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Buan

haq aes

a BeQinneR's coucse in BReton

Adapted from the French of Per Denez

by R. Delaporte

CORK UNIVERSITY PRESS

BRezhoneq

Buan

hAQaes

BRezhoneq

Biun

haq aes

a Beqinnep's couRse in B R e to n

Adapted from

the French o f Per

D enez

Professor

â

rU niversité de H aute-Bretagne,

Rennes

Raym ond

D elaporte, D .en

by

D .,

Dip.

Et. Celt. (Rennes)

A ssistant in B reton, U niversity C ollege, Cork

NEW

EDITION

Preface by

Pâdraig Ô R iain, M .A ., Ph.D.

P rofessor o f Early & M edieval Irish Language & Literature University C ollege, Cork

Illustrations by

CORK

UNIVERSITY

1991

PRESS

©

CORK

UNIVERSITY

and Raymond Delaporte,

PRESS

1977

Reprinted with corrections 1980 Reprinted with corrections 1991

ISBN 0-902561- 11-1

Acknowledgement

This English version, adapted from the book Brezhoneg Buan Hag Aes by Per Denez, is published with the kind permission of the copyright holders: Société Industrielle de Reproduction Sonore OMNIVOX Paris and Per Denez 1972. The original edition was published by OMNI VOX, ISBN 2-85294-018-3.

Cork University Press expresses its appreciation for the generous financial assistance received from TfH R o f the Commission of the European Com m unities tow ards the publication o f this edition.

To make a better use of this book, cassette tapes, slides and ancillary texts are available from:

OMNIVOX INTERNATIONAL, 8 rue de Berri, 75008 Paris.

Typeset by Tower Books,

13 H aw thorn Ave., Ballincollig,

C o. C ork; printed by Shanway Press, 461 Antrim

Road, Belfast;

bound by D undalk Bookbinding, 5-7 Yorke St., Dundalk

CO N teN tS

 

Pages

Preface

9

Introduction

 

11

Guide to Breton Pronunciation

 

15

Kentel 1.—

The articles. Verb to be: use of a zo and eo. The negation ne

ket. Position of

the adjectives. The demonstratives: al

man, al

se. The conjunction ha,

h a g

24

Kentel

2.—

The verb: emañ; eus. Verb with a plural subject. The possessive case: m erc’h ar

mestr-skol.

Contracted article en, er, el. The diminutive -ig

Mutations marking gender.

Mutations caused by certain words.

32

Kentel 3.— Verb to be: present, imperfect, future: 3rd singular. Verbal particles a and e. Negation. Negative answer with verb to be. Verb and subject: conjugation with

40

subject expressed. Mutations as mark

of fem inine

Kentel 4.— Verb to be: conjugation with subject expressed; present, imperfect, future. Verb to be: present tense, table of conjugation with endings. Present of location:

emañ: table of conjugation with endings. Table of endings for Present of to be. Conjugation in the negative. Present Participle. The progressive form. The imperative. Affirmative answer to negative question. Soft mutations: table.

48

Mutations as mark of gender

Kentel 5.— Verb bezañ: imperfect, conjugation with endings. Future, conjugation with endings. Verb bezañ; conjugation with endings and verbal particle. Comparative:

58

eget(orevit). Superlative -añ. Mutations after h in i

-oc’h

Kentel 6.—

Conjugation of verb to have. Present tense: table. Future tense of to have: table; table showing how to recognise persons in verb to have. How verb to have is used.

66

The verbal noun. Suffix plural-où. Soft mutations afterp e

5

Kcnlel

7.—

Verb bezañ: imperfect, conjugation with endings. Table of endings for Impcrfect tense. Verb bezañ: future conjugation with endings: table. Table of endings for

 

future tense. Personal pronouns used as subjects: table. Ha interrogative word.

The feminine suffix—ez. The plural suffix -io ù

74

Kentel 8.—

Two types of conjugation.

Conjugation with subject and conjugation with

endings. Verbal stem. Endings of present tense for regular verbs: table. The verbal

particles. Conjugated prepositions: ganin, ganit, ganeoc’h, ganeomp. Soft

mutations. Mixed mutations

82

Kenlel 9.—

Present tense of regular verb: endings. Imperative. Past participle. Thedaysofthe

Kenlel

week: dilun and allun. Complete table o f mixed mutations

90

10.— Endings as distinctive marks of tenses: Present, Imperfect, Future. Conjugation with subject. Future: conjugation with endings. Table of endings for the Future tense. Stem of verbs: cases of changes o f vowels between stem and verbal noun. Conjunction of subordination: pa and ma. Mutations after pa. Plural endings:

1

-où, -ioù, -ed. Conjugated prepositions: dit, dezhi, deoc’h. to 10

Numerals from

98

Kenlel 11.— Imperfect of verb to have: table. Imperfect of regular verb: table of endings. Re­ vision of Present. Imperfect and Future tenses of regular verbs. Verb and subject — rules of agreement. Verb ober. Mutations: aspiration. Mutations and plural. Plural: lud, bugale. Conjugated preposition din. Soft mutations after daou. Fem­

106

inine of daou.div. Nouns remain singular after numerals

Kentel 12.— Conjugation with ober: the three types of conjugations: how to use them. Verb ober: present tense, table; future. Use of ober. Plural endings in -ien and -i; the plural kezeg. Mutations in the plural; differenceaccording to gender. Mutation of adjectives after nouns. Conjugated prepositions: evidon, evidout, warno,

116

ganto

Kentel

13.— Verb bezañ: habitual present; conjugation with subject; conjugation with endings:

table.

and4. Pet? with singular nouns

Singulative

suffix

-enn.

The

suffix

-ad.

Feminine

forms

of

3

126

2,

Kentel 14.— Verb gouzout: Present tense: conjugation with endings; table; conjugation with subject: table; conjugation with ober: table. Mutations: hardening or unvoicing. Aspirated mutation. General table of mutations. Conjugated prepositions: table

of 2 types: din and evidon. How to use az and ez, am and e m

134

Kentel 15.— Verb mont: Present tense: conjugation with endings; conjugation with subject; conjugation with ober. Equative. Conjugated preposition: how they are used after verbs. Conjugated forms of preposition a; Table a c’hanon, etc., Subordin­

144

ation. Soft mutations after pe

Kentel

16.— Verb: Future tense, conjugation with ober.

Future tense of ober, conjugation

with endings; table. Future o f mont, conjugation with endings; table; conjugation

with subject: table. The passive. Preposition gant, conjugated forms: table. Use

of k e it

154

Kentel

17.— Verb to have, forms of habit: habitual, present tense: table; habitual imperfect tense: table. Plural: tiez and kizhier. Mutations: adjective governing an object.

Feminine suffix -erez. The adjective mell.

The pronoun hini.

Soft mutations

aftergwrf/andre

162

Kentel 18.— Verb ober: imperfect, conjugation with endings: table. Verb mont: imperfect,

conjugation with endings:

endings: table. Conditional. Dual. Preposition e-giz, conjugated forms: egistañ egiston. The construction: soñjal a rae din. The age: Pe oad eo? Numerals 11 to

170

20. Mutations o f bloaz after numerals. Imperative D eo m p !

Verb gouzout: imperfect, conjugation with

table.

Kentel 19.— Conditional, conjugation with endings: table. Conditional, conjugation with ober; conditional tense of ober: table. Verb bezañ, conditional with endings:

table. Verb to have, conditional tense: table. Verb gouzout, conjugated with

itself as an auxiliary. Emphasis on the person. The suffix -ad and the gender.

180

Aspirated m utations

Kentel 20.— Subordination to an interrogative main clause. The possessive used with unan:

ma unan myself, on my own. Verb bezañ; habitual imperfect tense. Table of the

 

months.

Plac’h, no mutation after article

190

Kentel 21.

Indirect

interrogation introduced by ha ‘whether, if’. Use o f peogwir and

rak.

Reflexive and reciprocative verbs with en em. Numerals from 20 to 100. The

time of day. Suffixes

198

Kentel 22.

Principal and subordinate clauses. Subordinate clause in the negative. Interro­ gative subordinate clause. Mutations of adjectives after pronoun unan. Impera­

tive, table of endings. Plural -eier

208

Kentel 23.— Verb gouzout,

future tense with endings: table. Same verb: conditional with

endings: table. Verb mont, conditional with endings: table. Use of an hini. Use

o f bennak. Various types o f plurals

218

Kentel 24.— Verb bezañ, habitual imperfect tense: table. Imperative in the negative. The ordinal numerals. How to state dates: mutations. Ordinal numbers and gender.

228

Table o f soft mutations caused by certain words: their list

Kentel 25.— Comparatives and superlatives. Verbs ending in -aat. Survey of Breton suffixes.

 

General tables

o f conjugated prepositions

236

Vocabulary

247

Pueface

There have been times when links between Brittany and these islands were much closer than they are today. The evidence survives in the Breton saints, who, to a large degree, are o f W elsh and Irish extraction. T he explanation lies in the special nature of the place occupied by Brittany in the annals of the

insular peregrinatio pro Christi.

M issionaries were also responsible for a renewal o f interest in the ‘Land of P ardons’. Evangelical W elsh ministers in the nineteenth century were am ong the first m odern witnesses to that awareness o f cultural affinities which m arks to this day the relations between Wales and Brittany.

The tangible result o f these contacts is the num ber o f books in Welsh on Brittany. A t the same time, however, both the Welsh and Breton languages continued to be studied through the second medium most natural to each

group. And it is now,

Breton is to appear in English.

The task o f adapting Per Denez’s book for English speakers could hardly have been undertaken by a scholar better suited to it. W ith a lifetime of dedication to Breton studies, particularly in the field o f lexicography, toassist him , Dr. R aym ond D elaporte began some years ago to teach Breton in this College. The experience gained from the years of teaching has proved to be a mixed blessing, however, since it has made it necessary for him not alone to translate Per Denez’s book but also to re-write considerable portions of it, in order to make it m ore suitable for students unfam iliar with structuralist concepts. The work involved, which was considerable, has been largely a labour of love since this book is a logical extension, catering for a much larger

audience, o f the m any hours spent in teaching his

for the first time, that

a m anual o f standard M odern

m other-tongue.

Padraig Ô Riain

9

iNtROOUCtiON

The English version o f Brezhoneg buan hag aes, the beginner’s course in Breton by Per Denez responds to a need which has been felt for a long time by those engaged in the teaching o f Breton to those students who wish to take Breton as a subject for itself or in order to widen their com parative knowledge of Celtic gram m ar and language.

Excellent books in English exist on the academic level to study theoretically Breton phonetics and linguistics in general. But no book has ever been published on the practical groundw ork for the beginner.

A m ong the Celtic languages, Breton is certainly, to the ordinary m an in the street, the least know n in the other Celtic countries as well as in the English speaking world. This, of course, is due to the fact that textbooks intended for non-Breton speakers, gram m ars, handbooks, dictionaries etc. are all pub­ lished in French, and so are useless to whoever has not a fluent knowledge of French. The lack o f books in Irish, W elsh, or English to help the student of Breton has disheartened many a speaker of those languages and prevented their achieving success in the study o f Breton which they had hopefully started to pursue on their own.

Even those attending Breton classes given through the m edium o f their own languages have continuously felt the handicap caused to them by the lack of gram m ars other than Breton gram m ars in French and of dictionaries other than Breton-French and French-Breton.

Teachers have felt no less the difficulties caused by the com plete absence of proper books for beginners written in their own language. The writer of this English version has for years wrestled with this disadvantage and having used several different courses for beginners, has found that they all had the same m ajor defect — they were w ritten in French and were intended for French speakers. To take only a few examples, several gram m atical facts concerning the definite and indefinite articles, the possessive, the invariability o f adjectives will raise no problem for English speakers while requiring m ore explanations for French speakers; on the other hand, in Breton phonetics, the question of nasalization which is not too difficult for French speakers — in spite o f some im portant differences between French and Breton — will necessitate a thorough explanation to English speaking students.

11

However it is obvious, to anyone who has been teaching students with a good knowledge of another Celtic language, that the difficulties to be sur­ m ounted or the problems to be explained to such students are completely dif­ ferent from those facing French speakers. For instance, the very thorough ex­ planations necessary to m ake a French speaker grasp the nature and working of the ‘initial m utation’ in Breton are superfluous for Gaelic or Welsh speakers. A simple m ention o f the fact w ith a few com parisons will be suf­ ficient. The prepositional pronouns or conjugated prepositions are also som ething completely foreign to French speakers while they are taken for granted by Celtic speakers. The sam e is true of the Breton dem onstrative as well as o f the possessive case. Explanations in the French textbooks about the so-called verb ‘to have’ in Breton, are som ewhat aw kw ard because both to French and English speakers the absence o f a verb ‘to have’ presents great dif­ ficulty which is not experienced by those fam iliar with Celtic language con­ struction.

For these reasons, this English edition o f Brezhoneg buan hag aes, which the author desired to have published, is not so much a translation as an adap­ tation, though nothing has been changed in the plan or the m ethod of teaching. It is only in the gram m atical explanations that emphasis has been placed in a different way to suit the need o f students o f a different linguistic background. It must also be added that the adaptor does not agree entirely with the author on some points of gram m ar, especially on some aspects o f the structural approach. This is the reason why — with the agreem ent o f the author — use has been m ade in this English edition o f the traditional gram ­ matical terminology though the translator (fearing the w rath of the author!) has used in some places the term ‘relative particle’ instead o f ‘relative pro­ no u n ’ to placate his old friend who states in the ‘Introduction’ o f the French Edition that ‘No m ention has been m ade o f the relative pronoun because it does not exist.’

A part from this little gram m atical feud, a com plete agreem ent exists be­ tween author and translator who has tried not to make the saying ‘traduttore traditore’ applicable to his work.

The reader will therefore find the very sam e 25 lessons as in the original edi­ tion; each lesson is divided into four parts: a vocabulary, a conversation, followed by questions, notes of gram m ar, and last but not least — the author insists on this — exercises.

nine hundred words is used in the 25

conversations. These form the general vocabulary given at the end o f the book.

A basic vocabulary

o f approxim ately

12

It can never be stressed too much that a living language is first o f all a spoken language. This is why the teaching is given in the form o f conversa­ tions; tapes can be had from Omnivox which give the students the possibility o f hearing as often as they wish the full sequence of the Breton text o f each lesson, so that even a person learning on his/her own can acquire a good knowledge of Breton pronunciation.

The writer o f this English version wishes to thank heartily everyone who helped him in his task. H e will consider him self fully repaid if this helps English speakers, especially those who are fellow Celtic speakers, to get to know B rittany and its language better and so further a deeper knowledge, understanding and friendship between Celts.

13

Q u ib e

to

B u etO N

P u o N U N cia tio N

1. The mini-casettes, which can be used with this handbook, m ake it pos­

sible to gain direct contact with the pronunciation o f Breton. However, it

seems that a few w ords o f advice on the subject will be useful.

2. The

(I.I’.A.) and present a standard pronunciation o f m odern Breton.

transcriptions

are

given

in

the

international

phonetic

alphabet

.1. The speakers who have recorded this course have kept, each of them , the accent of their own region, so that there may be some phonetic variations from one to another. But Breton, like English, does not regard as an ideal an absolutely uniform kind of pronunciation which other languages, such as French for instance, try to attain.

4. The Stress or Accent Breton has a very strong stress.

In polysyllabic words, the stress falls on the second last syllable: bara

|'b o :ra], kador f'kflid o r], kemener [ke'm e:ner]. W hen the

ed by the addition of a new syllable, as, for instance, when a plural ending is added, the stress moves on to the new second last syllable: baraer [ba'raer], kiidorioù [ka'dorju], kemenerien [kem e'nerjen].

syllable,

word is lengthen­

In

a

small

num ber

o f

words

the

accent

falls

on

the

last

for instance: amann [a'm an:], abardaez [abar'des], abred [a'b re:t], kornog [kDr'no:k], kreisteiz [krejs'tejs], ebet [e'be:t], emañ [e'm a:], itron [i'tro :n ], (Some o f these are in fact com pound words: abred (a + p re d ), kreisteiz (kreiz + deiz), ebet (er + bed).

W ords of the type a-raok, a-hed, usually w ritten with a hyphen, are stressed also on the last syllable: [a'ro:k], a-hed [a'he:t]. In a few w ords, such as petra, atav, dindan, the stress may fall on the first or the second syllable according to regions.

5.

In a sentence, the monosyllables — nouns or verbs — are usually stressed.

In a group article -I- noun, the noun will carry the stress when the article is a definite article: an den, an ti are pronounced [an 'dè:n], [ân 'ti:]. However if the article accom panying the noun is an indefinite article, the stress falls on the article and not on the noun; thus: un den, un ti are pronounced ['<£ n den], ['<£ n ti].

The Accent in Monosyllables

In a com bination article + noun + adjective, it is the adjective which carries the stress: an ti gwenn [ân ti 'gwen:], an den kozh [ân dên 'ko:s], ar plac’h

yaouank [ar play'jow:ar)]. It is only when the adjective has three syllables that

a

stress will again fall on the noun.

6.

Quantity

There is a very sharp opposition in Breton between long and short.

All unaccented vowels are short.

Accented vowels m ay be long or short according to circumstances which may be explained as follows:

In an accented m onosyllable, as a general rule, the vowel is long when followed (in the spelling) by a single consonant; but it is short when followed by m ore than one consonant. F or instance: den, peul, kan are pronounced with a long vowel ['d e :n , [/p 0 :l],[/ldr:n], while tenn, foil, kann are pronounced with a short one ['ten:], ['fol:], ['kan:].

There are a few exceptions to this rule. In particular words having a final -s and words borrowed from French: kas (to send), chas (from French: chasse) are pronounced [' kas:], [' /a s :]. A nother exception: the vowel is long before -rr as before -r : berr ['be:r].

In polysyllabic w ords, the accented vowel is short when followed by m ore than one consonant: berroc’h ['berrox], kousket ['kusket].

W hen the accented vowel is followed by a single consonant, which then stands between tw o vowels, there are tw o possibilities: (a) the vowel is short if the consonant is unvoiced; but (b) it is long if the following consonant is voiced. For instance, with an unvoiced consonant: atav ['at:o], kafe ['kaf:e], echu ['ej^ yl.ch ak od t'/ak ^ t], pakad ['pak:at]; and w ith a voiced consonant:

podoù ['po:du], bagoù ['ba:gu], goude ['gu:de], logod ['lo.-got], nijal ['n i^ a l]. This latter type (b) is the m ore frequent.

7. Unvoicing of Consonants in Final Position

Breton, as seen before, has voiced and unvoiced consonants: thus an op­ position o f sonority exists in pairs of consonants such as P /B , T /D , K /G . In absolutely final position, this opposition disappears and the final consonant

is pronounced unvoiced. For instance, in sequences vowel + consonant with a

stressed vowel and a consonant in absolutely final position, the consonant is unvoiced and the vowel before it is long: an tad, ar vag are pronounced with a long vowel and a consonant which is at the same time unvoiced and short [ïn 'to:t], [ar 'va:k], This is the general rule.

16

In com bination, before a vowel and, in general, before a voiced conso­ nant, voicing reappears: tad oa deut is pronounced ['ta:d wa 'do:t] and deut oa tad is pronounced ['do:d wa 'ta:t] Please note carefully th at the vowel is long in both cases. Exceptions to this rule ['kas:], ['/as:], have already been m entioned in paragraph 6: the vowel is then short.

8. The Alphabet

The Breton alphabet is as follows:

A B K D E F G H

CH C’H I Y

J L M N O P R S T U

V W Z .

However R oparz Hem on has abandoned this traditional order of the Breton alphabet in his m ost recent dictionaries to bring it in line with those of the other E uropean languages; in this new order, the missing C is replaced by C H and C ’H which do not exist in other alphabets. H ere is this order:

A B CH C ’H DEFGHIJKLM NOPRSTUVW YZ.

Some letters o f the English alphabet are missing in the Breton alphabet, such as C, Q and X (used only in foreign words). One meets (as mentioned

above) with signs which do not exist in

is counted as one letter of the alphabet, while in English it is counted as two. In Breton, as in Fench, the groups OU and EU represent single vowels. N.B.:

English: C ’H . N ote that in Breton CH

W hen the groups represent two vowels, a diaeresis ( " ) is placed on the u:

eiirusted, emroiis.

9. Pronunciation of the Consonants The unvoicing o f consonants in absolute final position has laready been

noted in paragraph 7 above. Consequently, in absolute final position the pronunciation is [p], [f], [t], [s], [/], [k] and not [b], [v], [d], [z], [3 ], or [g]. The sign C ’H, which has both an unvoiced [x] and a voiced [y] pronunciation, is pronounced [x] in absolute final position, according to the general rule. After these rem arks, we may now study the pronunciation of the con­ sonants in other positions:

B

is pronounced alm ost as in the English w ord bread : bara ['ba:ra].

K

is pronounced approxim ately as in the English w ord kale or c in cup : ki

['ki:], kousket ['kusket],

D

is pronounced approxim ately as in the English d o o r : dont ['don:].

F

is pronounced approxim ately as in fountain: feunteun ['f <£ntffin].

17

( I is pronounced approxim ately as in the English w ord go: a rg e rfa r'g e r], It is never pronounced as g in gin.

11 is m ute, as in Fench, in some words, an hent [an

'?n:], buhez ['by:es]; other­

wise it is practically pronounced as in English: hir ['hi:r], hemañ ['hemâ];

m oreover in m any very com m on words H is purely orthographic and does not

exist in the pronunciation: ha, hag and; he, hec’h her; ho, hoc’h your, hon, hor, hoi our.

CH is pronounced approxim ately as sh in the English word shoe : choual

['Ju:al].

C ’H has no corresponding sound in English. It is similar to ch in the German

word nach, as well as to ch in the Irish go moch and Welsh moch; it is also akin

to j in the Spanish w ord jota. The sign C ’FI represents an unvoiced consonant

[x] and a voiced one [y] which m aintains C ’H within the general system of pairs, with the opposition o f sonority [x] - [y].

S

is pronounced approxim ately as in the English w ord sea : si ['si:], sil ['si:l].

T

is pronounced approxim ately as in the English w ord tease : ti ['ti:].

V

is pronounced approxim ately as in the English w ord vision : vi ['vi:]. It is

practically non-existent as a non-m uted initial. In final position the pronun­ ciation o f V varies as follows: it is pronounced:

[v]

in verbs (3 S): Ni a vev; ne sav ket.

[d]

in other words after a and e: sav ‘height’ ['sao], bev ['beo], rev ['res], atav

may be pronounced either ['at:o] or [a'tao]. |w] in w ords after i : bliv ‘lively’, div ‘tw o’, liv ‘colour’, piv? ‘w ho?’, riv ‘cold’

(See § 11, the semi-vowels).

o

kañv ['k âô :], etc. See N asalisation, § 13 below.

Z is pronounced approxim ately as in the English w ord ‘zone’. But, in fact only

[o]

in

th e

g ro u p

-ñv

a fte r

a,

an d

e

especially:

hañv

['5 5:],

C

’H is always pronounced [x] in initial position; and th ereare noexceptions.

a

few w ords, in Breton, begin with Z: zo, zoken [zo'ke:n], Ma zi is pronounced

It

is pronounced [x] in absolute final position. If it is the only final conso­

[ma'zi:].

nant, the preceding vowel is long. It is pronounced [y] in the intervocalic posi­ tion, except in com paratives and superlatives: i.e. in four words: yac’hoc’h,

yac’han, sec’h o c’ h, sec’ han w hich are p ro n o u n c e d ['ja x :o x ], ['jax:a], ['sex:ox], ['sex:a], with a short vowel in the stressed syllable.

J is pronounced

the English word pleasure : nijal

approxim ately like s in

['ni.^al].

L

Note that al loar is pronounced [a'lw a:r], w ithout

M is pronounced approxim ately as in the English word ['m am :].

N is pronounced approxim ately as in the English word niece : ni ['ni:]. N before K has approxim ately the same sound as n in Uie English groups -ng and

mother : mamm

is pronounced approxim ately as in the English word look : loar ['lwa:r].

lengthening o f the I.

-nk, such as sing, king, hankie: sanket ['saqket]; N is not pronounced at all;

it only indicates that the preceding vowel is nasal: emañ [e'ma:]. On the ques­

tion o f nasalisation,

P is pronounced approxim ately as in the English word paper: paper ['pap:er],

R

pronunciation, while in the South its pronunciation is akin to that o f the uvular r in the official French. Both pronunciations are correct, but the first

one will be found easier to reproduce by Gaelic and Welsh speakers. Learners

m ust be careful to avoid the type of r such as the one pronounced in the

English word tree; it is completely foreign to Breton. T herexisting in the Irish word fir is also unknow n in Breton.

is pronounced in tw o different ways: in the N orth o f B rittany is has an apical

see paragraph 13 below.

18

Z H : The group ZH found in many w ords was adopted to u n ify the spelling of

a consonant pronounced z in one part o f B rittany and h in the other: thus

ilrezhoneg pronounced

['ku:h]. Before com paratives and superlatives ZH becomes

koshafl. ILH: The groups ILH represents a palatal 1 [X], unknow n in English and som ewhat similar to gli in the Italian words meglio, voglio : pilhoù ['piX:u], dilhad ['diX:at]. The pronunciation reduced to [j] existing in a few areas should be avoided. GN: The group GN represents the consonant [ji] which could be com pared to ni in the English word onion; it is the same consonant as that represented by ñ in the Spanish word señora : pignat ['piji:at],

[bre'zo:nek] and

[brah o'ne:k],

kozh

['ko:s] and

SH: koshoc’h,

10. Pronunciation of Some Series of Consonants Spoken Breton has a tendency to reduce the num ber of final consonants:

- NT is reduced to [n:]; for instance mont ['m an:], dont ['don:].

- M P is reduced to [m:]; for instance evidomp [e'vi:d5m ], pemp ['pern:].

- NK, - N G are reduced to [q] :stank ['star):], trenk ['treq:].

- STR is reduced to [st]: prenestr ['pre:nest], mestr ['mest].

- TR is reduced to [t:]: paotr ['pot].

However the suppressed consonants reappear when they cease to be final:

mistri ['m istri], paotred ['potred].

19

11. The Semi-vowels

is

represented by Y and I, [q] is represented by U and [w] by W, OU, O and also

Breton

has

three

semi-vowels:

[j],

[i[]

and

[w].

In

spelling,

[j]

V

(See paragraph 9 above).

[j]

is pronounced as in the English word yard : yen

['je:n],

kemenerien

[kem e'nerjen], kadoriou [ka'dorju],

[w] is pronounced as in the English w ord, watch : da welout ['da 'we:lut], gouelañ ['gwe:la], piv ['piw], loar ['lw a:r], oa [wa:].

[q]

is pronounced as in the French word puits; it is the semi-vowel o f the vowel

[y]

and has no counterpart in English: mui [mqi:], kuitaat [kqi'ta:at].

There is also a semi-vowel corresponding to the vowel [oe], written EU as the vowel; it has no counterpart in English: leue ['Idee:].

12. Pronunciation o f Vowels

A: A may be long or short; there is a long back A [a:]: ar vag [ar'va:k], glas

['glcr:s], gwaz ['gwa:s] pronounced like a in father, calm or hard. There is also

a long front A [a:] : loar ['lw a:r], pakadoù [pa'ka:du]. W hen short, A is a

sh o rt fro n t [a]: paper ['p a p :e r], barzh ['b a r:s ], yac’h ['ja x :],

yac’hoc’h ['jax:Dx], abred [a'bre:t].

A bout nasalisation of A, see § 13 below.

E: E represents tw o vowel sounds: [e]and [e]. [e] m ay be long or short. In th e

first case, it has approxim ately the sound of the first part o f a in made [meid]:

abred [a'bre:t], ebet [e'be:t], redek ['re:dek]. W hen short, it is akin to met [met], tell [tel] in English : echu ['ej:y], kafe ['kaf:e].

[e] may also be long or short; long as in berr ['be:r], ar gêr [arge:r]; short as in gwenn ['gwen:], tenn ['ten:], mestr ['mest].

Before [lx] and [rx] E is usually pronounced [e] delc’h ['delx], merc’h ['merx], but before [x] it is pronounced [e], [e] or [e] according to regions sec’h ['sex], ['sex] and even ['sex], dec’h ['dex] o r ['dex].

[e] in

A bout nasalisation o f E, see § 13 below.

I:

I may be long or short: long [i:] it represents the sound o f i in the English

w

ord machine, or o f ea in beat and ee in feel: ki ['ki:], lizher ['li:zer].

Short [i] it is pronounced as i in pin, and bit: mintin ['m intin], piv ['piw:], pilhoù ['piA:u]. Note that I is never pronounced like i in fine.

20

I is sometimes a semi-vowel [j ], see § 11 above. This happens especially in some endings, notably the plural ones in -ien and -ioù (but NOT in family names ending in -iou, such as Kariou [Ka'riw],

A bout nasalisation o f I, see §13 below.

O: O may be pronounced [o], [d] or [p]: [o] resembles the first part o f o in go [gou] and hole [houl]: ar mor [ar' m o:r], ar skol [ar 'sko:l]. [o] is usually long and may be com pared with [d:] in cord ['kD:d], caught ['ko:t]; kaol ['ko:1].

[?] is short and m ore open; it is often found before [x]: buoc’h ['byox]; it seems akin enough to [d] in cot [kot], on [on]. A bout nasalisation, see § 13

below; but note that, b efo re -m a n d -mm, O nounced [d]: chom ['Jam :], tomm ['tom .].

U. U represents the vowel [y] existing in G erm an and French. It may belong

like ii in G erm an führer, or in French mur : kuzhat ['ky:zat], sun añ ['sy:na],

tud

does not becom e nasal and is pro­

[ 'ty:t], or s h o r t: echu ['e:Jy], stumm ['stym :],

like in G erm an fünf.

 

A

bout nasalisation, see § 13 below.

EU:

EU represents a single vowel, which may be close or open:

(1) close [0], long: heul ['0:1], eured [ '0 :ret], peul ['po:l] like G erm an o in horen or short: treutoc’h ['trot:Dx], speurennoù [spo'renu].

(2)

open [oe]: cheuc’h ['Joe:x], meurzh ['moers].

A bout nasalisation, see § 13 below.

In the w ord leue,

EU is a semi-vowel [Idee],

OU:

long [u:] like 00 in English boot, f o o l : choual ['/u a :a l], goude ['gu:de], roudenn ['ru:den],

(2) short [u] like u in English put, pull : poull ['pul:], kousket ['kusket], podoù ['po:du].

(1)

OU represents a single vowel, which may be long or short:

13. Nasalisation

The nasal vowels of Breton are foreign to standard English. They are

form ed by allowing the soft palate to hang freely, as in ordinary breathing; thus causing the air to escape through both nose and m outh at once.

N

asalisation always occurs before n and often before m.

It

may also occur in other cases.

Before n and m, nasal vowels are not m arked by any sign; their position is sufficient indication of nasalisation.

21

When nasalisation occurs in other positions, it is m arked by ñ placed after the vowel. N ote that the n carrying the sign ~ is N O T pronounced, it merely shows that the vowel it follows is a nasal one: dañsal ['das:al],soñjal ['so: 3al], deñved ['de:vet], fiñval ['fT:val], puñs ['py:s], huñvreal [y'vreal], bleuñvenn ['blôfe:ven].

A:

A is nasal before N or M:

[a]

tan ['ta :n ];

kan ['ka:n];

[a] kann ['kân:], mamm

['m am :],

sanket

['saqket], stank ['stag:], gagn ['garj].

In a final position, an may be pronounced either [a] or [a]: evañ ['e:va]

or ['e:va], bremañ ['brem :a] or ['brem :a].

5 :],

klanvoc’h ['klâ:vox], intañvez [in'tâ:ves].

E: E in a stressed position is nasal before n and m w hether long: den ['de:n], kemener [ke'm e:n er], prenañ ['p re:n a], maen ['m ?:n ], or short:

pemp ['pern:], trenk ['treq:].

kreñv

[â]:

Before -ñv A

is

pronounced

kañv

['k â ô :],

klañv

['k lâ

B efore -ñvE is nasal [è]: teñval

['tê:val],

kleñved

[ 'k le :v e t] ,

['kre5:].

I: I is always nasal before [p], stignañ ['stTji:a], kouign ['kwTji], and generally before a final n : din ['dTji], lavarin [la'va:rTji] In other positions, nasalisation is m arked by or fiv as seen before for fiñval.

O: O becomes a nasal vowel [5] before -n and -mp; it may be long: don ['d5:n], itron [i'tr5:n], or s h o rt: dont ['don:], mont ['mon:], deomp ['deom], evidomp [e'vi:d5m], kanomp ['ka:nom ]. O is also nasal before [ji]: mogn ['mop], and [rj]: lonket ['loqket].

b efo re -m a n d -m m : chom ['Jom:], tomm ['tom:]. In some

cases however, it is n a s a l: lomm ['15m:]. W hen nasal in other positions, O is m arked by -H or -ñv: doñv ['dow:].

U: U is m ore or less nasalized before N according to regions: lun [Ty :n]. In other positions, nasalisation is m arked as usual by -n or -nv: kuñv ['ky:v], puñs ['py:s], huñvreal [y'vreal].

O rem ains oral

N o te

['pce:s]. This pronunciation should be avoided. It is norm al however, to pro­ nounce the indefinite article un in that way: un den ['ôèn den], un ti [' cèn ti].

EU: EU becomes nasal [ôê] before n; it may be long : leun ['1 ôè:n], bleuñvenn ['blde:ven], or s h o r t: feuntenn ['fcéntcèn]. In some regions, it is also nasal before a final -z; for instance: kleuz (ditch) ['klce:s], keuz ['k <5e:s].

[ôè]: lun ['16e:n], puñs

th a t

in

som e

areas

[y]

has

becom e

22

14. Use of the Spoken Language

One m ust not forget that the above explanations are only a general and short outline of Breton pronunciation. It must not be forgotten either that Breton speakers like to keep their regional accent. So learners living in

Brittany should conform to the local usage.

As for other students, in respect o f pronunciation, they will find the above notes and the mini-cassettes a useful guide until such time as they have an opportunity to improve their pronunciation by staying with native

speakers.

23

F iu st LessoN

I.-

QERIOU

amah

amzer weather

here

an,

ar, al

the

an,

ar, al

- man

this, these

an, ar, al

(an) Aotrou Kei«e M r.

that,

- se

Anna

aze

Anne, Ann

there

those

Kere

brav fine, lovely

bremañ

brezhonek in the Breton language

demat! devezh mat!

den person, man

evit for

now

G ood Day!

gallek

in the French language

gant

with

glas

blue

ha, hag

and

heol

sun

c’hoazh

yet, still again, more

ivez

also, too

iwerzhonek

ya

Yannig Johnny

in the Irish language

yes

VOCABULARy

kembraek

in the Welsh language

Lan

Alan,

Alan

levr

book

liv

colour

mestr-skol

school-master

met

but

Mona

M ona

 

mor

sea

nann

no

neuze

then

oabl

sky

paotr

boy

pe?

w hat, which

?

(adj.)

petra?

piv?

what (:w hat thing) who?

ruz

red

saoznek

in the English language

skol

school

setu

here is, there is, behold

’ta

so, then

ti

house

tomm

un, ur, ul

warm , hot

an,

a

24

R €N t€l I (UNAN)

II,- D1VI2 — “CONVGKSatiON’

LAN

ANNA

LAN

ANNA

LAN

ANNA

LAN

YANNIG

AN

AOTROU

KERE

YANNIG

AN

AOTROU

KERE

YANNIG

LAN

AN

AOTROU

KERE

YANNIG

AN

AOTROU

KERE

YANNIG

AN

AOTROU

KERE

YANNIG

Setu

un

den

ha

setu

un

ti.

Piv

eo

an

den?

An

Aotrou

Kere

eo

an

den.

An

den-se

a

zo

mestr-skol.

Ha

petra eo

an

ti?

Ur skol eo

Setu

an ’ta ur mestr-skol

ti.

hag

ur skol.

 

Ha

bremañ, setu

ur

paotr.

Piv

eo

ar

paotr?

Yannig eo.

Demat, aotrou!

Demat, Yannig! Brav eo an amzer, aotrou. Ya, Yannig, brav eo. Tomm

eo

an

heol

ha

glas eo

ar mor.

 

An

oabl

ivez

a

zo

glas

Ya,

brav

eo

an

amzer.

 

Ul

levr a

zo

gant Yannig.

 

Petra eo

al

levr-se,

Yannig?

Ul

levr brezhonek

eo.

N ’eo

ket ul levr gallek?

 

Nann,

n’eo

ket.

Ul

levr

brezhonek

eo.

Hag evit

piv

eo

al

levr?

Evit Mona

eo.

25

Brav eo an amzer.

III.- gOULENNOÙ

“ Q u e stio n s”

Petra eo al levr-mafl?

Ul levr brezhonek eo.

Petra eo al levr-se?

Petra

’zo

am añ?

Ul levr gallek eo. Ul levr brezhonek a zo amañ.

Petra

’zo aze?

Ul levr gallek

a

zo

aze.

Piv eo ar paotr?

Piv eo?

An aotrou

Piv a zo mestr-skol?

Yannig eo ar paotr.

Yannig eo.

Kere eo?

N ann, n ’eo ket : Yannig

An aotrou

eo.

Kere a zo mestr-skol.

Piv eo ar mestr-skol?

Pe

An aotrou Kere eo ar mestr-skol. ar

eo

m or.

liv

eo ar

m or?

Glas

 

Ruz

eo

ar

m or?

N ann,

n ’eo

ket,

n ’eo

ket

ruz

ar

m or.

Glas

eo.

Petra

’zo

glas?

Ar m or

a

zo glas.

P etra ’zo gant ar paotr?

Ul levr

a

zo

gant ar

paotr.

Ul levr a zo gant ar paotr.

27

IV .-

yEZHADUR -

“ G ram m a r”

1. The articles:

Two articles in Breton:

an aotrou Kere,

the definite article an, ar, al

ar mor,

al levr.

The indefinite article un, ur, ul

ul levr.

un den,

ur skol,

The Breton articles do not agree in gender and num ber with their

letter o f the word

nouns; the form

to be used is determ ined by the first

We find other examples o f this in the conversation

(p.25):

Yannig eo. Ul levr brezhonek eo.

It is Johnny.

It

is

Breton

book.

Evit Mona eo.

It

is

a for M ona.

In all these sentences, there is no subject expressed.

4. W hy those two form s as both ar mor a zo glas and glas eo ar mor are

translated by ‘the sea is blue’? Because there is a difference o f emphasis: the two sentences do not

answer the same question; the first one answers the question: Petra ’zo

following the article; the choice is due to phonetical reasons: An and un

glas? W hat is blue? The second:

Pe liv eo ar mor? W hat colour is the

are used before words beginning with a vowel or n, d, t, h. Al and ul

sea?

In

Breton,

t h e

id e a

w h ic h

is

s t r e s s e d

m u s t

b e

p

l

a

c

e d

a t

t h e

are used before I only, while ar and ur are used before all other consonants.

The definite article (an, ar, al) is used with nouns in the plural or in the singular; on the other hand, the indefinite article (un, ur, ul) which was originally the num eral ‘one’ is used only with singular nouns.

2.

The verb

to be:

a zo,

eo

 

Ar

mor

a

zo

glas.

The sea is blue.

Brav eo an amzer.

 

The weather is fine.

A zo and eo are, both, form s of the verb to be (S3); but there is an opposition between the two sentences: a sequence article + noun (ar mor, an amzer) is found before a zo, but after eo; on the contrary an adjective (brav, glas) is found before eo, but after a zo.

3.

How

(a) Petra ’zo amañ? Piv a zo mestr-skol?

eo.

to

use

a

zo

and

W hat is here?

W

ho is a school-m aster?

The subject is always found before a zo (here Petra, Piv).

(b) Tomm eo an heol. Petra eo al levr-man?

The subject is never found before eo (tomm,

The sun is warm. W hat is this book?

petra are not subjects

but predicatives; in these two sentences the subjects are: an heol, and al

levr-mañ).

(c)

So the subject is often expressed after eo:

Piv eo ar paotr?

W ho is the boy?

But it may be understood:

Piv eo?

W ho

is it? (it is not translated)

28

b e g in n in g

OF

THE

SENTENCE; so the word, answering the question

comes first:

Pe liv eo ar mor?

mor a zo

glas!

Glas eo ar mor.

Petra ’zo glas?

Ar mor!

Ar

glas.

In fact, all Breton sentences answer a question either expressed or ex­ isting only in the mind of the speaker. This is the m ost im portant rule of the Breton syntax.

5. The negation. N’eo ket ruz ar mor, glas eo. Nann, n’eo ket.

The negation is form ed by n’ and ket placed on each side of the verb. The first part is n’ before a vowel, b u t ne before a consonant. In the negation, the form eo is always used instead of a zo. It should be noted that n’eo ket cannot be preceded by an adjective: while one says glas eo ar mor in the affirm ative, one has to say n’eo ket glas ar mor in the negative, because here it is the negation which is stressed, and therefore must come first.

The sea is not red, it is blue.

No,

it

is not.

6. The adjective. No change in endings

follows its noun:

for fem inine or plural;

usually the adjective

al levr brezhonek al levr iwerzhonek al levr saoznek al levr gallek

the Breton book

the

the English book

the French

Irish book

book

7. Dem onstratives

ceded by the definite article and

are

form ed

as

in

Irish and

Welsh:

the noun

is pre­

followed by a dem onstrative particle:

29

 

al levr-man

this book

an den-man

this person

2.

Using the words provided,

m ake sentences of the type Tomm eo an

al levr-se

that book

an den-se

that person

heol; then ask the questions they answer:

 

8.

Aotrou, an aotrou.

 

eo

ar mor.

Demat, aotrou!

G ood day,

sir.

 

ruz glas

al levr.

An aotrou Kere a zo

 

Yannig

an den-mañ.

mestr-skol

M r. Kere is a schoolm aster.

 

an aotrou Kere

ar paotr-se.

W hen addressing a person, you use aotrou without any article; on the contrary if you m ention a person, you use an aotrou (with the article).

 

an oabl.

9.

U1 levr

a

zo

gant ar paotr.

 

3.

Using the words provided, m ake sentences o f the type ar mor a zo glas,

W here in English the verb to have is used, in Breton one uses the verb to be with the preposition gant (with) denoting possession:

and ask the questions they answer:

 

ar mor

a

zo

ruz

U1 levr a zo gant ar paotr.

(lit. A

book is with the boy.)

The boy has a book (in his possession),

 

al levr-mañ

tom m .

 

ar paotr

glas

10.

ha, hag: and.

 

an heol

brav.

Ha before consonants, hag before vowels:

 

an amzer

Tomm eo an heol ha glas eo ar mor. The sun is warm and the sea is blue.

 

Setu ’ta ar skol hag ar mestr-skol.

 

So thereis the school and the teacher.

4.

W rite the following sentences in the negative:

 
 

Tom m eo an amzer — Ruz eo ar mor — Brav eo an amzer — Brav eo ar skol — Glas eo an heol.

 

IV .-

P O E L L A D E N N O Ù

— “ E x ercises”

 

5.

Make sentences using the words provided:

 

1.

Ask questions and answer them:

 
 

ar mor

a

zo

brav

an heol

glas

 

petra

a zo

am añ

?

al levr-mañ

ruz

piv

eo

an

den-mañ

an aotrou-se

tomm

 

ur skol

mestr-skol

 

glas

ul levr

amañ

mestr-skol

 

un den

aze

ar mestr-skol

an den-mañ

aze

ruz

6.

Place the definite article before the following words; then do the same

ar paotr

 

with the indefinite article, whenever possible:

30

levr-mañ, paotr, skol, m estr-skol-m an, mestr-skol, den, den-mañ, aotrou.

31

aval

apple

avel

wind

bihan small, little

kalz

kenavo goodbye

da your (sing.)

dal! here, take dre chañs fortunately, luckily

a lot

of

e

in

er gêr

at home

ebet

at all

glav

rain

Iwerzhon

labour

labouradeg

Ireland

factory

work

(5ER10Ù

ma!

mab

mamm

mat

merc’h

micherourez factory w orker(fem .)

pelec’h?

pell

pesketour

porzh

siwazh alas tad father tammig : un tammig

trugarez thank you; mercy

a bit

well!

son

mother

good

daughter, girl

where?

far

fisherman

yard

a little,

32

K€Nt€l II (DAOll)

DIVIZ

LAN

Setu Mona. Merc’h ar mestr-skol eo. Ur verc’h

vrav

eo

Mona.

 

ANNA

E

porzh

ar

skol

emañ

:

ur

skol

vihan

eo

skol

an

aotrou

Kere.

 

LAN

Yannig

ivez

a

zo

e

porzh

ar skol.

Ur paotr brav

eo

Yannig. Mab ur pesketour eo.

ANNA

Ya, pesketour eo tad Yannig. Ha micherourez eo

mamm Yannig.

 

MONA

Pelec’h email da

dad,

Yannig?

 

YANNIG

Er mor email.

 

MONA

E

pelec’h, er

mor?

 

YANNIG

E

mor Iwerzhon.

 

MONA

E

mor

Iwerzhon!

Pell

eo!

I)re chañs

eo

brav

an

amzer.

 

YANNIG

Ya, dre chañs eo

brav.

N ’eus

ket

avel.

 

MONA

O,

un

tammig

avel

a

zo.

 

YANNIG

Ma, n’eus ket kalz.

Ha

n’eus ket

glav.

 

MONA

Ha da vamm, pelec’h emañ?

 

YANNIG

El labouradeg emafl.

Kalz

labour

a

zo.

Ya

:

el

labouradeg email mammig,

n’eman

ket

er

gêr,

siwazh!

 

LAN

Un

aval

ruz

brav

 

a

zo

gant

Mona.

N ’eus

aval

ebet

gant

Yannig.

 

ANNA

Hag

ur verc’hig

vat eo

Mona.

 

MONA

I)al,

setu

un

aval.

 

YANNIG

O,

trugarez.

 

MONA

Kenavo, Yannig!

 

33

N ’eus ket avel.

34

CJOULENNOÙ

Pelec’h

emañ

M ona?

E porzh

ar skol emañ.

Pelec’h emañ mamm

Yannig?

El labouradeg emañ.

E r gêr emañ? N ann, n ’eman ket : el labouradeg emañ.

Pelec’h

emañ

M ona

ha

Yannig?

E

porzh

ar

skol

emañ

M ona

ha

Yannig.

Piv a

zo e porzh

ar skol?

M ona ha

Yannig a zo e porzh

ar skol.

 

Piv n ’emañ ket er gêr? Tad Yannig n ’eman ket er gêr.

Heol a zo? Ya,

Avel a zo?

heol

a

zo.

N ann, n ’eus ket; n’eus ket avel.

Kalz labour

a

zo?

N ann,

n ’eus

ket

:

un

tam m ig

labour

a

zo;

n ’eus

ket kalz.

 

Petra

’zo gant M ona?

Un

aval a

zo gant M ona.

 

U n

aval

a

zo

ivez

gant

Yannig?

N ann,

n ’eus

ket

:

n ’eus

aval

ebet

gant Yannig.

 

Un

aval a zo gant M ona?

Ya, un

aval

 

a

zo.

Un

levr

gallek

a

zo

amañ?

N ann,

n ’eus

ket

:

n ’eus

levr

gallek

ebet

am an. Ul levr gallek eo?

N ann, n ’eo ket : un levr brezhonek eo.

Ur paotr brav eo.

35

1.

The verb:

emañ

yEZHADUR

Pelec’h eman da dad?

W here is your father?

 

Er mor emañ.

He

is

at

sea.

 

Emañ (3rd sg.

o f

present

tense)

is

the

special

form

of

the

verb

to be denoting situation, location.

Here are a few examples we find in the conversation:

El labouradeg emañ M ammy is in the factory, mammig.

Pelec’h emañ Mona? Tad Yannig n’eman ket

W here is M ona? Johnny’s father is not at home,

er gêr These examples show that emañ cannot come after the subject except in the negative.

2. The verb:

eus

(a)

Un levr gallek a zo?

Is there a French book?

Nann, n’eus ket.

No,

there is not.

(b)

Un levr gallek eo?

Is

it

a French book?

Nann, n’eo ket.

No,

it

is not.

We have seen that a zo cannot be used in the negative; so in this case, a zo is replaced by eus with n’ and ket on each side.

a

negative answer to a question with eo will norm ally contain the negation n’eo ket.

it means

Eo,

on

the

contrary,

may

be

used

in

the

negative;

therefore

Eus is one

of the

form s

o f the

3rd

sg.

present o f to be;

there is.

3. Subject in the plural:

Mona ha Yann a zo e M ona and John are in the schoolyard, porzh ar skol. Pelec’h emañ Mona ha W here are M ona and Johnny? Yannig?

The subject is plural (M ona and John). In the first example it precedes the verb; in the second it follows it. In both cases the verb is sing­ ular: a zo, emañ; these sentences are in the affirm ative; we will therefore note that in Breton, in affirm ative sentences when the subject is expressed the verb remains 3rd sg. even if the subject is plural.

36

4. Possessive cases:

Merc’h ar mestr-skol Porzh ar skol Mab ur pesketour Tad Yannig

The teacher’s daughter The schoolyard A fisherm an’s son Johnny’s father

In the equivalents of such expressions as ‘the colour o f the house’ in which the second noun bears a genitive relation to the first one, the preposition ‘o f’ is not translated and the article is not used with the first noun: liv an ti (com pare with Irish ‘dath an ti’ and Welsh ‘Lliw y ty’).

5. M utations: masculine and feminine. brav eo ur paotr brav merc’h ar mestr-skol ur verc’h vrav

consonant

a certain conditions; for instance:

sentence, while becoming v in the fourth.

it

is

fine

a fine boy the teacher’s daughter a fine girl

(or

may

rem ains

In

the

not)

b

latter

The

first

of

word

b

may

in

change

in

the

under

second

the

brav

sentence

m of merc’h becomes also v. The gramm arians.

change is called

mutation

by

Breton

This

phenom enon

is

a

feature

of

all

Celtic

languages;

it

is

well

known to Irish and Welsh speakers.

We shall learn Breton m utations little by little, as they appear in texts. For the m om ent, let us note that m utations often denote

the

the gender o f a noun: the change merc’h to verc’h and brav to vrav occurs in the fourth sentence because merc’h is feminine. In the same way, skol being feminine one would have ur skol vihan ‘a small school’; but no m utation after a masculine noun levr: al levr brezhonek.

6. M utations: da vamm, da dad. Other mutations are caused, not by gender, but by some words:

one of these is da: your (sing.):

V.

after da, T becomes D, and M becomes

mamm:

da vamm

tad:

da dad

is in the category

called soft mutations by the Breton gram m arians. We now have met with

three of these: T /D ,

This m utation,

like those m entioned

B/V , M /V .

in §5 above,

37

7.

en,

er, el.

 
 

el labouradeg

 

in the factory

 

er gêr

 

at

hom e (lit. in the home)

 
 

W hen

the

preposition

e

‘in’

is

followed

by

the

definite

article

an,

ar,

al,

‘the’,

it

com bines

with

it

to

give:

en,

er,

el

(instead

of

e

+

an,

e

+

ar

or

e

+

al).

En,

er,

el

are

used

in

the

same

way

as

an, ar, al according to the first letter o f the following word.

8.

The suffix

- ig .

Yann

Yannig

John Johnny

un verc’hig

a little girl

mammig

m am m y

This suffix

girl’;

it

is

also

serves to

used

to

form

dim inutives mere’h ‘girl’, merc’hig ‘little

m ark affection:

mammig ‘m am m y’.

38

POELLADENNOÙ

I.

Ask questions and answer them:

Yannig

ar paotrig

 

pelec’h

emañ

amañ

piv

a

zo

aze

petra

gant M ona

er gêr tad Yannig

 

e porzh ar skol

Yannig ha

M ona

2.

Using the words provided, make sentences and ask the questions they answer:

M

amm Yannig

a

zo

e

labouradeg

M

ona ha Yannig

er

porzh ar skol

An aotrou Kere

 

el

skol

Then use eman instead

o f a zo changing the order

o f the

w ords as

required; finally ask the questions these new sentences answer:

3.

Using the words provided, make sentences; translate into English, and then ask in Breton the questions they answer:

 

porzh

Yannig

a

zo

bihan

levr

ar skol

pesketour

tad

ar verchig

micherourez

mamm

ar mestr-skol

ruz

 

Mona

mestr-skol

ar paotrig

4.

Using the following w ords, ask questions and answer them in the negative:

 

un den

a

zo