Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

Parents ordered to appear in court for giving their child a Breton name

10 Jan 2024 3 minute read
Angers. Photo Oliverouge 3

Luke James

The president of the region of Brittany has accused the French state of “unforgivable social violence” after two parents were ordered to appear in court because they gave their child a Breton name.

Caroline and Arthur, a couple in their 30s living near the city of Angers, gave the name Fañch, the Breton equivalent of Francis or Ffransis, to their son when he was born last summer.

Now they have received a letter from the local public prosecutor telling them they must appear before a judge at the family court next month.

Tilde

According to the Agence France-Presse news agency, the letter states that the accent above the letter ‘N’, which is called a tilde and indicates a nasal pronunciation, “is not a diacritical sign used in the French language.”

The prosecutor concluded that the name is “against the interests of the child” and asked the family court to “give the child another first name with the agreement of the parents, or failing that, without their agreement.”

“They’re implying that we’re bad parents just because we have used a tilde,” mother Caroline, who chose the name Fañch to reflect her roots in Brittany, told the Ouest France newspaper.

“We’re not going to call him a different name from one day to the next.”

It’s the second time in less than six months that the name has been subject to a legal dispute.

‘Error’

Mélissa Yana and Étienne Pichancourt, from Lorient in Brittany, were told they had made an “error” in naming their son who was born last June.

A letter sent to the couple by French public prosecutor Stéphane Kellenberge said he “cannot legally do anything other than proceed with the administrative correction of the error in the writing of your child’s first name.”

The objections come despite the country’s highest civil court upholding the right of another Breton family to give their child the same name in 2019.

Caroline, whose second name has not been made public, said they were warned when registering the birth of Fañch that the name could be rejected but added: “We made the choice to keep it and to fight if necessary.”

Loïg Chesnais-Girard, the president of the Brittany region, has called for the law to be updated to allow the use of the name.

“It’s time to stop this unforgivable social violence,” he said in a statement.

“It’s time that the richness of identities and regional languages is recognised in France and that each and everyone one of us can live in dignity. I give my total support to the family of little Fañch.”

France’s national assembly passed a law on regional languages in 2021, which included the right to use accents like the tilde in the name Fañch.

But that part of the legislation was later struck down by the constitutional court, along with provisions for immersive education in France’s minority languages.

France is one of a handful in western Europe not to have ratified the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
11 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Linda Jones
Linda Jones
1 month ago

Seems odd, the couple could give their child a foreign non French name but not a Breton French name.

Pascal Lafargue
Pascal Lafargue
1 month ago
Reply to  Linda Jones

Hmm, there is no need to bring the ‘foreign non French name’, it is a bit more complex than that. We can name our kids with Breton names like Malo, Gwendal, Erwan etc. but it is the letter ‘ñ’ that they refuse for some reason, because it is not in the French alphabet. The dark irony of that is that the French government uses it when it mentions the Prefer de Paris Laurent Nuñez…

Holly T
Holly T
1 month ago

Pascal, does that mean that a Spanish person or couple living in France would not be allowed to name their child a Spanish name with an ñ either? https://www.radioformula.com.mx/estilo-de-vida/2023/4/1/los-nombres-con-n-mas-hermosos-menos-comunes-si-si-existen-756353.html

Pascal Lafargue
Pascal Lafargue
1 month ago
Reply to  Holly T

That’s an interesting question, in theory yes. But I don’t know how the staff of the état civil actually react when they register the names of the newborns.

Rachel
Rachel
1 month ago

A parent has the right to call their child any name so long as it is not derogatory or offensive. This is a pathetic breach of their rights as parents. I stand with them.

Erisian
Erisian
1 month ago

This shows the world a country ill at ease with it self.

Richard
Richard
1 month ago

The “ Welsh Not “
Llydaw style 2024 ?

Riki
Riki
1 month ago

How is this allowed, if this isn’t evidence of cultural genocide I don’t know what is. The fact is that The Frank wants to deny The Bretons not only their status as a people more closely akin to us than them, but completely erase their history and culture that far predates theirs. This is happening to us and the Catalans, Basques etc. why are “Celtic” people Western Europe attacked so heavily by these countries, it’s almost as if it’s a coordinated attack designed at wiping out the far older cultures who actually created their nations before they were taken over.… Read more »

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
1 month ago
Reply to  Riki

Catalans and Basques are not Celtic people.The only people in Spain who consider themselves Celts are the people of Galicia in North West Spain.

Riki
Riki
1 month ago
Reply to  Johnny Gamble

Where did I specifically call them “Celtic”. I used the word Celt and then named them separately. Sure it may come across as though I implied they were Celtic but that’s all. It comes across as such, but I’d didn’t actually call them that.

Richard Thomas
Richard Thomas
1 month ago

I’ve often seen it said by misguided supporters of the Welsh language that the French stand up for their language. Simply being a bulwark against the English language in their country doesn’t make them in any way virtuous by itself. In truth the French have been historically an extremely zealous oppressor of minority languages and as a nation they’re no example for anybody to follow.

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.