No changing the place names in Plouguerneau from Breton to French

Monday, February 09, 2009

Here's something I missed from about three weeks ago concerning the vetoing of a plan to change the place names of a town/commune called Plouguerne (Breton: Plougerne) from Breton into French, which was vetoed:

The Breton Party vetoes translating the place names of the town of Plouguerneau into French. The mayor, André Lesven, decided to replace the town's Breton place names by « rue des Embruns » (sea spray street) or « rue des perroquets »(parrots' street). He gives as a pretext that it will make the Post office job's easier, but such an argument is worthless: the town council could also give numbers to the houses and keep the Breton place names...
Place names are about the easiest way to support minority languages, because they never require any full-time translators or interpretors to maintain, and at the same time are used every day by the people that live in the area. In a region for example where a language is in real danger of dying out the best first step to take is often the changing of place names to ones more suitable to the language that used to be predominant in the region.

In the next edition of the paper however the mayor of the commune says that he has been misinterpreted (French here, automatically translated English here), that they were just having a bit of a debate but the francization of Breton names was never going to happen, and that he strongly supports the language. Well, if that's the case then perhaps this never was a real story in the first place.


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