LWM 440: Standard Breton

Product no.: ISBN 9783895868344
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Standard Breton

Ian Press
University of St. Andrews

Breton is an indigenous regional language of France which has over the course of the last two centuries come under immense pressure. At the turn of the nineteenth-twentieth centuries it was the majority language of Lower Brittany, though it lacked prestige and a public presence. It was at risk, and had been acknowledged to be at risk since at least the early eighteenth century. Nonetheless, in the early nineteenth century it was codified and a standard, although a shaky one, emerged. Some commentators consider that it is too late, but in recent years, with the plight of lesser-used languages coming under the spotlight and the acquisition by Breton culture of great popularity, the situation of the language has stabilized or even improved. Breton has a presence in education, the Ofis ar Brezhoneg is having considerable impact, and the language is benefiting from the ‘post-standard’ period, users of Breton feeling more at ease in the hitherto negatively perceived variation in the language. A flexible, community standard is emerging. The whole of the grammar is reviewed and explored; everything has been checked by eminent native speakers. Variation remains, and not every native speaker will agree with everything, but linguistic debate is a sign of the health of the language.

ISBN 9783895868344. Languages of the World/Materials 440. 85pp. 2005.

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