Jones (1995)

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Jones, Mari C. 1995. 'At what price language maintenance? Standardization in Modern Breton', French Studies 49 (4): 424–438.


 Introduction:
 "The existence of a standard language has been shown to be especially important when a speech community has been absorbed into some larger state. Indeed, such an absorption may even precipitate the creation of a Standard, where there has hitherto existed merely a collection of dialects. Engulfed by the language of another country, the variety spoken by the minority speech community has a better chance of surviving if it can be perceived by its speakers as being on a par with that of the larger speech community in terms of its functional domains. This, I would suggest, is particularly true in the case of what are termed 'endangered' languages, where it is often seen as essential that standardization should take place since speaker numbers may be so low that continued dialectal fragmentation would be a hindrance to any further elaboration of functions which a language must undergo in order to have any possibility of surviving in the modern Western world. The purpose of this paper is to examine the current situation with regard to Breton, a language belonging to the Brythonic branch of Celtic spoken in north-west France, whose increasing contact with French has led to its being considered today as an obsolescent language."


Lecture

"néo-bretonnants"

L'auteur utilise le terme de "néo-bretonnant" sans commenter sur la dimension négative du terme. Elle l'associe à les locuteurs L2 parlant un standard non-diatopique, influencé par la variété dialectale léonarde comme l'est le standard (p.429: "second language learners", p.430 "second-language acquisition"). Dans tout l'article, ces "néo-bretonnants" sont opposés aux "natifs".


 p. 428:
 "the marked decline in the fortunes of Breton has given rise, during the past few decades, to the appearance of a new generation of Breton speakers, who represent a radical shift in stance from the mentality described above and who, in many ways, stand apart from the traditional speakers of the language. These are the Neo-bretonnants,

predominantly native French speakers who, as part of the protectionist movement frequently found in response to situations of impending language death, have learnt Breton as a second language via the education system or at evening class rather than in the home. Consequently, their speech is not based on the dialect of their area, which many of them will never have had the opportunity to study, but rather on educated, literary Breton with its strong L bias."


La langue est décrite comme une "koine universitaire" (p.430). L'auteur mentionne des faits syntaxiques typiques de ces locuteurs L2, mais ne précise pas sa source, ni le niveau d'exposition des apprenants censés produire ces formes.

 p.429:
 "fully-inflected prepositions and a topicalized word order, which do not have a direct counterpart in French, are being used less and less by the second-language speakers."

compréhension entre dialectes

L'auteur cite Ternes pour la stipulation que le breton standard n'est compris qu'en Léon.


 p.434: 
 "The language used in the media is another example of what has been termed 'ce breton chimique', so that broadcasts are followed mainly by intellectuals, who are able to understand what is being said. "Such broadcasts have been described as 'largely incomprehensible to many, if not most, native speakers of Breton outside Leon'"."


Le standard comme dialecte du breton

Malgré la façon dont cet auteur a été cité plus tard dans la littérature, elle ne considère pas le breton standard écrit comme particulièrement influencé par le français, au contraire de ce même standard tel que pratiqué par des L2. Elle ne dit rien des natifs du standard, et semble considérer qu'ils ne sont qu'une possibilité future.

 p.434:
 "Firstly, there is dialectal Breton, showing French influence in its lexicon but not in its syntax and predominantly spoken by the working class. Then there is standardized literary Breton, with no particular French influence. Thirdly, there is the spoken version of standardized literary Breton, usually the variety spoken by the Néo-bretonnants, which shows French influence in its syntax but not in its lexicon and is spoken predominantly by the middle classes. Although both the obsolescent and reviving varieties are termed 'Breton', they are not, strictly speaking, the same language."


le terme de xénolecte

A partir de sa description des "néo-bretonnants" des années 90, l'auteur fait une prédiction quant à l'avenir du breton. Loin de dire que la langue bretonne sera un créole construit à partir du breton mais n'en partageant pas la structure, elle considère que ce sera une variété de breton, marquée par les influences du français.

 p.435:
 "The resulting Néo-breton is therefore, I believe, more accurately termed a xenolect, defined by Holm as 'slightly foreignized varieties spoken natively which are not Creoles because they have not undergone significant restructuring'."

A propos

Nulle part l'auteur ne dit d'où elle tire ses généralisations fortes sur les variétés de breton parlés en Basse-Bretagne. On ne sait pas non plus si elle a opéré du collectage ou est même venue sur place.

L'influence syntaxique de la langue française sur le breton des L2 est illustrée par un seul exemple (l'usage réfléchi à la française en em dommañ 'se chauffer') tiré de la thèse non-publiée de Steve Hewitt de la même université de Cambridge où enseigne l'auteur.