US French Teacher Lorin Pritikin Discusses Travels and Language Activism at Morning Ex

Upper School French teacher Lorin Pritikin shared her passion for language activism at Morning Ex this week, as she delved into takeaways from her incredible summer trip to the French region of Brittany. As part of an enrichment grant—funding the school provides that allows teachers to explore meaningful areas of professional development—Pritikin studied at the Center for Celtic and Breton Research, where she dove deep into the history and culture of the area, with a particular focus on its disappearing language, Breton. 

Breton is rooted in Celtic language and remains the only Celtic language still spoken on the European mainland. Pritikin described the language as “an endangered species” and explained that this phenomenon is not unique to Le Breton, as more than 1,500 other languages are also endangered and might completely disappear by the end of the century. 

“If languages disappear, people’s identities could disappear,” Pritikin said. 

Breton is mostly spoken by older generations, which is why its endangerment is frightening. Fortunately, Breton has seen a resurgence in younger people. Pritikin shared both personal and educational videos about the growing interest in the language, but also emphasized the importance of being activists for these endangered languages.

“If you approach cultures with humility and respect, you can and will learn from them,” Pritikin advised. 

This Morning Ex served as Pritikin’s finale as a presenter, before she retires at the end of this school year. She offered words of thanks—including trugarez, the word for “thank you” in Breton—to her department, administration and all her students for the joy they brought to her at Parker. 

Parker’s support of continued learning, professional development and hands-on experiences for educators allows for enriching experiences and deeper understanding for students. Parker is proud of the faculty’s work and its impact on student growth and understanding of global perspectives. 

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Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.