A legal battle over an orthographic squiggle has ended in victory for a couple granted the right to write their infant son’s Breton first name as Fañch instead of Fanch.

It’s always a terrible shame
If you can’t give a child the right name
But French courts say it’s fine
To use a squiggly line
Without breaking the rules of the game

John Moynes


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5 thoughts on “A Limerick A Day

  1. Sam

    Had a situation like that with my first daughter. She has the polish letter ł in the middle of her name. This wasn’t available at the time in the printing fonts used by the CRO, but the local registrar got it onto the screen so it had been registered, it just rendered as gibberish when printed.
    The Central Registry Office wanted us to change her name to something else. We said no, and cited the rights of the child to a name, the rights of the parent to name the child, and the rights to pass on one’s culture. Stern 4 page letter was replied to with that rarest of things, an official apology and a handwritten birthcert with the correct name on it.

    1. Sam

      Yeah, I don’t see anyone comparing it to dying of hunger, but at the same time, if you want to pass on a family name, and some bureaucrat doesn’t want to do it then the family has a right to argue the case, don’t you agree?

  2. Yann

    Well as far as I know Fañch (Francis) has always been spelt like that. Why change now! Let me explain, my grand dad was in school in Brittany when France and its communist government, introduced a total ban (1910) on the use of Breton (and other regional languages) language in school and in every day life. That was the only language they spoke at home and that they had used in school. It was ruthless, from what he was used to tell me. Since, France is still not doing much to protect its regional langages (Corsican, Basque, Alsatian, Breton) despite an European text protecting the minority languages in the EU. All this on some vague arguments of National unity.
    I know there is a lot worse going on around in the news, being from Brittany it is still felt a like a small victory against these constant pressure from the French state against our culture. On that respect people in Brittany look at Ireland as THE example to follow on how it protects its culture and language despite the hegemony of the English language.

  3. Iwerzon

    Mat an traou Yann! The Breton language is beautiful and I love to speak a few words when I visit. Jack Kerouac whose parents were Breton originally had the surname Kerouac’h with c’h being a separate ‘letter’ of the Breton alphabet as you know.
    Kenavo ar wech all!

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