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[BRETON LANGUAGE
CELT


Archaiology of Wales (1801–1807; reprinted Denbigh, 1870); W. F. Skene, The Four Ancient Books of Wales (2 vols., Edinburgh, 1868); Aneurin Owen, Ancient Laws and Institutes of Wales (London, 1841); facsimile edition by A. W. Wade-Evans, Welsh Medieval Law (Oxford, 1909); K. Meyer, Peredur ap Efrawc with glossary (Leipzig, 1887); R. Williams, Selections from the Hengwrt Manuscripts (London, 1876–1892); J. E. Southall, Wales and Her Language (Newport, 1892). The earliest Welsh grammar was published as long ago as 1567 in Milan by Griffiths Roberts, reprinted in facsimile as supplement to the Revue celtique (Paris, 1883). An account of the language was prefixed to Owen Pughe’s Dictionary (1803). During the 19th century many manuals of indifferent value saw the light of day. The most authoritative works are:—T. Rowland, A Grammar of the Welsh Language (Wrexham, 18531, 18764), (still the most complete work), the same author also published a companion volume of Welsh Exercises (Wrexham, n.d.); W. Spurrell, A Grammar of the Welsh Language (Carmarthen3, 1870); E. Anwyl, A Welsh Grammar for Schools, (i.) Accidence, (ii.) Syntax (London2, 1898). Other useful manuals for the beginner:—T. Jones, A Guide to Welsh, pts. i. ii. new ed. (Wrexham, n.d.); S.J. Evans, The Elements of Welsh Grammar (Newport3, 1903). Dictionaries:—The first Welsh dictionary was compiled by William Salesbury (London, 1547; facsimile reprint, London, 1877); W. Owen Pughe, A Dictionary of the Welsh Language (2 vols., London, 1803; reprinted Denbigh, 1870); W. Spurrell, Welsh-English and English-Welsh Dictionary (Carmarthen6, 1904); a smaller one by W. Richards in 2 vols. (Wrexham, n.d.), and many others. A dictionary on a large scale was planned by D. Silvan Evans and subsidized by the government. Only A-Dd has, however, appeared (Carmarthen, 1893–1906), cp. J. Loth in Archiv. f. celt. Lex. vol. i. for additions and corrections. A survey of Welsh periodical literature is contained in T. M. Jones’s Llenyddiaeth fy Ngwlad (Treffynnon, 1893). For Welsh folklore see J. Rhys, Celtic Folklore, Welsh and Manx (Oxford, 1901). H. H. Vaughan, Welsh Proverbs (London, 1889), also Rev. celt. iii. 419 ff. See also G. Dottin, Revue de synthèse historique, vi. 317 ff.; H. Zimmer and L. C. Stern in Kultur der Gegenwart, Teil 1, Abt. xi. 1. {{Fs|109%| (E. C. Q.) 

(b) Breton.—Breton (Brezonek) is the name given to the language spoken by those Britons who fled from the south-west of England to Armorica (see Brittany) in the 5th and 6th centuries of our era to avoid being harassed by the Saxons. The first migration probably took place about 450. The Dumnonii and Cornovii founded small states in Brittany, or Britannia Minor, as it was termed, and were followed in the second half of the 6th and into the 7th century by a long stream of refugees (cf. J. Loth, L’Émigration bretonne, Paris, 1883; A. de la Borderie, Histoire de la Bretagne2, vol. i., 1905).

In the earliest stages it is difficult to distinguish Breton from Welsh. The history of the language may be divided into Old Breton from the 7th to the 11th centuries, Middle Breton from the 11th to the 17th centuries, and Modern Breton. In Old Breton the only material we possess consists of glosses and names occurring in lives of saints, Frankish authors, and charters. However, we find a few characteristics which serve to show that the old glosses are really Breton and not Welsh. Thus, an original ā never becomes a diphthong (au, aw) in Old Breton, but remains ō. In Bret, gn becomes gr. Further, in O.W. pretonic ŭ is weakened to an indeterminate sound written i and later y, a phenomenon which does not occur in Breton, e.g. Lat. culcita appears in O.W. as cilcet, but in O. Br. as colcet. A marked characteristic of Breton is the confusion of ĭ and ĕ, e.g. Ir. lis, “court,” W. llys, Br. les. In Old Breton as in Old Welsh neither the initial nor the medial mutations are expressed in writing, whilst in Middle Breton only the latter are regularly denoted. In this period the language diverges very rapidly from Welsh. As prominent features we may mention the following. Stressed ō (= Prim. Celt. and Ir. ā) becomes eu, in unstressed syllables e; thus the suffix -āco becomes -euc and later -ec, but in Welsh -auc and later -oc, -og. Postvocalic -tr, -tl become -dr, -dl as in Welsh, but in Middle Breton they pass into -zr, -zl, which in the modern language appear as -er, -el; e.g. Mid. Br. lazr, Mod. Br. laer, “robber,” W. lleidr, Lat. latro. Further, -lt becomes -ot, -ut, e.g. Br. aot, aout, “cliff,” W. allt; Br. autrou, “lord,” Ir. altram, W. alltraw, athraw, Corn. altrou; and, more important still, th, ắ (W. dd) become s, z, e.g. Mid. Br. clezeff, “sword,” Mod. Br. kleze, W. cleddyf. The orthography only followed the pronunciation very slowly, and it is not until 1659 that we find any attempt made to reform the spelling. In this year a Jesuit priest, Julien Maunoir (Br. Maner), published a manual in which a new spelling is employed, and it is usual to date Modern Breton from the appearance of this book, although in reality it marks no new epoch in the history of the language. It is only now that the initial mutations are consistently denoted in writing (medially they are already written in the 11th century), and the differences between the dialects first come into view at this time. As in Welsh the accent is withdrawn during the middle period from the final to the penultimate (except in the Vannes dialect), which causes the modern unstressed vowel to be reduced in many cases. Again, in Old Welsh and Old Breton a short stressed vowel in words of one syllable was lengthened, e.g. tād, “father,” pl. tădau, but in Modern Breton the accent tends to lengthen all stressed vowels. Breton has gone its own way in the matter of initial mutation. The nasal mutation has been entirely given up in the initial position, whilst a new mutation, called medial provection, has arisen in the case of b, d, g, which become p, k, t after a few words which originally ended for the most part in z or ch. The vocalic mutation of initial g in Breton is c’h. We may also make mention of one or two other points on which Breton differs widely from Welsh. Breton has given up the combination ng, e.g. Mid. Br. moe, Mod. Br. moue, “mane,” W. mwng, Ir. mong. The language betrays a fondness for nasalized vowels, and in this connexion it may be noted that v representing an original m (W. f, Ir. mh), though generally written ff in Middle Breton, now frequently appears as nv; Mid. Br. claff, Mod. Br. klanv, “sick, ill,” W. claf, M. Ir. clam. Final g after r and l and sometimes in monosyllables after a vowel is represented in Breton by c’h, whilst in Welsh in the one case we find a vowel and in the other nil, e.g. Br. erc’h, “snow,” W. eiry, eira; Br. lec’h, “place,” W. lle. In Welsh mb, nd immediately preceding the stress appear in the modern language as mm, nn but in Breton we find mp, nl, e.g. Br. kantol, “candle,” W. cannwyll, Lat. candela; Br. kemper, “confluence” (in place names), W. cymmer, Ir. combor.

With regard to the extent of country over which Breton is spoken we shall do well to note the seats of the old Breton bishoprics. These were Quimper, St Pol de Léon, Tréguier, St Brieuc, St Malo, Dol and Vannes. Under Count Nominoe the Bretons succeeded in throwing off the Frankish yoke (841–845) and founded an independent state. At this time of greatest political expansion the language boundary was formed by a line which started roughly a little to the west of Mont St Michel at the mouth of the Couesnon, and stretched to the mouth of the Loire. During the next three centuries, however, in consequence of political events which cannot be enumerated here, we find French encroaching rapidly on Breton, and the old dioceses of Dol, St Malo, St Brieuc, and in part Vannes became Romance-speaking (cp. J. Loth, Revue celtique, xxviii. 374-403). So that since the 13th and 14th centuries the boundary between French and Breton begins in the north about Plouha (west of St Brieuc Bay), and stretches to the mouth of the Vilaine in the south. That is to say, the Breton speakers are confined to the department of Finistère and the west of the departments Côtes-du-Nord and Morbihan. Lower Brittany contains a population of 1,360,000, of whom roughly 1,250,000 speak Breton. The number of monoglot Bretons is stated to have been 768,000 in 1878, 679,000 in 1885, and over 500,000 in 1898. There is an infinity of dialects and subdialects in Brittany, but it is usual to divide them into four groups. These are the dialects of (1) Léon in Finistère; (2) Cornouailles in Finistère, the Côtes-du-Nord and a part of Morbihan; (3) Tréguier in the Côtes-du-Nord and Finistère; (4) Vannes in Morbihan and a portion of the Côtes-du-Nord. The first three resemble one another fairly closely, but the speech of Vannes has gone its own way entirely. The dialect of Léon is regarded as the literary dialect, thanks to Legonidec.

The modern language is unfortunately saturated with words borrowed from French which form at least a quarter of the whole vocabulary. The living speech is further characterized by innumerable cases of consonantal metathesis and by parasitic nasalization. Loth gives specimens of the most important varieties of Breton in his Chrestomathie bretonne, pp. 363-380, but here we must confine ourselves to pointing out the two most salient differences between the speech of Vannes and the rest of Brittany. In Vannes the stress has not been shifted from the final syllable. In Haute-Cornouailles and Goelo there is a tendency to withdraw the stress on to the antepenultimate, whilst in Tréguier certain enclitics attract the accent to the final. s, z of the other dialects representing Welsh th become h in Vannes, e.g. W. caeth, Br. keaz, kez, “poor, miserable,” Vannes keah, keh. This phenomenon occurs sporadically in other dialects. It may also be mentioned that Prim. Celt, non-initial d, W. dd, is retained as z in Léon but disappears when final or standing between vowels in the other dialects, e.g. O. Br. fid, W. ffydd, “faith,” Léon feiz, in Cornouailles, Tréguier and Vannes, . It is doubtful if the most serious differences between the dialects are older than the 16th century.

In the middle ages the language of the Breton aristocracy was French. Upper Brittany was politically more important than the western portion. The consequence was that no patronage was extended to the vernacular, and Breton sank to the level of a patois with no unity for literary purposes. But a new era dawned with the beginning of the 19th century. The national consciousness was awakened at the time of the Revolution, when the Bretons became aware of the difference between themselves and their French neighbours. It may be mentioned by the way that the Breton language was regarded with suspicion by the leaders of the First Republic and attempts were made to suppress it. A Breton named Legonidec had to flee to England for fighting against the Republic. He came under the influence of the movement in Wales, and on his return sought to create a Breton literary language. He published an excellent grammar (Grammaire celto-bretonne, Paris, 1807) and a dictionary (Dictionnaire breton-français, Paris, 1821), from which he omitted the numerous French words which had crept into the

language and for which native terms already existed. Legonidec’s