The Breton (Brezhoneg) people are Celtic Britons in France’s Brittany region. My sweet little Marie Zénobie Sternglass is from Nantes, one of the most important cities in Brittany. Therefore, some of her old friends and neighbors have/had Breton instead of French names.
After so many years of living side-by-side with the French people, many Bretons have had French names. People were also traditionally forbidden from taking names from local calendars, but the laws have now relaxed, and Breton names are becoming more and more popular.
Breton uses the Latin alphabet, minus Q and X. G is always hard, and pronounced like K at the end of a sentence and the end of a word before a hard consonant. W is pronounced like the French sound ou. A final V is typically pronounced like a French O.
CH is pronounced the French way, like an English SH, though C’H is a separate letter. Frequently, it’s pronounced like a guttural CH (e.g., loch and Chanukah). At the start of a word, it’s more like the expired H in “home.”
Two consecutive vowels are pronounced separately, expect for ou and eu. Ao is pronounced like an O. AE is typically pronounced like È.
Some examples of Breton surnames include Abgrall, Berthou, Caradec, Cariou, Eveno, Floch, Gallou, Gourcuff, Guellec, Heussaff, Jégou, Jézéquel, Kergoat, Lagadec, Le Hir, Le Quellec, Lozac’h, Menez, Omnes, Pinvidic, Quemener, Quiniou, Riou, Seznec, Tanguy, and Trévidic.
Nicknames are formed by adding -ig to the end of the forename. Historically, this was Gallicized into -ick.
Some common Breton names:
Aouregan (Holy gold, shining gold, or gold face)
Awen (Muse) (invented in the 19th century)
Bleuen, Bleuenn (Flower or White flower)
Gwenaëlle (Blessed and generous)
Gwenola (contemporary coinage)
Lilwenn (White lily)
Maela, Maëlle, Maëline
Oanez (Oanellig) (Agnes)
Perlezenn (Pearl; Margaret)
Rivanon, Rivanone, Riwanon (Rhiannon)
Solena, Solen, Solenn, Solenne (Solemn)
Triphina, Tryphine (Exact, precise)
Yuna (Oona, Úna)
Briac, Briag, Briog (High, mighty, noble)
Conveg (White dog or White warrior)
Elouan (may mean “light”)
Erwan, Erwann (Yves)
Gwenaël (Blessed and generous)
Gwendal (White/fair/blessed forehead or White/fair/blessed brow)
Gwenlaouen (Blessed and joyous)
Gwenneg, Winoc, Vinoc
Helori (Generous and wise)
Judoc, Jodoc (Joyce)
Judikael, Yezekael (Generous prince)
Laouen (Joyful, happy)
Loïc, Loeiz (Louis)
Malo (Pledge of light)
Mathurin (Timely, ripe, mature, grown)
Quillien (Killian) (only used as a surname today)
Sulien (Born from the Sun)