Monday, 28 April 2014

Place names in Brittany with /x/ or c'h

In Breton the sound 'ch' has a 'sh' sound [ /ʃ/ - a voiceless post-alveolar fricative]. This sounds like the  ch in chaise and champ in French and the sh in shampoo and shelf in English. 

'C'h' [/x/ - a  voiceless velar fricative] is a different sound altogether. It  can be found in a range of Celtic, Slavic and Germanic languages and in a variety 
of place names including Aachen in Germany, Pitlochry in Scotland, Loughgall in Ireland, and Rhosgoch or Llechwedd in Wales. The Scottish rendition is quite soft, the Welsh version (particularly in the North) can sound like you're clearing your throat.

Place names in Brittany yield 'c'h' in both the official 'French' name as well as in the Breton name only. The first are somewhat rarer, so here are a few interesting examples of 'ch' at work:
Breton c'h in Brittany place names - table
c'h in Brittany Place Names

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