Breton feared dying out

Oct. 1, 2005 at 4:37 PM

RELECQ KERHUON, France, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Even though Breton is spoken in schools, used in road signs and dubbed in old Perry Mason TV shows in France, the language may die out.

It was the language of the elite in France until the 12th century, but then it became only the language of the people of West Brittany.

Native speakers of Breton are aging, their numbers falling by 15,000 a year, reported the Daily Telegraph Saturday.

"Bretons are always being told France is one nation with one language," said Yann Rivallain, who ran a European Union-funded organization for minority languages in Dublin.

The decline of the Breton language occurred during World War I when soldiers from Brittany found they had to use French to communicate with comrades-in-arms.

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