Iron-willed Breton linguist Per Denez dies

Posted on 7 September 2011

Per Denez (1921-2011)

Breton writer and scholar Per Denez, who in 1985 received an honorary doctorate from the University of Wales, recently passed away in his sleep at his home in Romille, Brittany.

An academic and prolific author, Denez fought all his life for the recognition and expansion of the Breton language and its culture - the issue closest to his heart. His linguistic repertoire included – as well as English and French – Gaelic, Esperanto and Welsh.

When Prince Charles - the University of Wales’s Chancellor – conferred on Denez the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters, he remarked that he was sorry for not being able to address him in his own language. Such courtesy Denez was not used to hearing, particularly not in his home country of France where for many years he had been the target of much abuse from his own Breton-skeptic government. The remark remained with him as a sign of the comparatively kinder treatment received by the Welsh, especially from their national university, where the language and literature of Wales have been taught for a hundred years or more.

Click here to see how the Independent covered this.


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