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Gallo is a Romance language spoken in parts of Brittany (Bertâgne) and Normandy in the northwest of France by about 28,000 people. It is a Oïl language and is part of a dialect continuum with Norman, Picard and Poitevin. Unlike Norman Gallo has no Norse influences, but has borrowed words from Breton.

Decline of Gallo

Brittany became a part of France in 1532, and in 1539 French was imposed as the sole official language of France. French replaced Gallo as the language of official records and courts.

Up to the late 19th century around 14 million people in France spoke French as a first language, while for the other 25 million or so, who spoke their own regional languages, such as Gallo, French was a foreign language. After the introduction of compulsory education in 1882, which used French as the language of instruction, other languages were considerd patois, a derogatory term meaning 'provincial dialect'.

During the 20th century, particularly after the First World War, Gallo, like other regional languages, went into steep decline.


Gallo first appeared in writing in 1178 in a poetical text called Le Livre des Manières by Etienne de Fougères. During the 19th century oral literature was collected and written down by researchers and folklorists. There are a number of original written works in Gallo by Amand Dagnet (1857-1933), and since the 1960s efforts have been made to encourage the production of Gallo literature. A proposed orthography for Gallo was published by Alan J. Raude in 1979.

Current situation

In 1976 Gallo language speakers set up l'Association des Amis du Parler Gallo (The Association of Friends of Speaking Gallo), which later became Bertaèyn Galeizz, with the aims of studying and promoted the language and campaigning for official recognition.

Gallo is taught at a number of colleges in eastern Brittany and at the University of Rennes II.

Gallo is spoken mainly in rural areas by the oldest generations, and is considered an 'incorrect dialect of French' by many French people.

Gallo pronunciation

Gallo pronunciation




Information about Gallo

Dictionnaire en ligne Gallo-Français et Français-Gallo

Bertaèyn Galeizz

Gallo Es Ecoles (Gallo in Schools)

Romance languages

Aragonese, Aranese, Aromanian, Asturian, Catalan, Corsican, Dalmatian, Emilian-Romagnol, Extremaduran, Fala, Faliscan, Franco-Provençal, French, Friulian, Galician, Gallo, Genoese, Guernésiais, Istriot, Italian, Jèrriais, Ladino, Ladin, Latin, Ligurian, Lombard, Megleno-Romanian, Mirandese, Moldovan, Monégasque, Occitan, Oscan, Picard, Piedmontese, Portuguese, Romanian, Romansh, Sardinian, Sicilian, Spanish, Umbrian, Venetian, Walloon

Other languages written with the Latin alphabet

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