Breton is not thought to be a modern-day descendant of any continental Celtic language such as Gaulish, though evidently it has borrowed some features from it, but it is rather descended from insular Brythonic. The other regional language ( GalloGallo is a regional language of France, traditionally spoken in Eastern Brittany. In contrast to Breton, the Celtic language which is traditionally spoken in the Western territory of the country, Gallo is a Romance language, one of the Oil languages (clos) derives from Latin.
Breton is traditionally spoken in Lower Brittany, roughly to the west of a line linking Plouha and Vannes. It comes from a language community between BritainThe word Britain is used to refer to the United Kingdom (UK): i. the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (from 1927), the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland ( 1801- 1927) or the United Kingdom of Great Britain ( 1707- 1801). and Armorica or Aremorica is the name given in ancient times to the part of Gaul that includes the Brittany peninsula and the territory between the Seine and Loire rivers inland to an indeterminate point. Pliny the Elder, in his Natural History (2. 105), clai, present day Brittany. It was the language of the elite until the 12th Century. However, afterward it was only the language of the people of West Brittany (Breizh Izel), and the nobility, then successively the bourgeoisie adopted French. As a written language, the Duchy of Brittany used Latin, switching to French in the 15th Century. It should be noted that Old Breton has left some vocabulary which has served in the present day to produce philosophical and scientific terms in Modern Breton.
The French Monarchy never really concerned itself with the minority languages of France. The revolutionary period really started policies favoring French over the "regional" languages, more pejoritively called "patois". According to the defenders of the Breton language, humiliating practices geared toward stamping out Breton lingered in schools and churches until the 1960's.
Today, despite the political centralization of France and the important influence of the media, Breton is still spoken and understood by about 200,000 people. This is, however, down from 1.3 million in 1930. At the beginning of the 20th Century, half the population of Lower Brittany only knew Breton, the other half being bilingual. By 1950, there were only 100,000 monolingual Bretons.
In 1925, thanks to professor Roparz Hemon , the review Gwalam came to light. During its 19 year run, it tried to raise the language to the level of other great "international" languages by creating original works covering all genres and by proposing Breton translations of internationally recognized foreign works.
In 1946, Al Liamm took up the role of Gwalam. Other reviews came into existance and gave Breton a fairly large body of literature for a minority language.
In 1977, Diwan schools were founded in order to teach Breton by immersion. They taught thousands of young people from elementary school to high school. Another teaching method proposed was a bilingual approach, Div Yezh (two languages).
Some poets, linguists, and writers who wrote in Breton are now known internationally, such as Yann-Ber Kalloc'h , Roparz Hemon , Anjela Duval and Per-Jakez Hélias .
Today, Breton is the only Celtic language which is not recognized legally. The French state has refused to change the second article of the Constitution added in 1994 which declares "The language of the Republic is French." Each year more protesters demand the repeal of this law, which is unique in Europe.
The first Breton dictionary, the Catholicon, was also the first French dictionary. Edited by Jehan Lagedec in 1464, it was a trilingual work containing Breton, French and Latin. Today bilingual dictionaries directly from Breton into languages such as English, German and Spanish show the will of a new generation to gain international recognition of Breton. A monolingual dictionary also exists, defining Breton words in Breton.