittany today, it is important to study its history in much more depth.

Celts were being distinguished as a separate people by historians in the 8th through 1st centuries BC based on social organization, dress, warfare methods, and especially language. Ancient Celts spread westward from the Danube Valley and a presence in Brittany was noted by the La Tene period in 500 BC. The Gauls of this period (the Latin name for people called Keltoi in Greek) were a set of various peoples. Ceasar named five different Celtic nations in Brittany - then called "Armorica".

The Romans invaded Brittany in the first century BC. The Celts fought them but were defeated. The Roman presence in Brittany was peaceful and this was a period when roads and towns were built. During the 5th and 6th century especially, but also before this, there was a great deal of travel between Celtic peoples in Britain and Armorica - especially by early Christians who were both spiritual and political leaders. The shift to the name Brittany bears witness to this travel.

This is a complicated period with settlement of a great number of Celts from Wales, Cornwall and Devon, as well as Ireland, in Brittany. This was a period of uneasy relations between the Francs (French) and Bretons. During the 5th to 7th centuries there was constant warfare on the borderlands which are now roughly the same as the present day border between Brittany and France.

Brittany was made up of several principalities - united only in the 9th century under Nominoe who fought to keep Brittany independent. Brittany as a kingdom under Nominoe marked the peak expansion of the Breton language, but Brittany was never all Breton speaking. Those in the east spoke Gallo, an outgrowth of late Latin influenced by the Celtic language spoken by the Gauls. It developed in parallel to the French dialects now spoken elsewhere in France: that of Paris, and also Picard, Normand, Angevin, Manceau and Poitevin. Gallo is unique, but not a Celtic language.

The Breton nobility had trouble accepting a king. The 10th to 12th centuries were marked by internal battles where Breton dukes fought each other for dominance. Competing alliances with England or France meant that the end of independence would be inevitable.

During the 12th through 17th centuries Breton nobility and higher clergy adopted French as a more international language, and cities in Brittany became largely French-speaking (although also Breton speaking). To be urban has long been viewed as equivalent to speaking French.

Thus, French was the language used by an urban elite while Breton and Gallo were languages of the countryside and smaller towns. Brittany has always been multilingual. The boundary of Brittany is not determined by the correspondence of the Breton language to a particular geographic realm, but by early religious and political boundaries - bishoprics were also administrative areas overlaid by territories claimed by Breton Dukes.

Brittany was annexed to France in 1532 through complex marriage alliances. But it retained some important independence with a parliament, and control over taxes and army conscription. Brittany was brought into the French nation-state with the French Revolution in 1789. That was the beginning of a political centralization that would force people in France to become French, and thus good citizens.

We'll get back to that idea in looking at the changing situation of the Breton language.

Just how many people speak the Breton language?
The French government has never included questions about languages in its census so until recent times when some fairly reliable surveys have been taken, it has been difficult to know exactly how many people spoke Breton at any given period of history.

In 1914 it is said that over 1 million spoke Breton west of the border between Breton and Gallo-speaking regions - roughly 90% of the population of the western half of Brittany. In 1945 it was about 75%, and today, in all of Brittany the most optimistic estimate would be that 20% of Bretons can speak Breton. Brittany has a population of roughly 4 million -- if you include the department of Loire-Atlantique which the Vichy government chopped off from "official" Brittany in 1941. Three-quarters of the estimated 200 to 250,000 Breton speakers using Breton as an everyday language today are over the age of 65. What does that say about the future for Breton?
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 28-Sep-2004, 09:38 AM
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Here is some info I found on the Breton Language! It contains a few words and phrases! It was found at:
http://www.brittany-guide.com/welcome.html?menu.htm&0

The Breton Language
Breton is an actual language, spoken by more than 250,000 people. In Brittany there are many Breton language schools for children & as you travel further west (towards Finistere & Cotes D'Armor) the influence of Breton is more apparent. All of the road signs are bi-lingual (French & Breton), the Breton flag is flown over many public buildings & cars carry the BZH plate meaning Breizh, the Breton name for Brittany.

Here are a few Breton words you will probably see on your travels around Brittany

Aber, aven: Estuary
Amann : Butter
Argoad : Inland or wooded area
Arvor of armor: Coastal
Avel : Wind
Beg : Point or summit
Bihan : Small
Bras : Big
Breizh : Brittany
Du : Black
Gwenn : White
Ker : Town or village
Kozh : Old
Lan : Monastery
Lann : Heath
Loc : An isolated place
Loc'h : Coastal lake
Mad : Good
Men : Rock or stone
Menez : Mountain
Mor : Sea
Nevez : New
Plou : Old parish
Ti or Ty : House

And you can always impress the locals with a few Breton phrases:-
Yec'hed mat : Cheers/good health
Kenavo : Goodbye
Demat : Good morning
Nozvat : Good Night
Trugarez : Thank you
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 26-Dec-2004, 11:43 PM
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Hi everybody!

I tired to find out how to say Merry Christmas in Breton, but I couldn't find it! sad.gif I did find out that the Breton word for Christmas is Nedeleg. I also found out how to say Happy New Year! It is:

Bloavezh Mat!

Merry Christmas and Bloavezh Mat everyone! biggrin.gif
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Eiric 
Posted: 10-Dec-2005, 01:33 AM
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Nedeleg Laouen ha Bloavezh Mat, WizardOfOwls!


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Anam Ceilteach

About Indigenous Peoples
If you ever needed a Gàidhlig dictionary

If you think you can hold me down
I beg to differ
If you think you can twist my words
I'll sing forever



Tha gach uile dhuine air a bhreth saor agus co-ionnan ann an urram 's ann an còirichean. Tha iad air am breth le reusan is le cogais agus mar sin bu chòir dhaibh a bhith beò nam measg fhein ann an spiorad bràthaireil

If you think you can hold me down
I beg to differ
If you think you can twist my words
I'll sing forever
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