Language - Breton language

Language  >  Breton language

Breton language

Breton (brezhoneg or in Morbihan) is a Southwestern Brittonic Celtic language spoken in Brittany.

Breton was brought from Great Britain to Armorica by migrating Britons during the Early Middle Ages; it is thus an Insular Celtic language, though closely related to the Continental Celtic Gaulish language which had been spoken in pre-Roman Gaul. Breton is most closely related to Cornish, both being Southwestern Brittonic languages. Welsh and the extinct Cumbric are the more distantly related Western Brittonic languages.

The other regional language of Brittany, Gallo, is a langue d'oïl. Gallo is a Romance language descended from Latin (unlike the similarly named ancient Celtic language Gaulish), and a close relative of French.

Having declined from more than 1,000,000 speakers around 1950 to about 200,000 in the first decade of the 21st century, Breton is classified as "severely endangered" by the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger. However, the number of children attending bilingual classes has risen 33% between 2006 and 2012 to 14,709.

Breton is spoken in Lower Brittany (Breizh-Izel), roughly to the west of a line linking Plouha (west of Saint-Brieuc) and La Roche-Bernard (east of Vannes). It comes from a Brittonic language community that once extended from Great Britain to Armorica (present-day Brittany) and had even established a toehold in Galicia (in present-day Spain). Old Breton is attested from the 9th century. It was the language of the upper classes until the 12th century, after which it became the language of commoners in Lower Brittany. The nobility, followed by the bourgeoisie, adopted French. The written language of the Duchy of Brittany was Latin, switching to French in the 15th century. There exists a limited tradition of Breton literature. Some Old Breton vocabulary remains in the present day as philosophical and scientific terms in Modern Breton. The recognized stages of the Breton language are: Old Breton - c.800 to c.1100, Middle Breton - c.1100 to c.1650, Modern Breton - c.1650 to present.

The French monarchy was not concerned with the minority languages of France spoken by the lower classes, and required the use of French for government business as part of its policy of national unity. During the French Revolution, the government introduced policies favouring French over the regional languages, which it pejoratively referred to as patois. The revolutionaries assumed that reactionary and monarchist forces preferred regional languages to try to keep the peasant masses underinformed. In 1794, Bertrand Barère submitted his "report on the patois" to the Committee of Public Safety in which he said that "federalism and superstition speak Breton".

Since the 19th century, under the Third, Fourth and Fifth Republics, the government has attempted to stamp out minority languages, including Breton, in state schools, in an effort to build a national culture. Teachers humiliated students for using their regional languages, and such practices prevailed until the late 1960s.

In the early 21st century, due to the political centralization of France, the influence of the media, and the increasing mobility of people, only about 200,000 people can speak Breton, a dramatic decline from more than a million in 1950. The majority of today's speakers are more than 60 years old, and Breton is now classified as an endangered language.

At the beginning of the 20th century, half of the population of Lower Brittany knew only Breton; the other half were bilingual. By 1950, there were only 100,000 monolingual Bretons, and this rapid decline has continued, with likely no monolingual speakers left today. A statistical survey in 1997 found around 300,000 speakers in Lower Brittany, of whom about 190,000 were aged 60 or older. Few 15- to 19-year-olds spoke Breton.

Country

France

France, officially the French Republic (République française, ), is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions (five of which are situated overseas) span a combined area of 643801 km2 and a total population of 67.3 million . France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by the Gauls, a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia. The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into East Francia, Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War (1337–1453). During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world. The 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Catholics and Protestants (Huguenots). France became Europe's dominant cultural, political, and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, and saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day.

Language

Breton language (English)  Lingua bretone (Italiano)  Bretons (Nederlands)  Breton (Français)  Bretonische Sprache (Deutsch)  Língua bretã (Português)  Бретонский язык (Русский)  Idioma bretón (Español)  Język bretoński (Polski)  布列塔尼语 (中文)  Bretonska (Svenska)  Limba bretonă (Română)  ブルトン語 (日本語)  Бретонська мова (Українська)  Бретонски език (Български)  브르타뉴어 (한국어)  Bretoni (Suomi)  Bahasa Breton (Bahasa Indonesia)  Bretonų kalba (Lietuvių)  Bretonsk (Dansk)  Bretonština (Česky)  Bretonca (Türkçe)  Бретонски језик (Српски / Srpski)  Bretooni keel (Eesti)  Bretónčina (Slovenčina)  Breton nyelv (Magyar)  Bretonski jezik (Hrvatski)  ภาษาเบรอตง (ไทย)  Bretonščina (Slovenščina)  Bretoņu valoda (Latviešu)  Βρετονική γλώσσα (Ελληνικά)  Tiếng Breton (Tiếng Việt) 
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