A Bit on Breton and Other Minority Languages of France

@SHI, responding to this post:

Sounds like Welsh or something in the Celtic languages family.

Perhaps, Breton or any other minority languages? I think it’s spoken in modern France.

Yes, it is Celtic. Good job for getting that.

Nope, it’s not Breton. Yes, Breton is spoken in Brittany in France at the far northwestern part of the country. It stems from a migration by Welsh speakers to that part of France in 1300, so it’s close to Welsh. Apparently they can’t really understand each other though. I would guess ~30% intelligibility, if that.

Both languages are part of a branch of Celtic called Byrthonic. Believe it or not, 2,000 years ago, Byrthonic languages were the only languages spoken in England and Wales. They’ve gone extinct now except for Welsh, Manx, and Cornish.

The other branch is called Goidelic and includes Irish and Scottish Gaelic.

Although Breton has 500,000 speakers, it’s not in very good shape because France tries to destroy every non-French language spoken in the country. Most speakers are older and there are few young speakers.

However, a number of private schools have been set up to teach children. The teach them a new form called Unified Breton, which oddly and comically enough is so different from the other Breton languages spoken that the older speakers cannot understand these New Breton speakers.

France has even attacked the other langues d’oil, of which French (Parisien) is only one. Parisien happened to be the langue d’oil spoken in Paris, so it became Standard French. However, in WW 1, 80% of French troops could not speak French! Can you imagine that?

They spoke the other langues d’oil, the various Occitan languages (perhaps as many as 18),  Arpitan  or Franco-Provencal (which may also be u to 20 languages), Souletin Basque, Breton (four different languages), Alsatian (German), or West Flemish. Incredible, isn’t it? The other langues d’oil are in horrible shape, though most have not gone extinct yet.

They split from Parisien and the other langues d’oil from Old French around 1,000 years ago, so they are very divergent. Intelligibility between Poitevin and Lorraine is estimated at 1%! Believe it or not, Poitevin still has monolinguals in their 60’s. A form of Norman spoken on the border of Normandy and Brittany also has monolinguals, usually farm workers in their 40’s and 50’s. Isn’t that incredible?

SHI: It’s clearly not Manx or Cornish.

Ha ha, what makes you so sure about that second opinion, my man?

6 thoughts on “A Bit on Breton and Other Minority Languages of France”

  1. SHI: It’s clearly not Manx or Cornish.

    Ha ha, what makes you so sure about that second opinion, my man?

    Of course, these are wild guesses. But, something about that quiz paragraph does not fit into the profile of United Kingdom languages. I can perhaps recognize a paragraph in Cymru or Manx, although I wouldn’t know what the hell they mean.

    That paragraph you gave sounded like it’s spoken somewhere outside the British isles. So, France is a natural conclusion.

    1. But, something about that quiz paragraph does not fit into the profile of United Kingdom languages.

      LOL are you sure about that? 😉

        1. Actually, we haven’t run out of UK languages LOL.

          How about the one you said it could not be?

          Cornish.

          Extinct but lately revived in the past few decades with ~700 speakers and ~3,000 semi-speakers.

          1. Hah hah…Really came close this time. I must say I really like the rich sounds of Cornish. It’s a language that totally needs to be revived.

            On another note, I just found out about a historical event called Disco Demolition night which took place on July 12, 1979. You must be aware of it. It was before I was born.

            Only now I understand there was a huge anti-disco movement in the late ’70s. I never did like the white suits and dance movements typical of discos. Apparently all the faggots in New York City had unprotected sex in those discotheques.

            On Disco Demolition Night, some 50,000 vinyl records were destroyed by explosives in a live stadium. That must have been a spectacle, man.

            I’m so glad disco died that day. It really sucks. How poor the world have been without Metallica, Whitesnake, Guns and Roses, and other creations. Disco was holding them down.

            I love some forms of dance music such as Irene Cara’s Flashdance and Michael Jackson’s Thriller. I don’t know what it is about them, but they don’t sound as faggy as say, Saturday Night Fever or the Bee-Gees.

            But if I listen to that irritating standard disco beat one more time, I’m going to kill whoever plays it. Now I know why I always hated those songs. I want a fucking refund on the time I lost. And everyone who tortured me with their disco travails, fuck them.

  2. I have deep interest in pre-Anglo Saxon era cultures, languages and customs of Britain and Ireland. I have seen the rituals of Druids, Wiccans, and other indigenous Celtic peoples. I like the histories such as Boudicea’s battles against the Roman’s. That tiny island has so many rich traditions but its 60 million odd inhabitants like to remain ignorant about their own ancestral beliefs. Maybe because the Celtic substrate of Britain’s population is very small.

    All those invaders including the Angles, Saxons, Vikings, Normans, and assorted groups created a bastardized language and culture which we today recognize as the English language and Anglosphere.

    Native Britain has its charms: the only reminder is the 🎃 Halloween festival but even that the Americans usurped as their own.

    A Welshman fluent in his native tongue must be the saddest person around. I believe the last native Cornish speaker somewhere I. The 19rh century. The Manx must be doing well though. A separate island breeds isolation and preservation.

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