What Is Breton language

The Breton  is a Brythonic language spoken in western Brittany (known as Lower Brittany , in Brittany, Breizh Izel ), in France . It descends from the Celtic languages that were taken from Great Britain by the Breton migrations to Armorica , in the beginning of the Medieval . It is closely related to other British languages, especially Cornish and Welsh , and a little further from Irish Gaelic andScottish Gaelic , being classified as an island Celtic language .

Breton is the only Celtic language with no officially recognized status . The number of speakers has declined from more than a million speakers in the 1950s to around 200,000 today, with the majority of these speakers over 60 years old [ 3 ] This has made Breton a threatened language for extinction, according to the Red List of endangered Languages of UNESCO .


The area known to the Romans as Armorica was renamed “Little Britain “, as its inhabitants came from Great Britain , especially in Cornwall , from where they migrated in the 6th century AD

Between 1880 and the mid- 20th century , Breton teaching was banned from schools, and children were punished if they spoke the language. [ 4 ] That changed, however, in 1951 with the enactment of the Deixonne Act , which allowed the teaching of Breton culture and language, three hours a week, in public schools, if teachers so desired and knew the language. Since then, many schools and even colleges have been prepared for education in Breton or bilingual (Breton – French ).

The first written record of the language dates from 790 . This is the Leyde Manuscrit ( Leida ), a botanical treatise , written in Breton and Latin . The first text printed in Breton, a romantic piece, appeared in 1530 . The 19th century marked the revival of Breton literature.

Recent situation

For a long time there were considerable variations in the spelling of the sounds of the Breton language. Then, in 1908 the spelling of three of the dialects of the language, existing in Brittany , in Kerneveg (Cornouaille), in Leoneg (Léon) and in Tregerieg (Trégor), was unified. Another dialect, Gwenedeg (Vannetais), was not included in the reform, but was inserted in the spelling reform of 1941 .

Today, Breton can be heard on a good number of radio stations for a few hours and there is a weekly Breton TV program, lasting an hour. There are also some weekly and monthly magazines written in the language.


The Breton language uses the Latin alphabet with the following characteristics:

  • without Q, without X; the C does not appear alone, just like Ch and C’h. In most it has the same Latinletters .
  • vowels: all five and more combinations ae, ao, eo, eu, or. They use the diacritics is or . There are nasalizations añ, eñ, euñ, iñ, oñ, uñ .
  • Consonants: there are combinations gn, lh, zh, ch, c’h

Sample text 

Dieub for the dellezegezh ha gwirioù and ganet an holl dud. Because of the skies, there was a re-bevelling on eil gant egile in a spered a genvreudeuriezh.


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are provided with reason and conscience and must act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

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