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Frequently Asked Questions

Question on the Breton language

Goulenn 1

Why learn Breton?

  • Because the Breton language, like any other language, is part of the common cultural and historical heritage of mankind, our heritage as human beings;
  • Because the Breton language is part of the cultural and historic heritage of Brittany, and thus our own heritage as people living in Brittany;
  • Because Breton is the mark of our Breton identity, in placenames, given names, family names and so on...;
  • Because the Breton language is an affirmation of our Breton identity in the face of the steamroller of world cultural homogenization;
  • Because other peoples recognize our identity through the Breton language;
  • Because Breton has been the language of Brittany for over a millennium, and was in many cases the language of our own grandparents;
  • Because the Breton language was persecuted, and it was "forbidden to spit or to speak Breton" in public places;
  • Because children were punished for speaking Breton at school in order to make them reject the language of their parents;
  • Because any language gives us greater richness and open-mindedness;
  • Because there are no superior or inferior languages;
  • Because if we can't learn Breton in Brittany, where can we learn it?
  • Because we haven't been allowed to learn Breton in school up till now;
  • Because in Brittany, we can learn French, English, German, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Latin, Greek... so why not Breton?
  • Because Breton does not have equal standing in the educational curriculum with foreign languages designated as LV1;
  • Because unlike threatened public sites or monuments, or endangered species of animals, Breton, which is also under threat, has still not received any protection from the authorities;
  • Because all levels of government have consistently refused Breton any official status, making it an outlaw language;
  • Because if nobody learns Breton, it will be fated to disappear;
  • Because if it disappears, it will be an ornament of world culture that we will have lost;
  • Because learning and speaking Breton is the best way to defend Breton language and culture;
  • Because learning Breton is an act of faith in the future of Brittany and its culture;
  • Because it is my own choice, and I don't have to justify it.

Goulenn 2

Where can I find a list of Breton given names?

On the Kervarker site, on the Breton Given Names page.

Goulenn 3

My given name is XXX. Is it a Breton name? What does it mean?

As you know, given names travel far, and are very similar from one language to another, changing slightly as they cross linguistic borders. Many Breton men's names have passed into French, which has then made women's names out of them or invented a feminine version (such as Gwenaëlle, Yanne, and other oddities). Moreover, in contrast to the Lakota Sioux perhaps, Breton names don't necessarily have to mean anything, any more than names in other European languages, even though some of us live in the far west of the EU... ;o)

Goulenn 4

Are there any Breton courses on CD-ROM?

Les editions TES are working on a CD ROM for Breton learners that includes a built-in audio dictionary. See their website.

Goulenn 5

I'm looking for correspondence courses. Where can I apply?

The Skol Ober association offers correspondance courses by mail. Its address is: Skol Ober Gwaremm Leurven, 22310 Plufur

Frequently Asked Questions
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