Occitan (; oc, occitan, link=no ,), also known as ''lenga d'òc'' (; french: langue d'oc) by its native speakers, is a Romance languages, Romance language (or branch of numerous of these) spoken in Southern France, Monaco, Italy's Occitan Valleys, and Spain's Val d'Aran; collectively, these regions are sometimes referred to as Occitania. It is also spoken in Southern Italy (Calabria) in a linguistic enclave of Cosenza area (mostly Guardia Piemontese). Some include Catalan language, Catalan in Occitan, as the Linguistic distance, distance between this language and some Occitan dialects (such as the Gascon language) is similar to the distance among different Occitan dialects. Catalan was considered a dialect of Occitan until the end of the 19th century and still today remains its closest relative. Occitan is an official language of Catalonia, where a subdialect of Gascon known as Aranese dialect, Aranese is spoken in the Val d'Aran. Since September 2010, the Parliament of Catalonia has considered Aranese Occitan to be the officially preferred language for use in the Val d'Aran. Across history, the terms Limousin dialect, Limousin (''Lemosin''), Languedocien dialect, Languedocien (''Lengadocian''), Gascon dialect, Gascon, and later Provençal dialect, Provençal (''Provençal'', ''Provençau'' or ''Prouvençau'') have been used as synonyms for the whole of Occitan; nowadays, "Provençal" is understood mainly as the Occitan dialect spoken in Provence, in southeast France. Unlike other Romance languages such as French or Spanish language, Spanish, there is no single written standard language called "Occitan", and Occitan has no official status in France, home to most of Occitania. Instead, there are competing norms for writing Occitan, some of which attempt to be pan-dialectal, whereas others are based on particular dialects. These efforts are hindered by the rapidly declining use of Occitan as a spoken language in much of southern France, as well as by the significant differences in phonology and vocabulary among different Occitan dialects. According to the UNESCO Red Book of Endangered Languages, four of the six major dialects of Occitan (Provençal, Auvergnat dialect, Auvergnat, Limousin and Languedocien) are considered Endangered language#Defining and measuring endangerment, severely endangered, whereas the remaining two (Gascon language, Gascon and Vivaro-Alpine dialect, Vivaro-Alpine) are considered Endangered language#Defining and measuring endangerment, definitely endangered.


History of the modern term

The name Occitan comes from the term ("language of "), being the Occitan word for ''yes.'' While the term would have been in use orally for some time after the decline of Latin, as far as historical records show, the Italian medieval poet Dante Alighieri, Dante was the first to have recorded the term in writing. In his , he wrote in Latin, ("for some say , others , yet others say "), thereby highlighting three major Romance languages, Romance literary languages that were well known in Italy, based on each language's word for "yes", the '' language'' (Occitan), the '' language'' (French), and the '' language'' (Italian). This was not, of course, the only defining characteristic of each group. The word came from Vulgar Latin ("this"), while originated from Latin ("this [is] it"). Old Catalan, and now the Catalan of Northern Catalonia also have (). Other Romance languages derive their word for "yes" from the Latin , "thus [it is], [it was done], etc.", such as Spanish , Eastern Lombard dialect, Eastern Lombard , Italian , or Portuguese . In Modern Catalan, as in modern Spanish, is usually used as a response, although the language retains the word , akin to , which is sometimes used at the end of yes–no questions, and also in higher register as a positive response. French uses to answer "yes" in response to questions that are asked in the negative sense: e.g., ("You have no brothers?" "But yes, I have seven."). The name "Occitan" was attested around 1300 as , a crossing of and (Aquitanian).

Other names for Occitan

For many centuries, the Occitan dialects (together with Catalan language, Catalan) were referred to as ''Limousin'' or ''Provençal'', after the names of two regions lying within the modern Occitan-speaking area. After Frédéric Mistral's Félibrige movement in the 19th century, Provençal achieved the greatest literary recognition and so became the most popular term for Occitan. According to Joseph Anglade, a philology, philologist and specialist of Middle Ages, medieval literature who helped impose the then archaism, archaic term ''Occitan'' as the sole correct name, the word ''Lemosin'' was first used to designate the language at the beginning of the 13th century by Catalonia, Catalan troubadour Raimon Vidal de Bezaudun, Raimon Vidal de Besalú(n) in his :
The French language is worthier and better suited for romances and pastourelles; but that (language) from History of Limousin, Limousin is of greater value for writing poems and canso (song), cançons and sirventes, sirventés; and across the whole of the lands where our tongue is spoken, the literature in the Limousin language has more authority than any other dialect, wherefore I shall use this name in priority.
As for the word ''Provençal'', it should not be taken as strictly meaning the language of Provence, but of Occitania as a whole, for "in the eleventh, the twelfth, and sometimes also the thirteenth centuries, one would understand under the name of Provence the whole territory of the old Gallia Narbonensis, Provincia romana Gallia Narbonensis and even Gallia Aquitania, Aquitaine". The term first came into fashion in Italy. Currently, linguists use the terms "Provençal" and "Limousin" strictly to refer to specific varieties within Occitania, keeping the name "Occitan" for the language as a whole. Many non-specialists, however, continue to refer to the language as Provençal, causing some confusion.


{{further, Old Occitan, Occitan literature One of the oldest written fragments of the language found dates back to 960, in an official text that was mixed with Latin:
{{lang, la, italic=no, De ista hora in antea non DECEBRÀ Ermengaus filius Eldiarda Froterio episcopo filio Girberga NE Raimundo filio Bernardo vicecomite de castello de Cornone ... {{lang, pro, cat=no, italic=no, NO·L LI TOLRÀ NO·L LI DEVEDARÀ NI NO L'EN DECEBRÀ ... nec societatem non {{lang, pro, cat=no, italic=no, AURÀ, si per castellum recuperare {{lang, pro, cat=no, italic=no, NON O FA, et si recuperare potuerit in potestate Froterio et Raimundo {{lang, pro, cat=no, italic=no, LO TORNARÀ, per ipsas horas quæ Froterius et Raimundus {{lang, pro, cat=no, L'EN COMONRÀ.
Charlemagne, Carolingian litany, litanies (c. 780), both written and sung in Latin, were Response (liturgy), answered to in Old Occitan by the audience ({{lang, pro, Ora pro nos; {{lang, pro, Tu lo juva). Other famous pieces include the ''Boecis'', a 258-line-long poem written entirely in the Limousin dialect of Occitan between the year 1000 and 1030 and inspired by Boethius's ''The Consolation of Philosophy''; the Waldensians, Waldensian {{lang, pro, La nobla leyczon (dated 1100), {{lang, pro, Cançó de Santa Fe (c. 1054–1076), the ''Romance of Flamenca'' (13th century), the ''Song of the Albigensian Crusade'' (1213–1219?), {{lang, pro, Daurel e Betó (12th or 13th century), {{lang, pro, Las, qu'i non-sun sparvir, astur (11th century) and {{lang, pro, Tomida femina (9th or 10th century). Occitan was the vehicle for the influential poetry of the medieval troubadours ({{lang, pro, trobadors) and {{lang, pro, trobairitz: At that time, the language was understood and celebrated throughout most of educated Europe. It was the maternal language of the English queen Eleanor of Aquitaine and kings Richard I of England (who wrote troubadour poetry) and John, King of England, John, respectively. With the gradual imposition of French royal power over its territory, Occitan declined in status from the 14th century on. The Ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts (1539) decreed that the {{lang, fr, langue d'oïl (French – though at the time referring to the Francien language and not the larger collection of dialects grouped under the name {{lang, oc, italic=no, langues d'oïl) should be used for all French administration. Occitan's greatest decline occurred during the French Revolution, in which diversity of language was considered a threat. In 1903, the four Gospels, {{lang, oc, italic= no, "Lis Evangèli" i.e. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were translated into the form of Provençal spoken in Cannes and Grasse. This was given the official Roman Catholic Imprimatur by vicar general A. Estellon.{{citation needed, date=November 2018 The literary renaissance of the late 19th century (in which the 1904 Nobel Prize in Literature winner, Frédéric Mistral, among others, were involved in) was attenuated by World War I, when Occitan speakers spent extended periods of time alongside French-speaking comrades.


Because the geographical territory in which Occitan is spoken is surrounded by regions in which other Romance languages are used, external influences may have influenced its origin and development. Many factors favored its development as its own language. * Mountains and seas: The range of Occitan is naturally bounded by the Mediterranean, Atlantic, Massif Central, Alps, and Pyrenees, respectively. * Buffer zones: arid land, marshes, and areas otherwise impractical for farming and resistant of colonization provide further separation (territory between Loire and Garonne, the Aragon desert plateau). * Constant populations: Some Occitan-speaking peoples are descended from people living in the region since prehistoric times.{{sfn, Bec, 1963 * Negligible Celts, Celtic influence{{sfn, Bec, 1963 * Ancient and long-term Roman influence: Julius Caesar once said that the people of Aquitaine could teach the Ancient Rome, Romans to speak better Latin. According to Müller, "France's linguistic separation began with Roman influence"{{sfn, Bec, 1963, pp=20–21 * A separate lexicon: Although Occitan is midway between the Gallo-Romance languages, Gallo-Romance and Iberian Romance languages, it has "around 550 words inherited from Latin that do not exist in the {{lang, fr, italic=no, langues d'oïl or in Franco-Provençal language, Franco-Provençal"{{sfn, Bec, 1963, pp=20–21 * Negligible Germanization: "The Frankish language, Frankish lexicon and its phonetic influence often end above the {{lang, oc, oc/{{lang, fr, oïl line"{{sfn, Bec, 1963, pp=20–21

Occitan in the Iberian Peninsula

Catalan in Spain's northern and central Mediterranean coastal regions and the Balearic Islands is closely related to Occitan, sharing many linguistic features and a common origin (see Occitano-Romance languages). The language was one of the first to gain prestige as a medium for literature among Romance languages in the Middle Ages. Indeed, in the 12th and 13th centuries, Catalan troubadours such as Guerau III de Cabrera, Guerau de Cabrera, Guilhem de Bergadan, Guilhem de Cabestany, Huguet de Mataplana, Raimon Vidal de Besalú, Cerverí de Girona, Formit de Perpinhan, and Jofre de Foixà wrote in Occitan. At the end of the 11th century, the ''Franks'', as they were called at the time, started to penetrate the Iberian Peninsula through the Way of St. James, Ways of St. James via Somport and Roncesvalles, settling on various locations of the Kingdoms of Kingdom of Navarre, Navarre and Kingdom of Aragon, Aragon, enticed by the privileges granted them by the List of Navarrese monarchs, Navarrese kings. They established themselves in ethnic boroughs where Occitan was used for everyday life, e.g. Pamplona, Sangüesa, Estella-Lizarra, etc. The language in turn became the status language chosen by the Navarrese kings, nobility, and upper classes for official and trade purposes in the period stretching from the early 13th century to late 14th century. These boroughs in Navarre may have been close-knit communities with little intermingling, in a context where the natural milieu was predominantly Basque language, Basque-speaking. The variant chosen for written administrative records was a ''koiné language, koiné'' based on the Languedocien dialect from Toulouse with fairly archaic linguistic features. Evidence of a written account in Occitan from Pamplona centered on the Death by burning, burning of borough San Nicolas from 1258 survives today, while the ''History of the War of Navarre'' by Guilhem Anelier (1276) albeit written in Pamplona shows a linguistic variant from History of Toulouse#13th to 14th century, Toulouse. Things turned out slightly otherwise in Aragon, where the sociolinguistic situation was different, with a clearer Basque-Romance bilingual situation (cf. Basques from the {{lang, ca, italic=no, Val d'Aran cited c. 1000), but a receding Basque language (Basque banned in the marketplace of Huesca, 1349). While the language was chosen as a medium of prestige in records and official statements along with Latin in the early 13th century, Occitan faced competition from the rising local Romance vernacular, the Navarro-Aragonese, both orally and in writing, especially after Aragon's territorial conquests south to Zaragoza, Huesca and Tudela, Navarre, Tudela between 1118 and 1134. It resulted that a second Occitan immigration of this period was assimilated by the similar Navarro-Aragonese, Navarro-Aragonese language, which at the same time was fostered and chosen by the kings of Kingdom of Aragon, Aragon. The language fell into decay in the 14th century across the whole southern Pyrenean area and became largely absorbed into Navarro-Aragonese first and Castilian Spanish, Castilian later in the 15th century, after their exclusive boroughs broke up (1423, Pamplona#Three boroughs and one city, Pamplona's boroughs unified). Gascon-speaking communities were called in for trading purposes by Navarrese kings in the early 12th century to the coastal fringe extending from San Sebastián, San Sebastian to the river Bidasoa, where they settled down. The language variant used was different from the ones used in Navarre, i.e. a Béarnese dialect of Gascon,{{Cite journal , last1 = Cierbide Martinena , first1 = Ricardo , title = Convivencia histórica de lenguas y culturas en Navarra , journal = Caplletra: Revista Internacional de Filología , issue = 20 , page = 248 , publisher = València (etc) : Institut Interuniversitari de Filologia Valenciana; Abadia de Montserrat , year = 1996 , url = http://dialnet.unirioja.es/servlet/articulo?codigo=2274080 , issn = 0214-8188 , lang=es with Gascon being in use far longer than in Navarre and Aragon until the 19th century, thanks mainly to the close ties held by Donostia and Pasaia with Bayonne.

Geographic distribution

Usage in France

Though it was still an everyday language for most of the rural population of southern France well into the 20th century, it is now spoken by about 100,000 people in France according to 2012 estimates. According to the 1999 census, there were 610,000 native speakers (almost all of whom were also native French speakers) and perhaps another million people with some exposure to the language. Following the pattern of language shift, most of this remainder is to be found among the eldest populations. Occitan activists (called ''Occitanists'') have attempted, in particular with the advent of Occitan-language preschools (the ''Calandretas''), to reintroduce the language to the young. {{Citation needed, date=October 2020 Nonetheless, the number of proficient speakers of Occitan is thought to be dropping precipitously. A tourist in the cities in southern France is unlikely to hear a single Occitan word spoken on the street (or, for that matter, in a home), and is likely to only find the occasional vestige, such as street signs (and, of those, most will have French equivalents more prominently displayed), to remind them of the traditional language of the area. {{Citation needed, date=October 2020 Occitan speakers, as a result of generations of systematic suppression and humiliation (see Vergonha), seldom use the language in the presence of strangers, whether they are from abroad or from outside Occitania (in this case, often merely and abusively referred to as ''Parisiens'' or ''Nordistes'', which means ''northerners''). Occitan is still spoken by many elderly people in rural areas, but they generally switch to French when dealing with outsiders. {{Citation needed, date=October 2020 Occitan's decline is somewhat less pronounced in Béarn because of the province's history (a late addition to the Kingdom of France), though even there the language is little spoken outside the homes of the rural elderly. The village of Artix, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Artix is notable for having elected to post street signs in the local language. {{Citation needed, date=October 2020

Usage outside France

* In the Val d'Aran, in the northwest corner of Catalonia, Spain, Aranese (a variety of Gascon) is spoken. It is an official language of Catalonia together with Catalan and Spanish. * In Italy, Occitan is also spoken in the Occitan Valleys (Alps) in Piedmont and Liguria. An Occitan-speaking enclave also has existed at Guardia Piemontese (Calabria) since the 14th century. Italy adopted in 1999 a ''Linguistic Minorities Protection Law'', or "Law 482", which includes Occitan; however, Italian language, Italian is the dominant language. The Piedmontese language is extremely close to Occitan. * In Monaco, some Occitan speakers coexist with remaining native speakers of Monégasque dialect, Monégasque (Ligurian (Romance language), Ligurian). French is the dominant language. * Scattered Occitan-speaking communities have existed in different countries: ** There were Occitan-speaking colonies in Württemberg (Germany) since the 18th century, as a consequence of the Camisard war. The last Occitan speakers were heard in the 1930s. ** In the Spanish Basque Country (autonomous community), Basque country, Gascon was spoken in San Sebastián, perhaps as late as the early 20th century. ** In the Americas, Occitan speakers exist: *** in the United States, in Valdese, North Carolina *** in Canada, in Quebec where there are Occitan associations such as ''Association Occitane du Québec'' and ''Association des Occitans''. *** Pigüé, Pigüé, Argentina – Community settled by 165 Occitans from the Rodez-Aveyron area of Cantal in the late 19th century. *** Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico – A sparse number of Occitan settlers are known to have settled in that state in the 19th century.

Traditionally Occitan-speaking areas

* Aquitaine – excluding the Basque-speaking part of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques in the western part of the department and a small part of Gironde where the ''langue d'oïl'' Saintongeais dialect is spoken. * Midi-Pyrénées – including one of France's largest cities, Toulouse. There are a few street signs in Toulouse in Occitan, and since late 2009 the Toulouse Metro announcements are bilingual French-Occitan, but otherwise the language is almost never heard spoken on the street. * Languedoc-Roussillon (from "Lenga d'òc") – including the areas around the medieval city of Carcassonne, excluding the large part of the Pyrénées-Orientales where Catalan is spoken (Fenolheda is the only Occitan-speaking area of the Pyrénées-Orientales). * Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur – except for the Roya and Bévéra valleys, where there is a transitional dialect between Ligurian and Occitan, (''Roiasc'', including the Brigasc dialect of Ligurian). In the Departments of France, department of Alpes-Maritimes there were once isolated towns that spoke Ligurian (Romance language), Ligurian, but those varieties are now extinct. The Mentonasc dialect of Ligurian, spoken in Menton, is a Ligurian transition dialect with a strong Occitan influence. French is the Dominat Language of the Alpes-Maritimes and French Riviera areas. * In Monaco, Occitan, imported by immigrants coexisted in the 19th and 20th centuries with the Monégasque dialect of Ligurian. French language, French is the dominant language. * Poitou-Charentes – Use of Occitan has declined here in the few parts it used to be spoken, replaced by French. Only Charente Limousine, the eastern part of the region, has resisted. The natural and historical languages of most of the region are the ''langues d'oïl'' Poitevin dialect, Poitevin and Saintongeais. * Limousin – A rural region (about 710,000 inhabitants) where Limousin is still spoken among the oldest residents. French is the dominant language. * Auvergne (region), Auvergne – The language's use has declined in some urban areas. French is the dominant language. The department of Allier is divided between a southern, Occitan-speaking area and a northern, French-speaking area. * Centre-Val de Loire – Some villages in the extreme South speak Occitan. * Rhône-Alpes – While the south of the region is clearly Occitan-speaking, the central and northern Lyonnais, Forez and Dauphiné parts belong to the Franco-Provençal language area. French is the dominant language. * Occitan Valleys (Piedmont) – Italian region where Occitan is spoken only in the southern and central Alpine valleys. * Val d'Aran – part of Catalonia that speaks a mountain dialect of Gascon.

Number of speakers

The area where Occitan was historically dominant has approximately 16 million inhabitants. Recent research has shown it may be spoken as a first language by approximately 789,000 people in France, Italy, Spain and Monaco. In Monaco, Occitan coexists with monégasque language, Monégasque Ligurian (Romance language), Ligurian, which is the other native language. Some researchers state that up to seven million people in France understand the language, whereas twelve to fourteen million fully spoke it in 1921. In Demographics of France#Historical population of metropolitan France, 1860, Occitan speakers represented more than 39% of the whole French population (52% for francophones proper); they were still 26% to 36% in the 1920s and fewer than 7% in 1993.


Occitan is fundamentally defined by its dialects, rather than being a unitary language. That point is very conflictual in Southern France, as many people do not recognize Occitan as a real language and think that the next defined "dialects" are languages. Like other languages that fundamentally exist at a spoken, rather than written, level (e.g. the Rhaeto-Romance languages, Franco-Provençal language, Franco-Provençal, Astur-Leonese languages, Astur-Leonese, and Aragonese language, Aragonese), every settlement technically has its own dialect, with the whole of Occitania forming a classic dialect continuum that changes gradually along any path from one side to the other. Nonetheless, specialists commonly divide Occitan into six main dialects: * Gascon language, Gascon: includes the Béarnese dialect, Béarnese and Aranese dialect, Aranese (spoken in Spain). * Languedocien dialect, Languedocien (''lengadocian'') * Limousin dialect, Limousin (''lemosin'') * Auvergnat dialect, Auvergnat (''auvernhat'') * Provençal dialect, Provençal (''provençau'' or ''prouvençau''), including the Niçois, Niçard subdialect. ** Shuadit language * Vivaro-Alpine (''vivaroaupenc''), also known as "Alpine" or "Alpine Provençal", and sometimes considered a subdialect of Provençal The northern and easternmost dialects have more morphological and phonetic features in common with the Gallo-Italic languages, Gallo-Italic and Oïl languages (e.g. nasal vowels; loss of final consonants; initial ''cha/ja-'' instead of ''ca/ga-''; uvular R, uvular {{angbr, r; the front-rounded sound {{IPA, /ø/ instead of a diphthong, {{IPA, /w/ instead of {{IPA, /l/ before a consonant), whereas the southernmost dialects have more features in common with the Ibero-Romance languages (e.g. betacism; voiced fricatives between vowels in place of voiced stops; -''ch''- in place of -''it''-), and Gascon has a number of unusual features not seen in other dialects (e.g. {{IPA, /h/ in place of {{IPA, /f/; loss of {{IPA, /n/ between vowels; intervocalic ''-r-'' and final ''-t/ch'' in place of medieval -{{sm, ll-). There are also significant lexical differences, where some dialects have words cognate with French, and others have Catalan and Spanish cognates. Nonetheless, there is a significant amount of mutual intelligibility. {, class=wikitable , + Occitan words and their French, Catalan and Spanish Cognates , - ! scope="col" rowspan=2 , English !! scope="col" colspan=2 , Cognate of French !! scope="col" colspan=3 , Cognate of Catalan and Spanish , - ! scope="col" , Occitan !! scope="col" , French !! scope="col" , Occitan !! scope="col" , Catalan !! scope="col" , Spanish , - , house , , style{{="background: Gainsboro" , {{lang, oc, maison , , {{lang, fr, maison , , style{{="background: Gainsboro" , {{lang, oc, casa , , {{lang, ca, casa , , {{lang, es, casa , - , head , , style{{="background: Gainsboro" , {{lang, oc, testa , , {{lang, fr, tête , , style{{="background: Gainsboro" , {{lang, oc, cap , , {{lang, ca, cap , , {{lang, es, cabeza , - , to buy , , style{{="background: Gainsboro" , {{lang, oc, achaptar , , {{lang, fr, acheter , , style{{="background: Gainsboro" , {{lang, oc, crompar , , {{lang, ca, comprar , , {{lang, es, comprar , - , to hear , , style{{="background: Gainsboro" , {{lang, oc, entendre , , {{lang, fr, entendre , , style{{="background: Gainsboro" , {{lang, oc, ausir / {{lang, oc-gascon, audir , , ''escoltar'', , {{lang, es, oír , - , to be quiet , , style{{="background: Gainsboro" , {{lang, oc, se taire , , {{lang, fr, taire , , style{{="background: Gainsboro" , {{lang, oc, calar , , {{lang, ca, callar , , {{lang, es, callar , - , to fall , , style{{="background: Gainsboro" , {{lang, oc, tombar , , {{lang, fr, tomber , , style{{="background: Gainsboro" , {{lang, oc, caire , , {{lang, ca, caure , , {{lang, es, caer , - , more , , style{{="background: Gainsboro" , {{lang, oc, pus , , {{lang, fr, plus , , style{{="background: Gainsboro" , {{lang, oc, mai , , {{lang, ca, més , , {{lang, es, más , - , always , , style{{="background: Gainsboro" , {{lang, oc, totjorn , , {{lang, fr, toujours , , style{{="background: Gainsboro" , {{lang, oc, sempre , , {{lang, ca, sempre , , {{lang, es, siempre Gascon is the most divergent, and descriptions of the main features of Occitan often consider Gascon separately. Max Wheeler notes that "probably only its copresence within the French cultural sphere has kept [Gascon] from being regarded as a separate language", and compares it to Franco-Provençal, which is considered a separate language from Occitan but is "probably not more divergent from Occitan overall than Gascon is".{{citation, contribution=Occitan, first=Max, last=Wheeler, title=The Romance Languages, editor1-first=Martin, editor1-last=Harris, editor2-first=Nigel, editor2-last=Vincent, year=1988, publisher=Oxford University Press, place=New York, pages=246–278 There is no general agreement about larger groupings of these dialects. Max Wheeler divides the dialects into two groups: * Southwestern (Gascon and Languedocien), more conservative * Northeastern (Limousin, Auvergnat, Provençal and Vivaro-Alpine), more innovative Pèire Bèc, Pierre Bec divides the dialects into three groups:{{sfn, Bec, 1973 * Gascon, standing alone * Southern Occitan (Languedocien and Provençal) * Northern Occitan (Limousin, Auvergnat, Vivaro-Alpine) Bec also notes that some linguists prefer a "supradialectal" classification that groups Occitan with Catalan language, Catalan as a part of a wider Occitano-Romanic group. One such classification posits three groups: * "Arverno-Mediterranean" (''arvèrnomediterranèu''), same as Wheeler's northeastern group, i.e. Limousin, Auvergnat, Provençal and Vivaro-Alpine * "Central Occitan" (''occitan centrau''), Languedocien, excepting the Southern Languedocien subdialect * "Aquitano-Pyrenean" (''aquitanopirenenc''), Southern Languedocien, Gascon and Catalan According to this view, Catalan is an ausbau language that became independent from Occitan during the 13th century, but originates from the Aquitano-Pyrenean group. Domergue Sumien proposes a slightly different supradialectal grouping.Domergue Sumien (2006), ''La standardisation pluricentrique de l'occitan: nouvel enjeu sociolinguistique, développement du lexique et de la morphologie'', Publications de l'Association Internationale d'Études Occitanes, Turnhout: Brepols * Arverno-Mediterranean (''arvèrnomediterranèu''), same as in Bec and Wheeler, divided further: ** Niçard-Alpine (''niçardoaupenc''), Vivaro-Alpine along with the Niçard subdialect of Provençal ** Trans-Occitan (''transoccitan''), the remainder of Provençal along with Limousin and Auvergnat * Pre-Iberian (''preïberic'') ** Central Occitan (''occitan centrau''), same as in Bec ** Aquitano-Pyrenean (''aquitanopirenenc''), same as in Bec

IETF dialect tags

*{{code, pro: Old Occitan (until the 14th century). *{{code, sdt: Judeo-Occitan Several IETF language tag, IETF language variant tags have been registered: * {{code, oc-aranese: Aranese. * {{code, oc-auvern: Auvergnat. * {{code, oc-cisaup: Cisalpine, northwestern Italy. * {{code, oc-creiss: Croissant * {{code, oc-gascon: Gascon. * {{code, oc-lemosin: Leimousin. * {{code, oc-lengadoc: Languedocien. * {{code, oc-nicard: Niçard. * {{code, oc-provenc: Provençal. * {{code, oc-vivaraup: Vivaro-Alpine.



All regional varieties of the Occitan language have a written form; thus, Occitan can be considered as a pluricentric language. Standard Occitan, also called ''occitan larg'' (i.e., 'wide Occitan') is a synthesis that respects and admits soft regional adaptations (which are based on the convergence of previous regional Koiné language, koinés). The standardization process began with the publication of ''Gramatica occitana segon los parlars lengadocians'' ("Grammar of the Languedocien Dialect") by Louis Alibert (1935), followed by the ''Dictionnaire occitan-français selon les parlers languedociens'' ("French-Occitan dictionary according to Languedocien") by the same author (1966), completed during the 1970s with the works of Pierre Bec (Gascon), Robèrt Lafont (Provençal), and others. However, the process has not yet been completed as of the present.{{clarify, date=April 2013. Standardization is mostly supported by users of the #Writing system, classical norm. Due to the strong situation of diglossia, some users thusly reject the standardization process, and do not conceive Occitan as a language that can be standardized as per other standardized languages.

Writing system

{{further, Occitan alphabet There are two main linguistic norms currently used for Occitan, one (known as "classical"), which is based on that of Medieval Occitan, and one (sometimes known as "Mistralian", due to its use by Frédéric Mistral), which is based on modern French orthography. Sometimes, there is conflict between users of each system. * The ''classical norm'' (or less exactly ''classical orthography'') has the advantage of maintaining a link with earlier stages of the language, and reflects the fact that Occitan is not a variety of French. It is used in all Occitan dialects. It also allows speakers of one dialect of Occitan to write intelligibly for speakers of other dialects (e.g. the Occitan for ''day'' is written ''jorn'' in the classical norm, but could be ''jour'', ''joun'', ''journ'', or even ''yourn'', depending on the writer's origin, in Mistralian orthography). The Occitan classical orthography and the Catalan language, Catalan orthography are quite similar: They show the very close ties of both languages. The digraphs ''lh'' and ''nh'', used in the classical orthography, were adopted by the Portuguese alphabet#Basic digraphs, orthography of Portuguese, presumably by Gerald of Braga, a monk from Moissac, who became bishop of Braga in Portugal in 1047, playing a major role in modernizing written Portuguese language, Portuguese using classical Occitan norms. * The ''Mistralian norm'' (or less exactly ''Mistralian orthography'') has the advantage of being similar to that of French, in which most Occitan speakers are literate. Now, it is used mostly in the Provençal (dialect), Provençal/Niçard dialect, besides the classical norm. It has also been used by a number of eminent writers, particularly in Provençal. However, it is somewhat impractical, because it is based mainly on the Provençal dialect and also uses many digraphs for simple sounds, the most notable one being ''ou'' for the {{IPA, [u] sound, as it is in French, written as ''o'' under the classical orthography. There are also two other norms but they have a lesser audience. The ''Escòla dau Pò norm'' (or ''Escolo dóu Po norm'') is a simplified version of the Mistralian norm and is used only in the Occitan Valleys (Italy), besides the classical norm. The ''Bonnaudian norm'' (or ''écriture auvergnate unifiée, EAU'') was created by Pierre Bonnaud and is used only in the Auvergnat dialect, besides the classical norm.
{, class="wikitable" align="center" , + Comparison between the four existing norms in Occitan: extract from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights , - ! Classical norm ! Mistralian norm ! Bonnaudian norm ! Escòla dau Pò norm , - , Provençal dialect, Provençal
Totei lei personas naisson liuras e egalas en dignitat e en drech. Son dotadas de rason e de consciéncia e li cau (/fau/) agir entre elei amb un esperit de frairesa. , Provençal dialect, Provençal
Tóuti li persouno naisson liéuro e egalo en dignita e en dre. {{not a typo, Soun doutado de rasoun e de counsciènci e li fau agi entre éli em' un esperit de freiresso. , , , - , Niçard Provençal
Toti li personas naisson liuri e egali en dignitat e en drech. Son dotadi de rason e de consciéncia e li cau agir entre eli emb un esperit de frairesa. , Niçard Provençal
Touti li persouna naisson liéuri e egali en dignità e en drech. {{not a typo, Soun doutadi de rasoun e de counsciència e li cau agì entre eli em' un esperit de frairessa. , , , - , Auvergnat
Totas las personas naisson liuras e egalas en dignitat e en dreit. Son dotadas de rason e de consciéncia e lor chau (/fau/) agir entre elas amb un esperit de frairesa. , , Auvergnat
Ta la proussouna neisson lieura moé parira pà dïnessà mai dret. Son charjada de razou moé de cousiensà mai lhu fau arjî entremeî lha bei n'eime de freiressà. (Touta la persouna naisson lieura e egala en dïnetàt e en dreit. {{not a typo, Soun doutada de razou e de cousiensà e lour chau ajî entre ela am en esprî de freiressà.) , , - , Vivaroalpenc, Vivaro-Alpine
Totas las personas naisson liuras e egalas en dignitat e en drech. Son dotaas de rason e de consciéncia e lor chal agir entre elas amb un esperit de fraternitat. , , , Vivaroalpenc, Vivaro-Alpine
Toutes les persounes naisoun liures e egales en dignità e en drech. {{not a typo, Soun douta de razoun e de counsiensio e lour chal agir entre eels amb (/bou) un esperit de freireso. , - , Gascon language, Gascon
Totas las personas que naishen liuras e egaus en dignitat e en dreit. Que son dotadas de rason e de consciéncia e que'us cau agir enter eras dab un esperit de hrairessa. , Gascon language, Gascon (Febusian writing)
Toutes las persounes que nachen libres e egaus en dinnitat e en dreyt. Que {{not a typo, soun doutades de rasoû e de counscienci e qu'ous cau ayi entre eres dap û esperit de hrayresse. , , , - , Limousin dialect, Limousin
Totas las personas naisson liuras e egalas en dignitat e en drech. Son dotadas de rason e de consciéncia e lor chau (/fau/) agir entre elas emb un esperit de frairesa. , , , , - , Languedocien dialect, Languedocien
Totas las personas naisson liuras e egalas en dignitat e en drech. Son dotadas de rason e de consciéncia e lor cal agir entre elas amb un esperit de frairesa. , , , {, class="wikitable" align="center" , + The same extract in six neighboring Romance languages and English for comparison , - , French language, French
Tous les êtres humains naissent libres et égaux en dignité et en droits. Ils sont doués de raison et de conscience et doivent agir les uns envers les autres dans un esprit de fraternité. , Franco-Provençal language, Franco-Provençal
Tôs los étres homans nêssont libros et ègals en dignitât et en drêts. Ils ant rêson et conscience et dêvont fâre los uns envèrs los ôtros dedens un èsprit de fraternitât. , Catalan language, Catalan
Totes les persones neixen/naixen lliures i iguals en dignitat i en drets. Són dotades de raó i de consciència, i han de comportar-se fraternalment les unes amb les altres.{{cite web, url=http://www.omniglot.com/udhr/italic.htm, title=Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 1), publisher=Omniglot.com, access-date=15 October 2009 , Spanish language, Spanish
Todos los seres humanos nacen libres e iguales en dignidad y derechos y, dotados como están de razón y conciencia, deben comportarse fraternalmente los unos con los otros. , Portuguese language, Portuguese
Todos os seres humanos nascem livres e iguais em dignidade e direitos. Eles são dotados de razão e consciência, e devem comportar-se fraternalmente uns com os outros. , Italian language, Italian
Tutti gli esseri umani nascono liberi ed uguali in dignità e in diritti. Sono dotati di ragione e di coscienza e devono comportarsi fraternamente l'uno con l'altro. , English
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Note that Catalan version was translated from the Spanish, while the Occitan versions were translated from the French. The second part of the Catalan version may also be rendered as "Són dotades de raó i de consciència, i els cal actuar entre si amb un esperit de fraternitat", showing the similarities between Occitan and Catalan.

Orthography IETF subtags

Several IETF language tag, IETF language subtags have been registered for the different orthographies:{{cite web , title=Language subtag registry , url=https://www.iana.org/assignments/language-subtag-registry/language-subtag-registry , publisher=IANA , access-date=8 April 2021 , language=en , date=2021-03-05 * {{code, oc-grclass: Classical Occitan orthography. * {{code, oc-grital: Italian-inspired Occitan orthography. * {{code, oc-grmistr: Mistralian-inspired Occitan orthography.

Debates concerning linguistic classification and orthography

The majority of scholars think that Occitan constitutes a single language.{{sfn, Kremnitz, 2002, pp=109–111 Some authors, constituting a minority,{{sfn, Kremnitz, 2002, pp=109–111 reject this opinion and even the name ''Occitan'', thinking that there is a family of distinct {{lang, oc, lengas d'òc rather than dialects of a single language. Many Occitan linguists and writers, particularly those involved with the pan-Occitan movement centered on the Institut d'Estudis Occitans, disagree with the view that Occitan is a family of languages; instead they believe Limousin, Auvergnat, Languedocien, Gascon, Provençal and Vivaro-Alpine are dialects of a single language. Although there are indeed noticeable differences between these varieties, there is a very high degree of mutual intelligibility between them partly because they share a common literary history; furthermore, academic and literary circles have identified them as a collective linguistic entity—the {{lang, oc, lenga d'òc—for centuries. Some Provençal authors continue to support the view that Provençal is a separate language. Nevertheless, the vast majority of Provençal authors and associations think that Provençal is a part of Occitan. This debate about the status of Provençal should not be confused with the debate concerning the spelling of Provençal. * The classical orthography is phonemic orthography, phonemic and diasystemic, and thus more pan-Occitan. It can be used for (and adapted to) all Occitan dialects and regions, including Provençal. Its supporters think that Provençal is a part of Occitan. * The Mistralian orthography of Provençal is more or less phonemic but not diasystemic and is closer to the French language, French spelling and therefore more specific to Provençal; its users are divided between the ones who think that Provençal is a part of Occitan and the ones who think that Provençal is a separate language. For example, the classical system writes ''Polonha'', whereas the Mistralian spelling system has ''Poulougno'', for {{IPA, [puˈluɲo], 'Poland'. The question of Gascon language, Gascon is similar. Gascon presents a number of significant differences from the rest of the language; but, despite these differences, Gascon and other Occitan dialects have very important common lexical and grammatical features, so authors such as Pierre Bec argue that they could never be considered as different as, for example, Spanish and Italian. In addition, Gascon's being included in Occitan despite its particular differences can be justified because there is a common elaboration (''Ausbau language, Ausbau'') process between Gascon and the rest of Occitan.{{sfn, Kremnitz, 2002, pp=109–111 The vast majority of the Gascon cultural movement considers itself as a part of the Occitan cultural movement. And the official status of Val d'Aran (Catalonia, Spain), adopted in 1990, says that Aranese is a part of Gascon language, Gascon and Occitan. A grammar of Aranese by Aitor Carrera, published in 2007 in Lleida, presents the same view.{{sfn, Carrera, 2007 The exclusion of Catalan language, Catalan from the Occitan sphere, even though Catalan is closely related, is justified because there has been a consciousness of its being different from Occitan since the later Middle Ages and because the elaboration (''Ausbau'') processes of Catalan and Occitan (including Gascon) have been quite distinct since the 20th century. Nevertheless, other scholars point out that the process that led to the affirmation of Catalan as a distinct language from Occitan started during the period when the pressure to include Catalan-speaking areas in a mainstream Spanish culture was at its greatest. The answer to the question of whether Gascon language, Gascon or Catalan language, Catalan should be considered dialects of Occitan or separate languages has long been a matter of opinion or convention, rather than based on scientific ground. However, two recent studies support Gascon's being considered a distinct language. For the very first time, a quantifiable, statistics-based approach was applied by Stephan Koppelberg in attempt to solve this issue. Based on the results he obtained, he concludes that Catalan, Occitan, and Gascon should all be considered three distinct languages. More recently, Y. Greub and J.P. Chambon (Sorbonne University, Paris) demonstrated that the formation of Proto-Gascon was already complete at the eve of the 7th century, whereas Proto-Occitan was not yet formed at that time. These results induced linguists to do away with the conventional classification of Gascon, favoring the "distinct language" alternative.{{citation needed, date=October 2016 Both studies supported the early intuition of the late Kurt Baldinger, a specialist of both medieval Occitan and medieval Gascon, who recommended that Occitan and Gascon be classified as separate languages.

Linguistic characterization

{{further, Occitan phonology {{further, Occitan grammar {{More footnotes, section, date=July 2011 Jules Ronjat has sought to characterize Occitan with 19 principal, generalizable criteria. Of those, 11 are phonetic, five morphologic, one syntactic, and two lexical. For example, close rounded vowels are rare or absent in Occitan. This characteristic often carries through to an Occitan speaker's French, leading to a distinctive ''Meridional French, méridional'' accent. Unlike French, it is a pro-drop language, allowing the omission of the subject ({{lang, oc, canti: I sing; {{lang, oc, cantas you sing)—though, at least in Gascon, the verb must be preceded by an "enunciative" in place of the pronoun, {{lang, oc, e for questions, {{lang, oc, be for observations, {{lang, oc, que for other occasions: {{abbr, e.g., for example, {{lang, oc, que soi (I am), {{lang, oc, E qu'ei? (He/she is?), {{lang, oc, Be qu'èm. (We are.). Among these 19 discriminating criteria, 7 are different from Spanish, 8 from Italian, 12 from Franco-Provençal, and 16 from French.

Features of Occitan

Most features of Occitan are shared with either French language, French or Catalan language, Catalan, or both.

Features of Occitan as a whole

Examples of pan-Occitan features shared with French, but not Catalan: * Latin {{smallcaps, ū [uː] (Vulgar Latin {{IPA, /u/) changed to {{IPA, /y/, as in French (Lat. {{smallcaps, dv̄rvm > Oc. ''dur''). * Vulgar Latin {{IPA, /o/ changed to {{IPA, /u/, first in unstressed syllables, as in Catalan (Lat. {{smallcaps, romānvs > Oc. ''roman'' [ruˈma]), then in stressed syllables (Lat. {{smallcaps, flōrem > Oc. ''flor'' [fluɾ]). Examples of pan-Occitan features shared with Catalan, but not French: * Stressed Latin {{smallcaps, a was preserved (Lat. {{smallcaps, mare > Oc. ''mar'', Fr. ''mer''). * Intervocalic -{{smallcaps, t- was lenited to {{IPA, /d/ rather than lost (Lat. {{smallcaps, vitam > Oc. ''vida'', Fr. ''vie''). Examples of pan-Occitan features not shared with Catalan or French: * Original {{IPA, /aw/ preserved. * Final {{IPA, /a/ becomes {{IPA, /ɔ/ (note in Valencian language, Valencian (Catalan), {{IPA, /ɔ/ may appear in word-final unstressed position, in a process of vowel harmony). * Low-mid {{IPA, /ɛ/ and {{IPA, /ɔ/ diphthongized before velars. {{IPA, /ɛ/ generally becomes {{IPA, /jɛ/; {{IPA, /ɔ/ originally became {{IPA, /wɔ/ or {{IPA, /wɛ/, but has since usually undergone further fronting (e.g. to {{IPA, [ɥɛ], [ɥɔ], [jɔ], [œ], [ɛ], [ɥe], [we], etc.). Diphthongization also occurred before palatals, as in French and Catalan. * Various assimilations in consonant clusters (e.g. {{angle bracket, cc in ''Occitan'', pronounced {{IPA, /utsiˈta/ in conservative Languedocien).

Features of some Occitan dialects

Examples of dialect-specific features of the northerly dialects shared with French, but not Catalan: * Palatalization of {{smallcaps, ca-, ga- to {{IPA, /tʃa, dʒa/. * Vocalization of syllable-final {{IPA, /l/ to {{IPA, /w/. * Loss of final consonants. * Vocalization of syllable-final nasals to nasal vowels. * Uvular R, Uvularization of some or all {{angle bracket, r sounds. Examples of dialect-specific features of the southerly dialects (or some of them) shared with Catalan, but not French: * Latin {{smallcaps, -mb-,-nd- become {{IPA, /m, n/. * Betacism: {{IPA, /b/ and {{IPA, /v/ merge (feature shared with Spanish and some Catalan dialects; except for Balearic, Valencian and Algherese Catalan, where {{IPA, /v/ is preserved). * Intervocalic voiced stops {{IPA, /b d ɡ/ (from Latin {{smallcaps, -p-, -t, -c-) become voiced fricatives {{IPA, [β ð ɣ]. * Loss of word-final single {{IPA, /n/ (but not {{IPA, /nn/, e.g. ''an'' "year" < {{smallcaps, ānnvm). Examples of Gascon language, Gascon-specific features not shared with French or Catalan: * Latin initial {{IPA, /f/ changed into {{IPA, /h/ (Lat. {{smallcaps, filivm > Gasc. ''hilh''). This also happened in History of Spanish, medieval Spanish, although the {{IPA, /h/ was eventually lost, or reverted to {{IPA, /f/ (before a consonant). The Gascon {{angle bracket, h has retained its aspiration (phonetics), aspiration. * Loss of {{IPA, /n/ between vowels. This also happened in History of Portuguese, Portuguese and Galician language, Galician (and moreover also in Basque language, Basque). * Change of {{smallcaps, -ll- to {{angle bracket, r {{IPA, /ɾ/, or {{angle bracket, th word-finally (originally the voiceless palatal stop {{IPA, /c/, but now generally either {{IPA, /t/ or {{IPA, /tʃ/, depending on the word). This is a unique characteristic of Gascon and of certain Aragonese language, Aragonese dialects. Examples of other dialect-specific features not shared with French or Catalan: * Merging of syllable-final nasals to {{IPA, /ŋ/. This appears to represent a transitional stage before nasalization, and occurs especially in the southerly dialects other than Gascon (which still maintains different final nasals, as in Catalan). * Former intervocalic {{IPA, /ð/ (from Latin {{smallcaps, -d-) becomes /z/ (most dialects, but not Gascon). This appears to have happened in primitive Catalan as well, but Catalan later deleted this sound or converted it to {{IPA, /w/. * Palatalization of {{IPA, /jt/ (from Latin {{smallcaps, ct) to {{IPA, /tʃ/ in most dialects or {{IPA, /(j)t/: ''lach'' vs ''lait'' (Gascon ''lèit'') 'milk', ''lucha'' vs ''luta'' (Gascon ''luta'') 'fight'. * Weakening of {{IPA, /l/ to {{IPA, /r/ in the Vivaro-Alpine dialect.

Comparison with other Romance languages and English

{, class="wikitable" style="margin:0.5em ; font-size:80%" , ----- bgcolor="#eeeeee" , + Common words in Romance languages, with English (a Germanic language) for reference , , Latin
(all nouns in the ablative case), , Occitan
(including main regional varieties), , Catalan, , French , , Norman , , Ladin (Gherdëina) , , Lombard, , Italian, , Spanish , , Portuguese , , Sardinian , , Romanian , , English , ----- bgcolor="#ffffff" , , {{smallcaps, cantare , , c(h)antar , , cantar , , chanter , , canter, chanter , , cianté , , cantà , , cantare , , cantar , , cantar , , cantare , , cânta(re) , , '(to) sing' , ----- bgcolor="#ffffff" , , {{smallcaps, capra , , c(h)abra (cabra) , , cabra , , chèvre , , quièvre , , cëura , , cavra , , capra , , cabra , , cabra , , craba , , capră , , 'goat' , ----- bgcolor="#ffffff" , , {{smallcaps, clave , , clau , , clau , , clef , , clef , , tle , , ciav , , chiave , , llave , , chave , , crae , , cheie , , 'key' , ----- bgcolor="#ffffff" , , {{smallcaps, ecclesia, {{smallcaps, basilica , , (e)glèisa , , església , , église , , église , , dlieja , , giesa , , chiesa , , iglesia , , igreja , , gresia/creia , , biserică , , 'church' , ----- bgcolor="#ffffff" , , {{smallcaps, formatico (Vulgar Latin), {{smallcaps, caseo , , formatge (fromatge, hormatge) , , formatge , , fromage , , froumage, fourmage , , ciajuel , , furmai/furmagg , , formaggio , , queso , , queijo , , casu , , caș , , 'cheese' , ----- bgcolor="#ffffff" , , {{smallcaps, lingva , , leng(u)a (linga) , , llengua , , langue , , langue , , lenga, rujeneda , , lengua , , lingua , , lengua , , língua , , limba , , limbă , , 'tongue, language' , ----- bgcolor="#ffffff" , , {{smallcaps, nocte , , nuèch (nuèit) , , nit , , nuit , , nît , , nuet , , nocc , , notte , , noche , , noite , , nothe , , noapte , , 'night' , ----- bgcolor="#ffffff" , , {{smallcaps, platea , , plaça , , plaça , , place , , plache , , plaza , , piassa , , piazza , , plaza , , praça , , pratza , , piațăModern loanword from Italian or Greek (Iordan, Dift., 145) , , 'square, plaza' , ----- bgcolor="#ffffff" , , {{smallcaps, ponte , , pont (pònt) , , pont , , pont , , pont , , puent , , punt , , ponte , , puente , , ponte , , ponte , , punte (small bridge) , , 'bridge'


A comparison of terms and word counts between languages is not easy, as it is impossible to count the number of words in a language. (See Lexicon, Lexeme, Lexicography for more information.) Some have claimed around 450,000 words exist in the Occitan language, a number comparable to English (the Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged with 1993 addenda reaches 470,000 words, as does the Oxford English Dictionary, Second edition). The Merriam-Webster Web site estimates that the number is somewhere between 250,000 and 1 million words. The magazine GEO (magazine), ''Géo'' (2004, p. 79) claims that American English literature can be more easily translated into Occitan than French, excluding modern technological terms that both languages have integrated. A comparison of the lexical content can find more subtle differences between the languages. For example, Occitan has 128 synonyms related to cultivated land, 62 for wetlands, and 75 for sunshine (''Géo''). The language went through an eclipse during the Industrial Revolution, as the vocabulary of the countryside became less important. At the same time, it was disparaged as a patois. Nevertheless, Occitan has also incorporated new words into its lexicon to describe the modern world. The Occitan word for web (as in World Wide Web) is {{wikt-lang, oc, oèb, for example.

Differences between Occitan and Catalan

The separation of Catalan from Occitan is seen by some{{Citation needed, date=October 2008 as largely politically (rather than linguistically) motivated. However, the variety that has become standard Catalan differs from the one that has become standard Occitan in a number of ways. Here are just a few examples: * Phonology {{Main, Occitan phonology, Catalan phonology ** Standard Catalan (based on Central Eastern Catalan) is unique in that Latin short ''e'' developed into a close vowel {{IPA, /e/ (''é'') and Latin long ''e'' developed into an open vowel {{IPA, /ɛ/ (''è''); that is precisely the reverse of the development that took place in Western Catalan dialects and the rest of the Romance languages, including Occitan. Thus Standard Catalan ''ésser'' {{IPA, [ˈesə] corresponds to Occitan ''èsser/èstre'' {{IPA, [ˈɛse/ˈɛstre] 'to be;' Catalan {{lang, ca, carrer {{IPA, [kəˈre] corresponds to Occitan ''carrièra'' {{IPA-oc, karˈjɛɾo̞} 'street', but it is also ''carriera'' {{IPA-oc, karˈjeɾo̞}, in Provençal. ** The distinctly Occitan development of word-final ''-a'', pronounced {{IPA, [o̞] in standard Occitan (''chifra'' 'figure' {{IPA, [ˈtʃifro̞]), did not occur in general Catalan (which has ''xifra'' {{IPA, [ˈʃifrə]). However, some Occitan varieties also lack that feature, and some Catalan (Valencian language, Valencian) varieties have the {{IPA, [ɔ] pronunciation, mostly by vowel harmony. ** When in Catalan word stress falls in the antepenultimate syllable, in Occitan the stress is moved to the penultimate syllable: for example, Occitan ''pagina'' {{IPA, [paˈdʒino̞] vs. Catalan ''pàgina'' {{IPA, [ˈpaʒinə], "page". However, there are exceptions. For example, some varieties of Occitan (such as that of Nice) keep the stress on the antepenultimate syllable ''(pàgina)'', and some varieties of Catalan (in Northern Catalonia) put the stress on the penultimate syllable ''(pagina)''. ** Diphthongization has evolved in different ways: Occitan ''paire'' vs. Catalan ''pare'' 'father;' Occitan ''carrièra (carrèra, carrèira)'' vs. Catalan ''carrera''. ** Although some Occitan dialects lack the voiceless postalveolar fricative phoneme {{IPA, /ʃ/, others such as southwestern Occitan have it: general Occitan ''caissa'' {{IPA, [ˈkajso̞] vs. Catalan ''caixa'' {{IPA, [ˈkaʃə] and southwestern Occitan ''caissa, caisha'' {{IPA, [ˈka(j)ʃo̞], 'box.' Nevertheless, some Western Catalan, Valencian dialects like Northern Valencian lack that phoneme too and generally substitute {{IPA, /jsʲ/: ''caixa'' {{IPA, [ˈkajʃa] (Standard Valencian) ~ {{IPA, [ˈkajsʲa] (Northern Valencian). ** Occitan has developed the close front rounded vowel {{IPA, /y/ as a phoneme, often (but not always) corresponding to Catalan {{IPA, /u/: Occitan ''musica'' {{IPA, [myˈziko̞] vs. Catalan ''música'' {{IPA, [ˈmuzikə]. ** The distribution of palatal consonants {{IPA, /ʎ/ and {{IPA, /ɲ/ differs in Catalan and part of Occitan: while Catalan permits them in word-final position, in central Occitan they are Phoneme#Neutralization, archiphoneme, underspecification, neutralized to {{IPA, [l] and {{IPA, [n] (Central Occitan ''filh'' {{IPA, [fil] vs. Catalan ''fill'' {{IPA, [fiʎ], 'son'). Similarly, Algherese, Algherese Catalan neutralizes palatal consonants in word-final position as well. Non-central varieties of Occitan, however, may have a palatal realization (e.g. ''filh, hilh'' {{IPA, [fiʎ, fij, hiʎ]). ** Furthermore, many words that start with {{IPA, /l/ in Occitan start with {{IPA, /ʎ/ in Catalan: Occitan ''libre'' {{IPA, [ˈliβɾe] vs. Catalan ''llibre'' {{IPA, [ˈʎiβɾə], 'book.' That feature is perhaps one of the most distinctive characteristics of Catalan amongst the Romance languages, shared only with Asturian language, Asturian, Leonese language, Leonese and Mirandese language, Mirandese. However, some transitional varieties of Occitan, near the Catalan area, also have initial {{IPA, /ʎ/. ** While {{IPA, /l/ is always clear in Occitan, in Catalan it tends to be velarization, velarized {{IPA, [ɫ] ("dark l"). In coda position, {{IPA, /l/ has tended to be vocalized to {{IPA, [w] in Occitan, while remained dark in Catalan. ** Standard Eastern Catalan has a schwa, neutral vowel {{IPA, [ə] whenever ''a'' or ''e'' occur in unstressed position (''passar'' {{IPA, [pəˈsa], 'to happen', but ''passa'' {{IPA, [ˈpasə], 'it happens'), and also {{IPA, [u] whenever ''o'' or ''u'' occur in unstressed position, e.g. ''obrir'' {{IPA, [uˈβɾi], 'to open', but ''obre'' {{IPA, [ˈɔβɾə], 'you open'. However, that does not apply to Western Catalan dialects, whose vowel system usually retains the ''a''/''e'' distinction in unstressed position, or to Northern Catalan dialects, whose vowel system does not retain the ''o''/''u'' distinction in stressed position, much like Occitan. * Morphology (linguistics), Morphology ** Verb grammatical conjugation, conjugation is slightly different, but there is a great variety amongst dialects. Medieval conjugations were much closer. A characteristic difference is the ending of the second person plural, which is ''-u'' in Catalan but ''-tz'' in Occitan. {{further, Occitan conjugation, Catalan conjugation ** Occitan tends to add an analogy, analogical -''a'' to the grammatical gender, feminine forms of adjectives that are invariable in standard Catalan: for example, Occitan ''legal'' / ''legala'' vs. Catalan ''legal'' / ''legal''. ** Catalan has a distinctive past tense formation, known as the 'periphrastic preterite', formed from a variant of the verb 'to go' followed by the infinitive of the verb: ''donar'' 'to give,' ''va donar'' 'he gave.' That has the same value as the 'normal' preterite shared by most Romance languages, deriving from the Latin perfect tense: Catalan ''donà'' 'he gave.' The periphrastic preterite, in Occitan, is an archaic or a very local tense. * Orthography ** The writing systems of the two languages differ slightly. The modern Occitan spelling recommended by the Institut d'Estudis Occitans and the Conselh de la Lenga Occitana is designed to be a pan-Occitan system, and the Catalan system recommended by the Institut d'Estudis Catalans and Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua is specific to Catalan and Valencian. For example, in Catalan, word-final ''-n'' is omitted, as it is not pronounced in any dialect of Catalan (''Català'', ''Occità''); central Occitan also drops word-final ''-n'', but it is retained in the spelling, as some eastern and western dialects of Occitan still have it (''Catalan'', ''Occitan''). Some digraphs are also written in a different way such as the sound {{IPA, /ʎ/, which is ''ll'' in Catalan (similar to Spanish) and ''lh'' in Occitan (similar to Portuguese) or the sound {{IPA, /ɲ/ written ''ny'' in Catalan and ''nh'' in Occitan.

Occitano-Romance linguistic group

Despite these differences, Occitan and Catalan remain more or less mutual intelligibility, mutually comprehensible, especially when written – more so than either is with Spanish or French, for example, although this is mainly a consequence of using the classical (orthographical) norm of the Occitan, which is precisely focused in showing the similarities between the Occitan dialects with Catalan. Occitan and Catalan form a common diasystem (or a common Abstandsprache), which is called Occitano-Romance, according to the linguist Pierre Bec. Speakers of both languages share early historical and cultural heritage. The combined Occitano-Romance area is 259,000 km2 and represents 23 million speakers. However, the regions are not equal in terms of language speakers. According to Bec 1969 (pp. 120–121), in France, no more than a quarter of the population in counted regions could speak Occitan well, though around half understood it; it is thought that the number of Occitan users has decreased dramatically since then. By contrast, in the Catalonia administered by the Government of Catalonia, nearly three-quarters of the population speak Catalan and 95% understand it.


In the modern era, Occitan has become a rare and highly threatened language. Its users are clustered almost exclusively in Southern France, and it is unlikely that any monolingual speakers remain. In the early 1900s, the French government attempted to restrict the use and teaching of many minority languages, including Occitan, in public schools. While the laws have since changed, with bilingual education returning for regions with unique languages in 1993, this movement caused serious decline in the number of Occitan speakers. The majority of living speakers are older adults.{{Cite news, date=2018-04-19, title=Occitan’s fight to stay away from the cliff of extinction, work=The Economist, url=https://www.economist.com/prospero/2018/04/19/occitans-fight-to-stay-away-from-the-cliff-of-extinction, access-date=2021-12-24, issn=0013-0613

Occitan quotes

One of the most notable passages of Occitan in Western literature occurs in the 26th ''canto'' of Dante Alighieri, Dante's ''Purgatorio'' in which the troubadour Arnaut Daniel responds to the narrator: :''Tan m'abellís vostre cortés deman, / qu'ieu no me puesc ni voill a vos cobrire. / Ieu sui Arnaut, que plor e vau cantan; / consirós vei la passada folor, / e vei jausen lo joi qu'esper, denan. / Ara vos prec, per aquella valor / que vos guida al som de l'escalina, / sovenha vos a temps de ma dolor.'' :Modern Occitan: ''Tan m'abelís vòstra cortesa demanda, / que ieu non-pòdi ni vòli m'amagar de vos. / Ieu soi Arnaut, que plori e vau cantant; / consirós vesi la foliá passada, / e vesi joiós lo jorn qu'espèri, davant. / Ara vos prègui, per aquela valor / que vos guida al som de l'escalièr, / sovenhatz-vos tot còp de ma dolor.'' The above strophe translates to: :So pleases me your courteous demand, / I cannot and I will not hide me from you. / I am Arnaut, who weep and singing go;/ Contrite I see the folly of the past, / And joyous see the hoped-for day before me. / Therefore do I implore you, by that power/ Which guides you to the summit of the stairs, / Be mindful to assuage my suffering! Another notable Occitan quotation, this time from Arnaut Daniel's own 10th ''Canto'': :''"Ieu sui Arnaut qu'amas l'aura'' :''e chatz le lebre ab lo bou'' :''e nadi contra suberna"'' Modern Occitan: :''"Ieu soi Arnaut qu'aimi l'aura'' :''e caci [chaci] la lèbre amb lo buòu'' :''e nadi contra subèrna.'' Translation: :"I am Arnaut who loves the wind, :and chases the hare with the ox, :and swims against the torrent." French writer Victor Hugo's classic ''Les Misérables'' also contains some Occitan. In Part One, First Book, Chapter IV, "Les œuvres semblables aux paroles", one can read about Bishop Myriel, Monseigneur Bienvenu: :"Né provençal, il s'était facilement familiarisé avec tous les patois du midi. Il disait: — ''E ben, monsur, sètz saget?'' comme dans le bas Languedoc. — ''Ont anaratz passar?'' comme dans les basses Alpes. — ''Pòrti un bon moton amb un bon formatge gras'', comme dans le haut Dauphiné. [...] Parlant toutes les langues, il entrait dans toutes les âmes." Translation: :"Born a Provençal, he easily familiarized himself with the dialect of the south. He would say, ''E ben, monsur, sètz saget?'' as in lower Languedoc; ''Ont anaratz passar?'' as in the Basses-Alpes; ''Pòrti un bon moton amb un bon formatge gras'' as in upper Dauphiné. [...] As he spoke all tongues, he entered into all hearts." :''E ben, monsur, sètz saget?'': So, Mister, everything's fine? :''Ont anaratz passar?'': Which way will you go? :''Pòrti un bon moton amb un bon formatge gras'': I brought some fine mutton with a fine fat cheese The Spanish playwright Lope de Rueda included a Gascon servant for comical effect in one of his short pieces, ''La generosa paliza''.
Registro de Representantes
{{Webarchive, url=https://web.archive.org/web/20070828104958/http://www.cervantesvirtual.com/servlet/SirveObras/01159741097810429650035/p0000001.htm , date=28 August 2007 '' by Lope de Rueda, in Spanish. Peirutón speaks a mix of Gascon and Catalan.
John Barnes (author), John Barnes's ''Thousand Cultures'' science fiction series (''A Million Open Doors'', 1992; ''Earth Made of Glass'', 1998; ''The Merchants of Souls'', 2001; and ''The Armies of Memory'', 2006), features Occitan. So does the 2005 best-selling novel ''Labyrinth (book), Labyrinth'' by English author Kate Mosse. It is set in Carcassonne, where she owns a house and spends half of the year. The French composer Joseph Canteloube created five sets of folk songs entitled ''Songs of the Auvergne'', in which the lyrics are in the Auvergne dialect of Occitan. The orchestration strives to conjure vivid pastoral scenes of yesteryear. Michael Crichton features Occitan in his ''Timeline (novel), Timeline'' novel.

See also

{{Portal, France, Italy, Spain, Language * Baìo * History of the Basque language * Languages of France * Languages of Italy * Languages of Spain * Occitan cross * Occitan cuisine



Explanatory footnotes



* {{cite book , last=Anglade , first=Joseph , year=1921 , title=Grammaire de l'ancien provençal ou ancienne langue d'oc: phonétique et morphologie , publisher=C. Klincksieck , place=Paris , url=http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k255748j/f3.image , language=fr * {{cite book , last=Backer , first=Louis de , year=1860 , title= Grammaire comparée des langues de la France, par Louis de Baecker. Flamand, allemand, celto-breton, basque, provençal, espagnol, italien, français, comparés au sanscrit , publisher= C. Blériot , place=Paris , url=http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k5846989r.f61 , language=fr * {{cite book , last=Bec , first=Pierre , author-link=Pierre Bec , year=1963 , title= La Langue occitane , series=Que sais-je? 1059 , publisher= Presses Universitaires de France, place=Paris , language=fr * {{cite book , last=Bec , first=Pierre , year=1973 , title= Manuel pratique d'occitan moderne , publisher= A. & J. Picard , place=Paris , language=fr * {{cite book, last=Carrera, first=Aitor, title=Gramatica Aranesa, publisher=Pagès Editors, location=Lleida, year=2007, isbn=978-84-9779-484-8, language=oc * {{cite book , last=Gaussen , first= Yvan , year=1927 , title= Du fédéralisme de Proudhon au Félibrige de Mistral , publisher= A. Chastanier , place= Nîmes , url= http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k57104841.image.langEN.f6.pagination , language=fr * {{cite book , last= Kremnitz , first= Georg , year=2002 , contribution=Une approche sociolinguistique , editor1-last= Kirsch , editor1-first= Fritz Peter , editor2-last= Kremnitz , editor2-first= Georg , editor3-last= Schlieben-Lange , editor3-first= Brigitte , others= Chabrant, Catherine trans , title=Petite histoire sociale de la langue occitane: Usages, images, littérature, grammaires et dictionnaires , publisher= Trabucaire , place= Canet, France , language=fr , isbn=978-2-912966-59-9 * Ursula Reutner: "‘Minor‘ Gallo-Romance Languages‘“. In: Lebsanft, Franz/Tacke, Felix: Manual of Standardization in the Romance Languages. Berlin: de Gruyter (Manuals of Romance Linguistics 24), 773–807. * {{Cite book, last1=Smith, first1=Nathaniel B., last2=Bergin , first2=Thomas Goddard , title=An Old Provençal Primer , publisher=Garland , place=New York , year=1984 , isbn=0-8240-9030-6

External links

{{interwiki, code=oc {{OldWikisource, Occitan {{Wiktionary, Occitan language
– Overview and grammar of Occitan

– a guide to the language

– Troubadour & Early Occitan Literature
– The house of Occitan associations of Toulouse

– "LexRomEdic", electronic version of Lexique Roman of Rainouard (A provisional version is available).
– Occitan Limousin group website with maps and vocabulary {{Languages of France {{Romance languages {{Occitano-Romance languages and dialects {{Authority control {{DEFAULTSORT:Occitan Language Occitan language, Languages of Andorra Languages of France Languages of Italy Languages of Piedmont Languages of Catalonia