Lowlands-L Anniversary Celebration

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About the story
What’s with this “Wren” thing?
   The oldest extant version of the fable we are presenting here appeared in 1913 in the first volume of a two-volume anthology of Low Saxon folktales (Plattdeutsche Volksmärchen “Low German Folktales”) collected by Wilhelm Wisser (1843–1935). Read more ...


Picturesque Celtic sights abound on Crozon (Kraozon) Peninsula, the westernmost reach of Brittany and France.

Language information: Breton is used by around 300,000 people, the vast majority of whom live in France and are above the age of 60. It is the traditional language of Brittany (Breton Breizh, French Bretagne) in France. It belongs to the Brythonic group of Celtic, which, among the surviving languages, it shares with Cornish and Welsh.
     Breton is most widely used in Upper Brittany (or Western Brittany, Breizh-Uhzel in Breton, Haute-Bretagne in French), where there are four dialects or dialect groups of it. A somewhat interdialectical (etrerannyezhel) variant as been emerging. It is usually referred to as KLT, standing for Kerneveg-Leoneg-Tregerieg in Breton, because it is based on these three dialects (which in French are called Cornouaillais, Léonard and Trégorrois respectively).
Dialects of Breton     In Lower Brittany (or Eastern Brittany, Breton Breizh-Izel, French Basse-Bretagne), the Breton language is used to a lesser degree. Breton-speaking communities are smaller and scattered. In many places, Breton came to be displaced by Gallo (also known as “Gallo-Roman” or “Gallo-Romance,” a language related to Champenois, French, Norman, Picard, Walloon and other Romance languages of the Oïl type) which is now severely endangered. Gallo and Breton have a long history of contact and mutual borrowing.
     Two status-related characteristics differentiate Breton from its surviving Celtic relatives:
     (1) It is not used on an island but is still classified as a Insular Celtic language. The reason for this is that a long time ago it was imported from Britain, apparently from Cornwall. It may well have descended from Old Cornish or rather from an old Brythonic language variety from which both Cornish and Breton descended. However, long periods of distance as well as Gallo, Norman and French influences, and in earliest times probably Gaulish influences, have alienated it considerably from its insular relatives.
     (2) Breton is the only living Celtic language that does not enjoy official language status. This is the result of the French government refusing to officially recognize and support within its borders any language other than French, thus being the last European Union member that has not yet ratified the European Languages Charter. This is in keeping with a tradition that began at the latest with the French Revolution. This comes with desparaging naming of minority languages of France (e.g. patois). Lack of official status and lack of incentive for young Bretons (including speakers of Gallo) to continue using their ancestral language places into jeopardy the survival chances of Breton (and all other languages of France other than French), despite considerable Breton language activism and a revival of Breton folk culture in some circles.

Genealogy: Indo-European > Celtic > Insular > Brythonic

    Click to open the translation: [Inguiniel Gwenedeg] [Kerneveg] [KLT]Click here for different versions. >

Author: Reinhard F. Hahn

© 2011, Lowlands-L · ISSN 189-5582 · LCSN 96-4226 · All international rights reserved.
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