Komz a rez brezhoneg? / Wyt ti’n siarad Llydaweg?
I decided to have a go at learning Breton today and listened to some of Le Breton sans peine. I just listened without looking at the book to see if I could understand anything – one of my friends is convinced that Breton has more similarities with Welsh than with Cornish, but I thought that Breton is closer to Cornish, so I decided to test this.
I speak Welsh more or less fluently, and do know a few Breton words already, including degemer mat (welcome), trugarez (thank you = trugaredd, ‘mercy / compassion’, in Welsh), pelc’h emañ …? (where is …? = pa le, ‘which place?’, in Welsh), and I was able to guess the means of some words that sound similar to their Welsh equivalents: mor (sea – môr in Welsh), ti (house – tŷ in Welsh), glas (blue/green – glas in Welsh). I could also understand some of the numbers and some French loanwords, apart from that though, I had no idea, or only the vaguest idea, what they were talking about most of the time.
This is just my own impression, but it seems that mutual intelligibility between Welsh and Breton is very limited. The stories of Breton onion sellers in Wales being able to talk to the local Welsh speakers in Breton and be understood are perhaps exaggerated. Or perhaps the onion sellers, known as Sioni Wynwns (Johnny Onions) in Welsh, learnt enough Welsh to have basic conversations with Welsh speakers.
While I was in the Isle of Man earlier this year I heard some Cornish and was able to make some sense of it, but the Breton I heard there made very little sense to me.