October 31st, 2016

Silver Fox
  • rusquen

Translation into Breton

Hello Linguaphiles! I come seeking help. This is probably a long shot, but I figured I'd ask anyway =)

I'm writing a fantasy novel set in a somewhat parallel world with a bunch of (mashed-up) fantasy-counterpart cultures. Specifically in this case I'm dealing with a culture that, lingustically, borrows heavily from Brittany. Because I happened to hear some Breton folksongs a few years back and fell head over heels in love.

Now, I'm bilingual English/Russian, semi-fluent in French, Spanish, and Esperanto, and know the basics of German grammar (yes, I'm a bit of a language geek. I blame Tolkien.) However, I never really studied Breton beyond picking apart song lyrics. I've seen Russian used awkwardly/improperly in fiction, and, while I personally don't find it offensive, just funny, I'd like to avoid it with Breton if at all possible. It's a beautiful language and I'm afraid to maul it - while at the same time I like it so much I'm not afraid enough not to use it at all. If that makes any sense.

So, if anyone out there knows Breton or resources on Breton - please help? I would generally love a good grammar-based "teach yourself Breton" resource if it exists (I seem to be stuck with this culture for at least a trilogy), but, more immediately, I need the following three things:

1. Titles
How do noble titles work in Breton? I know there are aotrou / itroun, but I don't get what exactly those titles are, since there also seem to be regular titles' equivalents (dug, kont, etc). Are those just generic lord/lady denoting nobility? Can you have a lot of people titled aotrou at the same time, or is it only applied to the current overlord, like the Duke of Brittany (an aotrou Yann from "An alarc'h")?

2. A snippet of conversation
A (female, if it matters): It cannot be, my lord. It simply cannot be. [As in, he just told her something and it's freaking impossible.]
B (male, if it matters): I know. [As in, yeah, it sounds impossible, but...]

After raking the internet I came up with the following:
A: Ne’m eus ket, aotrou. Ne’m eus ket nemet.
B: Gouzon.
Is that correct? Also, is it ne'm or nem?

3. A battle cry
Something like "to arms" or "arise, X" (X being the name of the country, so 2nd person singular, "you"). Glosbe.com, which is the best online Breton dictionary I've managed to find,  has nothing certain for "arise" or "to arms", but it gave me dihuniñ for "awake". The Wiktionary seems to show that singular "you" imperative of -iñ verbs cuts off the ending. I'm still not sure, however, if "Dihun, X!" sounds like a call to arms or like "wakey-wakey, sweetie". Besides, for all I know, dihuniñ might be irregular and do something completely different in imperative.

There's also the phrase d'an emgann (dan emgann?) in "An alarc'h", which, insofar as I could figure out, means "to battle". Which would work beautifully, except I wouldn't want to lift it wholesale if it's already a traditional battle-cry.

I hope I'm not too off-topic here. Any help is greatly appreciated!
Uriel Varyar default - nichoel @ eyekons
  • varyar

Help with written Irish accents!

Hey all,

I know this is not perhaps strictly on topic, but I hope it's okay to post the request here.

A few months ago, I finished an occult detective story set in 19th century Ireland and I've recently gone back to it to get it ready for publication on the Kindle. At the time, and even more so in hindsight, I'm a little hesitant about the Irish accents I set down. Put simply, I'm worried all the Irish people sound far too much like Hollywood leprechauns. Is there anybody out there familiar with the era (1891) and location (the coast of County Mayo) who'd be willing to go through the text and offer some suggestions? I'd be greatly in your debt. Let me know, please and thank you!