February 6, 2016

This discussion is locked.


Let me be a stupid Hungarian: what's the difference between Brittany and Britain? (Perhaps it will be a facepalm situation even for me, but I cannot recollect it for days... sorry!)


Brittany is a region in NW France (called Bretagne in French and Hungarian). Formerly also called "Little Britain" in English.

Britain, also "Great Britain" to distinguish it from "Little Britain" or Brittany, is the island containing England, Wales, and Scotland.

See also https://hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brit-sziget#Elnevez.C3.A9seinek_t.C3.B6rt.C3.A9nete_.C3.A9s_haszn.C3.A1lata , which also answers the question "Hol van Kis-Britannia?"


It's worth pointing out why Brittany and Britain have similar/identical names in various languages, especially as it is relevant to Welsh. (I think this may be explained in the above link, but my Hungarian is not good enough to be sure!)

Britain is an island where, 1500 years ago, most people spoke a Brittonic/Brythonic/British language (of which Welsh is a descendent). For an unknown reason some of these people crossed the sea and set up a colony which was presumably called 'Little Britain' in their own Brythonic language. It is not known exactly when, or over what period, by somewhere between 500 and 1000 AD. That is why Britain is sometimes called Great Britain - as otherwise (for example in French) you would not know the difference. Their language is closely related to Welsh (so much closer than Gaelic, but still not mutually intelligible). If you like mutations they have five! This is why it is classified as in 'Insular Celtic' language - it is traditionally thought of as being closer to Welsh than to Gaulish (that Asterix spoke).

Terminology for the Celtic countries within the Celtic languages is utter and complete chaos, as shown here. LLydaw is always said to mean 'continent' But I can't find any decent evidence. Wiktionary says

The semantic shift is “continent” → “mainland Europe” → “Britons who live in mainland Europe” → “Brittany”. D

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