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Breton is a Celtic language closely related to Cornish and Welsh, though speakers of Welsh would not be able to understand a Breton speaker. It is spoken mainly in Brittany on the north-west coast of France by about 365,000 speakers. It has no official status. From 1880 to 1951 it was banned from schools and children were punished for speaking the language. Since 1951, the law has allowed Breton language and culture to be taught for a few hours a week. There is also limited radio broadcasting in Breton and a weekly one-hour TV programme.


Listen to Pascal Lafargue, who is originally from Rennes in Brittany. As there is no Breton spoken in Rennes nowadays, Pascal taught himself Breton and studied it as university. He wanted to regain his cultural heritage and be able to converse with the Breton speakers who still exist in rural parts of Brittany. He now lives and works in Cardiff, has learnt Welsh, and is raising his son to be Welsh-speaking.

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  • PagesDifferent Voices

    5 May 2011
    Different Voices

    Explore the history and sounds of Wales' languages from Early Medieval to the present