Breton is the fifth Celtic language I've studied, after Scottish
Gaelic, Welsh, Irish
and Manx. I was interested to see how similar it
was to the other Celtic languages, particularly to Welsh, and decided
to study it because I have a number of friends who speak it or who
are learning it.
I initially started my Breton studies with Colloquial Breton,
which I found a little overwhelming and didn't get very far with. Then
got a copy of the Assimil course Le Breton Sans Peine and
have found that much more approachable, and I get to improve my French
at the same time as learning Breton.
Le Breton Sans Peine is the first Assimil course I've tried
and I am finding it very good. It consists of 100 short lessons which
have a short dialogue, explanations of important grammar points, and
a couple of translation exercises. The dialogues all have French translations,
plus literal translations of some bits to show who the language
is structured, and there are recordings of all the dialogues and of the
first exercise in each lesson.
Every seventh lesson summerises the new material covered in the
previous six lessons, which is very handy, and includes a longer
dialogue incorporating vocabulary and grammar from those lessons.
The idea with Assimil is that you study a lesson every day, and
that once you get past the 50th lesson, for each new lesson you do,
you go back to the beginning of the course and revise a lesson, writing
out the dialogues and exercises and listening to the recordings again.
This is known as the 'active phase'.
I am currently in the active phase and not only write out the
dialogues and exercises, but also translate everything into Welsh,
just for fun. Once I finish the Assimil course I plan to go back to the Colloquial
one. I also have a Breton grammar book for reference, and a Breton
translation of the first Harry Potter book.
The more Breton I learn, the more connections I find with Welsh,
and particularly with Cornish, which I've picked up bits of from friends.
I could probably have a basic conversation in Breton, and will seek
out Breton speakers in Bangor when I feel that I can have do more.
I'd also like to spend some time in Brittany as well. There's a
Breton summer school that I'd like to go on, and I know that Breton
speakers can be found via Couchsurfing.