Brezhoneg Unan/Lesson 4

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MutationsEdit

Foreword : This lesson does not treat of exceptions. Please refer to the next lesson on mutations for a full explanation including exceptions.

DefinitionEdit

A mutation is the change of the first letter of a word according to different contexts.

Exemples :
     Mamm (mother) --> Ar vamm (the mother)
     Kozh (old)    --> Mamm gozh (Grand mother)

Table of mutationsEdit

Mutations in Breton obey to regular phonetics laws.

They are summarized in the table below (details to be found in the rest of this page) :

Bzhg Table Mutations simplified.jpg

Mutations to soften ("dre vlotaat")Edit



Initial K G Gw P B M T D
Mutation G C’h W B V V D Z


Soft mutation happens in the following cases :


  • after a, da, daou, div, dindan, diwar, dre, e (possessive), eme, en em, en ur, hanter, holl, na, ne, pa, pe, re, war...
  • after the article for the feminine singular words and the related adjective
  • after the article for the masculine plural person names (except when the plural is in -où) and the related adjective



Soft Mutation will be noted (S!)
Following letters are affected:
B becomes V
D becomes Z
K becomes G
G becomes C'H
GW becomes W
P becomes B
M becomes V
T becomes D


Examples :

Breur (brother) gives Da vreur
Dant (tooth) gives Da zant
Glin (kneel) gives Da c'hlin


Mutations after the article (simplified)Edit

This lesson does not treat of the following exceptions (the next lesson on mutations gives the corresponding rules) :

  • Plac'h (girl)
  • Dor (door)
  • Bag (boat), tra (thing)
  • Tadoù (fathers), testoù (witnesses), priedoù (husbands), mestroù (chiefs)


Here is a summary for mutations after the article : Bzhg Table Article mutations simplified.jpg

Here is a presentation of the rules regarding the mutations after the aticle : Bzhg Article mutations simplified.jpg

Go to the Quiz

Mutations of the adjective epithet (simplified)Edit

This lesson does not treat of the following exceptions (the next lesson on mutations gives the corresponding rules) :

  • Plac'h (girl)
  • Dor (door)
  • Bag (boat), tra (thing), amzer (weather), avel (wind), c'hwezh (odour)
  • Labour (work)
  • Person names
  • Tadoù (fathers), testoù (witnesses), priedoù (husbands), mestroù (chiefs)


Here is a summary for mutations of the adjective epithet : Bzhg Table Epithet mutations simplified.jpg

Here is a presentation of the rules regarding the mutations of the adjective epithet : Bzhg Epithet mutations simplified.jpg

Go to the Quiz

Mutations to harden ("dre galetaat")Edit

Initial B D G
Mutation P T K

Hard mutation happens in the following cases :

  • Possessive "ho" (yours)
  • After "az, "ez", "'z" (you - sg.)
  • After "da'z ..." (to yours ...)
  • After "ez" (in yours ...)



Hard Mutation will be noted (H!)
Following letters are affected:
B becomes P
D becomes T
G becomes K

Examples :

Breur (brother) gives Ho preur
Dant (tooth) gives Ho tant
Glin (kneel) gives Ho klin

Mixed mutationsEdit

Initial B D G GW M
Mutation V T C'H W V

BZHG spirant and mixed mutations.jpg

Mixed mutation happens in the following cases :

  • Present participe
Formed by "o" + Verb.
  • After verb particle "e"
  • After "ma" (That)


Mixed Mutation will be noted (M!)
Following letters are affected:
B becomes V
D becomes T
G becomes C'H
GW becomes W
M becomes V


Examples :

Deskiñ (to learn) gives O teskiñ
Gortoz (to wait) gives O c'hortoz

Spirant mutationsEdit

Initial P T K
Mutation F Z C'H

Spirant mutation happens in the following cases :

  • After "ma" or "va" (mine)
  • After "he" (Hers)
  • After "o" (Theirs)
  • After numbers : tri, teir, pevar, peder, nav


Spirant Mutation will be noted (Sp!)
Following letters are affected:
P becomes F
T becomes Z
K becomes C'H

Examples :

Penn (head) gives Va fenn
Kador (chair) gives Va c'hador

ExercisesEdit

Go to the Quiz

Local variations , frequent errorsEdit

The rules presented above match the most common usage.

However, in some cases, local forms exist that are different.

Also, errors in mutations are frequent ...

Mutation variants Usage ratio
(Google estimate)
Precise Google request Comment
Ar Brezhoneg 99500 "Ar Brezhoneg"
Ar Vrezhoneg 723 "Ar Vrezhoneg" Clearly a mistake !
Ma mamm 557 "Ma mamm"
Ma vamm 8 "Ma vamm"
Va mamm 264 "va mamm" zo mat
Va vamm None "va vamm" zo mat
Ma tad 129 "Ma tad" mab
Ma dad None "Ma dad" mab
Ma zad 358 "Ma zad" mab
Va zad 314 "Va zad" zo mat
Ar mamm 40 "Ar mamm" zo mat
Ar vamm 786 "Ar vamm" zo mat
An tad 988 "An tad" zo mat
An dad 29 "An dad" zo mat
Ar zad None "Ar zad" zo


Caution : Some Google matches may not be in Breton but in some other language ! The figures are an approximation !