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breton language

I'am from brittany ,irish and welsh learners have you heard about this celtic language relative to welsh and cornish . irish is much more difficult for me but I keep on

March 2, 2017



If anyone's looking for resources for Breton from English or Welsh, I personally use a copy of "Breton Grammar" by Roparz Hemon in it's translated form by Michael Everson as my source of grammar and a copy of "Brezhoneg.... Buan hag aes" by Per Denez (again in a translated form by R.Delaporte) though this is a pretty old book which I got second hand off amazon where there appears to be at least one English copy still in stock. The only Welsh resource I use is a Breton to Welsh dictionary titled "Geiriadur bach Llydaweg-Cymraeg" by Rita Williams though unfortunately this is only one way from Breton to Welsh. Both of the English books have also had sections adapted in order to concentrate more closely on the aspects of Breton which are less familiar to an English speaker than a French speaker (e.g the concept of grammatical genders) though if you speak Cornish or Welsh already you will find sections (especially the ones explaining mutations) to be a tad long winded due to you being familiar with the concepts already.


i saw recently a book 'method? or study written by mr conroy (an irish name) in english about breton


Years ago a native Welsh speaker told me that to them (presumably because of all the -zh- sounds in Breizh) Breton sounded "like Welsh spoken through a mouthful of ice cream."

Coincidentally, I have heard the same description of another language: a fluent, but non-native Spanish speaker once told me that Portuguese "sounds like Spanish through a mouthful of ice cream."

All of which naturally leads me to one of my 6-year-old daughter's few phrases of French - qu'est-ce qu'il y a comme glace? :)


My Cornish teacher once told me that having overheard some Breton speakers who had come to the Cornish Language Weekend, he thought it sounded like Cornish with a French accent (presumably due to the nasal vowels).


the vowels sound is a real mark for a language, when we go outside brittany , even french native speakers, we are identified as breton people with our é instead ai milk: lait , becomes lé and the short o. when i talk with welsh people they think I have a good accent, 2 reasons in my mind the vowels and the different sound from usual beginers english speakers.Did the bretons coming to the cornish week end have a good breton accent ? who knows the real sound of cornish ?No word for" bonjour " in breton in my town people still say in french a kind of how are you , as we do in breton.the accent and the expressions stay


The biggest surprise for me is the ch sound in Breton and how it differs from Welsh. The spelling of words can actually hide similarities as well - I was surprised to hear Harz in Breton sounding vaguely recogniseable as aros in Welsh, yet the spelling would never suggest any similarity at all.

Do you speak Breton and if so which dialect?. I am keen to learn more, but the learning materials from English or Welsh are limited, although there are some Welsh to Breton materials and dictionaries.

I have been trying to work out which dialect might be the easiest to associate with and learn for someone coming from Wales.


I come from north brittany near roscoff ferry port. The dialect iI speak is leon. For a long with the priests it was a kind of official dialect as it was the only one in the books.this dialect is the easiest to understand as we prononce the whole words. An example to forget : angobio yn cymraeg. ankounac'had breton forgoten leon: ankounac'hed , kerne (south brittany) ankoued . don't mistake ch (english sh ) and c'h wich sounds like ch cymraeg.Unfortunatly native speakers are dying now there"s a new united language and a new writing too.I can find many similarities but the writing has not the same value in each language..The university of aberystwyth has done a good job about welsh/breton material..I'm also learning welsh and irish from english a wir galon. luc


Now I will have to invest more time in finding materials for Leon I think;

yec'hed mat/Iechyd da


If anyone is interested in this strange-looking c'h, this is the explanation.

Breton is a Celtic language with lots of French words in it. Ch sounds different and is found in different words, in Celtic and French. So some priest in the middle ages decided to simplify things: the 'Celtic ch' just as in Welsh or Gaelic - the 'ch as in loch' - is written c'h, and the 'French ch', pronounced as in French, and only occurring in borrowings from French, is written ch.


french is a latin language and breton a celtic one some of new words like auto for motorcar or velo for bicycle have gone through , less than in welsh i think


It can be very difficult to tell as there is a difference between what the books say and what people really do. The Gaelic Duolingo says that the Gaelic for 'butcher' is feòladair. I have never heard that in my life. People always say buidsear (i.e. they say butcher but they spell it in in Gaelic). And there are lots of other words I could list - modren (for modern), really, wonderadh (verbal noun from wonder). What differs is whether these are accepted by the language controllers. People will still use them.


And Cornish sounds like Breton with an English accent ;)


And Scots Gaelic is often described as Irish with a Norwegian accent -which makes sense historically.

And having heard Manx, it is defintitely Irish/ Gaelic with a Scouse (i.e. from Liverpool) accent.

Edit: and now I have done the Welsh course I can say that Gaelic is also Irish with Welsh influence as well.


I am from Ukraine, but I am well aware of the 6 celtic languages and I love them very much! Cymraeg and Brezhoneg (Welsh and Breton) are my favourites) Unfortunately, it is very hard for me to learn Breton, because there are very little resources on the internet. One day, I hope I will be able to speak fluently in these languages)


you can learn breton on the web with "edubreizh" . two problems 1 it's not free 2 the explanations or translations are in french. I'm fluent in breton



Nice to find you here! I hope you are all doing well during these weird times!

I'm part Breton (mother), part Dutch (father) speaking both although Dutch at school here in Amsterdam and Breton only with family and later with backup from methods and the internet. Result: trying to get an introduction to Welsh and Scottish Gaelic now with duolingo!

Result 2: true, a lot of younger people in Breizh speak with a French accent (i have a Dutch accent the family says...) BUT I never realized how strong the English influences were on Welsh /Gaelic!

Especially on the r (when not rolling), the vowels..

Also in the vocabulary. My favorite word so far in both languages : brecwast /bracaist!

Stay strong and safe!


Ps: English is Dutch with a French accent!! :)


Very interesting. If the younger Bretons have a stronger French accent than the older ones then that is French influence, but some features may go back to a time when many people in France were speaking a Celtic language - or in other words, are you sure that French isn't Romance with a Celtic accent.

Certainly a lot of features of Gaelic that I assumed were borrowed from English turn out to be nothing of the kind. They are in English simply because we have been doing that for 1500 years - before any large-scale linguistic invasion. The continuous tenses and the verbal nouns are the first strange thing that a Dutch, French, German or Scandinavian person comes across when learning English and they are clearly a Celtic feature.

The English r, or unrolled r is interesting. It is true that Gaelic sounds more like English than it does French or Scots. But this does not appear to be contact with the English, somehow bypassing the Scots. It seems to predate contact with English speakers. Later, standard English was introduced in schools and they became bilingual in Gaelic and English, not Scots. Only in the last couple of decades have Gaels started to speak Scots, due, I suspect to both the improving social status of Scots and the consequent increasing presence of Scots in the media.

I am English and I have been told my Gaelic accent is unusually native-sounding. I put this down to having less Scots influence than most learners in Scotland.


france land of the francs , but this germanic people didn't succeed to make their language unployed it was the language of "carolus magnus" in east france lorraine county there was the francique as traditional language it disapeared after the first world war. no much celtic gaulois words in french wich really a latin language



If you could hear my 2 very old "aunts" (they are both around 90 and children of my grandfather's brother... Is there a word in English for that generation!? We just call them aunts/"mwerb" :))

Anyway, if you could hear them, you would not think of French at all. Funnily enough, it sounds more like Dutch than like French. Lots of guttural sounds, lots of k's, and yes... A rolling r. Another very typical thing (and beautiful, I think) is the very strong double emphasis/stress. A french word like restaurant, even when they speak French, sounds somewhat like "resTO rAN". With stress, it seems, on both the 2nd and the 3rd syllable. Only the very old generation speaks like this. The children (60/70), while not having a French accent, don't.

There are of course different dialects in Breton (officialy 4 but...), just like in Welsh, French, English, Dutch. It is true that the southern Welsh dialects look more like Breton than the standard. Of course Gaulish must have had its influence on French and Breton. Gaulish also was a P-Celtic language: mapos! Mab! Map! (versus Mac in the Gaelic languages).

Just like English is the weird germanic language, French is the weird Romance language with its double negation (ne pas... = "ne ket" in breton, "nid ddim" in welsh), the use of pronouns, the 20-based counting system...

Languages influence each other, even if they have the same deep roots! Isn't that just fantastic!? :)


Ppl who know French to some extent can use the Kwizh Brezhoneg application. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=fr.mgingenierie.kwizh_brezhoneg&hl=en_US&gl=US I don't believe it's available for Apple devices yet.

Not as sexy as the green owl, but it does the job while we're waiting for Duolingo to finally tackle Breton.

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