Hello! I'm looking for a bit of help and direction regarding Breton language, and LJ Linguaphiles sent me here.
Thing is, I'm writing a fantasy novel set in a somewhat parallel world with a bunch of (mashed-up) fantasy-counterpart cultures. 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 that 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 too much to just leave it alone.
Right here right now I'm asking for help figuring out several specific things, but, since I seem to be stuck with this culture for at least a trilogy, I would welcome any recommendations for teach-yourself-Breton resources. Er, for grammar-based teach-yourself-Breton resources. I've already tried http://www.kervarker.org, but it didn't work - I learn languages by first figuring out grammar and then growing a vocabulary, and kervarker just doesn't seem to explain things sufficiently.
Stuff I'm looking to translate at the moment:
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")? Can you use aotrou as a form of address (see#2), and, if not, what would you use instead?
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.
Is that correct? Also, is it ne'm or n'em, and why?
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 so far, 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.
4. Is falcon - falc'hun - masculine or feminine?
The dictionary seems unsure. If it is masculine, how would a female falcon be called?
Any help is greatly appreciated!