France - US

Breton language to be taught at Harvard

Rennes 2 University
Rennes 2 University Ze/Wikimedia Commons

Breton, the Celtic language of the French region of Brittany, is to be taught at Harvard. The prestigious American university has agreed to work more closely with the university in Brittany's regional capital, Rennes.


Rennes 2 university is to organise crash courses in the Breton language, Breizh, and regular seminars on Breton studies at Harvard's Department of Celtic Languages and Literatures, according to an agreement that the two universities have just signed.

There will also be exchanges of staff between the two institutions.

Rennes's celtic studies department has about 300 students.

Brittany was the last part of Gaul to be conquered by the Romans and did not become part of France until the 15th century.

Its language and Celtic culture have at times been repressed by the French state in an effort to build a centralised, unified state and a small Breton nationalist movement exists to this day.

As well as Celtic studies at Rennes, a more liberal French cultural policy has given rise to a Breton-language television station, TV Breizh.

France has a number of regional languages, despite efforts tostamp them out in the past.

About 250,000 people speak one or other of the regional variations of Breizh.

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