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 an Oïl language, a continuum of languages and dialects spoken in northern France that includes Norman, Picard and Poitevin. Unlike Norman, Gallo has no Norse influences, though it does have words borrowed words from Breton.
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.
Until the late 19th century, around 14 million people in France spoke French as a first language. French was a foreign language for the rest of the population, who spoke their own regional languages, such as Gallo. 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.
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.
Le monde vienent su la térre librs tertous e s'ent'valent en drets e dignitë. Il lou apartient d'avaer de la réson e de la conscience e il ont de s'ent'enchevi conme feraen dés freres.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Vóz autr tót mè graundmaèrr dèz forést d’Broceliânde
Paèz d’térr, paèz d’aèv, onbr de chaesnn, onbr de saudd
Antr foujyaeu franbeyeys desórr lèz aùmalhes chaudd
Cauzae-mei dèz diabaijes lèz noetèy par la laund.
E vóz autr mè graundmaèrr dè paveis dè forbórgs
De la rivyaerr gèreiae o pyet dèz joenn uzines
Diq’a la siour des bueys que d’beróètt en gesine!
Cauzae-mei d’vo sonj dan l’freid neir deü petit jórn…
D’eyó don q’vóz veniez vóz autr fam
Com bicz córsant lunn su la saente anaéy?
Vivianes ou Riwanons, j’ae poènt ói contae d’vóz
Es diriy’d mez maéstr. Je n’sais pas ben qi j’seis
Seür q’les margólans qui creiyaient se chaevi d’nóz
Faudra q’yoeuz nóz kerkolent pór pus nóz ói d’maézoe.
Information about Gallo
Dictionnaire en ligne Gallo-Français et Français-Gallo
Gallo Es Ecoles (Gallo in Schools)
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