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A little Breton lesson 2: greetings and polite formulas – Spered ar vro


This is the eternal question: but how do you say “hello” in Breton? In truth there is not one good answer, but several! Modern Breton has given a new lease of life to the term “demat” (deiz, the day, combined with the adjective mat which means good or good). Practical, because very close to French, but it remains a superficial greeting which does not involve much … It has little to do with the habits and customs of traditional society, where we took the time to discuss with those crossed on a daily basis. If necessary, the Bretons first of all inquired about the health of their interlocutor, saying for example “Penaos’ mañ kont ganeoc’h? ” (How are you doing ?) ; “Mont a ra mat?” “(Are you okay?), Or the famous” Mat ar game? “And” Mat an traoù? ” (OK ?). There are many ways to answer. You can repeat the last three sentences in the affirmative, or even personalize by trying a “Master!” “(Very good),” N’eus ket da glemm “(there is nothing to complain about), or even” Fiskal! »(Extra!) As they say in Morbihan. With more imagination and dexterity, you will be able to greet the person you meet with a “Kousket mat ‘teus? “(Slept well?) Or even” Goroet eo ar saout? (So, the cows are milked?). Breton is not a language above ground, this is completely acceptable, not to say recommended …

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After this introduction, it remains to be seen the different polite formulas that will make contact with the locals better. “Mar plij” (pronounced “plich”) or even “Mar plij ganeoc’h” equivalent to “Please”. To thank you, the choice is wider: “trugarez” is the most classic expression, often abbreviated as “trug ‘” if you want to have lunch! You can alternatively use “bennozh Doue” (Blessing of God), although a little pompous, or simply “Mersi bras” (arm meaning large, pronounced “braz”) borrowed from French. The overview would be incomplete without the famous “Yec’hed mat” (Health!), Essential to avoid dying of thirst, which you can complete as follows: “Yec’hed mat d’An holl, hemañ zo ‘va da goll! (Cheers, this glass is on the verge of ruin)… Perfect for shining in society! The overview would be incomplete without “Digarez” (sorry, sorry) and even “Noz vat” (pronounce vad, for good night). Finally, when the time has come to leave Brittany, your friends will wish you “Beaj vat” (good trip, good road) and you can answer them without making a mistake “Kenavo” (goodbye) which is the abbreviation of ” Ken a vo ar wech all ”(literally, until next time).

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