Breton language

Breton (/ˈbrɛtən/, French: [bʁətɔ̃]; brezhoneg [bʁeˈzɔ̃ːnɛk] (listen)[4] or [brəhɔ̃ˈnek] in Morbihan) is a Southwestern Brittonic language of the Celtic language family spoken in Brittany, modern-day France. It is the only Celtic language still in use on the European mainland.[5]

Bilingual sign in Huelgoat in Brittany
Pronunciation[bʁeˈzɔ̃ːnɛk], [brəhɔ̃ˈnek]
Native toFrance
RegionBrittany (including Loire-Atlantique)
Native speakers
210,000 in Brittany (2018)[1]
16,000 in Île-de-France[2]
(Number includes students in bilingual education)[3]
Latin script
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Regulated byOfis Publik ar Brezhoneg
Language codes
ISO 639-1br
ISO 639-2bre
ISO 639-3Variously:
bre  Modern Breton
xbm  Middle Breton
obt  Old Breton
xbm Middle Breton
 obt Old Breton
Linguasphere50-ABB-b (varieties: 50-ABB-ba to -be)
Regional distribution of Breton speakers (2004)
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Breton was brought from Great Britain to Armorica (the ancient name for the coastal region that includes the Brittany peninsula) by migrating Britons during the Early Middle Ages, making it an Insular Celtic language. Breton is most closely related to Cornish, another Southwestern Brittonic language.[6] Welsh and the extinct Cumbric, both Western Brittonic languages, are more distantly related.

Having declined from more than 1 million speakers around 1950 to about 200,000 in the first decade of the 21st century, Breton is classified as "severely endangered" by the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger. However, the number of children attending bilingual classes rose 33% between 2006 and 2012 to 14,709.[3][1]