Sociolinguistic Studies, Vol 2, No 1 (2008)

The Role of Gallo in the Identity of Upper-Breton School Pupils of the Language Variety and their Parents

John Shaun Nolan
Issued Date: 25 Jul 2008


Whilst recent studies have provided pivotal insights into the relationship between Bretons and the principle languages of Brittany, Breton and French, this paper aims to shed light on the relationship between Brittany’s northern French near language (Oïl) variety, Gallo, and the identity of the inhabitants of the territory with which it is historically associated, Upper-Brittany. This is done through questionnaires of both a quantitative and qualitative nature and follow-up interviews with school pupils of Gallo and their parents in 2003 and 2004. Results suggest that although Gallo has been historically subject to a highly negative linguistic culture in both the French and Breton language contexts, for many respondents Gallo is perceived as continuing to play a role in their identity. This role, whilst it is restricted to the Upper-Breton region, tradition, the countryside and the family is of a positive nature for many respondents, but particularly for the younger generation. However, this identity role does not necessarily require it to be spoken and Gallo, which has up to recent years been socially marginalised in favour of Breton and French, may find a place for itself in Brittany’s identity consciousness as an ‘associated language’ to Upper-Breton identity.

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DOI: 10.1558/sols.v2i1.131


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