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A Breton glossary

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Although estimates of the number of Breton-speakers range from 400,000 to 800,000, you’re unlikely to encounter it spoken as a first, day-to-day language. Learning Breton is not really a viable prospect for visitors without a grounding in Welsh, Gaelic or some other Celtic tongue. However, as you travel through the province, it’s interesting to note the roots of Breton place names, many of which have a simple meaning in the language. Below are some of the most common:

aber estuary lann heath
argoat land lech flat stone
armor sea mario dead
avel wind men stone
bihan little menez (rounded) mountain
bran hill menhir long stone
braz big meur big
coat forest nevez new
cromlech stone circle parc field
dol table penn end, head
dolmen stone table plou parish
du black pors port, farmyard
enez island roc’h ridge
goaz stream ster river
gwenn white stivel fountain, spring
hir long traez henn beach
ker village or house trou valley
kozh old ty house
lan holy place wrach witch
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