Speech, liaison and standards : study presented in a corpus of four rules for the pronunciation of Breton in schools

Jean-Claude Le Ruyet 1
1 CRBC Brest - Centre de recherche bretonne et celtique
IBSHS - Institut Brestois des Sciences de l'Homme et de la Société, UBO - Université de Brest, CRBC - Centre de recherche bretonne et celtique
Abstract : This thesis is a study of the four basic rules which could be considered as a comprehensive corpus to be used in the teaching of the Breton language. The first three which apply to whole words are presented in the first part of the thesis, and they deal with tonic accent, length of the stressed vowel and devoicing of the absolute final consonant. The proposition that there is a unique standard accent is the realistic key which gives overall coherence. The second part deals with sandhi. Following an extensive survey carried out in bilingual schools from CE2 (year 4) to the end of secondary schooling, from May 2007 to April 2008, one notices a strong influence of the French language on Breton speaking in schools. Several weak points of Breton teaching in schools are apparent : 1) more than 50% of the listed books do not mention the issue of liaisons which work more often than not in a completely different way to the French language. 2) What plays an important part in the use of French style liaisons by the learners, is the difference between nouns and other types of words, which has been applied to the final consonant since 1901. This decision, which did not take into account the existence of two sorts of suffixes in Breton, namely neutral ones and devoicing ones, is responsible for an artificial growth of visual final unvoiced consonants. Today, according to the Buben effect, one can measure the result of this decision wherever Breton teaching takes place. 3) Apart from its impact on liaisons, the 1901 decision which was maintained until the spelling agreement in 1941, also affects the decoding of stressed vowel length in a good number of words, excluding nouns. This thesis therefore clearly raises the question of the relevance of this century old rule, at a time when attemps are being made to bring more structure to the teaching of Breton
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Jean-Claude Le Ruyet. Speech, liaison and standards : study presented in a corpus of four rules for the pronunciation of Breton in schools. Linguistics. Université Rennes 2; Université Européenne de Bretagne, 2009. Breton. ⟨tel-00458217⟩

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