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Breton Orthographies and Dialects <BR> Vol. 2

Wmffre, Iwan

Breton Orthographies and Dialects
Vol. 2

The Twentieth-Century Orthography War in Brittany

Series: Contemporary Studies in Descriptive Linguistics - Volume 19

Year of Publication: 2007

Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2007. VI, 283 pp.
ISBN 978-3-03911-365-1 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.430 kg, 0.948 lbs

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Book synopsis

This work is for comparative linguists and celticists who are keen to study Breton but may be too daunted to undertake such a venture by the wide variety of orthographical conventions which exist in Breton.
The chronological development of the Breton orthographical debates during the twentieth century is charted along with an attempt to discern the ideological, political and personal motivations which lay behind those debates. Based on a substantial corpus of hitherto unpublished original documents and personal interviews, the research throws new light on the nature of the political, ideological and linguistic divisions of the Breton movement of that period (not least the events that occurred during the 1939-45 war).
The historical and societal background of the language is succinctly delineated and points of orthographical contention are discussed, each in turn, so that their correlation to the spoken varieties of Breton can be judged by the reader.
The work should dispel once and for all the notion – boosted by the existing orthographical instability and variety – that Breton is too dialectally fragmented to be studied profitably without an inordinate amount of effort.


Contents: An Analysis of Particular Spelling Conventions in Breton – Analysing the particular spelling conventions of Breton – A note on some orthographic and phonetic transcriptions – Spelling and pronunciation – Transcribing final consonants – The digraph <zh> – The digraph <ss> – The consonant [w] – New lenition, provection and leniprovection – The graphemes <c’h> and <h> – The digraph <ae> – The vowel <o> before nasals – The trigraph <oue> vs. the digraph <oe> – The grapheme <y> for [j] and palatal <l, n> – The suffixes <-, -iñ> – Doubling consonants – Final <-mp> – Diacritics – Elision and word boundaries – Miscellaneous léonisms – Mimetic conventions for Breton orthography – Appendix 1: The Mordiern letters – Appendix 2: Miscellaneous documents – Appendix 3: Attendance records of the Carhaix Talks.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

The Author: Iwan Wmffre is a lecturer in Irish and Celtic at the University of Ulster, Coleraine. He has previously taught at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and at the Catholic University of Lublin. His publications include Central Breton (1999), Late Cornish (1999), Language and Place-names in Wales (2003), The Place-names of Cardiganshire (2004).


Contemporary Studies in Descriptive Linguistics. Vol. 19
Edited by Graeme Davis and Karl A. Bernhardt