- Gallo language
Gallo was originally spoken in the
March of Neustriawhich now corresponds to the border lands of Brittany and Normandy and its former heart in Le Mans, Maine. As an Oïl language it forms part of a dialect continuum which includes Norman, Picard and Poitevin among others. One of the features that distinguishes it from Norman is the absence of Norse influence. There is some limited intercomprehension with adjacent varieties of Norman language along the linguistic frontier and also with Dgèrnésiaisand Jèrriais. However as the dialect continuum shades towards Mayennais there is less of a clear isogloss. The clearest isogloss is that distinguishing Gallo from Breton, the Celtic languagewhich is traditionally spoken in the Western territory of Brittany.
In the west, the vocabulary of Gallo has been influenced by contact with Breton, but remains overwhelmingly Latinate. The influence of Breton decreases eastwards across Gallo-speaking territory.
as of|1980, Gallo's western extent stretches from
Plouha("Plóha"), in Côtes-d'Armor, south of Paimpol("Penpol"), passing through Châtelaudren("Le Chastèu"), Corlay("Corlaè"), Loudéac("Lódeiac"), Pontivy("Pondivi"), Locminé("Lominoec"), Vannes("Vann") and ending in the south in the Rhuys peninsula, in Morbihan.
One of the metro stations of the Breton capital,
Rennes, has bilingual signage in French and Gallo, but generally the Gallo language is not as visibly high-profile as the Breton language, even in its traditional heartland of the "Pays Gallo" (which includes the two historical capitals of Rennes (Gallo "Resnn", Breton "Roazhon") and Nantes(Gallo "Nauntt", Breton "Naoned").
Different dialects of Gallo are distinguished, although there is a movement for standardisation on the model of the dialect of Upper Brittany.
Although a written literary tradition exists, Gallo is more noted for extemporised story-telling and theatrical presentations. Given Brittany's rich musical heritage, it is also the case that some contemporary performers produce a range of music sung in Gallo (See
Music of Brittany).
*"Of Pipers and Wrens" (1997). Produced and directed by Gei Zantzinger, in collaboration with Dastum. Lois V. Kuter, ethnomusicological consultant. Devault, Pennsylvania: Constant Spring Productions.
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