Breton, along with
Welsh is a member of the Brythonic languages, a subgroup of the Insular
subgroup of the Celtic branch of the Indo-European language family.
Spoken in Brittany in northwestern
of Finistère and
the western part of Côtes-d'Armor and Morbihan).
Breton speakers are also
found in the cities of Rennes and Nantes, and in Paris.
Various polls indicate that about 450,000
people understand Breton, 300,000 of whom also speak the language.
Breton is closely related
Cornish and, more distantly, to Irish.
After the 17th century,
Breton occurs in four major dialects: those of Léon, Tréguier,Cornouaille,
The number of speakers is
Breton is not an official language of France, although there is a
strong nationalistic movement demanding recognition, a place in the
schools, media, and public life.
The dialects of Breton identified by the Ethnologue are Leonais,
Tregorrois, Vannetais, and Cornouaillais.
Although most Bretons no longer speak Breton, an effort has been
underway for several years to begin teaching the language in schools
to keep it alive.