Negative word-order patterns among Breton-speaking adults and children

Holly Jane Winterton


This paper compares word order in negative utterances among two generations of ‘native’ Breton speakers: 70-plus and 8-14 year-olds. Analysis of fieldwork data shows that speakers aged 70-plus generally maintain the expected order, which places the negative particle initially, followed by the finite verb (88% of instances), but younger speakers are divided. Schoolchildren educated entirely in Breton do the same as the 70-plus speakers, while those educated partly in French, without Breton input from home, place the subject initially. Additionally, speakers aged 20-plus also showed variability, indicating that this is not purely an age-based effect.

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