March 11, 2018


In: Languages

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Most people love a bit of culture, but making the choice to get an education based on cultural history influenced with a unique and beautiful language like Breton is a rare gift. But today that is exactly what students have had the opportunity to do that get an education based on the Breton language in Brittany. Steeped in the rich history of France, Great Britain and the Celtic culture is the native Breton language.

This language is native to the beautiful area known as Brittany France and to Great Britain. It was brought from the people of Great Britain to France during the late 8th century and the beginning of the 9th century. Presently, the language has been at a risk of dying out because the amount of native people using the dialect has faded significantly since the beginning of the 21st century.

Bringing about Changes in the Native Language Expansion of Brittany

The good news is that there are an increasing number of schools that have been founded to help preserve the culturally rich language of Breton. School creation and expansion is a very important step in preserving the rich heritage and culture of the people who have spoken this language since the Roman occupation of the region. Today, there are only an estimated 250,000 native speakers of the language left in the world. This has created a situation where the Breton language has now been listed on the UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages that are in Danger.

However, while the number of native speakers seems small in contrast to the overall population, it was not so long ago that this rich cultural language that blended the world of Britain with France had over 1 million speakers. The decline has had a great deal to do with the changes in Western Cultural influences.

English is a Global Language

In the last 60 years, as English has become a global language more and more, people have chosen English as a first or second language of choice. This trend has caused quite a few of the older dialects to suffer as less people have passed this language on throughout their family’s generations. This is part of why the Breton language has experienced a decline in the amount of its’ native speakers. To better understand the roots of the Breton language it is important to understand it was brought to Brittany by the British over 1000 years ago during an expansion and migration period. The Breton language is part of what is known as the Common Brittonic languages. The Breton language along with the Welsh and Cornish languages were extensively spoken throughout Brittany and Britain before English became the primary language over the last several hundred years.

But the push for a return of historical and heritage based roots of the regions has created a passion to rediscover and plant a new generation of Breton speakers that will make the language be preserved along with its rich culture. Today, decades in the making, there have been changes that have occurred since the late 1990’s to revitalize and revive the native language of Breton in the Brittany region of France. Through impassioned historians and lovers of the Breton culture, there has been a decisive push to get the number of native speakers of this language back to previous 1950 levels. While accomplishing this is a wonderful goal for Brittany, the primary focus beyond that is to get the language of Breton recognized globally as one of the International languages of the world. With the present pace of educational resources and expected expansions of schools that teach Breton as part of a bi-lingual Brittany educational program, the language is likely to reach recognition status within the 21st century.

Public Breton Language Resource Growth

Some of the more pronounced efforts to increase awareness for the native language, has included the publishing of a Breton Dictionary which was updated in 2001 and has over 20,000 Breton words. This of course has been a great assistance to the educational system that is advancing the language. In addition, through the efforts of some very impassioned native Breton speakers, and work with Wikipedia founders, the Breton Wikipedia was started in 2004. This has allowed a total of 50,000 articles to be uploaded in the native language for native speakers and those who are learning the language. This is a great resource for students to continually be able to utilize the language in their educational learning.

There have also been some other significant strides made since 2006 to counter the previous erosion of this wonderful dialect. The changes have come as a result of some steadfast native speaking people of the dialect have banded together and have started to build more schools that teach the wonderful language as part of a mainstay of their overall education.

Briton as Official Language

Another great sign of progress towards international recognition for Briton to be recognized as an official language occurred in 2014. This was the year when the launch of a social media presence based on the Briton dialect. Through negotiations Facebook agreed to interlink an interface and translation for the Breton language for social media users. This has been a great advancement for the language since Facebook in a widely used and successful international social media that has such a vast realm of participants in brings greater recognition to the language. Additionally, the Briton language has started to migrate into different media outlets such as cartoons. The cartoons of the Peanuts and Hagar the horrible as well as Yakari and The Adventures of Tintin have been published and translated into the Breton language.

Breton Bi-Lingual Language School Formations and Growth

In one of the most important areas of advancement for the Breton language educational forums for the language are increasing annually. There are now over 15,000 students in the public and Catholic bi-lingual sector teaching the Breton language. This shows an average growth across these specters of a 4 % increase.

From 2006 to 2012, the number of students who have been attending bi-lingual classes for this language has soared. In Penn ar Bed and Finistere there is also a marked increase with the addition of five new bi-lingual schools opening. In the city of Brest, the heartbeat of the Breton-French Bi-Lingual movement has over 57,000 students enrolled in Breton-medium schools.

The Breton language is presently the only Celtic living language that has not been actively recognized by any national government as an official language even though its rich history, significant number of native speakers and continuity of use do afford it the basics of being recognized as an official native language.

Dihun Catholic Schools

At Dihun Catholic Schools, they are presently hosting over 5,000 students in their educational system in over 70 schools along with 22 secondary schools throughout 21 regions of Brittany. The main goal is to advance the Breton dialect through a Catholic school environment. The focus of teaching the Breton language is through immersion in an education setting. They are working on expanding their school system throughout the region and their goal is to bring about the necessary changes to make this rich colorful language a recognized international language of Brittany.

At Dihun Catholic Schools, the dedication to the important cultural and historical heritage of the Breton language along with the dedication of other schools in the region, they are succeeding in expanding the bi-lingual Briton-French programs throughout Brittany. They know they are finally well on the way to major changes and growth. The Dihun Catholic School system has been approaching the bi-lingual expansion of the Briton language annually for decades. Their approach has been decisive and proactive in a complete immersion of students. The goal is to not only advance the teaching of the language, but to educate students about its history and to bring about passion in the students for future generations to become a part of advancing and understanding the many wonderful cultural aspects and roots of the Breton language and heritage of Brittany.

September 1, 2013


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Bureau des parents d’élèves Dihun

Kadoriad Président : Jean-Michel BARON
Eilkadoriad Vice président : Fabienne JIQUET Claire GUILLOTEL
Sekretourez Secrétaire : Christine LUGUE
Eilsekretourez Secrétaire adjointe : Claire GUILLOTEL
Arc’hantourez Trésorière : Jean François LE MOIGNE

Membres du CA
Emile Granville, Dominique Bourges, Gael Le Bras

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