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Les Semaines Galloises

  • Is the Breton language under threat from French Government? 



    Is the Breton language under threat from French Government?

    THEY came in their thousands, a sea of white and black flags protesting against the French Education Minister’s plans to cut back on teaching the Breton language as part of the French curriculum.

    A language at the heart of Brittany, Breton or brezhoneg as known in their native tongue, has always been a language worth fighting for in the eyes of the Breton people.

    Historically, the language has come under attack much like it’s Welsh cousin, who are related under the same branch of Celtic languages, resulting in the formation of the Breton nationalism movement.

    Following years and years of oppression from the French Government, the Front de Liberation Breton or the Breton Liberation Front as it’s more commonly known in English, was formed in the 1960’s.

    From this movement the Breton Revolutionary Army, formed in 1971, was born, an armed illegal branch of the Front de Liberation Breton with the intention of protecting the Breton language and forcing the French Government to recognise the existence of the Breton people as an integral part of France. Over 200 attacks were the result of the Breton Revolutionary Army, including the 1974 bombing in Roc Tredudon, in a bid to protect the language and secure the Breton identity for generations to come.

    Caerphilly Castle: The Gwenn-ha-du – which means white and black – was raised in 2012 by the Caerphilly and District Twinning Association ahead of a visit by our friends from Brittany.

    Historically, the French Government has refused to acknowledge the Breton language and people even twenty years following the bombing of Roc Tredudon. In June of 1999, two days after the French President of the time, Jacques Chirac, refused to officially come to an agreement with European Charter on Regional and Minority Languages, there came an attack on the town home of then Prime Minister, Lionel Jospin, as well as administrative offices and utility stations. By the 2000 bombing of the McDonald’s drive-thru in Quévert, Brittany, there had been over 200 attacks. This shows how important the language was and still is to the people of Brittany and how long they have had to fight to keep it alive.
    History of the Breton language

    The language itself was introduced to Brittany during the fifth and sixth century by the south western Britons. Brittany is located in the west of France, with the language being more widely spoken in areas such as Côtes-d’Amor and Morbihan. The publication of Julien Maunoir’s dictionary was the beginning of the modern Breton era in 1659, although this publication did not have an effect on oral Breton. The changes made to oral Breton came with religious publications, which became a part of the everyday vocabulary, much like how the translation of the Bible by William Morgan protected the Welsh language from extinction, this had an effect on the protection of spoken Breton.

    Since the French Revolution in 1789 , and the beginning of the first French Republic, the French language has been trying to dominate as the most important language in France ever since. Leaving languages such as Breton, Basque, Occitan, Catalan and other French dialects have been cast aside as irrelevant and unimportant as part of a wider French picture.

    During the mid-19th century was the beginning of the eradication policy that was implemented to kill the language. Not much has changed in the eyes of the Breton people by today’s standards, with many firmly opposed to the Education Minister’s call to restrict the teaching of the Breton language in the French curriculum.

    Modern Threats

    According to one Breton campaigner, “The French state has been divided into 2/3 of Breton classes in the Diwan schools (with no vote, and no law, only the decision of the Minister of Education). The Minister of Education is unwilling to go back on his decision [to restrict the teaching of Breton in schools] but since last Monday the classes have been reformed with the Rectorat (the French Education Authority in Brittany).”
    Amongst all the campaigning efforts throughout the years, the Breton language has remained in popular favour with the residents of Brittany who view the language as valuable to their identity. Despite this, due to varying factors, it is estimated the number of speakers who can read and write Breton has fallen to 500,000 in comparison to the 1.2 million speakers that was recorded as part of Roparz Hemon’s survey in 1928. In less than one hundred years, it shows the number of Breton speakers has more than halved.
    Despite this, however, the language still remains an integral part of day to day life in Brittany and could very well rise in numbers despite the Education Minister’s plan to restrict teaching of the language in schools. The evidence shows that such attacks by the French Government never succeed, but ignite people to fight harder for the language. An event like this could backfire into the face of the Government and ignite people’s enthusiasm for their identity and language. We see that many people are now campaigning for more Breton lessons in the country, and the fact that the French state has stepped back from abolishing the Breton lessons has shown how much the French Government is concerned not to anger the Breton people and how much they fear seeing them protest.

    Moving Forward

    Breton, as a language, is beginning to be taught to more people in Brittany through other means than just in the classroom. The website, which is an important tool in helping Breton learners use the language more frequently, and drawing in young people who speak the language to continue using Breton in their everyday lives. The website consists of dramas and journalistic videos with French subtitles. The language is also being used on YouTube with cooking channels talking you through step-by-step traditional recipes to Brittany, all through the medium of Breton.

    But in the face of attacks from the French Government against the language, this decision to exclude the language from the French curriculum has begun to backfire on the French Government. Since the Education Minister’s decision, a number of protests have happened by the people of Brittany who are refusing to have their rights to speak their language undermined.

    Time will tell what the future holds for the Breton language but what is certain it will be up to the people of Brittany to decide their language’s fate not the French Government.


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  • Dylan Thomas




    Dylan Thomas yw un o feirdd mwyaf adnabyddus Cymru. Ganed ef ar y dydd hwn yn 1914, a chaiff ei gofio am ei gampweithiau llenyddol a’i gymeriad lliwgar!
    Ewch i bori ein harddangosfa ar-lein i ddysgu mwy am ei waith a’i fywyd rhyfeddol.
  • Wales 'losing its heritage' with name changes


    A petition to stop Welsh place names being changed to English will be discussed by members of the Senedd.

    It has so far received 6,958 signatures, surpassing the 5,000-threshold needed for it to be discussed by the petitions committee.

    It states that "little by little, the country is losing its heritage" and "this must be stopped for the sake of future generations".

    Former First Minister Carwyn Jones is among those who have added their voice.

    Tweeting in Welsh, he said: "The Tregyb Arms was opened in Brynaman in 1865, and there, in 1891, the first branch of the Miners' Union was established.

    "The building has changed a lot over the years but in recent days, an English name has replaced the Welsh one. The owners have to rethink."

    In the petition, lodged on the Welsh Parliament website, members are urged to legislate to prevent people from changing their Welsh house names, with it reading: "There is a pattern throughout Wales where new owners are changing their house names into English."

    Image copyright Getty Images
    Image caption Many places in Wales have two names - one in Welsh and English

    It has been a long-running debate in Wales, with comedian Tudur Owen describing how "history is lost when place names are changed".

    He gave the example of Cable Bay on Anglesey - allegedly named in English because someone laid a cable there.

    "Except of course it's not. It never was Cable Bay. It is Porth Trecastell," he said. "Porth translates as access point or gateway for travel, trade and fishing.

    "Trecastell suggests an ancient fort or castle that would have defended this stretch of the coastline."

    The Welsh Language Commissioner produced a list of 3,000 place names - and this showed that some Anglicised names had disappeared, such as Llanelly, with it reverting back to Llanelli.

    The Petitions Committee was set up to consider all petitions submitted by the public, with those gaining more 5,000 signatures being debated.







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  • 1947 : rapport de la délégation galloise en Bretagne




    En lisant le livre de Yann Brekilien : Histoire de la Bretagne qui regorge d'informations diverses, on y apprend page 340, qu'en 1947, nos frères gallois, notamment le conseil de l'Eisteddfod, épouvantés de ce qu'ils apprennent concernant la Bretagne, notamment la "Chasse aux bretonnants et personnes défendant la culture bretonne", qui sont enfermées et pour certaines, qui ont été sommairement assassinées, diffusent au Pays de Galles et dans toute l'Angleterre la situation vécue par notre pays.

    Pour répondre à ces accusations, l'ambassadeur français à Londres invite au nom de l'État français une délégation galloise à se rendre à Paris, puis dans "la province de Bretagne", ce sont ses mots, afin de rendre compte par eux-mêmes, que les accusations qu'ils colportent sont «une pure calomnie ».

    Une délégation du pays de Galles accepte, à la condition qu'ils ne soient en rien suivis en Bretagne, et qu'ils puissent mener leur enquête librement, ce qu'ils ont fait de façon minutieuse et impartiale, entre le 21 avril et le 14 mai 1947.

    Le rapport sort le 21 juin 1947, en gallois et en français.

    Il y a bien eu de nombreux assassinats, la population est terrorisée, les cours de langue bretonne ont été fermés, quiconque ose mettre un drapeau breton à sa fenêtre est dénoncé à la police, et plus AUCUN livre sur la Bretagne ne peut sortir sans devoir y écrire que « les Bretons sont indéfectiblement attachés à la France ».

    Ce document, grâce au travail exceptionnel de l'I.D.B.E. , a été numérisé et est téléchargeable par tous, mais hélas, il est actuellement « corrompu » car les pages les plus importantes de ce rapport n'apparaissent que partiellement, ou pas du tout…

    Ayant contacté les personnes en charge de ce fichier, il nous a été affirmé que ces documents étaient pourtant jusqu'alors parfaitement lisibles…

    De la censure en 2020 vous pensez ?
    Affaire à suivre, dans tous les cas, sur le savais tu Breton, nous défendons l'entière liberté d'information de notre pays, la Bretagne, et dès que nous en disposerons, nous vous les communiquerons.

    Le lien corrompu actuellement en ligne, ici :…

    [Numéro de vérification visuelle du fil contenu sur la page : 233]

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  • Pays celtes. Face au Brexit, la Bretagne veut rapprocher les nations celtes

    Il y a bien sûr le FIL, le Festival interceltique de Lorient. Mais en matière de relations entre les nations celtes, on peut faire mieux. C’est ce que pense la Région Bretagne qui, avec une délégation à la fois culturelle, économique et universitaire, se rend jusqu’à mardi au Pays de Galles et en Irlande.


  • Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus! Gouel Sant Divi laouenn ! Happy St David's day Celebrations in Brittany!


    Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus! Gouel

    -- Interceltisme --

    Par Marie-Noelle Rinquin

    Publié le 1/03/20 20:30 -- mis à jour le 02/03/20 07:01
    Saint Dewi, Divy, or Ivy , Holy Saint of
    Wales, who gave his name to many little
    towns of Brittany such as Loguivy, Saint
    Divy or Pontivy and many others.


    To echo the festivities in Wales, the twin

    commitee of Plonevez Porzay and Newcastle – Emelyn which has been active for already 27 years , invited on Saturday 29th February Olivier Caillebot producer of the DVD : “Connaissance de la Bretagne” and of the serie “La Bretagne en Histoire” together with the famous historian Jean Jacques Monnier, who is a specialist of both History of Wales and History of Brittany to give a conference presenting a comparative history of both countries from 1914 to the present time.


    This event has attracted many Bretons interested by the History of Wales and Brittany, whose Celtic languages and cultures are closely related. Welsh and Breton people have since ancient times continued forging cultural and business links. On Sunday 1st March a gathering with a meal followed by an introduction to welsh dances was organised to celebrate Saint Dewi.


    The two hours conference, which showed us many pictures, figures and a British film on 1st World war, allow for just a quick summary:


    Wales has had a similar experience of 1st World War as Brittany, They have both lost a great number of young men who were in majority farmers since farmers were used as foot soldiers in the trenches. It was also in the trenches that many nationalist Breton organisations developed. In Brittany, sadly, it also gave many Bretons the feeling that they had to abandon their mother tongue and they forbid themselves to transmit the language to their children and grand children. Whilst the Welsh priests will continue teaching religion in Welsh at Sunday school,the catholic church under pressure of the French government will stop teaching spoken and written Breton. The war will leave a long lasting sad memory visible in the monuments erected in memory of the numerous soldiers who died in this cruel war.


    Wales, country of coal mines and metal industry has seen the industrial Revolution much earlier than Brittany and prospered from the industry until the end of the first world war. Brittany was always a country of farmers and seamen. The industrial revolution arrives late in Brittany often with the help of Welsh people who come to buy mines and create industry after the 1st world war.

    The years after the war were sombre for the Welsh since mines were producing less coal and miners have a much smaller salary that before or during the war. In Brittany where men drink wine rather than beer, alcoholism was rampant and devastating. Suicides, barely seen before the war, increased.


    In Wales the pastor James James and his son created a song to help the fight against alcoholism. This song became the famous Welsh national anthem Hen Wad Fy Nhada, whose music the Bretons will borrow for their own national anthem: Bro Gozh ma Zadoù.


    From that time the Welsh voted in majority for the labour or the liberal party, whilst the Bretons traditionally voted for the conservative party, they started only in 1981 to vote for the socialist party.


    During the second world war, the mountains of Wales were used as training area by the British army. The blocade by the Germans kept the British people short of food. Rationing was the norm during and after the war. Cities like Cardiff and Swansea were heavily bombed. Brittany had also to cope with rationing and the occupation of the German army. Cities such as Brest, Lorient and Nantes were destroyed by the allied armies at the end of the war to help liberating the country. In both countries cities had to be reconstructed.

    The Breton economy took off in the sixties and the seventies under the pressure of farmers movement such as the CELIB which demanded express roads and the deep water harbour of Roscoff. The Breton music and culture particularly with Alan Stivell gained popularity in the seventies. The first independent Breton primary school Diwan was created in 1977.


    In Wales the seventies were dark years as Margaret Thatcher fought the Trade Unions, imported coal from Australia and Poland, and eventually forced the mines to close down.

    At the same time she allowed the Welsh to have their own welsh schools and even a Welsh TV channel. Today 25% of children in Wales are educated in Welsh whilst only 3% of the children in Brittany are educated in Breton schools. This state will not allow the language to survive for very long since the average age of the Breton speaker is now 60.


    In 1997 the Welsh voted through referendum for devolution giving them a Parliament which can act independently of London in matters such as Health, Education, Agriculture, Environment, Transport and some Taxes. In Brittany we can just continue dreaming of some autonomy. Whilst Wales has benefited from European subsidies for many years, which helped turn around the economy ( windmills, wood industry), a majority of Welsh people from the western areas of Wales voted for Brexit.


    Beyond the troubled waters of Brexit, what is certain is that Breton and Welsh people want to continue enjoying their cultural links and develop business ventures together.


    Events like truly help the understanding of the similar roots, cultures and issues of the Celtic countries.


    Le comité de jumelage a reçu l’écrivain historien jean jacques Monnier et son acolyte olivier Caillebot musicien et producteur pour une conférence sur les conséquences de la 1 er guerre mondiale sur la bretagne avec les crises agricole , l’alcoolisme ,l’ immigration des jeunes et sur le Pays de Galles la crise des fermeture des mines de charbon , et de la misère et également l’immigration qui en a découlée pendant près de 70 ans

    Les 80 personnes présentes ont apprécié la qualité des échanges en forme d’interview et la qualité des documents fournies pour étayer les propos des 2 compères

    La conférence s’est terminé autours d’un vers de l’amitié et les échanges autours du sujet ont été nombreux