Bretons can trace their heritage to groups who emigrated from Devon and Cornwall

Celtic enthusiasts can learn Breton and get a fascinating insight into the traditions and culture of Brittany as part of a new evening language course at the University of Exeter.

The online course, which begins in May, will allow people to learn the basics of the Breton language, including grammar and conjugation. People will be able to introduce themselves and make simple sentences.

They will also learn about the Breton identity, traditions, music, gastronomy and symbols.

As well as Breton, people can also take a course in its linguistic cousin, Cornish, with teacher Dr Kensa Broadhurst. There are four different levels for those at different stages of learning Cornish. The two languages are similar because Bretons can trace their heritage to groups who emigrated from Devon and Cornwall during the Anglo-Saxon dominance of Britain.

François Philippe, who will lead the Breton course, said: “In my opinion, to claim to be Breton today is not simply a question of where you live. It’s also a responsibility. It’s about perpetuating a cultural heritage. This can be approached from different perspectives. By learning the language, its vocabulary, grammar and conjugation, in order to pass it on to others, but also to understand more deeply the extent to which Brittany is steeped in it.

“This includes French common names taken from Breton such as Menhir, dolmen, Goëland, Baragouiner and Balai, family names such as Le Gall and Pennek, and town names such as Guérande, Douarnenez and Croizic. It also means knowing about its festive traditions, music, dances, symbols and gastronomy.”

There has been a rise in interest among people in France in speaking Breton in recent years. Mr Philippe is passionate about preserving the language by teaching it.

Breton has a different structure and vocabulary from French, with the most important part of the sentence coming first.